My niece, Jenny Masterson is a woman of many talents. As many people know, she is a natural-born hostess. She loves to entertain. That is a rare talent. Most of us get stressed out when we have to host holidays, birthdays, or parties. It’s not that we don’t enjoy having the party, but rather that some of us are great at it and others of us simply throw it together. In reality, many of us would much rather have Jenny plan and execute the party and let us take the credit for it. Jenny is a natural, and her parties are fun. Jenny’s favorite parties are the holidays with family. That stands to reason, because Jenny is all about family. She loves them all.
Jenny also loves to hike the mountains, and since my niece, her cousin Andrea Beach moved back to Casper from Rawlins, she and Jenny have been doing a lot of hiking, even in the winter. Of course, you can’t hike some of the tougher trails in the winter, but they do what they can, in anticipation of the summer hiking season to come. The truth is that these two girls have really become close. They do a lot of things together, and they spend time talking, and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s been a really good thing for both of them. They are both social people, and it’s always nice to have a “bestie” to share things with. They have both been a blessing to each other. Jenny also loves taking her other hiking buddy along too. Bella the dog is always ready to go with the girls and the famiy on the next hiking adventure.
Of course, Jenny’s main “bestie” is her husband, Steve Spethman. They have been madly in love since the day they met some 22+ years ago. They are perfect for each other. They have like values and like interests. They love to travel and see new things. They love their family and watching their children grow up. They love God, and they love growing in faith every day. They stand by each other in good times and in bad times. Each of them knows that the other is there for them and will support them no matter what. They are totally committed to each other, totally happy, and they are best friends. Life just doesn’t get better than that, does it? Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When our cousin, Larry Hein was a kid, my husband, Bob; our kids, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce; and I went to visit family in Forsyth, Montana every summer. Larry was older than our girls by 6 and 7 years, respectively. That could have made him not want to hang out with the girls, but Larry also had a little sister, Kim Arani, and that made him able to understand the kinds of games and such that little girls wanted to play. Grandma Hein had a playhouse on the ranch she and Grandpa Hein owned, and for the girls, it was the coolest place to play. Larry didn’t mind playing house with the girls, even though it was probably not that interesting for him. He was just that kind of a kid. Easy going and a good brother and older cousin. I was thankful, because the girls wanted to get to know their cousins, and the girls and Kim wanted to play girls games.
Larry was a big help to Grandma Hein too, as I recall. Work on a ranch is really never done, and while kids don’t usually do the work of a ranch hand, they can help with things like gardening, mucking stalls, feeding the chickens and other animals, and definitely playing with the dogs that always seem to be part of a ranch. Larry was a good-natured kid, and he loved his grandparents. He was easy to get along with, and respectful to his elders. He was always a joy to be around.
As an adult, Larry started a mechanics shop and towing service. In the small town of Forsyth, Montana, he was pretty much the only show in town on those kinds of services, meaning that he was often busier than he could handle. His shop always had vehicles waiting their turn, and the towing part of the business kept him running a lot. After Larry’s dad, Ed Hein died, Larry did his best to keep his business running while helping his mom, Pearl and his sister, Kim deal with their grief. He was a good man, but Larry lost his life to a heart attack just three months and two weeks later. The two losses were devastating to the whole family. Today would have been Larry’s 54th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Larry. We love and miss you very much.
My grandnephew, Jaxon Killinger is such a sweet boy. Even though he is turning seven today, he is really good friends with his cousin, Elliott Stevens, who is just four now. The age difference doesn’t matter, because he chooses to be good friends with her, and they just seem to click somehow. Elliott absolutely loves him!! Elliott just got a baby sister, so much if the family was visiting Sheridan to see the new baby. Whenever Jaxon or his sister, Brooklyn stepped away from Elliott more than a few steps away, she would get upset. As far as she is concerned, they are “her” friends, and nobody else’s!! It’s easy to understand why that is, because Jaxon has the ability to make Elliott laugh and laugh. He is funny, and he really enjoys being goofy for her.
For a while, Jaxon wasn’t too sure of how he felt about the water, but now he is really emerging for that feeling of being a bit scared of it, and he has learned how to get around really well in the water. So much so, in fact, that he really loves the water now. He loves to go to the pool and lake. He is not afraid to go down any of the slides and even likes to do belly flops!! Now, that is a kid who must love the water. I know I don’ really like belly flops!! Before long, Jaxon will be like Kevin on “Home Alone,” practicing his cannonballs in the pool. Everyone should prepare to be splashed. Jaxon is having a great time enjoying all the summertime fun things.
Elliott got a “Frozen” car for her birthday, and Jaxon loves riding around with her in it. Of course, he would rather drive…what boy wouldn’t, and he is pretty good at driving it too. Elliott is good about sharing, so it’s a win-win for both of them. I am really quite amazed at how well some of these little kids do with driving at such a young age. They aren’t in traffic or anything, unless they manage to escape from their parents, but most of them don’t run into too many things.
