Montana

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Working in a fast-food restaurant is often how someone gets started in a career in the culinary arts. Of course, that is how lots of kids get started in the work world too. My niece, Andrea Beach is an excellent cook and baker, and she really wanted to be a chef and even wanted to go to Culinary School, but like many people with that dream, she later became discontented with that line of work. Once you have been around restaurant life, you know that you will be working long hours, late at night, for people who are seldom satisfied, and somehow always think it is the fault of the chef. You might think I am talking about a chef that isn’t very good at his or her job, but I’m not. That is how it is for every chef or cook I know. People go out for a meal, and they somehow seem to think that if they don’t complain about the meal, they aren’t sophisticated enough…and I’m very serious about that.

This was the world Andrea found herself, and she suddenly knew that it was time for a change. So, this single mom took a leap of faith and switched careers. Now she works at Ace Hardware. This was a career move sent to Andrea by God…literally. She loves her job, and her stress levels have dropped dramatically. The hours are better, which has made it possible for her to spend more time with her son, Topher who is a junior in high school. That last year of high school is so important to a student, and Topher is such a good kid. He and his mom ae best friends. She loves that the hours are better, as is the lower stress atmosphere.

Now that Andrea’s stepdad, Mike Reed is getting ready to retire, Andrea and Topher are looking at this being their last year in Rawlins. Now that her mom, Caryl Reed and Mike, are moving to Casper, Andrea is ready to start a new life in Casper as well. Andrea is listening to see what God has in store for her next. Planning a move to a new city without a job or anything can be stressful, but Caryl and Mike have an apartment above their barn on the ranch they are moving to, so Andrea and Topher will have a place to live right away. Of course, a lot will depend on what Topher’s plans are for the next year too. College could take him a totally different direction, so time will tell. Nevertheless, Andrea knows that she wants to be in Casper, at least for the near future. After that…well, who knows. She is listening to hear Gods plans for her and Topher’s future. She loves the Lord and trusts in Him completely. In the very near future, Andrea is looking forward to the vacation trip to Montana and Yellowstone with her mom, Caryl and Topher. That should be a great time for all three of them. Today is Andrea’s birthday. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Joe Medicine Crow did not set out to become a war chief…much less the last surviving war chief, but when World War II drew the Unted States into the fight, Medicine Crow knew he couldn’t just sit back in his college dorm and refuse to help. Joe Medicine Crow was born on a reservation near Lodge Grass, Montana in 1913. Raised in the warrior tradition of the Crow, he was never one to shirk his duty in battle. He had some great warrior role models to fashion himself after, like his step-grandfather, who had been a scout for Custer at the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn, and his paternal grandfather Chief Medicine Crow who was one of the greatest Crow war heroes.

Before the war broke out, Medicine Crow enrolled at the University of Southern California and earned a master’s degree for his thesis, “The Effects of European Culture Contacts Upon the Economic, Social, and Religious Life of the Crow Indians.” With that, he became the first Crow to earn a master’s degree. After his graduation, he moved to Oregon to work at a Native American school and planned to pursue his Ph D, but then World War II broke out. Medicine Crow told a reporter for the Billings Gazette, “I had an uncle who had other plans for me…Uncle Sam.”

Medicine Crow hadn’t planned on entering the military, but he knew how to fight, and even while he was doing his duty to his country, he was still very aware of his family history. When he was a boy, his grandfather, Yellowtail put him through traditionally rigorous physical training meant to toughen him up. This included running in the snow barefoot and swimming in freezing rivers. His childhood was spent undergoing hardcore Spartan-style feats of strength, piledriving buffalo, riding horses bareback, swimming through mighty rivers, punching things, and running barefoot through snow-covered plains “uphill both ways.” He was taught to control his fear in the face of imminent peril, learned to hunt dangerous animals by himself, and trained his body to survive prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures. This training made him uniquely qualified for the hardships of a foot soldier. He came from a long line of famous warriors, and he kept them in mind when he was sent to Germany. He said, “I had a legacy to live up to.” Still, it was not something he told people about. That was his own legacy to live up to, and it was private. Throughout the war, he wore his war paint under his uniform, and he tucked a sacred yellow eagle feather under his helmet. He was determined to bring honor to his country and to his Crow people.

