There are many things I did not know about my Uncle Elmer Johnson, mostly because he died when I was just 25 years old. Of course, I knew him for all those years, because he was my uncle for all of my life, but as families go, you just don’t see your aunts, uncles, and cousins every day. Because he passed away when he was just 47 years old, many of the stories I hear about him have come from his children. Nevertheless, because of those stories, I feel like I am getting to know him all over again, and very well.
Things like the fact that my uncle was an amazing cook…something that isn’t always common among men. A lot of men can grill, and often that is a job delegated to the men, but Uncle Elmer was a good cook anywhere. His favorite meals to cook were the holiday meals, which he made from scratch. The family stood around the kitchen, because the wonderful smells would draw them there. They could hardly wait for the meal to be ready, and then when they finally got to eat…well, the wait was worth it all. Uncle Elmer liked to experiment with flavors and dishes, and somehow there were no bad meals. He just instinctively knew what things went together and just how to season things to be amazing. It makes me wish I had been there for some of those meals.
Uncle Elmer worked a number of places, mostly as a truck driver of one type or another. He moved furniture for Burke Moving and Storage and for United Van Lines, working for Tom Aurelius, and often taking his oldest son, Elmer along with him for a couple of weeks in the summertime. The trips were great fun for Elmer, and probably fueled his own love of trucks and driving trucks. Still, in the off time, there was nothing they all loved more than going camping, fishing, swimming, and in general, goofing around, and enjoying the great state of Wyoming. They camped out and rented cabins in places like Louis Lake and Meadowlark Lake. Uncle Elmer was always happiest with a fishing pole in one hand and a beer in the other, according to his son Elmer. Those family trips were a source of some of the best memories for Uncle Elmer and Aunt Dee’s four children, Ellen Bremner, Elmer Johnson, Darla Stanko, and Delwin Johnson. While their parents are both in Heaven now, the memories will live on. Today would have been Uncle Elmer’s 89th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Elmer. We love and miss you very much.
My niece, Kellie Hadlock has been in a period of growth. So much is changing in her life. A while back, Kellie bought her own house, and now, she has time and space to grow…and grow she is. Kellie has been concentrating on her relationship with the Lord. She is now fully engaged in daily Bible study, and you can actually see that she is growing in knowledge and in truth, and that the Word she is reading is planted deeply in her heart. Kellie has been one of the worship leaders in our church, Word Christian Fellowship Church, for a number of years now, and the love she has for the Lord shows in every song she sings. Kellie has always been a “smiley girl,” and that has served her well in her role as worship leader. I know that as one of the backup singers, I always tell myself to watch Kellie, so I remember to smile too, because I tend to be more serious. She has helped me more than she will ever know. It is wonderful, for all who know Kellie, to see her actively growing in her relationship with the Lord, and as worship leader. She is becoming a great woman of God!!
As an aunt, she is among the most beloved aunts I know. Her nephew, Ethan Hadlock, and nieces, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore, flock to her whenever she is near. She loves children and is a great “step-mom” to her boyfriend, Tim Thompson’s daughter, Jolene. She is also a great “doggie mom” to her little puppy, Leena and to Tim’s dog, Jett. Unfortunately, Kellie and Tim don’t live in the same city right now, so they have been spending time going back and forth visiting each other in their long distance (but not too far, only from Casper, Wyoming to Gillette, Wyoming) relationship. Lovebirds will always find a way, and these two have made it work.
And speaking of Tim…he has really brought Kellie out of her wheelhouse and into activities that none of us would have ever expected Kellie to be involved in. Tim is an outdoorsman, and he has taken Kellie along with him on his trips. She, of course, was open to going and has found that she really loves doing things like hunting, ice fishing, axe throwing, and archery. As her sister Lindsay Moore said, and I agree…Who saw that coming?!? Kellie really never seemed the “woman of the great outdoors” type, with the exception of going camping. Of course, when I say camping, I mean in a travel trailer and mostly sitting around the campfire. Now, all that has changed. She’s like “Annie Oakley” or something, and for her it’s a whole new wheelhouse. Kellie has always had a positive outlook on life, and she is open-minded, so it shouldn’t have been so surprising. Nevertheless, somehow it was. She’s a whole new Kellie. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Matt Miller actually joined our family…officially, on August 14, 2021, when he married my niece, Michelle Stevens. While that was the official date, Matt has really been part of our family much longer. Matt and Michelle actually met in middle school. At that point, they became friends, but neither of them knew the future God had planned for this friendship. God planned for their friendship to grow into something so much deeper. As time went on, they knew that theirs was to be love and friendship, not just friendship. Their wedding this summer was the culmination of their years of loveship.
