Guitar

I never thought that I would have much interest in how a guitar was made, but my grandson, Caalab Royce is interested in building guitars, so of course, I became interested too. You do that with your children and grandchildren. Caalab showed me pictures of the guitars he wanted to make, and told me that he could buy a kit to build one, that would include all the parts. I truly believe there will come a day that he will build a guitar, and it will be beautiful, and sound beautiful. I might be biased, but if my grandson makes it, I know it will be perfect.

Recently, I stumbled across an article about a musical wood. That caught my attention. I wondered how wood could be musical. Of course, it couldn’t, as I already knew and went on to find out, but the Sitka Spruce tree is, nevertheless, the wood used for the vast majority of acoustic guitar, piano, violin, and other musical-instrument soundboards. That told me that the wood must have some kind of musical importance. I found out that the wood has excellent acoustic properties. The wood is light, soft, and yet, relatively strong and flexible. The Sitka Spruce is also used for general construction, ship building, and plywood.

Found mostly in Southeast Alaskan forests, the Sitka Spruce is being harvested at such a rate that the end of the instrument-quality supply is in sight. That doesn’t mean that the Sitka Spruce was becoming extinct, but it takes time to grow to some size, so the instrument-quality is becoming less available. The population of the Sitka Spruce is stable at this point, and it grows in Alaska, as well as Washington, Oregon, and California, meaning that there is plenty of places to re-seed this important tree. It really is just a matter of waiting for the growth, and when you are talking about a tree, it’s very different than a puppy. You are talking years for a tree. A Sitka Spruce grows to around 88 feet in height after 50 years, to 157 feet after 100 years. That means that by the time the trees grow to usable size, the guitar builders of today will be long gone, so a new generation will be the ones to use the new growth. I hope that Caalab will have a chance to build a guitar out of Sitka Spruce before the wood is no longer available.

When two kids get married, or any two people for that matter, you never know if the marriage will last. You hope that theirs is a match made in Heaven, but only time will tell. My daughter, Amy Schulenberg, married Travis Royce in this day September 16, 1995, just a few months after Travis graduated from high school. Amy had graduated the year before. They were quite young by most standards, but that didn’t matter to them. Somehow, they knew that they were perfectly matched, and while others might not have seen that at the time, everyone sees it now. Each of them is what the other needs.

Amy is more of a shy person, like her mom, and Travis is very outgoing. For a shy person, that is very helpful, especially in a crowd. When you are shy, it’s hard to talk to people you don’t know well, and Travis has no problem in that category. Once a shy person gets to know people, they are fine, it’s just that awkward early stage that is tough. Amy is also more of a serious person, again like her mom, while Travis is an incurable comic. I really like that about Travis, because life is serious enough. We need people who can see the funny side of life to keep us from getting too serious about things. Travis keeps the laughter going in their household, which is something that I have always felt was a huge blessing to all of them. Amy is the more practical one, which is something Travis needed, not that he hasn’t become more practical over the years, but he was always more spontaneous about things like spending, until Amy kept him more grounded. Then he saw the value in that, and they are in agreement on things like spending.

Of course, there are differences that can cause “fights” too. If you could call them that. Travis is a Chicago Bears fan, while Amy is a fan of arch rival the Green Bay Packers. Football season is…interesting in their household…to say the least. It is about the only time they really have many “fights.” Nevertheless, not everything is about fighting. Amy and Travis agree that the family that plays together, stays together, and for them, that means music. Most Tuesday nights, after bowling gets over, the family heads back to their house for a family jam session before the kids go home. Travis and their son, Caalab play the guitar, while daughter, Shai is learning the ukulele. I’m sure that will add a fun aspect to their family band. I can’t wait to hear them now.

Over the years, much has changed in Amy and Travis’ marriage, but then again is some ways nothing’s changed at all. They are still perfectly matched. They still make each other happier than even they dreamed possible. They are still going in the same direction, and having a great time in this life they have made. Today is Amy and Travis’ 23rd anniversary. Happy anniversary Amy and Travis. Have a great day. We love you.

My grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is growing up so fast. She is a girl of many talents. Of course, having a big brother, Ethan, who loves his sister and hangs out with with her, helps Aurora to diversify in her choices of activities. Ethan has taught her to play Minecraft,and they play together. Also,having a big brother who likes football has made Aurora like the game too. So it seemed only logical for her to decide to sign up for Flag Football. I know that she will have a great time with that. She is athletic,and while she has a girly side, there is a little of a tomboy in her too.

Aurora still loves to read and has since the day she learned how. Reading has always been a big part of her life. Her parents and grandparents read to her, as did her big brother. Books have long been a highlight of Aurora’s life. She also likes art…a trait that she gets from her mother, who is very crafty. They love to make beautiful things for their home, and as in her mother’s case, selling them. I don’t think it will be very long before Aurora’s mom can include some of her artwork for sale too.

Something I was not aware of is that Aurora is actually a chip off the old block…or as in her case, two blocks…her dad, Ryan Hadlock and her grandpa, Chris Hadlock. Both of the men play the guitar, and now I have learned that Aurora plays too. She is learning from them, and loves to have jam sessions as a threesome. Really, that is pretty impressive for a 7 year old girl. Of course, when you look back in her genealogical line, she comes from a long line of guitar players, that include her great grandpa, Allen Lewis Spencer, and 2nd great grandpa, Allen Luther Spencer. With all that talent (and maybe more for all I know) in her lineage, it’s no wonder that Aurora is a guitar player at the tender age of 7 years. I think it is sad that her other grandpa’s didn’t get a chance to jam with her too, but maybe they can in Heaven when we all get there.

Aurora is such a sweet little girl who is always smiling. She is getting ready to start 2nd grade this year, and I know she will do very well, because she is a good student who loves to learn new things. She has enjoyed her summer, and has done some great things, including a family vacation to Disneyland, where she met lots of Disney characters, and especially loved the rides…if I know her. But then, the princesses and mermaids were probably highlights too. Aurora has had a great year, and I know the coming year will be even better. Today is Aurora’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

If you want to know about a person, talk to those who know that person best…their family. Of course, I know my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock, but nobody knows him as well as his wife and kids. I wanted to know what kind of dad Chris is, because that delves into a whole different dimension of the person he is. I asked his kids to tell me the one thing they loved most about their dad. The first thing I found out, was that these kids couldn’t give me just one thing. In fact, they had a hard time keeping it at just two or three things.

Jessi Sawdon is Chris and my sister, Allyn’s first child. Told me of how helpful her dad is. No matter what he has going, or how full his day is, he always finds time, somewhere in the day to come and help with whatever his kids needed. Their needs are always his priority. She also told me that when it comes to his grandbabies…Chris has the softest heart, and that those grandbabies think their grandpa hung the moon. On one hand, it’s hard for me to fathom Chris as softhearted, because of all the years he spent as a cop, and yet I think that most people who know Chris have seen that softhearted side at one time or another. Nevertheless, when it comes to grandbabies, every grandparent develops a soft heart where their grandbabies are concerned.

Ryan Hadlock, Chris and Allyn’s son, and second child, remembers going fishing with his dad. He remembers the lessons his dad gave him so that he could become a good fisherman, and he remembers…like it was just yesterday…that while his dad was teaching him to fly fish, that his dad caught 75 fish in one day!! Those father/son times were and always will be very special to Ryan. I know they were very special to his dad too. Ryan also told me that he loves to see the joy his dad gets…just from being with all of his kids and grandkids. There is nothing quite like knowing that your parents love you, your siblings, and your kids more than anything in the world.

Lindsay Moore, Chris and Allyn’s third child immediately said, “Oh man! One thing!?!?!? How is that possible?” That was the sentiment I got from all the kids. Lindsay told me about how tenderhearted her dad is. Lindsay’s favorite part of her dad is a side of him that not everyone gets to see. It is a side of Chris that is reserved for Allyn, their kids and the grandkids. It has been an enlightening thing to have all of these kids tell me, not about the strength everyone else saw in Chris for so many years on the police force, but about the very different man that came home from work each night to simply love on his family. Lindsay also told me about the way that Chris brought fun and laughter to their lives with his incredible witty and sense of humor.

