Humor

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My uncle, Wayne Byer is the younger of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s two sons. He always had a great sense of humor, which is very likely why my mom, Collene (Byer) Spencer and their older brother, Larry Byer all got along so well. They were pretty much three-of-a-kind. They all thought the same things funny, and they didn’t care if they looked silly…it was all part of the humor. In fact, I think the silliness is what really makes humor. People who can’t ne silly, really aren’t funny either.

My mom loved being the middle sister, in the middle of the two brothers, mostly because the boys made it fun. Of course, they were all kids, so sometimes that meant they got into mischief. The three of them…well, I can imagine they drove Grandma crazy sometimes. I never really thought of my mom as a tomboy, but I think she might have been. I’ll bet she did everything she could to keep up with her brothers. I think they were probably protective of her too. Still, like most siblings, who are close…I’m sure they picked on Mom a lot. It was just past of being the three-of-a-kind.

Uncle Wayne’s sense of humor, and his friendly ways, endeared him to so many people. My sisters remember that Uncle Wayne was well known and liked by the ladies who worked in the cafeteria at East Junior High School. That information and the fact that we were related gave my sisters a few good lunchtime perks, like the best desserts and dishes. Uncle Wayne was very well liked by everyone, and I’m sure there were other nieces and nephews, as well as his three sons, Tim, Keith, and Cliff. Anyone with a true tie to him was looked at as privileged. I never had to ride the bus to school, but I can just imagine what the drive was like. There are bus drivers who are crabby, and then there are bus drivers who are fun. I can totally imagine how much fun it was to be on Uncle Wayne’s bus. I would imagine that as long as you stayed seated and didn’t cause trouble, the ride could be filled with a lot of laughs. A bus driver like that makes me wish I did have to ride a bus…well, sometimes. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The new year is always a little bittersweet for my family…at least since my mother, Collene Spencer passed away on February 22, 2015. Mom’s birthday was the party event of the year, because her birthday was on January 1st. That’s the party event of the year for most people, but even more so for us. We celebrated the end of the old year, Mom’s birthday always made our New Year’s Eve party the best of all of them. You couldn’t have paid us to go to some other party. Even the ball dropping at Times Square, couldn’t compare for us. We were already at the best party event. I miss those parties. Oh, we still celebrate, but one guest is missing…Mom. The parties just aren’t the same without the part about welcoming the new year and then telling Mom happy birthday. Now, we can only give her our birthday wishes from Earth to Heaven.

Mom was a special kind of person. She was a child of God, who wanted everyone to know her Savior, Jesus Christ. She told people about the Lord, even when my sisters and I thought she should give up on the person. Mom couldn’t stand the idea of anyone going to Hell. She had such a pure heart that way. When I think about all the people she talked to over the years, and the fact that if even half of them got saved…well, Mom helped bring a whole lot of people to the Lord. Looking back on all the times I was embarrassed by her “mission” work, it makes me feel ashamed. She was doing what she knew to be right, and I was a kid who knew nothing. She took the high road in it. I wish I had.

Mom was a character to say the least. She would do the funniest things and make the funniest faces, just to make us laugh. Especially if we, her five daughters, Cheryl Masterson, me (Caryn Schulenberg), Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock, were fighting. Of course, we didn’t all fight at the same time, but rather two or three at a time. Just imagine having five daughters who were either fighting or playing loudly. We must have driven Mom crazy at times. Still, she loved being a Mom, and had visions of the perfect children, like all moms do…until they have kids anyway. Then the reality hits. Kids are kids, and they make noise and they fight. Mom loved to creatively stop the noise…even if that meant making funny faces. She also loved to sing us a song. Her favorite, “You Are My Sunshine” was a staple in our house. She was the sunshine in our house, and we always knew that we were her sunshine. Today would have been my mom’s 85th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much.

I finally finished my Christmas shopping!! I’m very excited about it. I suppose that would sound funny to most people, especially when you consider that today is December 28th. In case you are wondering, no I’m not finished with next year’s Christmas shopping. That would be a miracle, indeed. Actually, I was doing ok with my shopping, I had everything purchased and shipped to my daughter, Amy’s family in Washington state, with the exception of stocking stuffers. Then, it happened. Covid had made its way through our family, my sisters (except Alena Stevens and her family), brothers-in-law, and a number of cousins. Bob and I had it over Thanksgiving, which was also cancelled this year…at least for us. I thought maybe we would make it through Christmas Covid-free, but then my daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin caught it, and their quarantine would take us through Christmas. This just wasn’t our year for holidays.

