michigan

After making a move from Casper, Wyoming to Cheyenne, Wyoming on June 5th, my nephew, Jason Sawdon is settling into his new job and promotion, and great hours for a family man, with the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Jason has had a long and successful career with the WHP, and this promotion to Sergeant of Equipment and Technology, is the next step in his decorated career. Jason’s job is to coordinate and test the equipment to make sure it is safe and effective for use in the WHP. He is so well respected and such a help to all who need him, which is no surprise considering his helpful nature. With the promotion comes a great schedule for a family man, with a wife who works from home. Jason now has evenings, weekends, and holidays off, so he and his girls…my niece, Jessi and their daughter, Adelaide, as well as, their dog, Daisy, have been busy exploring the Cheyenne area when they aren’t doing some DIY projects on their home.

Having weekends and holidays off has given the family lots of time for trips, so this summer, they have visited Laramie, Michigan, Denver, Casper, the Snowy Range, Medicine Bow National Forest, and Guernsey State Park. It has also been fun for them to explore their new area and Jason has had a blast doing it. The summer has flown by, and they have been so busy that they didn’t get to go camping as much as they would have liked, but they are going camping this weekend, so that will be fun.

My niece, Kellie Hadlock, Jessi’s sister tells me that Jason is the most helpful person on the planet! He can fix anything. It’s always nice to have a handyman around the house. Jason is a good cook too, even if he made the hottest tacos on the planet…totally by accident, of course, the last time Kellie visited them. Hot is a relative concept, because there are those of us who believe that it isn’t hot enough, unless it makes your lips numb and your nose run…me included. I suppose there could be a level called “too hot,” but I really can’t say I have found that yet, but then I haven’t tried every pepper. Maybe someday.

Jason is a very hands on dad, often helping daughter, Addi build things and learn new things. Addi just adores her daddy. Recently, the Sawdon and Hadlock families got the chance to go to an air show at the Cheyenne Regional Airport, and then they got to tour the vintage World War II planes there, as well as the more modern helicopters. They had a wonderful time going through them since my dad, Jessi’s grandpa, Al Spencer served as top turret gunner on a B-17, based in Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England during the war. Going through those planes is always a sentimental journey for our family. Now, the next generation will get to love it too. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Adelaide Sawdon has had a very adventurous summer this year. She got to go camping with her grandparents, Allyn and Chris Hadlock, her aunts and uncles for a week without her mom and dad, Jessi and Jason Sawdon. They went swimming in the creeks and exploring…totally having a blast. Then, Adelaide and her parents had to go to Michigan for her great grandma’s funeral. They had been planning to go there for a week of camping, so they actually got to spend a little more time there than they had anticipated, so Adelaide got a full week in Michigan with her grandparents, Richard and Barbara Sawdon and her cousins there. She swam nearly every day in their pond or at a nearby lake. Adelaide absolutely loves swimming. Then, the family went to Hocking Hills, Ohio for the week and explored there. Her mom told me that she has had a really busy summer. I guess so.

Back at home, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Adelaide is the proud owner of a trampoline, because the yard there is big enough, while the Casper house didn’t have enough room for one. Adelaide absolutely loves it and since there are no kids in her neighborhood, having the trampoline gives her something to do. It’s hard to make friends, as anyone who has ever moved can tell you, but Adelaide started kindergarten on August 23rd, a total shock to my mind. Her parents are excited for her to meet some new friends and hoping they will find out that more kids live nearby, since they have neighborhood schools and not school of choice in Cheyenne.

