As each birthday comes and goes, I am amazed that our grandpa, Walt Hein could have been in Heaven as long as he has. Grandpa was born on May 29, 1906, which means that this is the 117th anniversary of his birth. I so enjoyed spending time with this man on our many trips to Forsyth, Montana over the years. He was so funny and was a ruthless card player. He wasn’t mean…just determined to win. That was similar to my own card playing style, so we invariably played as partners. That left the other two players, one of whom was my husband, Bob and the other who was most often grandma, Vina Hein, to play as partners, and most often lose. Grandma and Bob didn’t really care. They knew that for Grandpa, the win was a big deal, and for them, since it didn’t really matter so much, they decided that it was all in fun anyway.
Our trips weren’t just about cards, however. There were many things to do on the ranch, and sometimes the men would go out and take care of the animals, or sometimes, Grandpa would bring our girls out to the corral and lead them around of one of the horses. They had a blast riding the horses. We lived in the country, but in a much more urban kind of country area…or at least because it was subdivided, the places were smaller, and we didn’t think that our five acres could handle horses and the two cows that we raised. We felt like the beef was more important than riding horses. We also didn’t have chickens, so being around Grandma and Grandpa’s chickens was a fun experience for the. I’m not sure what the chickens thought about it, when my girls began chasing them the first time, but I know they didn’t hate that, because they would often stop and look back to see if the girls were still coming, and when they saw that they were, the chickens were off again. I think they got a kick out of it. Grandpa also had a bathtub in the yard…long before that was a thing. When the summer days got hot, Grandpa would fill that tub with water, and the girls got to go “swimming” in that tub. They had a great time, and all of these things really endeared Grandpa to them. It was that Grandpa’s heart. They were always ready to go to Forsyth to visit the family.
When I think about the fact that, if he were still alive, Grandpa would have been 117 years old, I am rather stunned. It’s so strange to think that I could have known someone who is now 117 years old. I shouldn’t be surprised, because that statement applies to all of my grandparents, and one would have been even older…one 144 years old. I suppose that as we grow older, having known people from our childhood, it will become more common to know people who are almost 200 years old. Nevertheless, it will probably never cease to amaze me. Today is the 117th anniversary of Grandpa Walt Hein’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love and miss you very much.
In the days before running water in homes, people had to go to river to bath, or bring water into the house from the river, creek, or well, and heat it on the stove so the family could bathe. Since families were usually large, the whole process took time, and heating water over and over again was not really feasible. What that meant was that the family pretty much all bathed in the same bath water. For the last guy, that had to be…well, disgusting, but that was the way it was done back in the old west, and even in more recent times when there was no running water in homes. For the little kids, however, I seriously doubt if it mattered. Getting wet was getting wet, and it really just didn’t matter what the water looked like…at least to the little boys. Girls might have felt differently. I think I would have.
Personally, if I had a river or creek available, I think I would use that…in the summer anyway. Then again, there is very little privacy in a river or creek…and you can’t exactly put up a curtain around a river. I can’t really imagine how they lived that way exactly. I guess in that way I’m a modern girl, and don’t try to take my shower away from me. Maybe that’s why Bob and I don’t go camping…no running water, or if there is, it’s very inconvenient. As I have said before, I love hiking and being outdoors, but I like the modern conveniences of a hotel room afterward.
Of course, when homes got running water, bathing in an old tin bath tub went the way of all things old west. Nevertheless, for babies…it doesn’t matter if they are bathing or just playing in a bucket, pan, or clothes basket. Kids just like to play in them. I don’t think there is anything so amazing about that, like a throwback to the old west days of bathing in a barrel, but rather that kids just like finding different places to play. Things like an old box, barrel, or clothes basket are perfect. In that way, they remind me of cats. If you have ever watched a cat, you will find that they see a space, and if it looks fairly close to a good fit, in they dive. Babies tend to be that way too…but, the thing that is the funniest about that is when the baby tries to fit into a box that is seriously too small. Nevertheless, it’s a baby or cat thing.