That said, the urgency to finish my Christmas shopping left me, because we decided to postpone our celebration until we could all be together for it. Celebrating, when part of us we’re stuck at home or in the hospital was just not the same, and it would be especially sad for Corrie and Kevin. It doesn’t feel like a celebration when part of the family is not there. When the day comes, it will be worth the wait. It will be a real celebration, because we will all be well. So we wait, because Corrie and Kevin being with us is more important than what day we celebrate this year.

I suppose that means I could still have plenty of time for shopping, but who knows. The thing about Covid is that some people take a while to get over it and others are over it in two weeks. The day when we could finally have Christmas could creep up on me and then my shopping wouldn’t be done. Not good!! So, I decided to get it finished. And another good thing is that I actually have all the gifts wrapped Wow!! Now, whenever Christmas comes this year, I’ll be ready.

Yesterday, we received the news that our sweet Uncle Bill Spencer had passed away from Covid at the Middle River Health and Rehabilitation Center in South Range, Wisconsin. He was a little under one month from his 99th birthday. Uncle Bill had lived at the Middle River Center for about ten years now, and we have had the opportunity to visit him there twice. I wish it had been more, but we live a long way away from them, so it wasn’t to be. The center was a nice place, and the people there loved Uncle Bill. We could see that the people there had a heart for their residents, and that gave us peace of mind. Uncle Bill tested positive for Covid on December 14th, and was doing ok until the morning of December 25th. By that afternoon, he had gone home to Heaven.

Uncle Bill was the last of my dad’s generation in their parents’ line, and lived the longest of them all. He was the second child of my grandparents, Allen and Anna (Schumacher) Spencer, born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin on January 21, 1922, when his older sister, Laura (Spencer) Fredrick was 10 years old, born August 3, 1912. We don’t know why there was such a distance between the two older children, because the younger three were pretty close together. My dad, Allen Spencer followed on April 27, 1924, and Aunt Ruth (Spencer) Wolfe on November 9, 1925. As they grew, the brothers, William and Allen were good friends as well as siblings. The fact that both were boys gave them many interests in common.

I recall some of their stories told when Uncle Bill came out for a visit in 2006. One of my favorites was about Independence Day celebrations. Growing up on a farm in the Holyoke area of Minnesota, they boys worked to plow, and remove rocks and tree stumps from the fields. This made them experts with dynamite, a fact that we hadn’t heard before. That in itself is very interesting, but they were also kids, and…well mischievous to say the least. Their July 4th tradition was to set off a dynamite blast…at daybreak. When I asked if people got mad at them, they said that they were out in the country, so who cared. Indeed!! One time though, they decided to try something new. Their mom had gone into town, leaving the boys at home. Their curious minds kicked in. They decided to find out what would happen if they set off a stick of dynamite on the top of the gate post. Yikes!! Well, they found out what would happen. When the dynamite exploded, the gate post sunk several inches into the dirt. The gate would no longer close, of course, and he boys immediately set about fixing it before their mom came back from town. They had no desire to find out what she thought of their prank.

While it makes me so sad that my uncle is gone now, I can feel his excitement as he entered Heaven to find his parents and siblings waiting for him. And what a wonderful thought…he was home for Christmas this year. I would imagine the celebration was wonderful. The boys were back together after so many years. I can picture them…just like kids again, filled with excitement, but I can also imagine one other thing. I can hear God saying, “The boys are back together…hide the dynamite!!” God knows his children well, and it simply wouldn’t do for those mischievous Spencer brothers to set off a stick of dynamite, right there on the gate post of the Pearly Gates, and sink one side several inches into the ground!! Nevertheless, I can see their minds clicking, sharp as ever now, thinking…”Hey, lets give that a try!!” Dynamite or not, there is a party going on in Heaven today. Grandma and Grandpa Spencer, and their kids are all together in Heaven again, and that’s worth celebrating. Uncle Bill we all love you very much and we will miss you always. You are in our future now, and we can’t wait to see you again.