Adelaide and her mom were in Laramie in early August, with cousins Ethan and Aurora Hadlock, and Mackenzie Moore so they could attend vacation bible school together. The kids had such a great time, and it was great for Adelaide to get to spend more time with her cousins. Adelaide loves living closer to her cousin, Mackenzie now. Mackenzie lives in Laramie, and it’s only an hour away, so Adelaide and Mackenzie get to see a lot more of each other…especially since their mom’s both work from home. Adelaide is getting so tall now. I can’t believe How much she has grown. And her beautiful blonde hair is getting so long. Like her mom says, she not a little kid anymore, she is growing into a little person. Adelaide got to go to a concert of her favorite people, Cain. They sing her favorite song called, “I’m So Blessed.” Adelaide knows every word by heart. She has had a lot of firsts this year, and she is really loving life. Today is Adelaide’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Jason Sawdon, who is married to my niece, Jessi. They are perfect for each other. They are both very social, outgoing people, who are also all about family. Jason and Jessi have a wonderful little girl named Adelaide Ione…named after two grandmothers. Jason was born in in Michigan, where his family still lives. For some reason, he found himself in Wyoming, where he met his future wife…my niece, Jessi. It was a match made in Heaven, and we all find ourselves so impressed with the obvious love and caring he has for Jessi. He encourages her and lifts her up, always making her feel special. It is something we have all witnessed, and something we all love that about him.

Jason is a handyman…in his spare time. He can fix almost anything! My niece, Kellie Hadlock tells me that he fixes most of the stuff in her house, along with her brother, Ryan Hadlock and her dad, Chris Hadlock. Kellie says, “He is always willing to help family and his friends. ALWAYS!” What better tribute to someone’s character than that. People who are there for one another are the best kind of people…and Jason is the best kind of people, for sure. Kellie is quite close to Jason and Jessi, and to their daughter, Adelaide. To her Jason is her big brother and he has been from the start! She says that they also feed her all the time, hahahahaha!! I don’t think that’s the only reason she loves them, however.

Maybe it’s the cop in Jason, or maybe it’s just they way he is, but he has been protective of all of us from the beginning! Kellie says that of her family, but we have all felt that about Jason. I remember a time when my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen’s dad, Dean had a accident in which his travel trailer was blown all over the ditch, and when my daughter, Kevin and my daughter, Corrie arrived at the scene, they didn’t know what to expect. It looked so bad, but Jason, a Wyoming Highway Patrolman, when he saw them, immediately went to them and reassured them that Dean was ok. There is nothing like having a first responder put their arm around you and let you know you are not alone, and everything will be ok…nothing like it at all. Your emotions are so raw and messed up in times like that, and you need someone to comfort you. Jason is great at his job and takes pride in doing everything right and with integrity, and that is the kind of patrolman we need in this world. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Jason Sawdon, is a decorated patrolman for the Wyoming Highway Patrol. It is a position to be very proud of, and while he would never say that he is proud of himself, because he is not that kind of man, we are all proud of him and his work. Still, it is not his position as a patrolman that has endeared Jason to his family.

Jason is a wonderful husband to my niece, Jessi and an amazing daddy to their daughter, Adelaide. He has such a soft heart when it comes to his girls, and he would gladly give them the moon…if he could reach it. I love seeing him with his girls, because the love he feels for them is evidenced on his face. There is a look that you see on a man’s face when he has found that his life’s dream is sitting right there beside him. It’s as if he almost can’t believe how very blessed his life has become. Of course, his girls feel the same way about Jason. They know that when God gave them Jason, He gave them the best He had. That’s how a match made in Heaven works. God gives each party the person that is the very best for them.

Jason has a great sense of humor and brings much fun and laughter into their home. And of course, his good nature and that of my niece, have made their little Adelaide into a bit of a comic in her own right, With parents like hers, what else would she be. She has learned from two of the best comics I know.

All humor aside though, I can honestly say that Jason and Jessi are two people who I feel very blessed to know. They are hard working, talented people, who live life to the fullest. They are involved with their community, and work to make it a better place to live. They aren’t afraid of hard work, and they have made their home a sweet place to raise their family. They love to go camping and hang out with family and friends…especially at the Hadlock place on Casper Mountain. And they love to head back to Michigan to visit Jason’s family there, because family is what it’s all about. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Mistakes happen, but when they are on an airplane, the result is often disastrous. Unless they are terrorists, no pilot wants to make that fatal mistake, because after all, they are on that plane too. Not to mention that they have families of their own that they want to go home to. Still, mistakes do happen, and sometimes they are pilot error, while other times are mechanical failure or even weather.