Kellie Hadlock is Chris and Allyn’s youngest child. She was the first one to mention work ethic, saying that Chris is the hardest worker she knows and that he does everything with integrity…always doing the right thing! Kellie’s sweetest thought of her dad is that he is the best guitar player she know. One of her favorite things to do in the world, is to sing with her dad. Kellie loves singing, and when the two of them get together, it is truly beautiful. We all love hearing it, and can’t wait for the next time. Kellie says, “He is literally the best dad in the world!! Sorry there was no way I could have said just one thing!” Today is Chris’ birthday!! Thanks to all of his kids for their special tribute to their dad. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Ryan Hadlock reminds me more and more of his dad, Chris Hadlock, everyday. He looks like him, talks like him, and acts like him. They also enjoy many of the same things, like sports, especially football and the Broncos. In fact, they are heading to Denver this weekend for a game. Ryan also loves camping, music, and most of all family. Ryan and his wife, Chelsea, who have been married nine years now, are raising two sweet children, Ethan and Aurora.

Recently, Ryan and his family went with Chelsea’s family to Disney World in Florida, where they had a wonderful time. The kids got to meet all the Disney characters, and ride all the great rides. Really, they are at the perfect age for a Disney World adventure…young enough to love the kid stuff and old enough to remember the trip. A wonderful time was had by all, because after all, there is a bit of a kid in all of us, especially Ryan, who will never really grow up, but then I guess that’s what makes him such a fun guy.

Ryan is a hard worker, and often picks up extra shifts at his job at Fleur de Lis, which used to be Anadarko, until they sold it to FDL, as its called. FDL is an oilfield company, and since things are picking up some, they are pretty busy. Ryan is also becoming quite a Do It Yourself guy. Recently, he fixed the central air in their home by himself, and most of us would have no idea what to do with that. Nevertheless, Ryan figured it out and saved his family from the summer heat and saved money too.

It has been a busy year for Ryan and his family, but as far as I’m concerned, the coolest thing that is going on with them is that Ryan is forming a family band. The plan is for Ryan to play the guitar. Ryan learned from his dad, and both are very good. Ethan will be playing the drums. Aurora hasn’t decided what instrument she wants to play in her dad’s band, but I’m sure she will pick something very cool. And the plan is to have Chelsea sing. I think this could be a wonderful musical family. Maybe they could be the Hadlock Family Band. I would definitely attend a performance, if they had one that was open to the public. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

A baby’s first year is always so exciting for the parents, especially if the baby is their first child. My grand niece, Adelaide Ione Sawdon is turning one today. She is a sweet little baby girl, who was named after two of her great grandmothers…one being my mom, Collene Ione Spencer. Addi is filled with happiness and a few little antics that make everyone around her smile. She keeps her parents, Jessi and Jason Sawdon quite busy…and I don’t think she is even walking one her own yet. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that she can’t get into things.

Adelaide has learned to throw kisses, and it is the cutest thing. She throws them backward…kissing the back of her hand before she throws it to you. She loves working her way into her bath seat, even if it is comical sometimes. She also loves making funny faces with her Aunt Kellie Hadlock; playing the guitar with her grandpa, Chris Hadlock; going to the office with her grandma, Allyn Hadlock; hanging out with her cousins, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock; or going shopping with her great aunts Robin Nelson and Jen Christman. She has even spent some time learning to drive with her daddy…but don’t tell anyone, because after all, she is a bit young, and he is a highway patrolman, so he shouldn’t let her drive just yet.

I only wish I had anywhere near the energy that Addi has, because I think she could out do any ten people. Addi loves her dog, Daisy, and Daisy loves her too. In fact, when Addi came home from the hospital, Daisy loved her immediately. Now they play together and they are the best of friends. Yes, Addi has had a very interesting and exciting year, and so has the rest of her family. She is so much fun to watch, and her parents make sure that we get to see lots of pictures of her activities. Today is Adelaide’s first birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock has always loved the outdoors. In fact, for years, he my sister, Allyn and their family have gone camping during his birthday week. They usually go to Red Lodge, Montana, but this year he and Allyn did something a little different. This year, they went to Canada to spend the week in a houseboat, along with my sister, Caryl Reed and her husband, Mike; and my sister, Alena Stevens and her husband Mike. I know they are going to have a great time, and I can’t wait to see pictures of their trip. It’s such a unique kind of a trip, and I know they are all going to have a really great week. It will be a trip to remember, that’s for sure.

