South Dakota

For years, my husband, Bob and I went to visit his Aunt Linda and Uncle Bobby Cole in Kennebec, South Dakota once a year. It was something we all looked forward to. Kennebec is a really small town, with very little to do, so we had the chance to slow down our busy lives, play cards, drink coffee, and visit. For us it was a nice change, for Linda and Bobby, I suppose it was life as usual. Another nice thing was that no babysitters were needed. Our girls Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce were little at that time, and would need to be watched if we went out as couples. The played with Linda and Bobby’s kids, Sheila Gregory and Pat Cole. Everyone had a great time.

Linda and Bobby owned a small hotel in Kennebec, so a place to stay was no problem. Unfortunately, the hotel was hit by lightning, and the resulting fire was bad enough to make the hotel uninhabitable, so the trips to Kennebec just stopped. While they knew the strike was close, Linda and Bobby didn’t know it had hit the hotel, until they smelled the burning wood from the upstairs rooms. The hotel was deemed a total loss. Very few rooms were unaffected…by smoke damage, if not fire damage. The last time I saw the hotel, it was a charred shell of what it had once been. It was a sad time for everyone, because it was the beginning of change…a change that would end the yearly trips to Kennebec. After weighing the options, Linda and Bobby decided to move to Winnemucca, Nevada. While my in-laws tried to see Linda and Bobby during their snowbird days, with the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in my mother-in-law, and the advancement of COPD in my father-in-law, their snowbird days came to an abrupt end too.

The kids were all grown and married, so the trips we made were just Bob and me…and those trips were few and far between. Nevada was just not a place we got to very often, and they didn’t travel much anymore either. After her sister, my mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Linda couldn’t bear to see her sister not remembering her anymore, so they couldn’t make themselves visit. That was probably the saddest part of all this change. Even before my mother-in-law passed away in January of 2018, Linda passed away in September of 2016. The husbands, Walt Schulenberg, my father-in-law, passed away in May of 2013 and Bobby passed away in May of 2014. In just a short time, they were all gone, and even more had changed than before. Now, all we have are the memories that surface from time to time, especially on birthdays. Today would have been Linda’s 74th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Linda. We love and miss you very much.

Our aunt, Linda Cole was the middle child of my husband, Bob’s Grandma and Grandpa Knox. She and her husband, Bobby moved to Kennebec, South Dakota early in their marriage, and raised their two children, Sheila Gregory and Patrick Cole. In Kennebec, Linda and Bobby owned a hotel, and when people came to visit, they always had enough room for everyone to stay. My husband, Bob and I took our girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce to visit them once a year. It was a nice trip for us and they got to see family too. Running a hotel didn’t leave much time to travel, so the family that came to visit them was often the only time the saw the rest of us. Linda’s sister, Joann Schulenberg and her husband, Walt, my in-laws went often too. We all went in the summer, so it was often really hot in Kennebec. Nevertheless, the visits were fun, and I will always be glad we went.

Later, after a fire burned most of the hotel down, the family moved to Winnemucca, Nevada, where Linda and Bobby both found work in the casinos. They really liked working there and also enjoyed gambling on their days off. I don’t know how they fared in their gambling, but they didn’t really spend a huge amount of time at it. They liked the warmth and easy winters, and enjoyed the place they had out in the country. It was quiet, and that was nice after the noise of the casinos.

My in-laws visited them periodically in their travels as snowbirds, and the sisters got to know each other again. For so many years they had lived far away from each other, that they were more like acquaintances than sisters sometimes. The girls’ younger sister, Margee lives here in Casper. She and Linda talked on the telephone often, and they were very close. It was hard on the sisters to be so far away from Linda, but as time goes on, you get used to things.

In May of 2014, Linda lost her husband, Bobby, and then Linda passed away in September of 2016. It had been a number of years since her sisters had seen Linda, and that made her passing especially sad. It always seemed as if there would be time, but when time ran out, it left only sadness where Linda had been. We can only look forward to seeing her again in Heaven. Today would have been Linda’s 73rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Linda. We love and miss you very much.

My mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg was the eldest of her parents three living children. Her older brother Everett passed away at birth. The second living child was Linda Cole, who was born 15 years after her older sister. Following Linda, youngest sister, Margaret was born three years later. It was almost like having two separate families, because Joann was practically grown up by the time her younger siblings arrived. In reality, Linda and Margee grew up with nieces and nephews, some of whom were closer in age to them than their own sister was, and there sister was almost like a second mother to them.

Linda grew up and married Bobby Cole on December 29, 1965. Their marriage was blessed with a daughter, Sheila and a son, Patrick, both of whom are married and have children of their own now. Linda and Bobby ran a hotel in Kennebec, South Dakota for most of the years while their children were growing up. They loved the small town of Kennebec, and the social scene in the area. For a number of years, they were a part of a square dance club. I remember all their great dance clothes, and how much they loved being part of that club. I think it was the most fun they had in a long time.

Unfortunately, the economy in Kennebec wasn’t doing too well, and after they lost their hotel to a fire, they decided that it was time for a change. The decided to move to Winnemucca, Nevada. they thought that the gambling might be just the ticket for them. The both found work in the casinos there, and dabbled in gambling on their time off. They really enjoyed their lives in Winnemucca. They were in a warmer climate, and far away from the harsh South Dakota winters. They would live out the remainder of their lives in Winnemucca. Bobby passed away on May 30, 2014, of cancer. After his passing, Linda seemed content to stay in Winnemucca, until her passing on September 22, 2016 of a heart attack. We miss them both very much. Today would have been Linda’s 71st birthday. Happy birthday in heaven Linda. We love you.

The other day, while reading an article about notable Native Americans, I came across a name that was familiar to me, but really didn’t seem like a Native American name. The name was Renville, the same name as my grand-nephew, James Renville. Immediately, I wondered if there might be a connection between Chief Gabriel Renville and my grand-nephew. The search didn’t take very long, before I had my answer. Gabriel Renville is my grand-nephew, James’ 1st cousin 7 times removed. I find that to be extremely amazing to think that James is related to an Indian chief. With that information, I wanted to fine out more abut this man.

Chief Gabriel Renville was a mixed-blood Santee Sioux—his father was half French and his mother half-Scottish. He was born in April of 1825 at Big Stone Lake, South Dakota. Renville was the treaty chief of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Santee tribes and signed the 1867 treaty, which established the boundaries of the Lake Traverse Reservation. One source called him a Champion of Excellence.

He was careful to protect his people as much as he could, and was also instrumental in saving the lives of many white captives. During the 1862 Uprising, Renville opposed Little Crow and was influential in keeping many of the Santee out of the war. He lost a large amount of property, including horses appropriated by the hostile savages, or destroyed in consequence of his position to their murderous course. Renville served as chief of scouts for General Sibley during the campaign against the Sioux in 1863.

Even though Chief Renville was an ally of the whites, it didn’t help him when he settled on the reservation. The government agent there, Moses N. Adams, considered him hostile. Renville was the leader of the “scout party” which was in conflict with the “good church” Indians. I’m sure that was common in those days. Renville preserved many of the traditional Santee customs of polygamy and dancing, and he ignored Christianity, but he was not opposed to economic progress and he and his followers became successful farmers on the reservation. However, the Sisseton agent favored the “church” Indians.

Renville and other leaders of the traditional Indians accused Adams of discriminating against them in the disposition of supplies and equipment. He said Adams favored the idle church-goers instead of encouraging them to work….a situation not unlike the current welfare system. Agent Adams considered Renville a detriment and removed the chief form the reservation executive board which Adams had organized to carry out his policies. It was a move that was considered extreme. In 1874 Renville was finally successful in securing a government investigation of the Adam’s activities. The outcome of the investigation was an official censure of Adams. Chief Renville continued to practice the old Santee customs, yet he encouraged the Indians to farm. This progressive influence was greatly missed after his death in August 1892.

When a construction project begins, it usually takes a matter of a few months to complete. That is not how it works when carving a large sculpture, such as Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore, a batholith in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota, United States. It was the vision of Doane Robinson, who thought that carving the faces of famous people in the Granite of the Black Hills region, would bring tourists to the region. Robinson’s vision has proven to be an amazing success. His original idea was to put the sculpture in the area of the Needles, but the chosen sculptor, Gutzon Borglum rejected the idea because of the poor quality of the granite, and strong opposition from the Native American Groups in the area. I’m glad it didn’t go in the needles area, because they have a beauty all their own, and it would have been a shame to change them.