After the war, he worked for the Crow tribe and later became an appraiser for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, while also working as a Crow historian. While he didn’t get to go back to college, the University of Southern California (his alma mater) eventually awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2003, a degree I think he earned quite honorably.

“War Chief of the Crow Indians” isn’t a title that is given to just any warrior or chief. You don’t become a War Chief just because of your longevity of years or your physical strength. It’s an ancient, prestigious honorific bestowed only upon the bravest, the strongest warrior chiefs, and the only way to attain this hallowed title is by proving yourself in combat and unlocking the four achievements the Crow believed to be the most “insanely difficult” things a warrior can attempt in battle. These four major coups…leading a successful war party on a raid, capturing an enemy’s weapon, touching an enemy without killing him, and stealing an enemy’s horse. Some of those may sound odd to us, but to the Crow tribe, these were indeed major coups. These were difficult and dangerous tasks to attempt. In fact, they required that he put his life on the line by voluntarily bringing himself face-to-face with at least one warrior who is presumably in the process of actively trying to kill you without giving it a second thought. It was the Crow tribe’s way of ensuring that the chief leading them into battle was the bravest and best there was…and Joseph Medicine Crow was just that…the bravest and the best.

As an infantry scout, Private Medicine Crow got the opportunity to lead a group of men into battle in snow-covered battlefields of Western France while the Allies made their push from Paris towards Berlin…his first coup. It was during one particularly nasty portion of the battle for the Rhine, that Medicine Crow’s commanding officer ordered him to take a team of seven soldiers and lead them across a field of barbed wire, bullets, and artillery fire, grab some dynamite from an American position that had been utterly annihilated, and then assault the German bunkers and blow them up with TNT. It was a suicide mission, but according to Medicine Crow, his CO’s exact words were, “if anyone can do this, it’s probably you.”

His second and third coups followed quickly, when after being separated from his unit, Medicine Crow was sprinting through a back yard. He ran head on into a Nazi, who immediately lost his weapon. Not wanting to kill an unarmed man, Medicine Crow threw down his own weapon and proceeded to fist fight the Nazi. When the Nazi almost got the upper hand, Medicine Crow turned the tables and began to choke the life out of the guy…until the man started screaming for his mommy. That took “the kill” out of Medicine Crow, so he let the guy live. He took he German (and his rifle) as a prisoner of war.

The fourth coup came in a rather unusual way. Joe and his men on a scouting mission deep behind enemy lines. While surveying the landscape for enemy troop movements, the small team of recon experts just happened to come across a small farm where some senior members of the German officer staff were hiding out…with their awesome thoroughbred racehorses. Seriously, how could Joseph Medicine Crow pass that up. So, he just had to steal them…and with that he had met all the requirements for becoming a “War Chief of the Crow Indians.” In August of 2009, Chief Medicine Crow was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom…the highest honor awarded to American civilians…for his combined military service and all the work he has done to help improve the lives of the people of the Crow people. The 95-year-old Medicine Crow personally led the ceremonial dance after the ceremony. Joseph Medicine Crow was the last surviving War Chief of the Crow Indians when he died in 2016, at 102 years old.

After high school, my grandnephew, Weston Moore decided that he wanted to make a chenge in his life. So, he and a couple of friends made the move last April from Powell, Wyoming to Butte, Montana. They just wanted to get out of a small town and try living in a bigger city for a while. It’s only 4.5 hours from Powell to Butte, but it’s far enough to make any kind of regular visits difficult. It’s enough to give these young men a taste of adult life, and they are doing very well with it. They have jobs, and they are making friends…basically settling in well. Weston has come home a couple of times for visits, but it’s just not the same for his family…parents Machelle and Steve Moore, and brother, Easton Moore. His family wishes it wasn’t quite so far.

