niagara falls

My nephew, Shannon Moore, who is married to my niece Lindsay, is the Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends coach at East Carolina University…Home of the Pirates. Shannon is totally in his element as a coach, having come from the Wyoming Cavalry team, where he and Lindsay met; to Brookings, South Dakota; to Miami, Florida; to Greenville, North Carolina, where he is today. Every move he has made has been a move up in status. For Shannon, Greenville is a personal favorite place. The town is a real football town, and game day is lots of fun. As the coach, it’s like a big celebration, and he gets to be right there in the middle of it all. Shannon thrives on all things football, and I’m quite sure all of the other sports as well.

The cool thing for Shannon and Lindsay is the fact that he has the summers off. They have been spending the summer taking trips here and there. This year, they did a tour of the Northeast. The trip started out in Niagara Falls for Independence Day. Now, I think that would be a very cool place to be for the holiday. Shannon and Lindsay rode on the Maid of the Mist ferry boat to the base of the falls, which is an amazing ride. From Niagara Falls, their trip took them to Portland, Maine. Then they went to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where they went to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The next leg of their trip took them to Vermont for a nice dinner. And what tour of the Northeast would be complete without a trip to New York City. They went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis island, and the Brooklyn bridge, as well as taking in a Yankees game. They had been there before, but it was right after Hurricane Sandy, so they were unable to go to those places. They also toured the sites for Seinfeld and You’ve Got Mail. Lindsay tells me that it was “waaaay fun!!” The next leg of their trip was a ride on the Amtrak to Philadelphia to see a Phillies Game, the Liberty Bell and the Rocky Statue. Finally they took the Amtrak back to North Carolina. Their grand tour of the Northeast took them on a plane, train, automobile, and ferry. Lindsay and Shannon have set a goal to see all 50 states. In the Northeast, they have seven states left. They only check off the states, when both of them have been to the state.

As if the summer hasn’t been busy enough, Shannon has also been keeping himself busy with golfing and yard work. They will try to get to the beach a few times before fall, and they did make a trip back home to Wyoming for a visit, stopping to see Shannon’s folks too along the way. I think it’s been a long time since they have driven back to Wyoming. Lindsay was kind of amazed that it took three days to drive home. In the fall, it will be back too football training again. Lindsay is so cute. Every time I ask her for information, she always adds one little thing, this time she said, “Oh yeah AND I know I am biased but man…he is the best husband ever and the nicest person ever!! Such a kind and generous person!!” I love to see that!! Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Leaving New YorkWhen my sister, Cheryl Masterson got married, and shortly after her then husband’s basic training, moved to Plattsburgh, New York, it marked a huge change in our family’s life. In fact, our family’s home life would never be the same again. Of course, we knew that having our sister get married and move out of the house was perfectly normal, but we were a close family, and somehow, we just weren’t prepared for that day. Of course, it was especially hard on my parents, and I can certainly understand that, since I have a daughter who lives far away now too, but in many ways, I think Cheryl’s move was harder on me than on my little sisters. Cheryl was the oldest, but she had always been a role model for me too. She had style and class, and I was at the very awkward age of fifteen. It seemed to me that she would be gone forever, and in the end, I was married before she came home, and I had my first daughter too. In many ways, we were both very different people by the time she returned. She was the mother of three children, and I had a daughter and one on the way. We were no longer the children we had been just a few short years before.

Of course, we saw Cheryl and her family during the time they lived in New York, in fact the family made two At Niagra Fallstrips and I went up and spent Christmas and New Years the year after I graduated from high school. And the trips were wonderful…a great blessing to be sure. I suppose Mom and Dad might have taken us to the East Coast for a vacation sooner or later, because they did love to travel, but I might not have been still living at home when they did it, so I guess, for me, that this situation opened up doors that might not have been opened otherwise. Nevertheless, I think if we had been given the choice to have the trips to New York or Cheryl and her family living here, we would have taken the latter for sure. Be that as it may, our trips to New York allowed us to see the ocean, eat Maine Lobster, and see Niagara Falls. We saw Washington DC, Gettysburg, the bridges in Vermont, and many other sites up and down the East Coast. I suppose that looking back, we would have to admit that having Cheryl living in upstate New York, was in all reality, the opportunity of a lifetime…were it not for upstate New York being so very far away…that is.

Those trips were a lot of fun, but they did not come even remotely close to having our family all together. And with each trip came the inevitable goodbyes and the parting tears. It felt like our hearts would just break…Chantel, Mom, Cheryl, and Dad ( we were getting ready to leave New York after a visit) 1972especially Mom and Dad, and poor Dad had to be the strong one all the way home with five weepy women in the car with him. He had to be the one to finally say, “We have to go. This is just too hard on everyone.” He had to do it because our sadness would have kept us there in tears for hours, if someone didn’t break us away. He had to be the strong one…because we sure couldn’t. Once Cheryl’s husband’s time in the service was over, they moved back to Casper, where she and her kids have lived ever since. Once the time was suddenly over, we could look back on it and it seemed to go by quite fast, but in the midst of it, that time felt like our world was falling apart. In reality, it was simply that we were no longer children, and life had taken the next logical step for us. I’m just glad that we are mostly closer to home now, with just a few exceptions.

At The Grand CanyonTrail at the Grand CanyonIn this country, we have been blessed to have people who recognize a national treasure for what it is, and make sure that it gets preserved for people in generations to come to be able to enjoy it too. In my life, I have been blessed to visit many of these treasures, like Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain, Glacier National Park, Niagara Falls, and the Grand Canyon…which was made a national monument on this day, January 11, 1908. Of course, the Grand Canyon was formed thousands of years ago, but it wasn’t until someone looked at it and saw the beauty it could share with so many people, if it was protected from land developers, mining companies, and other such developers who could only see it for its monetary value.

In my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon three times. Each time was significantly different from the others. The first time was as a child, and that trip stands out in my mind as the discovery trip. This was a place I had never seen before and probably hadn’t even thought about, but my parents knew of its existence, and that they wanted their girls to be able to see its glorious beauty. I don’t recall feeling wary of it edges, but that was probably because I was the kid, and not the parent who had the task of watching the kids. I just remember that its red walls were gorgeous, especially at sunset. It was a trip taken almost fifty years ago, but I can still remember how amazing it was.

The second trip I took to the Grand Canyon was in 1986, when my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I took our girls, Corrie and Amy to see it. The trip taken as a mother was one that felt a bit different. My girls weren’t so little, and eleven and ten, that they didn’t stay right with us, but nevertheless, Amy found herself just a little too close to the unfenced edge, and she slipped a little. By the grace of God, she didn’t fall in, but it is an event she still talks about to this day. I think she would go back again, because she was not really afraid, once the moment passed, but she gained a respect for edges like that. As the mom, I determined to put myself between the children and the edge from that point on. We still very much enjoyed that trip, but it was very different from either of the others.

The most recent trip Bob and I took to the Grand Canyon was in April of 2009, and it was probably the most fun trip of the three. We didn’t have to worry about little ones, and we were both in good shape. We hiked the View of the Grand CanyonTurtle at the Grand Canyonsouthern edge of the canyon, and went down into it at both ends of the trail. It was an amazing trip. Looking at the canyon from the top is awesome, but there is something about being down inside it that will always live in my memory files. It wasn’t that the canyon looked so very different when you were inside, but rather that you were inside the Grand Canyon that made that event special. I loved being able to go down the trails and through the tunnel we found there, and see the magnificent beauty up close. It was an amazing trip, and I happily would go again. The Grand Canyon is unforgettable.

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