They settled on Mount Rushmore, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure, which makes the faces of our presidents stand out in an amazing way. Robinson wanted it to feature American West heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum decided the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents. Borglum created the sculpture’s design and oversaw the project’s execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. When I think of the years it too to complete the sculpture, I wonder if it was what was expected, or just the way it came down. Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents…George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). After securing federal funding through the enthusiastic sponsorship of “Mount Rushmore’s great political patron” US Senator Peter Norbeck, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents’ faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum’s death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over as leader of the construction project. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist.

The memorial park covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet above sea level, and while the sculpture work officially ended on October 31, 1941, due to lack of funding and the very real possibility of a United States entrance into World War II. Mount Rushmore has become an iconic symbol of the United States, and it has appeared in works of fiction, as well as being discussed or depicted in other popular works. It has also been featured a number of movies. It attracts over two million visitors annually. It’s amazing to me that what started out to be a tourist attraction, quickly became a must see place for every patriotic American. My husband and I love to go to the Black Hills, and with the close proximity to our Casper, Wyoming home, we take a week every summer to go and enjoy the beauty and patriotism that now resides there.

251093_10150211571587794_861544_nMy niece, Michelle Stevens has been in school for much of her life. Of course, she went through the normal public school, at which time she discovered her amazing talent in the area of art. She also discovered that she was an excellent teacher. Put the two together, and you have a career. With that goal in mind, Michelle set out right after high school to study to become an art teacher. If you think that doctors go to college a long time for their degrees, you will find yourself amazed about the length of time an art teacher has to go. I suppose it is partly the double major, but when you think about the fact that teachers need 4 years, you will begin to understand just how much there is to learn about art. Michelle has been in college for a little over ten years now…but that study time has come to a close. Michelle will wait to march with her class, but with the end of this semester, came the end of her schooling, and her Bachelors Degree. She is done, except for one last day of student teaching today. What a great birthday present that is!!

I’m sure that there must be a feeling of, almost disconnect right now, because Michelle has been in school for make-your-hands-dirtyso long. Nevertheless, there also must be feelings of elation and even relief, because the long years of preparation are over, and she can start her career. Michelle is going to make an excellent teacher, and I know that any child she teaches will be very blessed to have her for their art teacher. Her abilities are amazing. I’m not sure what grade Michelle will be teaching, or if she will be teaching multiple grades. She will stay in Spearfish, South Dakota, probably substitute teaching for the rest of this school year, and then I have learned that the plan is possibly to move back to Casper, Wyoming and begin her career here. I know that we would all love that, but I also know that people have to go where the jobs are. I just pray that the jobs will be here for her, because I know that her family would love having her back home so much.

It’s funny that an artist really must get dirty and messy to craft the beautiful pieces of artwork they make. I never really thought of Michelle as being one of those people who would love to get dirty, but I kind of think Michelle-Stevens-drawingshe is. I guess it goes with the career. I haven’t had the opportunity to see all of Michelle’s work, by any stretch of the imagination, but what I have seen is beautiful. I think that every artist has their personal favorite works, and while I’m not sure which one is Michelle’s favorite, I have a favorite of her works. It takes me to a place of peace. A place I love to be…the outdoors. It makes me think of a hike, and coming up of a bench where you can look out over the countryside and drink in all it’s beauty. It might be a simple sketch, and maybe Michelle doesn’t even think it is beautiful, but I do, and they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so there you have it. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Lindsay's GraduationLindsay and ShannonMy niece, Lindsay Moore, is a social butterfly. She never had any trouble making new friends, and everyone who knows her, loves her. It’s a personality trait that Lindsay has. She can talk to anyone…and feel no shyness, and her friendship ability is coupled with her genuine caring nature. I remember when she was a teenager, and I would see her at church, before the service, talking to some of the other members of the congregation. It didn’t matter how old they were, or how young, Lindsay could talk to any of them. I always found the way she was when talking to some of the older members of the congregation to be the sweetest thing to watch. I remember when she was talking to a woman named Fern one time. I’m not sure how old Fern was at the time, but at least mid-seventies I would think. Lindsay went up and hugged her and then sat down to visit with her for a minute. Fern was obviously pleased that this teenager cared enough to talk to her, but it was also obvious that it wasn’t their first conversation. They were talking like friends, because they were friends. I know that Lindsay was just being Lindsay, but I can tell you that her actions affected more than one person in church that day. Fern, of course was very blessed by the sweet, loving girl who was sharing a moment with her, but there were others too. I noticed several other members of the congregation looking on with a sense of…well, pride, almost as if they had something to do with how Lindsay had turned out. They didn’t, of course, but she was a member of the church, and that gave them a sense of family, and therefore pride at how kind she was to Fern. For me…well, it was a picture that has been stored in my memory files since that day. Her way of making people feel important is something I’ll never forget about Lindsay.