These days, Matt and Michelle are working hard and saving their money, because it is their dream to buy a house on a piece of land. Matt wants a large shop where he can work on things and just tinker around. He loves working on things like vehicles, and if they have land, I’m sure a riding lawnmower will follow. Michelle is so proud of her husband, because he visualizes a plan, and works hard to bring it to pass. The long shifts at the coal mines are not easy, and have sometimes meant that he and Michelle don’t see each other for two or three days, because of their shift differences. I get that too, because my own husband worked in the uranium mines. It tough of them and it makes it kind of lonely for them too. Nevertheless, Matt wants the very best for his wife and future kids, and their dream is land, so that is what he is going to do. Matt has recently really gotten into snowmobiling this year too, so I’m sure his shop will include tinkering on the snowmobiles that they will most likely own soon.
Of course, no man can work all the time, and hunting allows Matt to have fun and provide meat for the family table. Matt and his dad, love to go hunting, fishing, and they share a love of guns. Matt and his dad went bow hunting for elk this year, and both got their elk. That is so uncommon. Usually one or both will have to go hunt with a rifle in order to get their elk too. Game animals are elusive, you know. It was really fun for them to succeed in getting their elk with a bow. I have no idea how to shoot an arrow with a bow…much less have enough skill to actually bag an elk with a bow. That is really something to be super proud of. It’s really been a great year for Matt. Now, he and Michelle are really looking forward to all the good things God has in store for them in the future. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Susan Griffith is a health insurance agent for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and as such she does travel in the state of Wyoming. Recently, she got a chance to travel for pleasure with work, which is a new deal for Susan. Her company paid for the employees to attend a Wyoming Cowboys football game. Susan is not really a fan of football, but she went, because i she was going to support a team, it would be the Wyoming Cowboys, and while he had to leave early to make the long drive home, she said it was ok. Who knows, maybe she will become a football fan, and those free games will be fun for her.
This year has been bittersweet for Susan and her husband, Josh Griffith. Their oldest daughter, Jala Satterwhite graduated from high school this past year, and during the summer, took a job as a guide near Yellowstone National Park. Nevertheless, while she was away from home, it felt like she would be coming home after the season ended. That isn’t what happened, however. When Jala came back to Powell, she moved into an apartment with some friends. Of course, a parent like to see the adult their child has become, but most wish it hadn’t gone by so fast. Every parent who has adult children can certainly understand how Susan and Josh feel.
Susan has also re-taken up cross stitch, and has been turning our lots of cool stuff, so of which has been gifted to her friends. They all feel very blessed by the beautiful gifts she has made. Susan has also started making cakes and decorating them, so every party is amazing. The cake for Jala’s graduation was one of Susan’s cakes, and everyone said it was amazing.
With everything going on, somehow, Susan and Josh found more time to go camping…a bit surprising, but nevertheless, it did happen. They even found a new campsite with a fire ring that allowed him to have a fire, when some camp sites couldn’t have a fire due to bans and dry weather. Susan is very much an outdoor girl. Every year on free fishing day, which is the first Saturday in June, and also falls on Susan and Josh’s anniversary weekend, a group of family members and friend have gone out to the causeway between Lovell and the mountain to fish. This has been for probably the last 3 or 4 years and has become a fun way to celebrate their anniversary with friends.