My niece, Jessi Sawdon is not your typical stay-at-home mom, if that could be a thing anyway. Most moms have been faced with the dilemma of working outside the home or staying home to raise the babies. In the past, the only work from home jobs were daycare or telemarketing. While daycare is a noble calling, and one whose workers must be given a lot of credit, because it is not easy to take care of several children all day; telemarketing is another story. Nobody wants to talk to you, and they truly wish you would just “get a real job” already!! When I was raising kids, and my daughters were raising kids, work-from-home was not a real option. I’m glad that it is for mothers these days.

Jessi has a degree in communication and marketing, and works as the Marketing Coordinator at LUM Studio. She is also mommy to her daughter, Adelaide Ione. The biggest blessing from her work-from-home job is that she can take Adelaide to and from school and attend the school functions that so many working moms miss because of their jobs. LUM Studio is a website designer and hosting company. Their work is beautiful and the are enjoying great success. They are becoming well known and have received work from businesses around the state. It is great that Jessi can be a stay-at-home mom to Adelaide and still focus on her career. Being able to have both a career and a stay-at-home mom atmosphere is really so important.

Jessi is a bit of a comedian. She loves doing things to make people laugh. It is something that seems to run in the family. You might ask her sister, Lindsay about Jessi, and she will respond with, “Who is Jessi?” Her sister Kellie loves to be goofy, and always laughs or smiles…especially when someone like Jessi decides to photobomb her. Her brother, Ryan is one of the world’s biggest teasers, and all the girls have been subject to his teasing ways, but it is done in good fun, and it makes for a lot of laughs for this family.

Of course, like most of us, Covd-19 has required Jessie, her husband, Jason and Adelaide to be in social distancing mode, but it didn’t keep them from being able to go camping quite a bit. During the summer and fall and they really enjoyed their new toy hauler, because they can go camping and four wheeling. That has really let them enjoy the great outdoors. Jessi and Jason have a side by side four wheeler that seats four, so they can all go together on their sight seeing rides. Adelaide loves riding with her mom and dad! They love going to the lake, the Big Horns, and sometimes Jason finds little out of the way places where they can just enjoy being together. They also love to take walks as a family and they go often when the weather permits. God has really blessed them! Today is Jessi’s birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Dustie Masterson is always an upbeat happy person. She married my nephew, Rob Masterson in 2003, and they have been soulmates since that time. They have worked very hard to build a good life for themselves and their children, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna, as well as Rob’s grown daughter, Christina, when she is in town. Dustie works as a shift leader at Walgreen’s…a job she likes very much. She is a great person to be shift leader, because she is a motivator without having to be grouchy. People just naturally like Dustie, and they want to do their best for her. That really helps in the work world. Dustie is always helpful to those in need, and that also endears her to many people. She would bend over backward to help someone who needed help.

Not everybody can join a family and fit right in. Often, people have to get used to a person, and their quirks, but apparently Dustie had the same quirks the rest of the family did, because there was very little adjustment needed. Of course, it helps that Dustie loves to make people laugh, and she isn’t shy about making a face or doing something that accomplishes that goal. Dustie always puts a smile on the faces of the people around her. And speaking of smiles, Dustie has a great one. When she smiles, her whole face smiles. That is a very special trait, and one that describes Dustie very well. Dustie is also very good to my sister, Cheryl, and that have endeared her to our family is a big way. Dustie has loved Cheryl as a mom, and that is awesome.

Dustie is a great mom. She hasn’t forgotten her own teenaged years, and with three children in that age group, a parent needs patience and wisdom. The teenaged years are emotional roller coasters, even for the calmest of kids. Now, with two of her kids in various stages of learning to drive, she really has her hands full. Of course, Rob will help with that too, but anyone who has had kids of driving age knows, every time they want to get into the car, they want to be behind the wheel. Of course, most kids learn how to drive very quickly, but there is always the snow factor, which adds a good deal of stress to the parents of these new drivers. I know that both Dustie and Rob will do well with that, because like most parents, they will make their way through the different abilities and personalities. And after these two, they only have one more new driver to go. There is hope!! Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg is quite a guy!! He loves wheels…all kinds of wheels!! He loves to go out on the four wheeler, his motorcycle, and his rip stick. If fact, he has used his rip stick so much that he wore out his wheels. He just may be the first kid to ever do that. It certainly isn’t something I’ve ever heard of before.

