When I think of a loved one passing, my first thought is…how can it be that life continues on for most of us, but for them, life hit a roadblock. It just seems so strange. Knowing that my father-in-law, who was my second dad, has been in Heaven for nine long years. Of course, he wasn’t the first of my parents to leave, that was my own dad, Al Spencer who left us in 2007. Nor would he be the last parent, because that would be my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg. Nevertheless, with each passing, comes that strange feeling that something is amiss in the time continuum of life. One life doesn’t go forward, while all the others do.
My father-in-law was a good man…a gentle man. He loved his family very much and wanted each of them to be ok when he was gone…but he was tired. I knew it the night before he left us, I even asked him if he was quitting me. He told me that he didn’t know. That told me he did know…and he was quitting me. We had fought so hard for his health, and I hated to see him give up, but…he was so tired. He was gone the next day, and I was not surprised when I got the call. And just like that…a phone call told me that he was gone, and once again I felt like another loved on had hit that roadblock in time, and the rest of us would have to go on without him.
My father-in-law worked hard all his life, in several lines of work. He was a man who was loyal and could always be counted on to get the job done. Not every worker can have that said of him. He was honored with years of service awards, and other awards. One of his favorite jobs, and certainly the most fun was when he drove the bus for the Casper College Thunderbirds. He got to travel to place in the country that he had never been before…and he was loved by all of them.
My father-in-law was such a blessing to me. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. Having in-laws who are loving, and totally accept you as their own, is the best gift anyone can receive. And my father-in-law was a gift…a wonderful gift, and I will be forever grateful for that gift from God. My father-in-law went to Heaven nine years ago today. We miss him every day. We love you, Dad.
As we grow to adulthood, our life experiences shape the people we become, and one of the biggest life experiences we have is the relationship with our parents. Whether we realize it or not, we are commonly more like one parent than the other, and we can relate to one parent easier than the other. It doesn’t mean that we love one more than the other, just that we have more in common with one than with the other. That doesn’t even determine how well we get along with that parent that we are most alike. Some people can be exactly like on parent, and yet they fight with that parent quite a bit, or sometimes they just get along perfectly with that parent that they are most alike. My sisters and I got along very well with our parents, but as kids, we all had our moments…or was it years. My parents might say it was years. Nevertheless, I can tell you which of us was more like Mom and which of us was more like Dad.
Talking to my niece, Lacey Stevens, I find that my sister, Alena Stevens was a lot like our mom, is a way that had really never occurred to me before. Lacey tells me that her mom, reminds her a lot of her grandma, my mom, Collene Spencer, as she gets older. Our mom has always been a rock collector. It was something her dad, my grandpa, George Byer loved to do, and something he instilled in his kids by taking them on many rock hunting trips. Mom continued to look for pretty rocks for the rest of her life. I’m not sure why it surprised me to find out that Alena loves to find pretty rocks too. She has a prized collection of the rocks she has found, and she wants to keep them all. Mom was that way. She had a rock garden, and if one of the rocks was moved, she knew it. Each rock had its proper place. If one of the grandchildren took one of the rocks to play with, Mom knew it. I don’t know if Alena is that way too, but I suspect that she is, because a true rock collector knows her collection, and where each on belongs in the display.
Another way that Alena is like our mom…one that Lacey finds funny, is that Alena is always getting on her kids about coming over to visit more often. I think that is a trait all my sisters and I have in common with our parents. Our families are very important to us, and we will tell them to come by more often and call more often…basically keep in touch with us better. We didn’t have kids so they could go off and we never hear from them. So while Lacey finds that funny, I find it very normal, as I’m sure my sister, Alena does. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My sister, Allyn and I were texting the other day. She used the slang comment…for real. I understood exactly what she was talking about, thereby aging both of us as children of the 70’s. It’s something that happens to everyone no matter how young or how old. Each generation has it’s own slang, and the other generations might, or more like probably, will not understand it. And even if they do, they would probably laugh at you for using such old fashioned slang!!
There is also, another type of slang that can place you in a certain group, and I suppose it can be just as funny. Again, in the 70’s and early 80’s, a lot of people had CB radios. I suppose it was the cell phone of that era, since no one had even heard of cell phones back then. Most CBers had a base unit at home, and smaller units in the cars. It was a great way for family members to keep in touch, let parents know they were running late for curfew, had car trouble, or were on their way home for supper. It left little excuses for kids to say, “I had no way of letting you know!” The kids might not have liked it, but it worked.
Not everyone had a CB radio, of course, but my husband, Bob’s family had several truckers or ex-truckers in it, so it was considered the normal for us. If you have ever had a CB radio, you would know that everyone had a handle…the name they used so people knew who they were talking to. My father-in-law was the Wrenchbender, my mother-in-law was the Lady Wrenchbender. My brother-in-law, Lynn was the Sparrow, my sister-in-law, Debbie was Lady Bird. Bob was the Slingshot, I was the Lady Slingshot. My sister-in-law, Jennifer was the Patchwork Girl, my sister-in-law Brenda was Slipstitch, and my brother-in-law, Ron was Grape Ape, and my sister-in-law, Marlyce was…well, her handle has escaped all of us, and is now driving us crazy, trying to think of it, but she did have one. Even our girls had a handle…although they never used the CB…Corrie was Little Slingshot and Amy was Tiny Slingshot. It was a lot to remember, but just like your friends’ names, you did it.
And then there was the CB jargon. Things like Smokey, Hammer Down, Bubblegum Machine, Go Juice, Choke and Puke, Negatory…Cop, go really fast, patrol car, drink, roadside diner, and no, respectively, and all of which you may have heard, if you have ever watched “Smokey and the Bandit” before. These were common terms…but, only if you used a CB radio…or saw the movie. Of course, there were many others too, and I could go on and on, but you would undoubtedly get bored with that.
These are all terms that I haven’t used for a very, very long time. Nevertheless, the other morning when I was on my way to pick up my daughter, Amy for work, since her son, Caalab has her car while his is being repaired. I called her to let her know I was on my way. As I was ending the call, I found myself saying…out of the blue and for no reason I could think of…”I’ll see you in a short“, which is CB slang for a minute or so. I haven’t said that in so long, and Amy obviously missed the comment, because she didn’t say a word, but it sure brought back memories for me.