Lindsay has had the opportunity to live a number of places in her life. She was born in Casper, Wyoming, but has lived in South Dakota, Florida, and North Carolina. Her husband’s work as a college special teams coach also gives them the opportunity to travel to recruit players, so she has been a lot of places. I’ve often wondered if the moves were difficult. Being somewhat shy, myself, it is hard for me to imagine making new Lindsay & CompanyLindsay in Nashvillefriends every time another move was necessary, but Lindsay really has no trouble. Everywhere she has lived, she makes new friends quickly. Then when she has to move, she remains friends with the people she has met…for life. I think it all goes back to that ability to share a moment with people. Then moments turn into a friendship that forms because Lindsay genuinely cares about people, and people want to be friends with people like that. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

scan0105Over the years of our childhood, my sisters and I were exposed to the history of this great nation. Mom and Dad loved the things that showcased the Old West, including Country Music, old western movies, and western books, but they mostly wanted to show us the places where the Old West really happened. Of course, some of the places were replicas of the real thing, such as Wall Drug. Any time we went through South Dakota and there was enough time, we stopped at Wall Drug. It’s funny to think that a drug store could be called a tourist attraction, but with all the wagons, horse statues, and photo boards, people come just to see the sights in the drug store. Wall Drug is in the town of Wall, South Dakota…a huge town of 906 people…and that is today, so I’m sure it was much smaller when I was a little girl. In fact, I don’t recall anything about the town of Wall…just the drug store. I suppose that sounds funny, but the drug store really was the coolest place in town.

Of course, when Mom and Dad took us to see relics of the old West, they would take us to places like an old scan0079fort, which inevitably included an old cabin with a sod roof. People these day, have no idea how that worked…unless they had parents who made sure that they got to see a real one. Even when you study about it in school, there is nothing quite like being able to see what it was really like inside a house with dirt and grass for a roof. I have read books like, “Young Pioneers” and the “Little House On The Prairie” books, that talk about having a sod roof, or even a Soddy, which is a house built out of sod, often into a hillside. The floors were obviously dirt, and the homemaker would actually sweep those dirt floors. As I read about that, I began to wonder if those women weren’t just a little bit crazy, but then again, I suppose that if you left the crumbs in the house, you would have more bugs than normal, because I personally don’t see any way to have a sod home be completely bug free. And of course, depending on what got spilled, the floor could take on a sticky life of its own. After thinking about that for a little while, I think I might consider sweeping that dirt floor too.

When I think about it though, what would the Old West be, without horses. I can’t say that I ever gave any scan0071thought to having horses of my own, but I think horses are awesome, if someone else has to clean up the stalls. There were people that Mom and Dad knew, who had horses, and they might have been family members for all I know. Having friends or family who had horses made it possible for us to have a little bit of exposure to horses and how they were. I can’t imagine having to travel everywhere by horse, but riding one is a lot of fun. I feel like our parents gave my sisters and me vacations combined with education. Mom and Dad always made it feel like we were really there in the Old West. It was like going back in time. It was an education that you couldn’t get in school, and while I was no fan of history in school, I must say that history as my parents taught it to us, was an amazing journey.

MichelleMy niece, Michelle is probably one of the most different people in our family, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. There is a gentleness about Michelle, and I think that comes from her artistic side. Michelle is in college in South Dakota, and that means we don’t get to see her very much. That makes me sad, because I think that the gentle quality that Michelle gives to our family is something that we need…doesn’t every family? There are many different personalities that make up a family, and each one is important to the family unit.

