brother-in-law

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My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is becoming quite the rancher. A few years back, Mike and my sister, Caryl bought a ranch west of Casper, and started fixing it up. It was…a process, to say the least. The ranch had been a sheep ranch, and had a huge complex that was used for birthing lambs. Since Mike and Caryl were not going to raise sheep, and because of the disrepair of the complex, they had to be demolished and removed. Since that difficult job, Mike and Caryl have been working very hard to get their ranch ready for their future retirement plans. They are boarding horses, and they have a ranch hand who lives on the ranch and takes care of things, since they are currently still living in Rawlins, and coming to Casper for the weekends. The have been building a house and a barn, and this weekend, they are putting together side roll wheels for irrigation, as they continue to get ready for the hay field they are planning to plant. They are becoming real ranchers, in every way. It is one among several of the new chapters in their lives.

Recently, they decided to buy a Trike, and they have found that they really enjoy their outings. They joined with some friends, including Mike’s brother, Shawn and his wife Tia for a 300 mile poker run from Saratoga, Wyoming through the Snowy Mountains, into Laramie, Wyoming, then back to Saratoga via Walden, Colorado and Riverside, Wyoming. They had a really great time. In fact they had so much fun that they have made plans over Labor Day to take a trip up to Red Lodge, Montana.

Mike is a avid hunter, and he has made several trips to hunt, including Canada, Alaska, and Africa. Mike is getting ready to take another hunting trip to Alaska in September with his good friend, Scott Penman, to hunt Alaskan Moose. This trip will be what is called a drop hunt, which means that the plane lets them off at a camp spot and then leaves them there on their own. Then it comes back for them later. Mike is pretty excited about this hunt, and according to my sister, he’s been gathering everything together for months!! I don’t know, maybe he’s a little excited!! I’m sure the guys will have a great time, and I hope their hunt is successful. These kinds of trips really get Mike’s adrenalin going. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

After his mother, Ramona Hadlock passed away, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock and my sister, Allyn Hadlock inherited his parents’ place on the North Platte River east of Casper. Chris always loved his childhood home, and he can’t wait to move back there. Chris’ parents bought their place in 1973, put a mobile home on the land, and the rest is history…family history, that is. For the most part, Chris and his younger brother, Doug were the children still at home. They loved country living. In the winter, the river and the creek on their property froze, and while they didn’t ride bicycles on the river, they did on the frozen creek. They also took turns pulling each other behind a bicycle on the frozen creek. Chris often talks about his life there and his thoughts are filled with the Christmas barbecues and summertime picnics in the back yard which sits right on the river. Those were happy days when both his parents were still alive, and the time he spent learning things from them.

Chris and Allyn have been busily tearing out anything useful in the old mobile home that his parents lived in, because they plan to sell their home in Casper to their son, Ryan and daughter-in-law, Chelsea and their family. With the proceeds of the sale, they will build their new home on the river, in the place they love to be. It was in this back yard that their rehearsal dinner was held the night before their wedding…37 years ago. And this is the land where so many other family gatherings have been held. It’s no wonder it holds such a big place in Chris’ heart. I’m sure that when he is there, he can almost visualize his parents all around him. I know that because it is the way I feel when I am in my parents home, which is now where my sister, Cheryl Masterson lives. Being able to go back to your childhood home is such a blessing, and I know that is how Chris feels too. The tearing down of the house was something they could not bear to watch in person, because it was Chris’ childhood home, and it felt so final to tear it down, but now that it is gone, they have been able to move forward with the plans for the new house, the construction of which is scheduled to begin soon.