As an unusual type of travel destination…for them anyway, in March Susan and Josh took their girls Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Griffith to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a vacation. It’s possible that it might be the last family vacation they get to take as a whole family. They had such a great time relaxing on the beach and enjoying the nice weather. They also visiting the local shops and of course, collected sea shells. Like any vacation, they were excited to go, but happy to come home, because there is no place like home, and spring break in Fort Lauderdale was probably a zoo. The trip was a total shock really. They had won a free trip when they went to California, and had planned a trip last year, but then Covid happened and this was their last chance to catch this vacation. So now they can say that they have been to both oceans with the kids, and in addition, when they got married they went to Cabo San Lucas, so they have had some pretty great vacations soaking up the sun. Today is Susan’s birthday. Happy birthday Susan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
She is smart and funny and curious and asks a million questions…and remembers the answers to all of them!! She is Jolene Thompson, the daughter of my niece Kellie Hadlock’s partner, Tim Thompson, and we all love her very much. Jolene has a smile that lights up your day. Her eyes light up and her whole face smiles. Jolene has had lots of exciting things going on this year. She and her daddy have gone hunting and fishing. Jolene loves to do anything her daddy likes to do. She loves shooting, and is learning to be a great shot.
Jolene is a pretty little girl, who is tough as nails. There isn’t a wimpy bone in her body, and she proves that with every camping trip she takes with Tim and Kellie, or with just Tim. She doesn’t shirk her share of the work. I realize that a little girl can’t do a lot of heavy lifting in a camping situation, but Jolene carries her weight, and makes her daddy and Kellie very proud. Jolene is friendly, and easy to get along with. She and Kellie have become best friends. They love each other so much. Jolene is so brave and KIND! Kellie cannot say enough about how kind she is. This world needs kind people like Jolene.
This summer, Jolene got to go to Vacation Bible School with her Aunt Sarah Jarvis. She also loves spending time with Nana and Pop Pop (Tim’s parents, Lynn and Tim Thompson) and with her baby cousin Jasper. Jolene has just started Kindergarten, and is having a great time. Her curious mind is busily absorbing all the new information she is being taught in school. She loves to draw and build things. She loves animals. Both Tim and Kellie have dogs, so Jolene has “fur babies” to love.
Jolene has decided that she wants to be a police officer when she grows up. That seems to be the norm in the Hadlock sphere of influence. It is a good thing to get into, and a tough as nails girl like Jolene should do very well in such a career. She is already working on her shooting skills, so she is ahead of the game. And speaking of game, Jolene went elk hunting with her dad this year, and had a great time. As a non-hunter, I can say that I don’t know much about it, but Jolene is learning quite a bit about ways to draw the bull elk near for the kill. She has learned to facilitate bugling and even even cow elk urine to draw the male in. Now, I can’t say that I would be interested in that, but if I were a hunter, I’m sure I would. Go Jolene!! Today is Jolene’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Jolene!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When you hear about a giant rabbit attack, what is your first thought? Maybe, that the person telling you they were attacked by a giant rabbit, was on some hallucinogenic drug, of the Alice in Wonderland variety, right? Well, I can’t say whether this story involved a hallucinogenic drug or not, but I really doubt it…mostly because in involves a former American president. I’m not saying an American president could never use drugs, but I had never heard that former President Jimmy Carter had used them, at least not while he was in the White House.
Nevertheless, as the story goes, in 1979, in the middle of his presidency, former President Jimmy Carter went fishing by himself in a swamp…a story that is a little bit odd, because presidents don’t go anywhere without the Secret Service agents assigned to them. While he was in his boat in the swamp, a “giant” swamp rabbit swam directly toward him, seemingly intent on killing him. The swamp rabbit, also called the cane-cutter, is a large cottontail rabbit found in the swamps and wetlands of the southern United States. The species has a strong preference for wet areas, and it will take to the water and swim. Apparently these rabbits aren’t afraid of anything, especially a mild-mannered president fishing in a boat. Former President Carter found himself in a bit of a fight for his life…another reason to take those Secret Service agents with him. The former president had to scare the rabbit away by waving an ore at it. After the incident, he returned to the White House with quite a terrifying story to tell, but it was not really well received…yet another reason to take the Secret Service agents with him…witnesses.