Through the years, I have watched Michelle grow as a person and as an artist. Her art is beautiful and anyone who has the privilege of seeing it or owning any of it knows Michelle-Stevens-drawingjust how talented she is. One of my favorites is a sketch of a bench. It has a simplicity to it, and yet you feel like you could sit right down on it…and you would like to. The bench is just that realistic. It looks like the perfect place to sit, relax, and read a book.

Michelle isn’t all about art though. She loves to travel, and like many of us, a cruise ship is one of her favorite forms of travel. I suppose those trips inspire her artistic mind to create new things. I personally love photography, and a cruise is a great way to take awesome pictures, which Michelle is very good at too. I’m sure that her photographic ability comes from her artistic eye. She has taken pictures of many places, and she has done some Photoshop enhancements to make them look simply amazing. I have watched her pictures and her art advance over the years, and they are amazing. I think Michelle didn’t choose to be an artist, but was rather born with the natural abilities she Michelle Kristine Stevens 6.5 years oldhas. Many people would love to have her talent.

Little girl Michelle was such a smiley girl. When she smiled, he whole face lit up with a smile. Some people are blessed with smiling eyes, and Michelle is definitely one of those people. It was one of the first things I noticed about her. I have always loved the way smiling eyes look, and they are something that makes people smile too. People are just drawn to people with a great smile, and smiling eyes. Maybe that is part of the reason why Michelle has always been loved by everyone who knows her. Michelle is such a special person, and I am very proud that she is my niece. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I DoAt the Grand CanyonSince her marriage on February 14, 2014, my niece Lindsay Moore has been a business entrepreneur at Moore Healthy Living LLC, which is her own business. She is also a part of the South Dakota State University Extension program, where she is a Grants Consultant. All this allows Lindsay to work from home and who wouldn’t want that if they could. Lindsay’s husband, Shannon Moore is the Special Teams Football Coach at Miami International University, and a part of his job includes a lot of travel. The could be hard if it weren’t for the fact that Lindsay works from home. A laptop can travel, and it is all she needs to do her work. That allows Lindsay to travel with Shannon wherever he goes. I think that is important in any marriage, but especially in a young marriage. Of course, since Lindsay and Shannon live in Miami, Florida, their lifestyle of much travel also allows them to come home to Wyoming and South Dakota periodically to see family, and I know that means a lot to their parents.

The nice thing about being free to travel, and having the ability to do so, is that you tend to be gone for extended periods of time…at least in the off season for football. This year’s summer tour included a trip to With Shannon's parentsSouth Dakota to visit Shannon’s parents, then the whole crew continued their visit with a trip to the Black Hills, where they connected with Lindsay’s parents over the Independence Day holiday. Then, Shannon’s parents headed home, and Lindsay, Shannon and her family headed to Cooke City, Montana and other areas of the state for a week. After that, Lindsay and Shannon headed to Las Vegas for the wedding of friends, before finally heading back home by way of Arizona. In all it was quite a trip. I’m sure they were happy to be home in the end, but the trip was nice too.

Lindsay and Shannon are so perfect together. They both have such great personalities, and such outgoing spirits. They have had the opportunity to live in a variety of places, and while Lindsay credits Shannon for making it easy to make their moves and settle in, I know that because Lindsay never met someone she didn’t like, making new friends wherever she goes is a breeze for her. They both love camping, which is perfect for spending time with Lindsay’s parents, and probably Shannon’s too. Lindsay loves almost any form of exercise, being an exercise science major in college, so hiking or jogging on the many trails that crisscross our country is something that I’m sure will be on the agenda for many trips they will take.

With Allyn and ChrisLindsay and ShannonWhile it would be nice to have them live closer to home, I’m sure that is not to be…at least not anytime soon. So, if we can’t have them closer to home, it is really nice that they do get lots of travel time so we get to see them, because as Lindsay always says, “I miss your face!” Yes, Lindsay and Shannon, we miss your faces too. We are thankful for Facebook so we can see your faces there from time to time. And as always, we can’t wait to see you the next time you come home. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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