These days Chris talks about the new memories they will make at his childhood home, because while the house is gone, and a new one will soon take it’s place, and his parents’ echo still remains all over the land. That will always be with him. He plans to continue many of the traditions of his parents, and of course they will start many new traditions with their own family, and with the families of their combined siblings too. The place is beautiful and quite big, so it can accommodate lots of people, and at the back fence, you can sit and view the lazy river going by. There are wild turkeys and lots of other birds, and of course, the fresh air and wide open spaces. I know that as Chris and Allyn live on the land, it will grow into a wonderful place where they will want to spend the rest of their lives…other than their place on the mountain, of course. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Every child deserves to have two good parents. I know, in a perfect world, every child will get that set of good parents, but unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. When my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg met his future wife, Rachel Franklin, she had a grown daughter and two sons, the youngest, Tucker was not yet 3 years old. Ron never had any children of his own. Unfortunately, Tucker’s dad was never able to really be a dad to him. He had his own issues and therefore, never really had time for Tucker.

Ron and Rachel were married on June 12, 2010, and while Rachel’s daughter, Cassie was married a week before Ron and Rachel, the two boys, Riley and Tucker would be living with Ron and Rachel. Riley had a relationship, such as it was, with his dad, and that continued to a degree. Still, Tucker did not have that. His dad couldn’t or wouldn’t really be there for him. Enter Tucker’s step-dad, Ron. Tucker and Ron did everything together. Ron was the role model Tucker needed, and the dad he had always wanted. They were inseparable, and before long a realization began to take shape in Tucker’s mind. Ron was his dad!! He didn’t want Ron to be just his step-dad. He wanted him to be his real dad!! So, Tucker asked if that could happen…if Ron would adopt him. Ron was so pleased, because that was what he wanted too.

There were road blocks to overcome, because Tucker’s dad was still around…somewhere. There was also the roadblock of getting him to terminate his rights legally, because he had already terminated his relationship in every way, but legally. We prayed for this to be taken care of, knowing that the only way it would be done was with God’s help. It all came together one day, when Rachel found out that her ex-husband was in Casper, and really needed a way to get back home. She headed down to the mission, but saw him waiting for a bus. She stopped and asked him to sign the papers. She would then buy him a ticket out of town, and he would be free of the child support that he wasn’t paying anyway. He took the deal, and they went straight to the court house. Ron signed paperwork stating that he wanted to adopt Tucker, and Tucker’s dad signed paperwork terminating his rights. Rachel signed paperwork agreeing to the transfer of parental rights from her ex-husband to Ron. Even Tucker got to sign paperwork stating his desire to be Ron’s son. That was the beginning of a wonderful journey. Today, after a court hearing, that journey has come to an end, and a new journey begins. Today, Tucker is Ron’s legal son. Today Tucker is no longer the old Tucker, his legal name is Tucker William Schulenberg!! It’s a dream come true for him and his parents, Ron and Rachel Schulenberg. Tucker is right where he belongs. Tucker is Ron’s first child, and it’s a boy!! Congratulations to all three of you. Tucker, you are now a Schulenberg, and we are all very happy!!

My brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, like all of the Schulenberg men I know, is a workaholic. If he isn’t at his job, he is working on something in his garage, or around the house. I’m fairly convinced that the Schulenberg men do not consider mechanic work to be work…no matter how hard it is and no matter how dirty and greasy they get. I guess it’s the same as I feel about writing or genealogy…they are intriguing and interesting, so they aren’t work. While the Schulenberg men would most likely find writing and genealogy boring, they do not consider tinkering around on a car boring at all. I guess we all have our own ideas.

Ron also loves to go camping in the summer, which is one reason why he, like many people can’t wait for summer and the warmer weather. Even if you like winter, which I don’t think most people do, there comes a point in the long winter season, when everyone looks forward to summer and being able to get outside and do things. Ron has liked camping since he was a little kid, and he has never outgrown it, so he, his wife, Rachel and their son Tucker try to go just about every other weekend of the summer. They also like to travel. and took a trip to New York a couple of years back. Their boys, Riley and Tucker had a great time. It was a great trip.