Tucker is a soft hearted guy, who likes to do things for other people. He likes to sleep in, but he gives that up in the winter months do he can get up and build a fire for his dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, (who recently adopted him…the best day in all of their lives). Tucker is very dedicated to keeping his dad warm and usually is a very good helper doing oil and sweeping the garage. Tucker loves spending time with his dad, and even work doesn’t seem like work when they are together. Although Tucker has this “hard-core armor” on outside he is very sensitive on the inside and always worries about his family especially his brother, Riley Birky and his sister, Cassie Iverson! He loves them very much because he has such a huge heart. Tucker also loves his dogs and his cat.

Tucker is a comical guy. In school he is very popular because he is the class clown. He is always funny and joking around. Nevertheless, he is smart as a whip, and does well in school. He has a couple of really good friends…Joey, who he has known since preschool, and with whom he is very close. Their friendship has been a strong bond for both of them. His cousin Easton Moore is another of his close friends. They love to play Xbox games together, over the phone, since they live in different towns. And…like many boys his age, Tucker has a girlfriend. I’m not surprised, because he is a cute guy and so all the girls swoon over him.

As with most teenagers, Tucker sometimes gets “a little mouthy” and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg had to threaten to take away his privileges. Like most men, he never picks up his clothes or his towels. He definitely not a “neat freak,” but she is trying to teach him the way to be a good husband in the future. I’m sure his future wife will appreciate that effort very much. It’s funny that Tucker doesn’t pick up his clothes, because he is very “into” the way he dresses. He enjoys looking nice and up-to-date with the current fashion trends. He was real excited to get a new leather jacket and cowboy boots for his birthday. Tucker has his head on straight, and in very informed about politics. He is a Trumper all the way, and that makes all of his family very proud. Today is Tucker’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Ryan Hadlock is a Compression Operator at Fleur de Lis (FDL), which used to be Anadarko, where his Uncle Mike Stevens also works. They have enjoyed working together, even though they are in different areas of the company. Ryan works on the natural gas side, and I believe Mike is on the oil side. Ryan’s job is to maintain the compressors, making sure they work right, Fixing them when they don’t, taking readings, etc. Ryan enjoys his job, and even picks up extra shifts once in a while. His job has been good to him, and has afforded them the money they need to live the life they want to.

Ryan has always been an outdoorsman. He and his dad, Chris have gone fishing, and camping, and they both love sports of all kinds too. Ryan and his wife, Chelsea decided to buy a new fifth-wheel trailer this year, and since then, they have gone camping crazy. Most weekends find them and their kids, Ethan and Aurora on the road headed somewhere to go camping. They have taken several great trips this past summer, and my husband, Bob and I got to meet up with them in the Black Hills for the Custer Fireworks Display. We joined them and Ryan’s sister, Jessi her husband, Jason, and their daughter, Adelaide too. Ryan, Chelsea, and the kids also made trips around Wyoming and into Colorado. They all had a wonderful time, and we felt honored to get to join them for part of it.

Ryan is a happy guy…mostly I’m sure, because her is happily married and has the family he always wanted. He keeps things lively with is jokes and teasing, and his kids are learning to joke and tease. Ryan and Chelsea find it hard to believe that Ethan is in 8th grade and Aurora is in 4th grade. Where have all the years gone. Time flies when you are having fun, and the Hadlock family is definitely having fun.

Ryan and Chelsea have been doing home Bible studies with their kids this summer, and the whole family is really growing spiritually. The study is designed to make a relationship with God, a personal thing for each of them, and it has been very successful. The kids have been telling my sister, Allyn Hadlock, who is their grandma, just how much they have learned. This has been an especially enlightening study for Ethan and Aurora, who have been telling their grandma all about how good God is. It is always an important thing for the husband in a family to take the spiritual lead, and Ryan has done that very well. We are very proud of him in this endeavor. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As children, most of us have been on the receiving end of a form of “torture” that really isn’t exactly torture for most of us, but rather just good clean fun…provided that the torturer knows when to stop. My sisters and I were among the experts of our era…at least four of us were. The fifth sister, the middle one, Caryl Reed, was an “accomplished” victim…not because she chose to be the victim, but rather that she was the one we most loved to tickle. She was just such a great victim!! We would tickle her until she could hardly breathe, and then we would show some “mercy” and let her “live to be victimized another day.”

