My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was a hard working man, who held a number of jobs over the years. He drove truck, worked construction, mechanic at the mines in the area, and maintenance at Casper College. Dad was well liked and respected at every job he held. Of course, his favorite job was being Dad to his kids, and husband to his wife, my mother-in-law, Joann. Dad was a gentle man, and he worked hard to allow Mom the ability to stay home and raise the kids. As we all know daycare is very expensive, and if the mom can stay home with the kids, I’m all for it.
Dad’s work often had him leaving the house quite early, like 3:00am, and he usually stopped at the Ghost Town Truck Stop for a cup of coffee to take on the road with him. One day, he came into the truck stop, and was surprised to see his teenaged son, Bob (my husband) in the truck stop playing pinball. Well, I’m sure that you realize that a young teenaged boy (maybe 13 or 14) had no business being in a truck stop playing pinball at 3:00 in the morning. Bob had snuck out of the house, because he loved to play pinball. I can imagine just what was going through Bob’s mind at the moment his dad came up and put his hand on Bob’s shoulder. Yikes!! I can also imagine what my father-in-law was thinking too…”So, do I yell at my boy, or laugh at the fact that my boy wants to play pinball so bad, that he snuck out to do so?” Bob wasn’t out getting in trouble. He just wanted to play a kids game. I have a feeling my father-in-law had a hard time not laughing when he said o Bob, “You had better get home before your mom catches you!!” Well, Bob knew his dad was right, and probably didn’t notice the slight smile on his face. He just knew that if his dad was up and on his way to work, his mom would be up soon, and he had better get home. So, he told his dad goodbye and headed for home. It was a different time. Kids back then were a little safer walking home, especially since it was only a block or so away, so as his son headed for the house, my father-in-law headed for work, probably laughing the whole way.
My father-in-law, was a man who always saw humor in the situations around him. That is one of the things I liked about him from the moment I met him. I was an 18-year-old girl, meeting the family of the man I loved for the first time, and boy, was I nervous!! My future father-in-law, not only made me feel welcome, but he broke the tension (felt only by me) by making me laugh. After that, I never had an uncomfortable moment in Bob’s parents’ home. I found that my in-laws were such easy people to get along with, and that they would always be a blessing to me, but it would always be my father-in-law, who made me feel comfortable in that first dinner with them. I was a shy girl, but after that, I was no longer shy around my in-laws. Such a blessing to be sure. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 92nd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much, and can’t wait to see you again in Heaven.