Jaxon is still very close with his big “sissy,” Brooklyn too, and doesn’t like to get too far from her. He definitely looks to her for guidance and protection, after all at 9 years old, she has been around a lot longer than he has, and she knows the ropes. Today is Jaxon’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Jaxon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
People have been eating honey since ancient times. The early connoisseurs of honey weren’t beekeepers, but rather foragers. It stands to reason that at some point people were going to want to have their own supply of honey, and with that beekeeping was born. So, how were they going to have a continuing supply of the honey they loved? Enter the apiary. I didn’t know the meaning of an apiary until my 1st cousin once removed, Larry Cameron got into beekeeping. I had never known anyone who was a beekeeper before, but in my opinion, you would have to be brave to do that job…brave or have the right equipment, I guess.
In 1863, a man named G.B. Lewis founded G.B. Lewis Company with the idea of supplying these beekeepers with the necessary beeware to run their businesses. Beeware was a term I really hadn’t heard before, but when I looked it up, it made sense. Beeware, of course, refers to the equipment used by beekeepers. Hives, in 1863, came in three forms…a skep, a log hive, and a box hive. The skep, which was a tightly woven basket, was used the oldest style, but it became obsolete in America, probably because there was plenty of wood to use. G.B. Lewis Company was known for many years as the world’s largest manufacturer of beeware.
Then on April 25, 1890, disaster struck. At 2:30am on that Saturday morning, a huge fire occurred in the city. Because the fire was so destructive, it appeared that a large portion of the west side if the city would be destroyed. At G.B. Lewis Company, the entire box, beehive, and section factory was destroyed, along with the Watertown Woolen Mills, owned by Mrs James Chapman. The damage to the G.B. Lewis Company was about $15,000, but it was only insured for $4,500, and at that time there was no guaranteed replacement. Next door to the G.B. Lewis Company and the Watertown Woolen Mills, were two large lumberyards, the Empire flour mills, and several frame buildings. These were apparently saved in the end due to the hard work of the fire department. The origin of the fire is remains unknown to this day.
When it comes to birthdays, my granddaughter, Shai Royce is still losing ground. While most people who were born in 1996 are turning 24 years old this year, Shai is still spinning her training wheels at 6 years old. Of course, it all started 24 years ago, and when it came time for Shai’s first birthday, it was mysteriously missing. February 28th arrived, and her cousin, Chris turned 1 year old, but then the date went to March 1st, and Shai’s birthday was not there. The same thing happened when Chris turned 2 years old and 3 years old, and Shai’s birthday was missing both times. Then, when Chris turned 4 years old, Shai’s birthday suddenly reappeared, but the damage had been done. Chris was 4 years old, and Shai was only 1 year old. Shai has been continuing to lose ground in this manner ever since that time. This year, Chris is 24 years old, and Shai is only 6 years old…and yet, they were born one day apart. Shai has been getting ripped off ever since.
People born on February 29th go through this situation every year. Their birthdays are not guaranteed. They get them, but only every 4th year. Most of them really like it, however, because let’s face it…it is unique!! Everyone wants their birthday to be special, but for the Leap Day Baby, birthdays are the most unique of all. On the off years, they can pick their day…the 28th or the 1st, or they can just celebrate both days. Then, on their on year, many of them have an extra big blow out bash!! It’s a win-win situation. Their payback for those missed birthday years.
Shai has several things that make her unique including her birthday. Her name is unique…at least in the United States. Shai is a Hebrew name that means gift…and that she is, but this year she has one other unique credit to add to her repertoire. Shai is quite possibly the youngest licensed insurance agent ever!! I mean, how many 6 year old insurance agents do you know? I would guess none!! Shai is a wonderfully unique kind of girl, and I’m very proud of all she has accomplished. Today is Shai’s 6th official birthday!! Happy (unofficial) 24th birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My cousin, Shirley Cameron is what can only be call a Modern Pioneer Woman. Not many people were living off the grid when she and her parents and brother moved to their mountain top in Washington state. They built 3 cabins. Her brother later moved to town, but her parents, Ruth and Jim, lived there for the rest of Ruth’s life and until fire destroyed their cabin, and Jim, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease had to be moved to a nursing home, where he lived out the remainder of his days. That left Shirley and her husband Shorty, and their grandson Tyrel living off the grid on the top of Wolfe Mountain.