The media found the whole thing amusing. They began calling the event a “killer rabbit attack” and everyone was talking about how a rodent tried to kill the president. While people today might not recall the event, it is widely considered the most memorable event of Jimmy Carter’s presidency…which was another slap in the face for him. A president wants to be remembered for all the great things he has done for the country, not being attacked by a giant swamp rabbit. Presidents want to be remembered for boosting the economy or standing up to Soviet dictators, but instead, former President Carter was remembered for nearly getting taken out by a bunny rabbit.<
These days, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock has much in life to love. He and my sister, Allyn now own the property east of Casper by the Platte River that had belonged to his parents Chris has always loved that place, and when his mother passed away, and the property was offered to them to buy, they jumped at the chance. Chris loves taking care of the place, and can often be found mowing, snow removing, or some other form of improvement on the place. The love he has for the place is very obvious in all the wonderful care he gives it. He is often out in the garage fixing things too. Chris loves his job too. He is a retired Casper Police Officer. His new job for Motorola is going well and he is relaxed and happy in it. Police work can be challenging, and although he loved it, it takes its toll.
They went fishing out at Pathfinder Reservoir on Father’s day. It was a perfect day. They took the 4 wheeler out and just rode far back off the beaten path and he fished all afternoon. It was super nice and relaxing.
Recently, they went fishing in the Big Horn Mountains, something they haven’t done for a couple of years. From there they headed to Laramie, where their daughter, Lindsay Moore and her family live to spend Independence Day with them; daughter Jessi Sawdon and family; son, Ryan Hadlock and family; and daughter, Kellie. Chris was like a kid in a candy store about the fireworks. The guys went and bought a bunch of them and Chris couldn’t wait to set them off! Sparklers, those black snakes that you light and they grow out of a small pellet, smoke bombs, fountains. He kept things going all evening!
Chris loves being a grandpa. He recently got to watch as his grandson, Ethan Hadlock caught his very first fish that is such a big moment in the life of a kid. His granddaughters, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore, as well as Kellie’s boyfriend’s daughter, Jolene, have him wrap ones around their little fingers, and he doesn’t mind it a bit He really enjoys his sons-in-law, Jason Sawdon, Shannon Moore, and Kellie’s boyfriend, Tim Williams, as well as daughter-in-law, Chelsea Hadlock. Everyone in his family is a perfect fit in the family.
Chris plays the guitar, and is always composing beautiful new songs on his on it. Chris us quite talented in the area of music, and his family loves listening to him play. He loves his guitar so much, he sleeps with it!! Hahahaha!! Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Mike Stevens and my sister, Alena Stevens, have done a lot of camping over the years. They have had had a number of camper trailers, but this year, they decided to get the one they really wanted, after all, Mike’s retirement is coming up soon…not that I know when, but he is closer to retirement than he ever was, and according to his son, Garrett Stevens, it can’t come soon enough. Mike and Alena have lots of summer plans in the works. They are planning camping trips on the mountain, very likely both the Big Horns and Casper Mountain, as well as at the Pathfinder Reservoir where the Stevens Clan take yearly vacations with the whole Stevens family. That said, they bought a 2021 Keystone Laredo 5th Wheel trailer. It is beautiful and it will definitely take their camping comfort to the next level.
Mike is a major green thumb. He loves growing things, and that means making sure they have a wonderful lawn. Their yard, both front and back and great entertaining spots, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Mike can grow. Their daughter, Michelle Stevens tells me that her dad has “quite the green thumb.” Their summer garden usually contains tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. By the end of the growing season Mike and Alena have much work to do, because the harvest is always good. They busily can the vegetables, as well as the spaghetti sauce, that is Mike’s specialty; and Alena’s is her salsa.
Interestingly, Mike’s son Garrett came across a couple of “blast from the past” pictures of his dad that I find very interesting Mike used to work at Shellabarger Chevrolet, where Mike worked as a mechanic. In fact, that is where Mike met my sister, Alena…and the rest, as they say, is history. They have been married for 37 years this July 21st. You just never know where you will meet your soulmate. The other picture Garrett found is one with Mike and his buddies, Lloyd LaFave, Ron Millay, and Eddie Bright. What shocked me so much with this picture was just how much Mike and Garrett look alike. I knew Garrett looked a lot like his dad, but somehow, until you see a picture that clearly could be one person, but is actually the other, you just don’t make the connection in your mind. They could be twins…which wouldn’t be so odd, since Mike is a twin with his brother, Pat. Nevertheless, Mike and Pat are fraternal twins, and Garrett is actually more a twin to his dad than Pat is.
