truck driver

My Uncle Elmer Johnson was an amazing cook. My cousin, Ellen Bremner, his oldest child recalls the many holiday meals he cooked over the years, and just how wonderful they were. Many people think that cooking is no big deal, but opening a few cans and heating them on the stove, is not cooking, nor is heating up a frozen dinner, which seems to be the norm these days. I suppose that in a busy world, such as we now live in, heating up a previously prepared (usually by some company) meal is the best way to get a meal quickly. Nevertheless, people like my Uncle Elmer…well they knew how to really cook…making a wonderful holiday meal from scratch, with everyone in the family standing there watching and smelling the meal with mouths watering and stomachs growling. The anticipation was almost too much to bear. Ellen tells me that her dad was a more adventurous cook than their mon, my Aunt Dee.

Uncle Elmer loved Christmas, and loved to spoil his four children, Ellen, Elmer, Darla, and Delwin, as well as Aunt Dee. I can imagine him at Christmas…just like a kid in a candy store, getting everything ready for his family, and then sitting there with a twinkle in his eye as they opened their gifts. The day most likely passed far too quickly and all too soon it was over, and life went back to normal.

Normal for my uncle was driving a truck. He worked for Burke Moving and Storage, as well as United Van Lines. He also worked for Dalgarno Transportation, where he and his son, Elmer got to work together. He was also a certified welder working on pipeline, and later in a uranium mine at Shirley Basin. Uncle Elmer was also a capable mechanic. Still, I think that as jobs go, Uncle Elmer was happiest when he was driving a truck. He liked to drive, and that made him a good teacher of driving. Ellen remembers that he was very patient with her when he was teaching her to drive. He encouraged her, even when she made a mistake.

Every summer, Uncle Elmer would take the family fishing in the Tensleep area of Wyoming. Uncle Elmer loved fishing, and he passed that love of the sport down to his kids. I think they all still enjoy fishing to this day. Uncle Elmer was witty and had a great sense of humor. That probably came from the years he and his brothers spent getting into mischief…good clean fun really. Uncle Elmer, and especially his brother, Les pulled many pranks. Their brother Tom was quite a bit younger, and so not as involved in their mischief, but I imagine he managed to contribute his share as he got older too. After all, he had his big brothers to show him the ropes. Unfortunately, Uncle Elmer passed away in 1981. Today would have been his 87th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Elmer. We love and miss you very much.

Debbie & LynnFor a number of years now, my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook really didn’t want to go a lot of places. It was something I just couldn’t understand, then…but, I think I might have it figured out now. It really wasn’t that he didn’t want to go anywhere, it was about where he was going. Lynn was a truck driver for a number of years, and also served as a deputy sheriff for a number of years. I think that a big part of the problem was driving long distances, or driving much at all. Lynn, it seems had simply had his fill of driving.

Upon his retirement, suddenly, Lynn didn’t mind going places so much…provided that the destination was a camping spot in the Big Horn Mountains for Campa month or so at a time, that is. It would seem that the problem actually wasn’t the trip, but the destination. He wanted to go to one place, camp out, sit around the campfire, and just relax. In reality, I think that most of us who have worked for any length of time, can relate to that. It’s all about have your day finally be under your control.

Retirement for Lynn Cook meant that he and my sister-in-law, Debbie could go out in the mountains, shut off the phones…not that they had much reception there anyway, and just disconnect. Yep, it was about being disconnected from the hustle and bustle. Lynn, like many people who have been around noise, ringing phones, a hectic schedule, or tense moments, simply needed to find aMountain Man way to make the world go away…even if it is only for a little while. And that is something I can certainly understand.

When Lynn is camping, he feels…alive. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, a campfire, and family around him…that’s what it’s all about. Bob and I feel a lot like that when we are hiking, so I can relate to his way of disconnecting. Just being out in nature, gives a person a feeling of freedom that can’t be beat…especially if he doesn’t have to shave…because isn’t that what retirement is all about. Lynn, I hope that today has been that kind of day for you. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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