nostalgia

58 years ago today, my parents were married in a simple ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Casper, Wyoming. It was the start of a beautiful and long life together. My dad was a friend of my mom’s family, and that is how she met him. She told me she saw my dad and thought, “Wow!!” I guess says it all. My mom had found her man. And my dad felt the same way. Dad never called my mom by her name, but always called her “Doll” instead.

My dad was her knight in shining armor, and my mom loved his southern gentleman ways. He always made her feel like a princess. In fact, that is how he was with all his girls. He was understanding and patient, even when we were screaming over a moth across the room, or the imaginary bear that might be just outside the dark camp spot, creating the serious need for another log on the fire in the middle of the night.

Mom and Dad were a team. They did pretty much everything together, especially after his retirement. The was simply no place they would rather be than with their spouse. It was a love that would last forever, and still very much continues today. My mom has never considered loving any other man. Dad had shown her the world and all the beauty it can hold, and walked the path holding her hand on this journey we call life, her companion and best friend, her confidant and cheerleader. He was her biggest fan and she was his. The love they shared radiated from their eyes, and never dimmed, in all the years they spent together.

Yes, the last 3 anniversaries have been spent apart, but only physically, because they will be together forever again very soon. My mom looks forward to the time when she will see my dad again, but knows that it will be yet a little while, because she is still needed here. There is more for her to do before they are again, together forever. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!! I love you both very much!!

Once a month or so, my cousins Susie and Shelley, hold a get together for my mom and her brothers and sisters and their spouses. My mom is the middle child of 9 children, so the ages are spread from 83 to 66. While all of them that are still with us are in good health, the fact that they are getting older means that there will be less years whereby they can get together, so I think it is a wonderful gift that my cousins are giving to them.

Susie and Shelley make a lunch for them and my mom, aunts, and uncles get a chance to talk about the old days. They reminisce about things they used to do, and laugh about the funny things. They talk about their parents and their sister, Deloris, who passed away in 1996, as well as other family members who have passed away. They talk about what is new in everyone’s lives…new babies, marriages, and sadly some divorces too. Basically, they have a chance to reconnect with each other in a relaxed setting, where none of them has to try to put it all together, because these two wonderful sisters, my cousins, handle all the details.

I sincerely hope that they know how much this monthly gathering means to their parents, aunts, and uncles, as well their cousins, because we all see how much our parents enjoy this time. It is just such a giving, selfless act on the part of my cousins, and whenever I hear about the things they talked about, it really warms my heart. As our parents get older, the time we have to do things for them gets shorter, and we are all so busy. Many of us work, and it is very hard to put the kind of time together that it takes to plan and carry out these gatherings. I want to make sure that credit is given where credit is due. I really appreciate my cousins taking the time out to do this. It means so much to my mom, as I know it does to the others too. Thank you Susie and Shelly for being the sweet angels you are. I hope you know how much you are appreciated. Love you both.

When you are dating in high school, you often think that this person or that person is the one for you for all time. Quite often that is not the case, but sometimes…well, you get blessed to find your soul mate at such a tender age of 17 or 18, and somehow that young heart makes the right choice, and steps into happily ever after. Such was the case with me. While Bob and I didn’t meet in high school, since we went to different high schools, I was still in high school and he was barely out when we met.

Stepping into marriage a little over a year later is a risky step for people still in their late teens or early twenties, but that is what we did on March 1, 1975, a little less than a year after I graduated from high school, and we have never looked back to see what might have been if we had chosen a different path. We are two people going the same direction in most areas of our lives. Yes, there are some things that we are different in, but that just adds flavor to the marriage, not to mention skills that have saved us money over the years.

This is not our anniversary or anything…not the day we met…so why am I writing this now? Well, it is a very important day indeed. Today is my husband, Bob’s birthday. The day I celebrate the birth of the gift God has given to me. The day that the one person God had in mind for me before either of us were born, entered this world and began the path that would one day lead to me and our beautiful life together. It was a winding path, since he was born in Montana and I was born in Wisconsin, but God worked it out and we both ended up living in the same city, Casper, Wyoming. I won’t go into all the details of our meeting, but God worked it all out and here we are, on our way to forever together.

I couldn’t have asked for a better man, a more faithful man or a more loving man. I remember the first time I saw Bob, across the Kmart store. It was like he just stood out from all the rest of the people in that store. I can’t explain that, but that is how it happened. And before I knew it, he was my man. How blessed I am. I love you very much, Honey!! Happy birthday!!

Our goal this year for miles on The Mickelson Trail will not materialize, due to the second hike up Harney Peak. That’s ok with me, because I would hate to have missed Harney Peak. We love it up there so much. We walked 5 miles one way/10 miles total on the Mickelson Trail today, so we will be 10 miles short of our goal. I still feel good about it, because of the added difficulty of Harney Peak. What the Mickelson Trail lacks in difficulty, we make up for in distance, so while the workout isn’t the same, we still get a workout.

Bob and I have hiked for a long time, and we have learned that sometimes hiking isn’t about socializing. We have a tendency to walk at times quietly, each in our own thought world. I find myself, especially in the Black Hills, thinking of my Dad. The Black Hills was a favorite spot of his, and his echo is everywhere here. I hear him in the breeze through the trees, the crackling of a campfire, the rushing of water over rocks in the river, the chirping of the birds, and because he wanted us to see the historic places and deep patriotism that are here, I am reminded of him in everything I do here. He would have loved the places we have seen on our hikes. You just can’t see them from the main roads.

The animals that we have come across are always a total surprise. From the deer on the trail to a fox running away. From a chipmunk looking for food to a woodchuck watching us curiously and .yet not really wanting to run away. He seemed almost as curious about us as we were about him…peeking at us from his hole and ducking ever so slightly if we moved too much, then coming back up

I am always amazed at how much I need the hikes in the Black Hills. It’s like I come alive again, like I can breathe again. I think the Black Hills are simply in my blood. I need a week of trekking through them to refresh my energy again. I look forward to my yearly trips here, and am always sad to see my time here end. Nevertheless, because of the Black Hills, I go home refreshed and feeling very much alive…and very thankful for my time there.

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