After Shorty’s passing, in 2016, Shirley and Tyrel live up there alone. Oh they have neighbors, down the mountain, and Tyrel’s mom lives not too far away, but in town. Shirley and Tyrell just like living in the wilderness far from civilization. I really don’t think Shirley will ever leave her mountain. The views up there are breathtaking, and she gets to see lots of wild animals. Nevertheless, winter can be long and lonely. There are times when getting off the mountain just isn’t going to happen, because the snow is too deep. They have to have enough food to last for a very long time, because running out of food would be bad. There is a well, so water is not a problem, and they use a generator for electricity, so they do have to have enough fuel to run that. Still, summer will come around again, and everything is renewed.
These days, more and more people are living off the grid. It has become almost “fashionable” for people to get away from the city and all of its ties to utilities, phones, and water. With cell phones, people can still be connected to a degree, if they choose to be, but they can also shut it off when they don’t want to be connected. I think Shirley likes to be disconnected sometimes. It gives her time with her own thoughts. Being a modern day pioneer woman is not a way of life for the faint of heart. A person has to be comfortable in their own company. I don’t know if it would be something I could handle, but Shirley has done well with it, and I commend her for it. Today is Shirley’s birthday. Happy birthday Shirley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The other day, while reading an article about notable Native Americans, I came across a name that was familiar to me, but really didn’t seem like a Native American name. The name was Renville, the same name as my grand-nephew, James Renville. Immediately, I wondered if there might be a connection between Chief Gabriel Renville and my grand-nephew. The search didn’t take very long, before I had my answer. Gabriel Renville is my grand-nephew, James’ 1st cousin 7 times removed. I find that to be extremely amazing to think that James is related to an Indian chief. With that information, I wanted to fine out more abut this man.
Chief Gabriel Renville was a mixed-blood Santee Sioux—his father was half French and his mother half-Scottish. He was born in April of 1825 at Big Stone Lake, South Dakota. Renville was the treaty chief of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Santee tribes and signed the 1867 treaty, which established the boundaries of the Lake Traverse Reservation. One source called him a Champion of Excellence.
He was careful to protect his people as much as he could, and was also instrumental in saving the lives of many white captives. During the 1862 Uprising, Renville opposed Little Crow and was influential in keeping many of the Santee out of the war. He lost a large amount of property, including horses appropriated by the hostile savages, or destroyed in consequence of his position to their murderous course. Renville served as chief of scouts for General Sibley during the campaign against the Sioux in 1863.
Even though Chief Renville was an ally of the whites, it didn’t help him when he settled on the reservation. The government agent there, Moses N. Adams, considered him hostile. Renville was the leader of the “scout party” which was in conflict with the “good church” Indians. I’m sure that was common in those days. Renville preserved many of the traditional Santee customs of polygamy and dancing, and he ignored Christianity, but he was not opposed to economic progress and he and his followers became successful farmers on the reservation. However, the Sisseton agent favored the “church” Indians.
Renville and other leaders of the traditional Indians accused Adams of discriminating against them in the disposition of supplies and equipment. He said Adams favored the idle church-goers instead of encouraging them to work….a situation not unlike the current welfare system. Agent Adams considered Renville a detriment and removed the chief form the reservation executive board which Adams had organized to carry out his policies. It was a move that was considered extreme. In 1874 Renville was finally successful in securing a government investigation of the Adam’s activities. The outcome of the investigation was an official censure of Adams. Chief Renville continued to practice the old Santee customs, yet he encouraged the Indians to farm. This progressive influence was greatly missed after his death in August 1892.
With the eruption and possible explosion of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, my thoughts are drawn back 38 years to another mountain…Mount Saint Helens. The scientists said that an explosive eruption was imminent. The mountain had been swelling up with internal pressure from the gasses deep in the earth. Still, some people didn’t believe the mountain would ever hurt them, and many just couldn’t wrap their head around the possibility that it might explode. So, some people stayed in their homes in the area. It would prove to be a fatal mistake.
It’s strange that we are able to associate things in life with major events in recent history. Many of us can say where we were when we learned of President Kennedy’s assassination, or when 9-11 took place. It is a moment that is embedded in our memories for all time. That morning as the ash rolled into our area, I was getting into my car to go to town. It looked like dust on my car, a very thick layer of dust. Of course, it wasn’t dust, it was volcanic ash. It had never occurred to me that volcanic ash might affect me, but here I was, needing to wash the ash off of my car, so it was not damaged.
My cousin, Shirley, who lives in Washington, said she and her family were in Spokane. She saw a black cloud coming their way, and so she turned on the radio, to see what was going on. She immediately started yelling to the teachers and students from Saint Matthews school, who were at an end of the year baseball game. Every one scrambled to get their belongings, and headed back to the Church, before heading for home. Navigation became difficult. They had to watch the curb on the side of the streets to know where they were. It was a long drive home. They held their breath from the truck to the house, to protect their lungs, and watched the street lights come on. Shirley went out on the front porch and took pictures, before retreating back to the safety of her house. They were forced to stay in the house for about a week, before it was safe to out again. Many safety precautions were in place, and people were told not to breathe the ash because of the glass in it.