In February, Weston realized a longtime dream of his…adopting a fur baby. The family all met up in Billings for the day so Weston could pick up Kuvo…a Malamute puppy. Kuvo is so cute and very lovable. Apparently, Kuvo is quite a character, and keeps Weston and the guys quite entertained with his antics. Kuvo really is a beautiful dog. He reminds me of the dogs on “Snow Dogs.” Who knows maybe he will eventually have a team of Malamute dogs, and he can take them to Alaska for the Iditarod…well, you never know…it could happen.

Weston has been enjoying bachelorhood and is in no hurry to get tied down. He is just enjoying his freedom and relaxing. He recently got a new gun, so I’m sure he’s been out doing some target practice. And speaking of target practice, on one visit home, Weston and his dad went out in the back yard for some knife throwing practice. It’s an interesting idea, but not that one I think I would be very good at, but then the Moore family are very outdoorsy, so they like that stuff.

Weston also likes video games, like most people his age. And he loves posting funny stuff online. That doesn’t mean he never posts serious stuff too, but he has a great sense of humor, and the funny stuff makes him happy. Weston is usually wearing a smile, and that makes those around him smile too. People just naturally like to be around him. While his family misses him, we all wish him well in Butte, or wherever he might eventually land. Today is Weston’s birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband’s uncle, Bobby Cole was born in South Dakota, where he lived for all of his young life. I don’t know all the details of how he met my husband’s aunt, Linda “Knox” Cole, except that they met in Colstrip, Montana, when her parents were living there. It is my thought that Bobby was working at the coal mine in Colstrip, when a certain girl caught his eye. Once he met Linda, he was smitten. He knew she was the love of his life, and he was right. They were married on December 29th, 1965, and their marriage would last until Bobby’s passing on May 30, 2014. Of course, I don’t know these details for sure, except that my husband, Bob Schulenberg told me that they met in Colstrip. I also know that Colstrip is a coal mining town…or at least a coal processing town. So, it made sense that mining and coal was the reason Bobby was there. And in the end, it was fate, I guess…or a really good move.

Bobby was raised on his parents’ farm, so the country lifestyle was in his blood, but like many kids, the idea of a change of pace can be very appealing…not to mention getting away from home. Kids, once they graduate from high school tend to either want to move out and get a job or head off to college. For Bobby, the choice was to move to Colstrip, Montana was the best decision he ever made. Once Linda and Bobby met, they never looked back. The dated a while, and then went to Las Vegas, Nevada to get married. Following their wedding, Linda and Bobby would go on to have two children…a daughter, Sheila and a son, Patrick. Since that time, their lives were blessed with multiple grandchildren. While they passed away at a younger age, they lived a good life.

Eventually, life would take Linda and Bobby in an unexpected direction. After the hotel they owned in Kennebec, South Dakota, burned to the ground, they decided that since Kennebec was a small town and business was going nowhere, it was time to leave. They moved to Winnemucca, Nevada, and lived there the rest of their lives. Today would have been Bobby’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Bobby. We love and miss you very much.

If your are from Forsyth, Montana, you most likely know our uncle, Butch Schulenberg. It’s not just because Forsyth is a small town of only 1495 people, so it is easy for everyone to know everyone else, but Butch Schulenberg is really special person within the Forsyth family. For one thing, he grew up the son of the local sheriff, and especially in a small town, that means everyone knows you, and might have even asked for you help when it came to matters of trouble with the sheriff. I doubt if his friends ever got into any real trouble, but kids will be kids. It’s just the way it is. I also doubt if Butch had a lot of pull when it came to getting his friends out of trouble, but then Sheriff Andy Schulenberg had a very different style when it came to policing the people of Rosebud County Montana. He didn’t even carry a gun, but that’s another story.