This year seems to be shaping up to be one of change for Chris. He retired from the Casper Police Department on June 30th, after 27 years in law enforcement. During those yeas, he served the people of Casper and Natrona County capably and honorably. It has been a strange things for all of us to know that Chris is no longer a police officer. I also think that his retirement is a great loss to the Casper Police Department. Chris worked in so many areas of the department. He was a patrol officer for a number of years, then a supervisor and training officer. Later he hired new officers, and finally he was the supervisor of the detectives. His ability to do any job and do it well, is what made him such an asset to the department. Nevertheless, careers must come to an end sometime, and this was Chris’ time. I know that his new job will be a good career move too, and I am happy for him. Police work is stressful, and it’s time for him to de-stress.

Chris is rocking the career of grandpa too these days. He has three grandchildren so far, and they love to hang out with their grandpa. One of the things they really like to do is to listen to Chris play the guitar. He has been playing for most of his life, and I know his own kids loved to sit and listen to him play too. Now the next generation of kids are learning to love music from him as well. His youngest grandchild, Adelaide loves to help her grandpa play the guitar, and I’m sure the others did too. It is just so wonderful to be a grandparent. You aren’t the disciplinarian, and there is no pressure to be that. You just get to be to person they want to be with as much as they can. They want to spend the night, and do the things you are doing, even if it’s work! If their grandparents are doing something, it must be the coolest thing in the world. There is just something about being a grandparent. It’s such an honor to watch the next generation of the sweet family you started, expanding to include these new little babies. That’s how Chris and Allyn are feeling now, and how they will feel far into the future. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

There is an old song, that Willie Nelson wrote in 1980, called On The Road Again, and one part of the lyrics goes like this, “The life I love is makin’ music with my friends.” That line reminds me of a story I heard about my Uncle Larry Byer. My Grandma Byer’s house was the place to be when all the kids were home. There were always kids hanging out there, and because of the varied ages of the siblings, the ages of the visiting children varied quite a bit too. The family had always loved to sing, and several among the family members played an instrument. Grandpa Byer played the mandolin and the violin. Uncle Larry played the guitar and the mandolin, as well as the piano. My dad, Allen Spencer, and Uncle George Hushman also joined in with guitar and singing. It was like a big jam session. For the kids, like my Aunt Sandy Pattan, those jam sessions were like a big party.

Uncle Larry always had a group of friends who loved to hang out at the house…among them Bobby Boatman, Caryl Sparger, and Gene Tholl. They and the rest of the gang played music and just had a good time in general. Aunt Sandy even told me that they had a machine that recorded the songs and put them on a record. They would hang blankets to make a sound room and record their own songs. I sure wish some of those old records were still around. I would love to hear my dad, grandpa, uncles, and their friends singing and making music with their friends. One of the songs that Uncle Larry used to play for Grandma…his mom…was her favorite, “Springtime in the Rockies.” Grandma loved that song, loved hearing him play and sing it. It was a song Grandpa always sang to her, so it had a very special meaning. I’m sure it was a sweet love song to her from Grandpa.

Aunt Sandy told me that when Uncle Larry went into the Army, she really missed him, like most little sisters would. She missed his joking ways, all the friends who came over, and especially, she missed those jam sessions. Nevertheless, when he came home, it wasn’t those things that Aunt Sandy was thinking about. Her big brother was home and all she could think of was to run into his arms for a great big hug. Today would have been Uncle Larry’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Uncle Larry. I can’t wait to see you again, and get one of those great big hugs too. We love and miss you very much.

guitar-manimg_5438Little boys want nothing more than to be just like their daddies, and my nephew, Ryan Hadlock was no exception. When Ryan was about two years old, he loved to watch his daddy, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock play the guitar. To Ryan, playing the guitar was the epitome of his daddy. Ryan almost saw them as one and the same. As we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Ryan wanted nothing more than to imitate his daddy when he was playing the guitar. The only problem was that Ryan didn’t have a guitar, and his daddy’s guitar was too big for him. Enter the imagination of a little boy.