On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 255 was preparing for takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The crew began the day, by operating the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 as Northwest Flight 750 from Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport. They flew to MBS International Airport in Saginaw, Michigan. They then departed Saginaw, in the same aircraft as Flight 255, flying to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, with intermediate stops at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan…near Detroit. Their next stop was to be at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona, but they never made it to Phoenix, crashing instead.

The plane’s rate of climb was greatly reduced as a result of the flaps not being extended, and approximately 2,760 feet past the end of runway 3C. The plane’s left wing struck a light pole in a car rental car lot. The impact caused the left wing to start disintegrating and catch fire. The plane rolled 90 degrees to the left, striking the roof of an Avis Car Rental building. The plane was now completely out of control, and crashed inverted onto Middlebelt Road striking vehicles just north of its intersection with Wick Road, killing two people on the ground in a car. It then broke apart…the wreckage skidding across the road, disintegrating and bursting into flames as it hit a railroad overpass and the overpass of eastbound Interstate 94. Of the 149 people onboard, there was one survivor, a four year old girl, who lost her parents and six year old brother in the crash.

In the end pilot error was blamed for the crash, because the pilots did not run through the pre-flight checklist. There also seemed to be a “problem with electrical power to the takeoff warning system. It was caused by the loss of input 28V dc. electric power between the airplane’s left dc. bus and the CAWS unit. The interruption of the input power to the CAWS occurred at the P-40 circuit breaker. The mode of interruption could not be determined.” The flight number Northwest Airlines 255 was retired, and when Delta purchased Northwest, they continued to honor the retired number. I wondered about retiring a flight number. It seems that in fatal crashes it is customary to retire the number in honor of those lost.

In the old west, few women went on to get a higher education, and even fewer became doctors. It was thought of as a man’s occupation, and the few women who dared to go into that field, were often looked at with distrust, and even disdain. People thought that women belonged in the home raising a family. Some didn’t even attempt to hide the dislike of women in medicine. Susan Anderson, MD was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1870. Her family moved to the mining camp of Cripple Creek, Colorado during her childhood. In 1893, Anderson left Cripple Creek to attend medical school at the University of Michigan. She graduated in 1897. During her time in medical school, Anderson contracted tuberculosis and soon returned to her family in Cripple Creek, where she set up her first practice.

Anderson spent the next three years sympathetically tending to patients, but her father insisted that Cripple Creek, a lawless mining town at the time. He felt like it was no place for a woman, so Anderson moved to Denver. In Denver, she had a tough time securing patients. The people in Denver were reluctant to see a woman doctor. She then moved to Greeley, Colorado, where she worked as a nurse for six years. Somehow, people accepted a woman as a nurse, probably because they looked at it as just following the orders of the doctor, who was ultimately in charge.

Her tuberculosis got worse during this time, so she felt she needed a more cold and dry climate. She made the decision to move to Fraser, Colorado in 1907. Fraser’s elevation of over 8,500 feet, definitely made the area cold and dry. Anderson was most concerned with getting her disease under control and didn’t open a practice. She didn’t even tell people that she was a doctor. Nevertheless, the word soon got out and the locals began to ask for her advice on various ailments, which soon led to her practicing her skills once again. Her reputation spread as she treated families, ranchers, loggers, railroad workers, and even an occasional horse or cow, which was not uncommon at the time. The vast majority of her patients required her to make house calls, though she never owned a horse or a car. Instead, she dressed in layers, wore high hip boots, and trekked through deep snows and freezing temperatures to reach her patients. Now that is dedication…especially for a woman trying to recover from Tuberculosis.

During the many years that “Doc Susie,” which she familiarly became known as, practiced in the high mountains of Grand County, one of her busiest times was during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. Like people all over the world, Fraser locals also became sick in great numbers, and Dr Anderson found herself rushing from one deathbed to the next.
Another busy time for her was when the six-mile Moffat Tunnel was being built through the Rocky Mountains. Not long after construction began, she found herself treating numerous men who were injured during construction. During this time, she was also asked to become the Grand County Coroner, a position that enabled her to confront the Tunnel Commission regarding working conditions and accidents. She hoped to make a difference. In the five years it took to complete the tunnel, there were about 19 who died and hundreds injured.