Ron and his son, Tucker do lots of things together. Tucker loves to help his dad with whatever he is doing. It’s always nice to have a son who wants to learn from you, and that makes Ron’s relationship with Tucker very special. After their son Riley moved out, I think Ron and Tucker got even closer. Tucker missed his brother, but his dad is truly his hero. Ron is always there for Tucker. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When I asked my sister, Caryl Reed to get me some “dirt” on her husband, Mike for his birthday story, she laughed and said it would have to be ranch dirt. Of course, I knew exactly what she meant, because there really isn’t much “dirt” to get on Mike, who is very busy being a supervisor at the Sinclair Oil Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming, during the week; and working on their retirement ranch outside Casper, Wyoming on the weekends. Working on the ranch isn’t Mike’s only pastime, however. He like to golf, and he and Caryl took a recent trip to salt Lake City to golf on a really nice course there. It was a much needed vacation, because they haven’t taken many vacations lately that didn’t involve work on their ranch…not that either of them were sorry about that really.

Mike enjoys his golfing, and hunting too, and has taken several trips to go hunting, including Africa, Canada, and Alaska. He had a great time on all those trips, and the meat from those he got to bring home was used for a number of things, including jerky for the family. The meat from the Africa trip was not allowed to be shipped home, but rather was given to the surrounding villages, where it fed a good many people. Mike was allowed to have some of it and said it was really good too. While golf, hunting, fishing, and other sports are a big part of Mike’s life, Caryl thinks that the ranch may have just topped them in the priority line. He wants to have everything ready for their retirement, when they will move to the ranch, in less than five years. Being an entrepreneur, Mike has decided to plant hay on the ranch to use as an income source. It isn’t an unusual idea for Mike, who was the one that suggested that they buy apartments buildings for extra income. Caryl has been very pleased with his wise financial decisions for their family, and trusts his instincts completely.

Now that they are having their house built on the land, Mike can hardly stand to be away from the construction site. He put cameras up so he could watch the building of their house from their current home in Rawlins. Their vacations are all about working on the ranch. They’ve started to get to know many of their neighbors, and have many new friends. They all look out for each other, and of course we’re all there for each other. Mike is very well liked out there, as is Caryl. Their retirement plans are shaping up quite nicely. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

About 47 years ago, while on a family vacation to California, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg decided that he wanted to stay in California, and when asked what they should do about his older brother, Bob, Ron said,”just send for him in the mail.” Unfortunately, Ron was a little late in history for his cool little idea. You see, while the mailing of children was a practice between 1913 and 1920, Ron was living in the year 1971. Nevertheless, while Ron’s idea was workable, he cannot be credited with the original idea.

When the Post Office’s Parcel Post service officially began on January 1, 1913, the new service suddenly allowed millions of Americans access to all kinds of goods and services. That was a great thing, but as is often the case, it almost immediately had some unintended consequences. Believe it or not, some parents decided to send their children through the mail. Just a few weeks after Parcel Post began, an Ohio couple named Jesse and Mathilda Beagle “mailed” their 8-month-old son James to his grandmother, who lived just a few miles away in Batavia. It seems that Baby James was just under the 11-pound weight limit for packages sent via Parcel Post, and his “delivery” cost his parents only 15 cents in postage. Of course, being the “responsible parents” they were, they did insure him for $50. As you can imagine, this “delivery” made the newspapers very quickly. While you might have thought about the outrage that would have come from such an action these days, it did not. In fact, for the next several years, similar stories would occasionally surface as other parents followed suit. One famous case, on February 19, 1914, was that of a four year old girl named Charlotte May Pierstorff was “mailed” via train from her home in Grangeville, Idaho to her grandparents’ house about 73 miles away. Nancy Pope, who wrote for the National Postal Museum wrote the story, which became so legendary, that it was even made into a children’s book, Mailing May. Luckily, little May wasn’t unceremoniously shoved into a canvas sack along with the other packages. As it turns out, she was accompanied on her trip by her mother’s cousin, who worked as a clerk for the railway mail service, according to United States Postal Service historian Jenny Lynch. It’s likely that his influence (and his willingness to chaperone his young cousin) is what convinced local officials to send the little girl along with the mail.