I always thought my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I were very clever at coming up with something totally new…the Tickle Torture, but it turns out that Tickle Torture is an ancient form of actual torture. Who knew? Certainly not my sisters or me. Our form of torture, barely resembles the ancient form, or the form that still exists to this day among military circles. As it turns out, the tickle torture began in 260 BC, as far as anyone can tell, when the Han Dynasty appears to have implemented the technique as a reliable punishment that didn’t leave marks. It was used by both the Ancient Romans and the Chinese. I have heard of some of the brutal forms of torture that the Romans used, and I suppose at first this seemed like one of the most humane forms of torture in their entourage. It seems that they would apply salt on the soles of feet and then have a goat lick it off. If you have ever had an animal lick your hand, you know that they usually have a rough tongue. At first, the torture must have been crazy in an extremely ticklish sort of way, and very likely the victim laughed until they could hardly breathe. As the torture continued, the rough tongue of the goat began to actually cause extreme pain…sometimes even lacerating the skin of the feet. The Chinese used this torture on the nobility because there was little evidence left behind and recovery was quick.

People have mixed feelings on tickling. Some like it, but some don’t. I have always been of the mind that if someone really hates it, it should not be done. Of course, the victims in those days had no choice, and I doubt if anyone really liked that kind of tickle torture. I guess that if a person really hates the tickle torture, they might be able to understand how some groups in history have come up with ways to turn it into an actual form of torture. In the actual torture, people might pass out, vomit, and some even died…at least it went that far in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. I suppose that for anyone who lived through any of that or knew someone who did, the tickle torture would not be funny at all. Still, tickle torture was not as bad as some of the other forms of torture used in ancient times, nor was it often as deadly as those other forms.

Actual Tickle torture is still in use today too, and not just in various households across the world. Special operations forces may actually use it in interrogations, as a method of non-lethal torture to be employed by governments to gain information from a suspect. I don’t know how they would actually get any information for a victim, unless their form of torture took a painful turn, but then I’m not an interrogator, so maybe they know something I don’t. What I do know is that my sisters and I had many happy sessions of applying the tickle torture to our sister, Caryl.

My grand-niece, Adelaide Sawdon is a sweet little girl with lots of personality. She learned the fine are of making faces for selfies very early on, and she is quite good at it. Really, it’s all part of her humorous side…which is the main side of Adelaide right now. She loves teasing, and making everyone around her laugh, and then she grins and acts as if she didn’t do a thing…or sometimes she looks at you with her “Gotcha” face, and laughs hysterically…and you know that “it’s on!! Adelaide is ready to get you good.

Like her Aunt Kellie, who Adelaide loves very much, she has an infectious laugh. It could be from spending time with Kellie, who has such a great sense of humor, and wouldn’t have to teach Adelaide the ropes…she could just be herself, and Adelaide would learn the ropes from that. Every day is a learning experience for Adelaide. She has parents, Jason and Jessi Sawdon, who are both very smart, and enjoy teaching their daughter things. Everything from school work to silliness, because they both have a great sense of humor too. Adelaide loves to do silly things, but she loves to dance too…especially if it involves twirling around in her favorite…a full skirt. Of course, I don’t know of any little girls who don’t like to twirl on the dance floor.

Adelaide has great cousin-friends too, Ethan and Aurora, who are both great friends to her, and then she also has Mackenzie, who lives in Laramie, but this year will get to visit quite a bit. Mackenzie and Adelaide are close in age…just a year apart, and so they share the same interests. Adelaide has her cousins in Michigan too, with whom she got to go camping this summer. She was very excited about seeing her cousins. They camped by Lake Michigan, with a beautiful view of the Mackinac Bridge. I’m sure the grownups really enjoyed the view while relaxing at the campground, but my guess is that Miss Adelaide only cared about spending time playing with her cousins. Of course, what child doesn’t love to go swimming or playing in the water. None that I know of. I’m sure that Adelaide and her cousins had an absolutely wonderful time camping in Michigan. Today is Adelaide’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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