Uncle Butch grew up loving sports, and was a local sports hero. He still actively supports the local teams to this day. It doesn’t matter to Butch, if it’s the boys teams, the girls teams, or the little league teams. They are his teams and he is a very loyal man. Knowing so many f the town’s people helps too, because he knows these kids personally. He has watched them grow up and cheered them on in every endeavor. You can’t beat the blessing of knowing all those great kids, and having them know you too. Butch never met a stranger, and calls everyone his friend. I like that, because while he is my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, he is mine too, by marriage. Nevertheless, I don’t even consider the “by marriage” part, because Butch Schulenberg is my uncle just as if I had been born into the family, and I love him very much. He even cheers me on in my writing endeavors, and that pleases me very much. Butch is like…everybody’s cheerleader. He loves to see people succeed and loves to cheer them on to that success.

Butch is also a proud husband, father, and grandfather. His kids, Tadd, Andi Kay, and Heath have 7 children between, and they all love their grandpa very much. Like the kids of Forsyth, Butch is one of his grandchildren’s biggest fans. He loves hearing about their activities and attends whenever he can. He tries very hard to be a hands-on grandpa, and they love him very much. Today is Uncle Butch’s 81st birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Butch. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Uncle Eddie Hein was a soft-spoken man, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t a funny man. He loved to laugh, and he had a great laugh too. That is probably one of the things I miss most about Uncle Eddie…that and the great smile that went with the great laugh. He loved practical jokes…like pretending to give my husband, Bob Schulenberg, his nephew, a buzzcut in the 70s, when long hair was the style. I think Bob knew that the clippers weren’t plugged in, but he went along with the joke anyway. It is my guess that my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg put Eddie up to the joke, almost hoping he would actually cut Bob’s hair. Of course, Eddie would never have done that, but it was a funny thought anyway. It was a typical kind of joke Eddie would pull on people.

Eddie is my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg’s half brother, and so it was an annual trip from Casper, Wyoming to Forsyth, Montana that the Schulenberg’s took each year, to keep the family close to the aunt, uncles, and cousins that lived there, as well as to my father-in-law’s mom, Vina Hein, and step-dad, Walt Hein. When Bob and I got married, we wanted to continue that tradition, and I have always been glad we did. My girls had the privilege of knowing some of the most amazing people through those trips. I have always believed in the importance of family, and have hopefully instilled those same traditions on my kids and grandkids.

Eddie was a hard-working man, who worked hard in the coal mines, and then came home to work hard around the home he shared with his wife, Pearl, and children, Larry and Kim. He turned their smaller mobile home into a very nice house, with plenty of room for the whole family. He and Pearl also raised a wonderful garden, and canned lots and lots of vegetables. That garden saved the family lots of money in grocery bills. Canning I could do, but gardening…not so much, so I don’t mind telling you that I was a little bit jealous of those who can grow gardens, vegetable or flower.

Eddie was a mechanic by trade, and never really wanted to be a rancher, although he could do that work too. I think Eddie could do anything he put his mind to. He was a very talented Jack of all Trades. The Forsyth area is abundant in river rock, because of the Yellowstone River that flows through town. Eddie built a beautiful fireplace in their home out of that river rock. It was just stunning, and one of my favorite parts of the home he built. It not only heated the home, but it made it look amazing too. Eddie also helped my father-in-law when he was building the house he built in the Casper area.

Eddie went home to be with the Lord on October 16, 2019, and we all miss him very much. In my mind’s eye, I can still visualize his smiling face and his great laugh. Today would have been Uncle Eddies 78th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Eddie. We love and miss you very much.

The 19th Amendment states that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In theory, this language guaranteed that all women in the United States could not be prevented from voting because of their gender. Of course, these days, no one really gives that a second thought, because…well, of course, women can vote. Who dared to think otherwise? Nevertheless, women were not always given the right to vote. In fact, for many years, men thought that politics was something that women could not possible begin to understand, and that it was a subject that was simply too harsh for the fragile female mind. Hahahaha!! We can laugh at such a thought now, because it is completely absurd, but that is what everyone thought back then…before the 19th Amendment was passed, following a fierce battle between the women suffragists and the men who ruled the nation.