Unlike physicians of today, Dr Anderson never became “rich” practicing her skills. Im not even sure you would say she made a middle class living, because she was often paid in firewood, food, services, and other items that could be bartered. Doc Susie continued to practice in Fraser until 1956. She died in Denver on April 16, 1960 and was buried in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

When a body of water stands between two places that people need to go, there are a few options to solve the dilemma…a bridge, a road around, or as was the case of a way across the Detroit River, a tunnel. With a river, you can’t really go around, so often it’s a bridge, but in this case there was a great deal of opposition to a bridge over the river. Since the beginning of the 19th century, Detroiters and Windsorians had been trying to find a way to move people and goods back and forth across the Detroit River. For decades, railroad interests proposed tunnels and bridges galore, but powerful advocates of marine shipping always managed to block those projects, because they did not want to lose business to faster and more capacious trains. Plans for bridges were particularly troubling to those shippers, since just one low-hanging bridge had the potential to keep high-masted sailing vessels off the river altogether.

In 1871, the region’s railroads finally won permission to build a trans-national tunnel, and workers began to dig into the river at the foot of Detroit’s San Antoine Street. They were forced to abandon the project just 135 feet under the river, however, when they struck a pocket of sulfurous gas that made workers so ill that none could be persuaded to return. Likewise, in 1879, another tunnel had to be abandoned when it ran right into some unexpectedly difficult to excavate limestone under the river. The first successful Michigan to Canada tunnel project finally opened in 1891. It was the 6,000 foot long Grand Trunk Railway Tunnel at Port Huron.

Soon enough, it was clear to most people on both sides of the border that they needed to build some sort of structure for transporting automobiles across the river too. In June 1919, the mayors of Detroit and Windsor decided to build a city to city tunnel that would serve as a memorial to the American and Canadian soldiers who had died in World War I. Even after advocates of the under-construction Ambassador Bridge tried to frighten away the tunnel’s backers by spreading rumors about the danger of subterranean carbon monoxide poisoning, the tunnel boosters were undeterred. One said, they were “inspired by God to have this tunnel built.” Construction began in 1928. First, barges were used to dredge a 2,454 foot long trench across the river. Then workers sank nine 8,000 ton steel and concrete tubes into the trench and welded them together. Finally, an elaborate ventilation system was built to make sure that the air in the tunnel safe to breathe.

On Nov 1, 1930, President Herbert Hoover turned a telegraphic Golden Key in the White House to mark the opening of the 5,160 foot long Detroit-Windsor Tunnel between the United States city of Detroit, Michigan, and the Canadian city of Windsor, Ontario. The tunnel opened to regular traffic on November 3, 1930. The first passenger car it carried was a 1929 Studebaker. In the first nine weeks it was open, nearly 200,000 cars passed through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Today, about 9 million vehicles use the tunnel each year.

fords-assembly-line-1These days, so many things are automated, that we hardly know how to work in an environment that requires us to hand build everything. Machines often make most of the things we buy, but it wasn’t always so. In the beginning of the automobile age, cars had to be put together by hand, making it a very slow process. If you are going to sell mass quantities of something, you have to be able to mass produce it. Selling mass quantities of his now famous, Model T, was exactly what Henry Ford wanted to do. So he came up with a way to move the vehicles from one worker to another. Each worker had a specific part they were to place, before the vehicle moved on down the line. Ford’s dream was to make the automobile available to everyone, not just the rich, who could afford to order the new fangled machines. Of course, most people those days didn’t really think that the automobile would ever amount to much, but as we all know, they were very wrong. The automobile has become an absolute necessity for most people…except maybe some in the bigger cities, where owning a car isn’t really feasible because of parking issues and heavy traffic.fords-assembly-line-3

