point of rocks
My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was a hard working, but gentle and loving man. His family was everything to him. His job often took out of town on road construction. He was often gone for long periods of time on jobs. My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was a hard working, but gentle and loving man. His family was everything to him. His job often took out of town on road construction. He was often gone for long periods of time on jobs. When they could, the family would go along, such as the summer the company was working in Point of Rocks, Wyoming. For those who don’t know it, there is nothing to do in Point of Rocks. It is a small town in Sweetwater county that sports a permanent population of three. During the year there are many temporary residents throughout the year, but that does not count in the census.
During the summer that my husband, Bob’s family lived there while my father-in-law worked in the area, Bob was a bored kid. Here he was living in Podunk, with nothing to do, and mostly just his sisters and a couple of other kids to hang out with. There was a highlight to the day…when the trains came through. The trains were on the opposite side of the interstate, so it was safe for Bob to run down the street and count the cars on the train. It was a pathetic attempt at fun, but the reward was great…the family got to see his dad every day, and not just on weekends for one day. It was worth it to all of them.
My father-in-law had made the decision to be with the family as much as he possibly could. I’m not sure if his decision was before or after another incident I had heard of. When my sister-in-law, Brenda was about six months old, my father-in-law was out of town a lot. He came home on the weekends, and sometimes not even that often. It was hard on the family, but they were making due…most of them anyway. Brenda was a happy baby, and was known to laugh and smile at her family all the time. One particular weekend, my father-in-law came home, and Brenda took one look at him and started screaming and crying. It was at about the time when babies start to dislike strangers, but that didn’t matter to my father-in-law. He just knew he shouldn’t be a stranger to his own child. Nevertheless, Brenda didn’t stop crying until he left to go back to work. As for my father-in-law…he went back to wok and gave his notice. He knew he could find another job, but he refused to see his little girl upset, because she didn’t know her daddy. He made sure that he worked where he could be home at night, even if he had to go to work ar 3:00 in the morning in order to be home in the evening. He was always a dad first. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 91st birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much.
As a little boy, Bob loved trains. When his family was living in the small town of Point of Rocks, Wyoming while his dad worked in the construction business, the highlight of his day was when the trains would go by, because he would run outside, and count the cars on the train. To most of us, that would seem like an odd thing to do, and in fact did seem odd to me, but to a train lover, it is not so strange. Bob got his train set before he lived at Point of Rocks, so I guess it was not the trains there that started his love of trains, but I do know that his love of trains has never left him.
Whenever we are in a place that has any kind of a train display, Bob has to go have a look. The cool thing about that is that we have seen some amazingly great set ups. Some have housed several towns along their route, along with beautiful scenery. It occurs to me that Bob is in good company in his love of trains. I have to admire those people who set up those displays, because that is no easy feat. Those parts are tiny and everything has to line up perfectly or the train won’t run smoothly and you will have wasted your time.
There are not a lot of opportunities for people to ride trains these days, unless you work on one, but each year Bob and I get that opportunity when we come to The Black Hills for our annual Independence Day holiday. Our last day, which will be tomorrow on this year’s trip, we take a ride on the 1880 Train. Yes, it’s a touristy thing, but we don’t care. Riding the train always brings that little thrill of excitement. The train whistle blowing, the smoke from the engine, the scenery, that never gets old, even though we have seen it many times before. We know the route by heart, but that doesn’t matter. We still sit and hold hands, as if we were on our honeymoon. Maybe that’s because the trains have a little but of a romantic feel to them…at least to us they do, and always will.
Today is Bob’s birthday. We have celebrated 39 of them together and I still feel the same way about my wonderful husband. He is the love of my life, and I knew that on that first birthday celebration, before we were even married. He is a wonderful man and I am incredibly blessed. Happy birthday Bob!! I hope your day is as great as you are. I love you very much!!!