When most people think of Hawaii, they think of a tropical paradise, but for my husband, Bob’s uncle, Butch Schulenberg nothing could be further from the truth…at least not during his days in the service. When we think of Hawaii, snow does not come to mind, but in reality, “It snows here every year, but only at the very summits of our 3 tallest volcanoes (Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala),” says Ken Rubin, geology and geophysics professor at the University of Hawaii. “The snow level almost never gets below 9,000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,000 feet, 13,000 feet, and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year. It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though.”
I had no idea, as I’m sure many of you could also say. I don’t know if Butch knew what he was getting into when he and the officer he was driving for, went to one of those areas where there was not only snow, but it was cold…really cold. In fact, the only way that Butch could even begin to stay warm was to bundle up in his sleeping bag. He probably would have tied it all the way over his head, if he could breathe that way. It was a complete shock to his system, as it would have been to mine. Being stationed in Hawaii would be the dream assignment, and here Butch was…in the snow. In fact, I can just hear him telling his parents, “It’s freezing here!!” The thought is almost laughable, or would have been if it weren’t so cold.
Butch told my husband, Bob and me several stories about his driving days in the service, when we were there for a visit about a month ago. It was interesting to listen to the details that a driver would have known about the situations that the company would have been in…and probably a lot of responsibility too. Much of the details of the movements of the company and the battles they engaged in, were classified, and to say anything at the time could have put people in danger or get them killed. A good driver would have known when to talk and when to keep quiet. Butch was a good driver, and well respected. I am proud of his service. Thank you Butch. Today is Butch’s birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I was a teenager, my cousin Greg was well known in this town. We didn’t go to the same high school, but every time his name came up, and I would say that he was my cousin, I always got the same reaction…”Greg is your cousin???” It was always said with respect, and I always felt proud to be Greg’s cousin. Greg was someone that you just knew you could count on. The girls all liked him, because he was cute, but treated them right…which wasn’t a combination you often saw in the lookers. We, like all teenagers in Casper, spent as many evenings as we could dragging the strip. For those who don’t know, that was driving up and down CY Avenue, looking for and hanging out with our friends. It was the thing we all did. Some of the kids that hung out there, got into trouble, but for the most part, it was just good kids, just hanging out. Not that the cops or the store managers thought so, whenever we stopped to visit. Still, the usual solution, even then, was to tell us to move on.
While Greg was well respected as a teenager, and in his adult life, there were a few things that went on as a kid that some might consider questionable. As I have written family stories, Greg has told on himself a little. You see, Greg was a bit of a cookie monster. He knew all the best places to go too. His quest for cookies took him to several key places around town. He might start out at our great grandma’s house. This was probably where Greg perfected his sweet talking skills. Greg has a smile that charms the ladies…or at that age, grandma and the aunts. I can see it now. He probably stopped over with a little bouquet of flowers and that big smile, and said something like, “I love you grandma!” Well, being a grandma myself now, I can say that those grandkids can get almost anything they want with a smile and and “I love you grandma” so I figure he had Grandma and the aunts eating out of his hand…or rather filling his hands and tummy with cookies. Once he got done at Grandmas, his travels might take him to Aunt Gladys’ house. He might say he was going to play in the park, but he knew exactly where the cookie jar was, and just how to sweet talk Aunt Gladys into giving him some of her cookies. Sometimes I wonder how many times Greg’s dinner was spoiled by his travels, but then, if he was like most boys, those cookies didn’t even make a dent in his appetite.
Like all kids, Greg grew up, had a daughter, and became a grandfather. Now he would get to see the other side of that coin of life. His girl, and his grandkids would be able to smile and melt his heart. There would be nothing that he wouldn’t do for them. That was just how it was going to be…for the rest of his life. When you think about it, Greg as a grandpa just isn’t that different than the Greg I knew as a teenager…that guy I was so proud to call my cousin, because he was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. What a great guy he was and is. Today is Greg’s birthday. Happy birthday Greg!! Have a great day!! We love you!!