My nephew, Eric Parmely is a busy man. He is husband to his wife, Ashley, and daddy to his three kids, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen. A while back, Eric and Ashley bought a piece of land west of town, and while they have always been farmers and always had their animals, now have more room to grow their farm and add the animals they want. The kids love having all the space they have at their new place, and they love taking care of their animals. Eric and Ashley stay busy keeping the farm running, and taking the kids to their various activities. If you ask them, they will tell you they are simply living the dream. They really never have wanted anything else but the dream life in the country, surrounded by their kids and a boatload of animals. Now, I’ll grant you that living in the country is peaceful, but having lived there myself, I can’t say that I miss the muddy dirt roads and the long drives to town. It’s just that extra inconvenience that I don’t like much, and I think maybe their dogs agree…at least where the mud is concerned. Odd really, when you consider that most dogs couldn’t care less about mud. Nevertheless, these dogs seem to have a bit of an aversion to it…which strikes me as rather funny.

Eric and Ashley especially love the peaceful days in the country, because lets face it, if you don’t have to go to town, it is really peaceful. They get to enjoy the wildlife, such as sage grouse, deer, and antelope, and they thoroughly enjoy the many visitors to their farm. Lots of birds hang out there, and the lack of traffic noise is nice too. For me, the winter would be the worst, but then I don’t like winter anywhere, so I guess it doesn’t matter. On the farm, and this is one of the things they like most about farm life…you have to go outside everyday, and actually be outside. you can’t take care of the animals from the house. The family has learned to love all kinds of weather, including snow. Eric and Ashley actually have to bribe their kids to come into the house at night. Absolutely amazing!!

Eric, like all of the men in the Schulenberg family, loves to work on cars. If mechanics can possibly be in the blood, that is where it is in these guys. In fact, one might wonder if they don’t have oil in their veins, instead of blood. You never have to wonder where they are, because if they aren’t working on a vehicle, they are at the parts house getting parts for a vehicle. Of course, the great thing about having a mechanic in the family is the lack of vehicle maintenance expense. Mechanic work can get really expensive, and if you have a mechanic in your life, you don’t have to pay someone else to do the work. A great savings for sure, and that is a great blessing…as the women in the Schulenberg family will tell you. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With Great Grandpa SchulenbergWhen something happens to a child that leaves them missing one limb, it seems like they have a tendency to meet that adversity with a strength and determination that many adults simply don’t. It’s not that the adults couldn’t, but rather that as we get older, sometimes we tend to feel sorry for ourselves instead of making up our mind not to let this become a stumbling block for us.

Since I have been conversing with my husband, Bob’s Uncle Butch Schulenberg, my thoughts have often gone back to his dad, Bob’s grandfather, Andrew Schulenberg. I did not know Grandpa Andy until my children were five and six years old, but when I met him, I liked him immediately. He had been the sheriff in Forsyth for many years, and if you had the Schulenberg name, they knew who you belonged to there. The people of Forsyth really liked him. I was very thankful that we had the chance to meet him. It was a visit that I have never forgotten, and have always been thankful to have had.

At first, I wondered if he had lost his leg later in life, because I couldn’t imagine a sheriff with a wooden peg for a leg. Of course, I was wrong, because he lost his leg as a young boy of just fifteen years. He had gone antelope hunting with his friend, Harold Stewart, when his gun accidentally discharged, sending a bullet through his leg. It was a cold October morning in 1921, and medicine not being what it is today, the leg just couldn’t heal. Andy spend 23 months and 11 days in the hospital. Try as they might to save the leg, it simply was not to be. The leg was amputated in June of 1922, eight months after the accident. It was a devastating thing for a teenaged boy, but young Andy determined not to let it stop him.

For Andy, time stood still to a large degree, as it always does when you are in the hospital. I cannot imagine spending almost two years in the hospital, even if a large part of it would be in pain, or so out of it that you barely noticed. I also can’t imagine how it must have been for his parents, who were having to deal with not only the loss of the much needed help of their eldest child, but also with the rest of the family, which was scan0103 (3)continuing to grow. Andy missed the birth of his little sister, Bertha, who was born in December 1921, just two months after the accident. That must have been so hard for him and his parents.

Nevertheless, Andy didn’t let the loss of his leg defeat him. I’m sure it took a long time to figure everything out, but he did, and in the end, became a successful man. When you think about it, people lose limbs in many ways, and it isn’t about the limb in the end, but rather about the constitution of the man or woman that determines the success or failure of the rest of their life. Andy was the kind of man who was made of plenty of determination, and that made all the difference.