In the next few years, stories about children being mailed through rural routes would crop up from time to time as people pushed the limits of what could be sent through Parcel Post. The reason being that postage was cheaper than a train ticket. One of the most overlooked, yet most significant innovations of the early 20th century might be the Post Office’s decision to start shipping large parcels and packages through the mail. While private delivery companies flourished during the 19th century, the Parcel Post dramatically expanded the reach of mail-order companies to America’s many rural communities, as well as the demand for their products. Over the years, these stories continued to surface from time to time as parents occasionally managed to slip their children through the mail thanks to rural workers willing to let it slide. Finally, on June 14, 1913, several newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times all ran stories stating the the postmaster had officially decreed that children could no longer be sent through the mail. But while this announcement seems to have stemmed the trickle of tots traveling via post, Lynch says the story wasn’t entirely accurate. Soon, it became obvious that this bizarre practice had to be stopped, and on June 13, 1920, notice was given that the Post Office would no longer let children be sent through the mail. While child mailing stopped, there was a time when “Mail carriers were trusted servants, and that goes to prove it. There are stories of rural carriers delivering babies and taking care of the sick. Even now, they’ll save lives because they’re sometimes the only persons that visit a remote household every day.” Still, I don’t think I would mail my child somewhere. Thankfully, there are more travel options for children these days than pinning some postage to their shirts and sending them off with the mailman.

Sometimes, you think you know something about a person, and then you find out how little you knew. I have always known that my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens was a big sports fan. He likes pretty much any sport, and is good at some of them too. He likes hunting and fishing, and camping with his family. These are all things I knew about my bother-in-law, but that is not all there is to Mike Stevens.

Mike likes to garden and takes great pride in his yard looking the best in the neighborhood. Now a lot of guys want their yard to look the best in the neighborhood, but few of them care about the garden, produce or flowers. He plants, tomatoes, peppers and after his son, Garrett moved to Sheridan last summer, and left him with zucchini and cucumber plants, Mike has taken on both of those too. When Garrett had to move he left the plants that he had planted in buckets with his parents, who tended to them the rest of the summer. Some of them made it and some did not. Nevertheless, when Mike had to plant the zucchini in the ground because it got too big for the buckets, Garrett’s plants found themselves adopted. Now, Mike is gearing up to start planting his garden again this year.

There has been one minor hiccup in the whole process, however, because Mike has had some unwanted visitor’s, in the form of a family of rabbits, in the back yard, that he thinks might decide that that his precious vegetables would make an ideal lunch. So…Mike has become an Elmer Fudd like stalker with his Red Rider BB gun. Every day he get’s his BB gun out and tip toes to the door of the back yard. He get’s his aim and inevitably the “Wascally Wabbit” will hear him and scamper away. I guess Mike and Elmer both have about the same luck with those wabbits. As long as the gun doesn’t blow up on Mike, like it does on Elmer…I guess. That doesn’t make either Mike or Elmer feel better, I’m sure. I know this much, winning against the rabbits is a tough job, and even with screens and fences, those darned rabbits will dig. I guess that the BB gun is his only hope. Today is Mikes birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Sometimes, a business starts up and then can’t make a go of it. Whatever the reason, things just don’t work out. Such was the case with a 1690 newspaper called Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick. This newspaper was published for the first and last time on September 25, 1690, making it the shortest business on record.

It would seem like such a business venture wouldn’t hold a very significant place in history, but it did have one distinction that gave it an important place. It was the first multi-page newspaper published in the Americas. Before then, single-page newspapers, called broadsides, were published in the English colonies and printed in Cambridge in 1689. The first edition of Publick Occurrences was published in Boston, then a city in the Dominion of New England, and was intended to be published monthly, “or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener.” It was printed by American Richard Pierce of Boston, and it was edited by Benjamin Harris, who had previously published a newspaper in London. The paper contained four 6 by 10 inch pages, but filled only three of them…not bad for a new newspaper.

The second edition was never printed because the paper was shut down by the Colonial government on September 29, 1690, who issued an order as follows: “Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, September 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons for the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same.”

