My aunt, Deloris “Dee” Johnson was always so sweet and kind. She loved to laugh, and to make people laugh. She and my mom, Collene Spencer were sisters, and they were close. I think it was probably because they were so much alike. Both of them tried to bring happiness into the day of those around them. If that meant they acted silly, then they acted silly. They were really both “crowd pleasers,” but my mom was the younger of the two, so she learned it from her older sister, I’m sure.

Aunt Dee was one of the kindest people you would ever want to meet. She never said a harsh word to anyone, and even her voice had a soothing way about it. Her tone was soft and soothing, and she had a smile to match. Aunt Dee loved to show her siblings new things. Once she and my mom got into a big coat, and let the wind take them for a ride…well, a run, but it made them feel free as birds. Aunt Dee was always taking the kids out for adventures. She loved the outdoors and had a great imagination, so she could entertain the younger children, and the adventures were always lots of fun. Aunt Dee taught her younger siblings how to dance, a dance she learned in school, and she also bought the family a piano. I don’t know if any of them learned to play it, but the grandkids sure enjoyed pounding on it whenever we were there.

Aunt Dee and my mom got together at our house quite often as adults, and we all loved it when she came over. It was such a treat to have her visit. She never got annoyed with us, Mom’s five rambunctious daughters…whether we were at our house, or at hers. I remember spending the night at her house at least once. I was supposed to be spending the night with my cousin Elmer, but while I didn’t realize it, that was not really proper, so I had to sleep with my cousin Darla. While I loved Darla too, she was not the one I had intended to spend the night with. Oh well…the mind of a child. Aunt Dee didn’t say I couldn’t stay, she just explained that girls and boys didn’t sleep in the same bed. So, I could stay, but in Darla’s bed. It all worked out, and we had a great time, as I recall. Nevertheless, it was an event that I have never forgotten. Just like my sweet Aunt Dee is someone I will never forget, and I can’t wait to see again. Today would have been Aunt Dee’s 91st birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Dee. We love and miss you very much.

There are certain people who fit in your family from the moment they join it. My niece, Dustie Masterson, who married my nephew Rob Masterson on January 18, 2003 is one of those people. Rob and Dustie met when he was in the Army, and was in Louisiana. It didn’t take them very long to realize that they were in love and that they were perfect for each other. When they returned to Casper, Wyoming where Rob’s family all live, the family liked Dustie immediately. She was sweet, helpful, kind, and most of all, she was very much in love with and loyal to Rob. That goes a long way toward endearing a person to their spouse’s family.

Dustie and Rob’s favorite place to be was always together. It didn’t really matter where. That is such an interesting thought now, years later, when the two of them work together in different areas of the local Sam’s Club. Not everyone has the ability or the opportunity to work at the same place as their spouse, but Dustie and Rob even got hired at the same time. Now, they get to work together sometimes, and on opposite shifts at other times, but either way, they work at the same place, and are part of the same team. They are both supervisors in their areas now, and the people they work with count on them to keep things running smoothly.

Dustie and Rob have three children together, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna, as well as Rob’s daughter from his first marriage, Christina. Their lives are so full of joy and happiness. They love their family, and their extended family. They are always willing to help others. Dustie stepped in during the years that we took care of our parents, and even though they were her grandparents by marriage, she loved them like they were her own. She ran errands for us, helped out with meals and care, and visited, which we all know is vital when it comes to helping people feel good about life. Dustie is such a pleasant person too. She is light-hearted and fun, and she doesn’t mind being a little bit silly sometimes. So, seriously, what’s better than that…let’s face it, nothing. That’s what I really like about Dustie. Her little bit sweet, little bit silly personality. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As the second anniversary of my mom’s passing drew near, my family and I have been talking more and more about the woman who was our mother. Mom was many things, as most mothers are, but one of the parts of my mom that never ceased to amaze me, was her ability to maintain a certain level of innocence, or at least what we thought was innocence. As I look back now, she was a wise woman, who managed to keep her world…quite pure and innocent. I’m not talking about her personal life, but rather our family life. There were certain lines we all knew not to cross. My sisters and I would never have cussed in front of our parents…if we wanted to live, that is, but somehow we knew that our boyfriends and husbands would be required to live up to that standard too…and they did. It was out of respect for her, my dad, and their home. That was something I always though amazing. I don’t think I even remember having to tell a boyfriend twice, not even the ones who weren’t the keeper I ended up with. It was as if they thought mom might pass out if they were to talk in an inappropriate manner. I don’t know…maybe she would have. I never dared to find out, and I’m not sorry that Mom was that way, because my sisters and I were raised to speak decently, and we have never regretted that.

Another way that my mom always seemed so innocent was in her sense of humor. Mom never cared if she looked silly, if it could make her arguing children laugh. When you have five daughters, complete with all the drama that can be associated with it, you either get silly, or you go crazy. Well, mom was an expert at making her girls either straighten up, or laugh, usually in a very unique way. I remember Mom clearing the living room floor so that two of us could “fight it out” and once we had a good hold of each other’s hair, and were both basically pinned to the floor, the room broke out in laughter, because lets face it, it was pretty hilarious. I remember Mom making some crazy faces that we couldn’t help but laugh at, and even if we knew that Mom was mad, it was sometimes hard not to laugh about her face, but we knew that it was in our best interest not to.

Life with our mom was never dull, but then again, Mom would probably tell you the same thing about life with her girls. If there was some crazy antic that we could come up with…we did. I remember ruining my brand new penny loafers because I felt the need to go trudging through the mud and the construction site at the new Kmart building. The shoes cleaned up ok, but they were now of a size to fit my younger sister, Caryl. My sister, Alena was a whiz at concocting formulas. Of course, using the “shampoo” she created was out of the question, because it would probably burn your hair off. As far as terrorizing my sisters…that would have to be, yours truly. I was born with strong fingernails…well daggers actually, and I did not hesitate to use them. Sometimes I wonder how I survived childhood, because if anyone drove our mom crazy, it was me. I’m sure that my wedding day was cause for celebration on many levels. Just thinking about what I put my mom through…well, I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. I think that is how Mom had to have felt. It really was get silly, or go crazy in our house.

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