SuccessTonight was our second night of bowling, and as is normal for this time of year, there were a number of people who weren’t there. I guess bowling just can’t hold a candle to the hunt. Of course, lots of people love to hunt, but it always sticks in my mind that it is men for the most part. I remember as a little kid, that my parents both went hunting, and there was an antelope bust mounted and hung in our living room for all of my childhood. In fact, I’ll bet it is still up in my mom’s attic…somewhere. We got to go hunting with them on time as little kids. I don’t remember much about it, except that it was cold and boring. I guess that must just be because I was seeing the whole thing through the eyes of a little girl. After that we stayed with grandma while they went hunting, and that was usually a better option…unless I managed to get myself in trouble…never a good thing with my grandma.

Hunting has been a tradition in many families since time began I suppose. Of course the main purpose is to provide food for the family, but there is more to it than that. For many men, it is a time shared with the guys they hang out with, while their wives stay home. And while the guys are hanging out in the woods for a week, believe me, the wives are not at home pining away. They are having some nice me time at home and with their friends. Oh, I know that doesn’t apply to every woman, because I know several that like to go hunting.

One girl I know who would like to go hunting is my niece Jenny. She and her family love to go out and shoot their guns, and recently her oldest son, Xander passed his hunter safety course, so this would be the first time he would actually get to hunt. They were all looking forward to the trip, when Xander told his mom that he doesn’t want her to go hunting with them this time, because it is a boys trip. Whether she is a hunter or not, on this hunt, being a girl is apparently very uncool.

When your kids start driving, most parents are a nervous wreck. You try to tell them about all the possible scenarios and hope they will listen to you enough to stay safe. Most of the time, the kids think you are a total nag, and they wish you would just realize that they know what they are doing…duh!! Nevertheless, as parents, we know that they only think they know all about it. They will someday realize…probably about the time they are teaching their first child to drive…just how they sounded, not to mention, just how little kids know about driving when they first start out.

We lived out in the country when our girls started driving, and that compounded the problems substantially. You add icy roads that are not salted with the chemicals they use in town to melt the ice, and the deer and antelope that roam our area and like the roadway because the food supply is easier to get to there, and you have what could be a recipe for disaster if the drivers don’t stay alert and don’t know what to do in certain situations. During the time we lived out there, there were several rollover accidents, and at least one death because the driver swerved to miss the antelope.

That said, Bob was diligent about telling the girls what to do in those situations. I’m quite sure they secretly rolled their eyes at what they believed to be their over-protective dad. Still he kept on nagging them…drumming it into their heads. I’m sure they thought he was using a hammer sometimes, but one night, all his nagging paid off. Amy was on her way home from town after babysitting, and as she was driving along, an antelope ran out in front of her. Her first instinct was to swerve, and she says she even tightened her hands on the wheel in readiness for that move, but then, her dad’s words came back to her, and she thought, “No…Dad said don’t swerve!!” She slowed way down, and the antelope did hit her car, but he left no damage except a small dent, and she drove home relieved that she hadn’t rolled her car or worse. Her dad’s nagging had probably saved her life.

Bob and I moved from Mills, to Homa Hills in the late 70’s, and then east, to the other side of town, past Evansville to a place in the country in 1980, and lived there until January, 1995. The area we lived in saw lots of antelope, which for those of you who aren’t familiar, are nowhere nearly as beautiful as deer, and are quite stupid, but that’s just my opinion. Deer, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as skittish as antelope, and we wanted to have deer hanging around our place, but it just never happened. I was always sorry, because I thought living in the country just came with deer.

In January of 1995, we sold our place in the country and moved to town. I knew that many things would change in our lives. Our girls were grown, our oldest daughter married, and our youngest daughter planning her wedding. Soon grandchildren would follow our initiation into the empty nester’s world. Our lives had taken a big turn, and nothing was going to be the same again.

We moved into our new home in January, so at first we didn’t see anything that would surprise us. Then spring and summer came, and we got a big surprise. Suddenly, the deer began to show up. It was always a surprise visit. There was no way to expect it. Some mornings we would wake up to up to 6 deer in the back yard. Sometimes, we would come home and as we left our detached garage to go into the house, we would step into our yard to find a deer or two standing across the yard from us.

They are never afraid. They are often curious about us. They let us move around our yard, as long as we don’t get too awfully close, but that is much closer than you might think. The deer are such a blessing. They wander in and out of our lives and our days, always bringing a feeling of beauty and awe along with them. They are graceful and quiet, and they make you want to hold your breath so that maybe, just maybe the moment might not pass so quickly and the deer in my back yard might stay just a few minutes longer.

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