Of course, in those days, we were not an independent nation, and the Constitution did not exist. Freedom of the press…or any of the other freedoms that our soldiers and our nation have fought to give us, didn’t exist either. England was the ruler and the law, and we had to obey…for a time. Soon enough, change would come, as would freedom, and every kind of newspaper and other types of information sources imaginable.

No parent is really ready for their child to start dating. You expect that there will be a long line of possible spouses that come through the doors of your home. You somehow never expect the first person they date, to become a fixture in your life, and most of the time you would be right, but when our daughter, Corrie Petersen met her now husband, Kevin Petersen, it was love at first sight. She never had any doubt that this was a forever kind of love, but Kevin became so much more to our family. Looking back, I still find myself just amazed at how Kevin seemed to instantly “fit” into our family. In fact, he fit so well, that he became like a son to Bob and me too, and since it has been almost 25 years now, I guess my 15 year old daughter knew love when she found it.

Kevin told me once that my younger daughter, Amy Royce was the little sister he never had. Kevin showed me just how much he loved both of my girls, when he would come to pick them up for school almost everyday until Corrie got her license…she was after all, 15 years old when they started dating, so she couldn’t drive. He never made Amy ride the bus. She was included too, because she was his little sister. I still see that with Kevin, in the way he teases Amy, or comments on her Facebook page, or just when they are talking. Kevin has been her brother longer that she ever lived without him in her life. That really makes him more her brother, than her brother-in-law. I couldn’t have asked for a better “brother” for Amy either. They are very close, and that is a blessing for both of them. They each became the sibling the other was missing, not because they didn’t have a sibling of their own, because they did, but Kevin didn’t have a sister, and Amy didn’t have a brother.

Kevin has had some health struggles over the past few years, and that has made it difficult for him to do the projects that he loves, whether it be cars or around the house. Still, he doesn’t give up. He may have to rest more often than he used to, but he just takes it one step at a time, and soon the project is done. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Kevin and Corrie have two sons, Chris and Josh, who can come to help their dad with some of the things he needs help with. It not only gets the project done, but allows Kevin, and Corrie too, to see their very busy boys, who now have a place of their own. Kevin is such a family man, it really blesses him when the boys are willing to come and help him, even if he wishes he didn’t need help. Sometimes though, we all have to accept a little help from those around us, whether we like it or not. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When a man retires, life slows down, and he begins to take it easy. Ok, let get real. he majority of men retire and have dozens of “honey-do’s” to get done, and not only for their wives. Somehow the “daddy-do’s” are just as big a part of life now…not that Daddy would want it any other way. After all, at least for my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook, his girls, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith are his princesses, and what they want or need, he will try to get it for them. And of course, now that he is retired, he has lots more time to spend with his grandchildren, Weston and Easton Moore, Jala Satterwhite, and Kaytlyn Griffith too.

Over the past month, Lynn has found himself in the middle of a daddy-do at his daughter, Machelle’s house. For quite some time, Machelle and her husband, Steve had to shovel the snow off of the grass, because there was no sidewalk. Anyone who has done that, knows that it can be a pain in the neck, but you don’t want to wade through the snow ether, so you shovel the grass. Recently, Machelle and Steve decided that the time had come to put in a sidewalk and a patio. Thankfully, they were able to call on Lynn to help with the work…and it does help to know people, who know people. Lynn was able to find a dump trailer and skid steer, and then he worked on digging everything out while Machelle and Steve were working during the day. It was a wonderful help to them!! They all worked together, digging some areas by hand and others by machine. Finally they were ready to pour the cement, and when it was all done, it looked amazing. Machelle and Steve couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Of course, when Lynn isn’t doing his daddy-do’s, he and my sister-in-law, Debbie, his wife of 43 years, love to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains. They will head up the mountain, and stay there two weeks of so, just hanging out, enjoying the quiet peacefulness, and the crisp mountain air. It s a retreat they both love very much. When they aren’t camping, Lynn has been fixing things up around their house…just to keep busy, and enjoying his retirement by spending time with his family. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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