neighbor

My nephew, Josh Griffith is a great dad. If his girls, Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Griffith want to do something, he tries to find a way to make it happen. He doesn’t spoil the girls, but rather wants to give them the best of everything possible. That’s the mark of a great dad.

The main focus of this family’s activities, always center around horses. They use horses for hunting, and they are on the lookout for a certain breed of horses. Gaited horses are perfect for hunting, but they aren’t always so easy to find, or to afford, as anyone who has horses knows. Fortunately, they only need one more, so they are getting close. Of the family members, Jala is really his riding buddy. They would almost “live” on the horses, if they could. Nevertheless, all of his girls ride, and they love their horses.

Josh is the kind of man to always lend a helping hand when it is needed. As the weather gets cooler, the warm days are of being able to easily work outside are quickly ending, so this weekend, Josh will be helping his neighbor build a fence. They are also going to be cutting wood for the fireplace in their home, because the furnace that they were going to have installed, has been postponed until October by the installer. If you have ever cut firewood, you know that it is a lot of work, but in this case necessary. It is disappointing, but thankfully they will have plenty of wood to keep them warm until the furnace is installed.

Speaking of Josh’s willingness to help others, he can never just drive by when he sees a motorist sitting on the side of the road. He always stops to see if he can help. I have been stuck at the side of the road, and I can tell you that it is important that someone stops to help. Josh prides himself on always being prepared to help a stranded motorist. He keeps tools and such in the car. He doesn’t care if they are stuck in the snow, have a flat tire, or are completely broke down. It makes him feel good to be able to help others. Josh is just a thoughtful kind of man. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Dad SchulenbergTime just seems to fly by after you lose someone. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg has been gone now for two years. Sometimes, I think that our minds blur things, because it’s easier for us to deal with things that way.

My father-in-law was a hard working man, to whom family meant everything. I remember when he found out that he was going to be a grandfather for the first time. It was the next logical step in his life, but to him it almost seemed like he felt like the first person to ever become a grandparent. I can relate to that, because that is almost how I felt when I became a grandmother. I really wish I could take those early days back sometimes, because it is so hard to have people pass away. Time marches on, and the lifetime of one family member begins, while the lifetime of another ends.

My father-in-law was born in Forsyth, Montana, which is a small town between Billings and Miles City. Many of the people who live there come from long standing family lines in the area. Unfortunately for his family, there was not much work there in the 1950s, so the family moved to Wyoming. For me, that was a good thing, because that is the only way I would have met my husband and married into this great family. For my father-in-law, the simple things in life were the best. He didn’t require expensive or fancy things, just the love of his family and the joy of spending time with them.

My father-in-law had one sweetheart…my mother-in-law, Joann Knox Schulenberg. I truly think he loved her Dad and Mom from the time he first met her when he was just four years old and she was two. When they married in June of 1949, he set a goal to take care of her for the rest of her life. Even when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, he patiently cared for her until he could no longer handle it alone. Then, his family stepped in to help him with her care, and to keep them in their home as long as possible. In the end, he would go home before she would, but she continues to believe that she is still taking care of him. Alzheimer’s Disease can be kind in that way. They are gone, but not for the one who has Alzheimer’s Disease. No, for my mother-in-law, he is simply in the garage, or at Walmart, or visiting the neighbors. And maybe it would be nice if we could all think that way. It has been two years since you went home. We love and miss you Dad.

011aAnna, Laura, and Allen SpencerI have often wondered what our nation looked like before the Native Americans altered the landscape with the only way they really had of clearing the land…fire. When the summer grasslands would grow so tall that it made travel by horse or on foot troublesome, the Indians just started a fire to clear the area. Since there was nothing standing in the way of the fire, it ran until it came to a river or some other kind of obstacle, such as an area void of vegetation, and then it simply burned itself out. Of course, rain or snow would have the same effect too. I wonder, like many other people do, if prior to that practice, there were forests where we now have plains.

Of course, the White Man, has come a long way in trying to bring trees back into our nation, but there are still many places that are just wide open spaces filled with prairie grass, sagebrush, and cactus. When my grandparents, Anna and Allen Spencer decided to move to Texas to check out the booming oil industry, they found a land that seemed to run for hundreds of miles, with little to see, but wide open spaces. Like many people, they longed for trees, and other vegetation to give a different view to the land they found themselves living on. Having lived on five acres myself for a number of years before moving into town, I can certainly understand wanting trees. That didn’t make it easy to grow any of them up to much size, however. I suppose it tree 2might have been easier in Texas, due to their warmer climate.

I understand the need Native Americans had to clear the land, and the lack of sufficient tools to do so, when it was necessary. Nevertheless, I wish they had not burned down the trees…or the prairies, because that stopped the young trees from growing, and lets face it…we need trees for shade, and the very air we breathe. These days, with all the necessary tools, from lawnmowers to farm equipment, there is no need to burn down the prairie grass to keep it from getting so deep, so clearing the land is a much smoother project. The older I get, the more I find myself wanting trees around me, and while it is still hard to get them up to some size, due mainly to the deer that roam freely inside the city limits of Casper, Wyoming, I do have some volunteer Silver Birch trees that have moved themselves from the neighbors tree into our yard.

We were so excited when the first tree started coming up, but our neighbor, Bill thought we would be upset about the little trespassing trees, and so he cut the down…until we told him that we wanted them. Then he left them alone so we could decide to let them grow or not. That first tree is now taller that our house, and we have several in the back yard too. Before these trees began growing, we had three cedar bushes in our front yard, one that was let grow to the size of a rather ugly tree. Finally, the day came that we got one of those little trespassing trees to come up in the right place. While we liked the bushes, that ugly Cedar tree needed to go. Then that tree got to an area where it could work for what we wanted. This past summer, it had grown to the tree 120100623_4_editedpoint of being about my height. Life was good. We cut down that ugly Cedar bush that had been pretending to be a tree, and watch with excitement as our new little trespassing tree grew and flourished…and then it happened. The deer that I love to have in our yard, because they are so beautiful…decided that our little tree was just the right size for lunch. It’s hard to say if it will come back in the spring, but if not, there will be another little trespasser to grow in its place…life is still good!!!

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