Mike and Garrett are planning some fishing for the summer, as golfing, of course. They both love golf, and this year they plan to golf at least once at the Powder Horn Golf Club in Sheridan, where Garrett and his family live. Mike and Alena plan to spend quite a bit of time in Sheridan, since that is where their first grandchild, granddaughter, Elliott lives. She is the apple of their eyes, and the just can’t get enough of her. Elliott, for her part, is a total character, and keeps her parents, Garrett and Kayla Stevens and grandparents, Mike and Alena Stevens and Wes and Lynette Smiley in stitches. Life just doesn’t get any better!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Dave Chase has been such a blessing to our family since he married my niece, Toni. Dave always goes above and beyond just being Toni’s husband. Dave treats Toni like a queen. She feels his love in everything he said says, and that is a beautiful kind of love to have. Dave is devoted to his family. He and Toni’s son, James are good friends, and Dave never tries to take the place of James’ dad, but he is always there for him too. As a family, they have taken many trips, and seen many places. Dave likes to travel, and so do Toni and James, so it works out well for all. Of course, 2020 was…very different, for all of us.
With Covid-19, everyone spent most of the year doing a new activity…social distancing. It is a phrase we have all learned to hate. We were stuck at home, not travel, no restaurants, no movies, even no camping…in the woods, away from people, for Pete’s sake. Some of that is behinds us now, or at least for now, but during the year, it was pretty awful. For the average person the problems were truly annoying, but for lots of people the problems were much worse. One of the biggest problems was depression. But other serious problems include loneliness, fear, and helplessness.
All that is the norm for the Covid-19 Lockdowns, but not if you’re Dave Chase. I would have expected Dave to be going stir-crazy…especially since Dave, Toni, and James did not catch Covid-19. Dave is very sports oriented. He always has been, but he did not let the lack of sports, gyms, and any other form of activities get him down. Dave just shifted gears and embraced the lockdowns by learning how to do indoor golf, online fantasy football, baseball, golf, and college basketball. Lots of guys go in for that, but I don’t think it would be for me. Once people could go outside much, Dave was out there fishing, and having good success at it too. As things finally started opening up, at least in Wyoming, Dave has been able to go back to playing live basketball, recently. You might think that after not playing for a long time, Dave might be a bit rusty, but not so. He is still the champ, even among his 30-year younger teammates. Dave has also enjoyed being able to have friends come over, like his buddy, Ron Birks. So, even with the Covid-19 Lockdown, Dave has stayed pretty sane. Not bad!! Not bad at all!! Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Chris Iverson is an avid outdoorsman. He loves camping, fishing, and guns. That is pretty typical of people who live in Wyoming. If Chris and my niece, Cassie could live totally off the grid, I think they would, and if the someday move off the grid, I won’t be one bit surprised. Sometimes, living in town just gets to bee too much for them, and they will load up their camper trailer, and head for the mountains. It is wonderful for their kids, Lucas and Zoey too. They love being in the mountains, especially with family and friends.
When Chris and Cassie had Lucas, there were some challenges. Lucas was born with Down Syndrome, and many parents would have considered other possible avenues of dealing with a known birth defect, but for Chris and Cassie, that was not an option. Lucas with their precious baby, and he was who he was. They loved him and cherished him, and he has grown into a wonderful little boy. Chris and Cassie, are great parents, and they have trained both of their children to be wonderful, caring children who love and respect their siblings
Chris loves his family with all his heart, and always tries to do whatever he can to life better for them. He has the ability to fix his cars, so that saves him money, that can be better used in support of his family. Life isn’t always easy for the Iverson family. Medical bills have plagued them from time to time, but they have continued to persevere, and I know they will do so in the future. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!