Ryan began to improvise. If it resembled a guitar in Ryan’s mind, he used it like a guitar. Some of his favorite “guitars” horsing-aroundwere things like a fly swatter, broom, sticks, and even cardboard. And if nothing was readily available, Ryan would simply play the air guitar. Ryan knew all the moves too. As he played, he would twist himself in all different ways, like a rock star does. Never mind if his sisters though he was just a little bit unhinged! Ryan didn’t care, because they couldn’t possibly understand anyway. It was a guy thing…and something he got to share with his daddy, just them…no girls allowed. You see, being the only boy in a family of four children, meant that Ryan was outnumbered by girls. He needed something that was just for the guys, and it didn’t hurt that he and his daddy loved to play the guitar. Of course, there were also a few other Ryan/Daddy moments too, like horsing around, knuckle rubs, or wrestling matches…the normal daddy/son things. Still, these never really held a candle to playing the guitar, just like his daddy, as far as Ryan was concerned. He has simply loved it all his life.

When Ryan was about 16 or 17, his parents bought him and electric guitar. He was in img_5439img_5441Seventh Heaven to have a real guitar of his own. It was like a right of passage. He was now a man…just like his dad was. He was entrusted with a wonderful instrument that was one that a responsible person got to have, and he absolutely treasured it. Recently, his dad gave him a 12 string guitar, and Ryan loves playing that one too. I don’t suppose that he still does all the rock star moves, but then I could be wrong about that. Some things you outgrow, and others you don’t. It doesn’t really matter anyway, because most of us who know him, and especially his family, can still vividly see that sweet little two year old boy playing the flyswatter, the broom, cardboard…or even just the air. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageWhen most kids lose their teeth, they put them under their pillow for the tooth fairy to come and retrieve in exchange for money, but once in a while…things just don’t go as planned. Such was the case for my grandnephew, Ethan Hadlock. Ethan recently lost a tooth, which is perfectly normal, but not with Ethan, who was eating Mini Trix at the time. I’m sure you can guess the rest. Yes, Ethan swallowed the tooth. This is a serious problem for a kid who is expecting a visit from the tooth fairy for that tooth. Nevertheless, Ethan went to bed that night hoping the tooth fairy would understand, and in the morning, he found out that she absolutely did understand. I guess maybe Ethan isn’t the only kid to swallow a tooth…so it stands to reason that the tooth fairy would have a Plan B…just in case, because she simply couldn’t leave a child unpaid for a lost tooth, just because it got swallowed, now could she. Kids have to have a way to make money…right!!

imageEthan is in first grade this year, and the change from Kindergarten is amazing. He has really matured, which often happens as kids become seasoned students. Ethan is, of course, a part of the latest Star Wars craze. He loves almost everything about it, but please understand that Clone troopers are way cooler than storm troopers or Jedi. If you don’t know that, you aren’t with it. For Christmas, Ethan got a light Saber and other star wars stuff including star wars monopoly and star wars Disney infinity games. Those should keep him busy for a while. Ethan has taught his little sister Rory to play Monopoly, and they love to play it together. Ethan loves to be the banker, and Rory loves moving her game piece around the board. Ethan is very adept at Legos, and puts together complicated Star Wars sets in about an hour. It would take me hours!!

Ethan loves school, and is doing second grade work in reading and mathmatics. His favorite subjects are math and music. Ethan he has a best friends club at school. I used to love being a part of the clubs in school, both imagethe school oriented ones, and the ones the kids set up themselves. It’s funny that a Best Friends Club is something the kids do nowadays, because this was something my Aunt Evelyn Hushman was a part of, and everyone thought it was so cool then, and really wanted to do it too. Of course, Ethan is not all about school either. He loves to play the guitar, like his dad, Ryan Hadlock does, and like any daddy’s boy, he wants to go duck hunting with his dad. As with any family with more than one male, and sometimes even the females, there must be battles. In the Hadlock household…it’s nerf battles. These battles happen randomly, but there is a battle at least once a month. If you are at the Hadlock house, watch out for flying nerf balls. Today is Ethan’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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