Mount Saint Helens is located in the Cascade Range. On May 18, 1980, at 8:32am Pacific Standard Time, it erupted and blasted 1,300 feet off of its top, sending hot mud, gas, and ash running down its slopes. Approximately 57 people were killed directly from the blast, while 200 houses, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. Two people were killed indirectly in accidents that resulted from poor visibility, and two more suffered fatal heart attacks from shoveling ash. The explosion sent plumes of dark gray ash some 60,000 feet in the air which blocked out the rays from the sun making it seem like night over eastern Washington. So…where were you when Mount Saint Helens blew?
Leap Day babies only get an official birthday every four yeas. According to tradition, on the off years, a Leap Day baby gets to celebrate their birthday on February 28th, March 1st, or both. I suppose they look at it this way…their actual birthday gets lost in time 3 years out of 4, so they have to make due with the other days. And maybe they even have a right to celebrate for two days. It seems strange to celebrate a lost day, but that is what they do. My granddaughter, Shai Royce is a Leap Day baby, and she has had her years of celebrating her day on the 28th, the 1st, and both, but for the most part, she chooses the 1st for her three off year birthdays. I have always celebrated her off year birthdays on March 1st, because the 28th was her great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg’s birthday, as well as her cousin, Chris Petersen’s birthday. Chris was born one day before Shai, so that day just made no sense to me. Nevertheless, tradition allows her to celebrate on both days, and so , in order to make sure that she and anyone who knows her don’t think I forgot her birthday, I at least send her a text that says, “Happy first day of your birthday.” It actually should have said, “Happy first day of your missing birthday!!
Having a birthday that goes missing three years out of four could tend to give a person a bit of a complex, but I think that most Leap Day babies look at it as have a really special day every four years, and a really special situation the other three years. It is unusual to have your birthday disappear, after all. In the United States, as of 2016 (the last Leap Year), there are currently only 187,000 people who were born on Leap Day, plus approximately four million others from around the world. Babies have a one in 1,461 chance of being born on Leap Day. That makes my girl very special, in the world’s view. Of course, I always knew she was very special.
Shai has always been a hard worker with a heart of gold. She is good at so many things. She is great with children, and she could easily have been a nurse, or something in the health care line. She has a bubbly personality, and a smile that lights up her whole face. Her beautiful expressive eyes welcome you into her wolrd. She brings the sunshine into the room with her, when she walks in. I never would have expected that Shai would be my only granddaughter, but that has turned out to be the way it was. We used to love to do our nails together, and when she got into hiking, we hiked together. She was a great companion…until she moved to Washington state. That and the day her family moved were very sad days for me. I miss my beautiful granddaughter very much, but I know that she is living life her way, and that is the best thing I could ask for her…other than an awesome missing birthday day. To day is the second day of Shai’s missing birthday. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For a number of years, I was out of touch with my cousin Dennis Fredrick, but all that changed a couple of years ago, when we started emailing. That has turned into a true friendship and I think it has been a blessing to both of us. Of course, our love of family history has given us common interests to explore, but there was so much more, because as cousins, we had a lot of memories to share too. I feel very blessed to have my cousin back in my life again. We are currently working together of different aspects of our research…or at least sharing our finds, because that is really what is so exciting about finding new family history information.
One of the things that I found out recently about Denny was that, like his dad, his grandpa, his brother, and nephews, Denny builds furniture sometimes. And he does a very fine job of it. Not everyone has the ability to build furniture, and if we attempt, it often looks like a box slapped together. Not so, with Denny. I think his work looks like it was made in a factory…perfect. The dresser is for his daughter-in-law, Carrie Fredrick, who is feeling very blessed right now. Denny comes by is skill from a long like of furniture builders. Our grandpa, Allen Luther Spencer built furniture, as did Denny’s dad, Fritz Fredrick, who built the baptismal font for the little church in Holyoke, Minnesota. Denny’s brother, Gene Fredrick, who sadly passed away a number of years ago, also built beautiful furniture, as did Gene’s sons Tim and Shawn.
Denny, as we have called him all my life anyway, has a heart of gold, and really wants to be a part of the lives of his family, even those of us who live far away. It’s so easy to lose touch with friends and family, and while we often don’t feel the loss until we reconnect, sadly sometimes that never happens, and when a loved one is gone, we really fell that missed time. For that reason, I am so glad that Denny and I have reconnected while we are both still alive, and young enough to remember and enjoy the connection. I just wish I had more time to stay in touch, because since Denny retired, he is able to focus on the things he loves to do, which would be lovely. Today is Denny’s birthday. Happy birthday Denny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!