Our family always loved having our Aunt Ruth Spencer Wolfe, her husband, Uncle Jim Wolfe and their kids, Shirley, Larry, and Terry come to visit. We always had so much fun when they came. It didn’t matter if we were playing with the kids or sitting around listening to the many stories Uncle Jim or Aunt Ruth told. There was always so many fun things going on when they were there. My dad, Allen Spencer and Uncle Jim kept us all laughing with their antics. Dad and Uncle Jim were always coming up with some new thing…from wild recipes to crazy challenges. There was never a dull moment when our two families were together.
When we were kids, the two families took trips together. A favorite was the South Dakota trip. Our parents were great campers, and they always made it a lot of fun. I also remember several trips to Casper mountain. The mountain was a long standing favorite, because it was close and yet we got to get out and camp, or at the very least, go for picnics. For a number of years, however, their family lived here in Casper, and that made it much easier to get together.
I gave us kids lots of time to play together. They had chickens, ducks, and geese, and for my sisters and me, all city girls, that in itself was a novelty. Of course, we didn’t have to clean up after them either. I think we were pretty prissy, and we would have probably freaked out at the site of the coop. They also had a garden, and in it was just about everything you could imagine, so I’m sure Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim found a few things missing from the garden after we all spent time outside at their house. They also had a tractor that Shirley would hook the wagons up to and take us all for rides. It was a great time. Of course all too often, it was more fun to be inside with them. Our dad’s kept things lively, whether they were together or all by themselves.
For Uncle Jim’s kids, he was a role model. He taught them how to shoot a gun, and go hunting, so they could provide meat for their families. Their training started as young as two years old, and that is something I agree with. If children know what a gun can do, and they are taught the value of life, they will gain a healthy respect for both life and gun. Shirley recalls fishing, hunting and camping with her dad, and with that came a great sense of camaraderie between the two of them. He was her hero, and she knew that he could do anything. I suppose that is part of what made it hard for her when his mind started to go. Suddenly the dad, who had always taken such good care of her and the family, needed her to take care of him. I know how she feels about that. It is a hard thing to know that your parents are aging, and all you can think is, “How can I stop this? I want to go back in time!!” Unfortunately, that can never be. We live the life we have been given, in the time we were meant to live in, and when it is time to go home to heaven, we must go, whether our family is ready or not. Today would have been Uncle Jim Wolfe’s 94th birthday. He left us almost 3 years ago, and we’ll always miss him. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Jim. We love you.