On this day, October 7, 1913, Henry Ford’s entire Highland Park, Michigan automobile factory started running on a continuously moving assembly line where the chassis, which is the automobile’s frame, was assembled using a state of the art, revolutionary industrial technique. A motor and rope pulled the chassis past workers and parts on the factory floor, cutting the man hours required to complete one “Model T” from 12-1/2 hours to six. Within a year, improvements in the assembly line reduced the time required to 93 man minutes…to build a car!! That is just amazing to me. The increase in productivity brought about by Ford’s use of the moving assembly line allowed him to drastically reduce the cost of the Model T. Ford’s goal was to make the car affordable to ordinary consumers. This new process allowed him to realize that goal, and before long, everyone had an automobile.
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Since the days of Ford’s antiquated assembly line, automation has vastly improved. These days machines can do so much more that their human counterparts. Of course, that has eliminated more than just a few jobs, but as people have learned to run that equipment, new jobs have opened up. In this world, time doesn’t stand still, and progress waits for no man. You have to learn the new skills as they come along so that you can keep up in this fast paced automated world. Assembly lines have come a long way since those old days, and it’s a good thing, because the automobile is now in very high demand around the world, and people won’t wait very long to get one.

imageFor most of us, life is busy. We all have our own goals and dreams, and we just go along with our lives without thinking about it very much. That is the case with my nephew, Jason Sawdon, who married my niece, Jessi Hadlock just over three years ago. They are very social people, and they love to entertain. That said, they have been busy working on their back yard this summer. They put in a fire pit so that they can enjoy the peace and quiet of the fall evenings around a cozy fire.

As homeowners, they have singled out several projects that they want to take on this year. Remodeling one or more rooms can bring new life to a home. Jessi and Jason are remodeling one of the bathrooms in their home. Jason plans to do the manual labor, while Jessi designs the plans. I’m sure it will turn out great. Jessi is pleased with the fact that she is designing her dream bathroom, and Jason is agreeable to building what she had envisioned.

Of course, no one can just work on the house all the time. Jessi and Jason have been going camping too. Not as much as they would like to go, but unfortunately work and the house have kept them at home a lot of the summer. Jason is originally from Michigan, but has a real love for Wyoming. In August, Jason and Jessi had the opportunity to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains with his parents and four of his nine nieces. They had such a lovely time. I don’t know if Jason’s parents do much camping, but whether they do or don’t, the Big Horns is a beautiful place for a camping trip. They all had a great time. They rode the RZR four wheeler, and got to see a variety of weather types, from hot to cold, from rain to snow. That’s one thing about the mountains. You never really know what kind of weather you are going to have.image

One of their favorite places to go is to Savery, Wyoming, which is south of Rawlins, Wyoming. I haven’t been there myself, but Jessi tells me it’s really pretty. Jason discovered the area when he first moved to Wyoming. He has friends in the area, and they like to go hunting there. Jason doesn’t hunt, but he likes to hang around with his buddies, and the Savery area is great for that. There is no cell service there, so he can really feel like he is in the wilderness. It’s a great way to disconnect with work and reconnect with self. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Luckenbach babyKelli is my nephew’s wife, and has been a part of our family for almost 10 years now. She has always liked the idea of living in the country and raising donkeys, but lately she is focusing her interests on country music and traveling to concerts. Kelli has a blog, called Thoughts From A Gypsy Soul, and she writes about her travels, and her latest favorite songs. Check it out if you get a chance.

I think Kelli is right when she calls herself a Gypsy Soul, because she really wants to live somewhere in the South, probably Texas. Some people just don’t like the cold weather of the north, and Kelli is one of those people. I don’t know if her dreams will ever be realized, because, somehow we seem to end up where we are supposed to in life, I think, but time will tell how this turns out for Kelli.

Kelli is a kind soul too. During my sister-in-law, Brenda’s recent hospitalization, that lasted about a month, Kelli was a regular visitor. Her smiling face brightened Brenda’s days, and mine too. Whenever we were there together, we shared many laughs, and it was a lot of fun. Kelli has a great laugh…it’s fun to be around her when she is laughing a lot.
Remember the Alamo
Kelli has a fascination with celebrities, and the royal family in particular. She would love to be related to them, and recently with the connection I made to the Schulenberg family to the Spencer family, she can now say that she is a cousin of Princess Diana and the rest of the current royal family, so that dream has finally been realized. I am still looking for a connection from her own side of the family, but haven’t found one as yet. Maybe, I will soon. Kelli hails from Reading, Michigan, and my family came from the Great Lakes area too, so you just never know. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

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