Nevertheless, in the midst of that fierce battle for the right to vote, an odd event took place in the form of the election of a US Congress member, Jeanette Rankin somehow being elected to Congress!! She was elected to the US House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana in 1916, and again in 1940. Rankin was a woman, so how could this have possibly happened. She couldn’t even vote, and yet she won the election. That’s crazy. If her “fragile” mind could not be expected to understand how to vote for the office, how would she ever be able to function in the office. I mean, after all, she would be dealing with the same politics that her fellow members of congress had deemed her too fragile to understand. In fact, Jeanette Rankin would not be able to vote in an election until August 18, 1820. Her term in office ran from March 4, 1917 to March 3, 1919…during which time she was the only woman in the United States who could vote. Rankin would serve again from January 3, 1941 to January 3, 1943. Oddly, each of Rankin’s Congressional terms coincided with initiation of US military intervention in the two World Wars. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of 50 House members who opposed the declaration of war on Germany in 1917. In 1941, she was the only member of Congress to vote against the declaration of war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Jeanette Rankin was born on June 11, 1880, near Missoula in Montana Territory. Montana would not become a state for another nine years. Her parents were, schoolteacher Olive (née Pickering) and Scottish-Canadian immigrant John Rankin, a wealthy mill owner. She was the eldest of seven children, including five sisters (one of whom died in childhood), and a brother, Wellington, who became Montana’s attorney general, and later a Montana Supreme Court justice. One of her sisters, Edna Rankin McKinnon, became the first Montana-born woman to pass the bar exam in Montana and was an early social activist for access to birth control. With all that, it’s little wonder that she became a congresswoman. Apparently, politics ran in the family, and was likely an often-debated subject in the family home.

While Rankin was in her first term in office, it would seem to me that she must have felt a very strong sense of responsibility, because she was at that time the voice of all women…at least as it applied to government and politics. I can’t say that I would have agreed with all of her votes in office, especially where it applied to the two world wars, which I feel the United States needed to be involved in. Perhaps it is that aspect of being in office that the men didn’t think women were very well equipped to handle…war being such an emotional issue and all. I still think that there are many women who might struggle with the idea of sending our men into war, but then there are men who feel the same way, so I guess it is just a matter of where people stand concerning war. To date, Rankin remains the only woman ever elected to Congress from Montana.

After his dad, Eddie Hein passed away from a heart attack, our cousin Larry Hein, did his best to run his business, while helping his mom where he could. His sister, Kim Arani helped too, but she lives in Texas and the rest of the family lives in Montana. Things seemed to be going ok, but then, just a little more than three months later, Larry also suffered a heart attack, and passed away at just 50 years of age. It was a devastating blow to the family, who now had to pick up the pieces yet again.

Larry was a good kid. I first got to know him when my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I took our girls for a visit to his grandparents, Walt and Vina Hein’s ranch outside of Forsyth, Montana. Larry was just a young boy then, but he was good to his grandparents and his parents too. He also spent time entertaining our daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, as will as his little sister, Kim. Grandma Hein loved having Larry come for visits. He used to help out aren’t the place, and anyone who has ever run a ranch can tell you that you can never have enough help around the ranch.

Larry’s expertise did not lie in ranching, however. Larry was a mechanic. and Larry also loved to tow vehicles to his shop for those repairs. A number of years back, Larry fulfilled his life-long dream of owning his own shop. It wasn’t far from his parents’ home in Forsyth, and he did a bang-up business. The lot was always full of vehicles waiting to be worked on. Being a mechanic’s wife myself, I can tell you that the mark of a great mechanic is the number of vehicles waiting in line. If the mechanic isn’t good they will go elsewhere. If he is good, they will wait in line rather that letting someone else touch their vehicle. Well, at Larry’s shop…there was always a line.

It’s hard to believe that Larry and his dad have been in Heaven for over a year now. It just doesn’t seem possible, but I’m sure that is what his mom and sister think too. Time just flies after a loved one has passed away. Before we know it ten years have gone by. The human mind struggles to take it in. Today would have been Larry’s 52th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Larry. I know you and your dad are having the time of your lives. We love and miss you very much.

Like most kids, after they graduate from high school, my grandnephew, Weston Moore’s mind turned to getting a place of his own. So he found some friends and they got a place in May of 2020. Of course, we all know that 2020 brought with it some hardships in the area of working and spending time with family. While Weston was able to keep working, it just seemed prudent to move back home where he could spend more time with his parents, Machelle and Steve Moore, and his brother, Easton. I think everyone would agree that it was a good idea, especially his family, who all missed him very much. Not to mention the fact that at that time, none of us knew how bad Covid would or would not get, so Machelle ad Steve felt much better having their kids both at home.

Weston had been driving a little car, but during the time he was living on his own, he managed to save enough money to get himself a better vehicle. He knew he wanted an SUV, and had considered a Suburban, but in the end, he purchased a Yukon, which he is very happy with. He found it right there in Powell, and so didn’t have to travel to get it. Now that he has found his dream ride, Weston has begun to get it “tricked out” with a few new items to make it special. He added LED light strips, subwoofer, amp, stereo, and has a light bar that still needs to be installed. He also put on new brakes and rotors on the back, new tie rods on the front. Even though he has a sound system that could blow out the windows, Weston is very courteous about where he is at and what time it is, so that he doesn’t disturb people. Even his own mom has only heard it a few times. Weston has a big heart and will do anything for anyone!! When his grandma needed a ride to Cody the other day, and his grandpa, who recently had surgery, wasn’t ready for such a trip, Weston volunteered to take her. Of course, on the plus side, he got to drive the new car for a longer distance than just around town. Everybody likes an occasional road trip.

These days, with Covid heading downhill, Weston has started to think about moving out on his own again. He has a couple friends that have recently moved to Montana, and so he is thinking of moving there too. He has begun the job hunting part as well, because he doesn’t want to just move and have no plan. Of course, for his family, this will bring about the whole “missing him” thing again, but Montana isn’t too awfully far away, and they can make some weekend trips to see him. This will be a great new adventure for Weston, and something he will never forget. He might as well take the leap while he is young, knowing that he can always move back to Powell later on if he doesn’t like Montana. And it isn’t so far that he can’t road trip home. I know he will miss his family and cousins, but it will all be a great learning experience too. Today is Weston’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband’s grandfather, Andy Schulenberg became the the Sheriff of Rosebud County, Montana in 1955. His was a unique way of operating as sheriff. He did not carry a gun. Andy had been injured in a hunting accident as a teenager, resulting in the loss of his leg and a 2 year long stay in the hospital. He didn’t have a modern-day prosthetic leg, with a foot that was the same size as their other foot, and fit nicely in a shoe. That didn’t exist then. He had a peg leg. That seems odd to us now, but for him it was just normal, and it didn’t stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do, including becoming the sheriff of Rosebud and holding that position until 1972. Grandpa held that position and was so respected, that he simply didn’t need that gun. If he told someone to stop in their tracks, they stopped in their tracks. If he told someone to stay put on the side of a river, while he crossed the river to get the evidence that would convict them, they stayed put. He worked with the Indian nation leaders, who willingly turned over their young braves to him, in order to straighten them out, and turn them from a life of crime. His influence made a difference in many lives.

When I think of Grandpa Andy as the Sheriff, it is hard to picture that part of him, because there were so many other parts of him that were really so much more of who he was. Grandpa loved going to their place at the lake, spending time with his family, and enjoying Grandma Barbara’s good cooking. I think he enjoyed being with people in general. He was a social person, and that showed in every part of his life. I don’t think he could have done his job as well as he did if he had not been the kind of man who could talk to anyone and become a friend to everyone. The leaders of the Indian nation did not have to turn over their braves to him when they had robbed a store. Their law was different than that of the rest of the county, but they liked and respected Grandpa, and so they did what they needed to do to turn their wayward sons back to the right path.

I didn’t have the chance to get to know Grandpa Andy as well as I would have liked, but through his son, Butch Schulenberg, I have had the opportunity to hear some of the great stories about his dad. Grandpa Andy was his son, Butch’s biggest fan. During his high school years, Butch played football, as well as other sports, and his dad was there to cheer him on. Today would have been Grandpa Andy’s 115th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandpa Andy. We love and miss you very much.

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