When the pioneers headed west, they were leaving the comforts of home behind. They would be traveling in covered wagons, with bushes for restrooms and rivers for bathtubs. Water was often scarce, so daily bathing was out of the question. You bathed when you came upon a creek or river, and drinking water was far too valuable to waste on such frivolous things as bathing. That said, anyone who has ever camped out where there was not a readily available water source, can tell you that people can get pretty stinky before they finally get to a place where they can bathe. I suppose that is why many of the women…if they were financially able, had things like lemon verbena to cover the inevitable odors. While things like toileting and bathing were inconveniences, they were things people learned to live with as they traveled west in search of a homestead, and they weren’t usually life threatening, other than transferring of germs from less than clean hands to food that was to be eaten.
One of the most important things to know, of course, was what to do in the event of an emergency. An injury that is not take care of can quickly turn septic. And an illness that is treated in the wrong way, can bring death. That was one of the more difficult problems the pioneers faced. There were no doctors in nearby towns, and often there were no nearby rows either. They had to fend for themselves. And if they didn’t know what to do, people died. These days many people rely on a doctor or nurse for most illnesses, but the did not have that luxury. They had to be their own doctors and nurses.
The pioneers also had to know how to build their own homes, even if they had never really built a house before. Just because someone has lived in, or seen a house built, dies not mean that you automatically know how to build one. They had to know how to fix a broken wagon or wagon wheel, and how to shoe a horse. These were not normally skills that just everyone knew. And they certainly aren’t the life skills that any of the students of today would be taught in a life skills class, but I suppose that life skills is a class that has to be suited to the times. These days, life skills classes might include cooking and sewing, budgeting, and child care. I suppose it was taken for granted that people knew those things before they headed west in the days of the pioneers. These days it seems that fewer and fewer have those skills. I used to think life skills was rather a wasted class, but I suppose that depending on what is taught, maybe it isn’t.
My grand nephew, Isaac Spethman is the youngest boy in his family, and the youngest big brother to his little sister, Aleesia. Sometimes that is a good thing, but sometimes, they fight like cats and dogs. Nevertheless, they are close, and the little tiffs are few. For the most part, Isaac and his siblings, Xander, Zack, and Aleesia get along great. Isaac and his brothers are doing a great job of turning serious girly girl, Aleesia into a bit of a tomboy too.
The Spethman family is a sporting family. The boys all play football, and they even have their own little cheerleader. The boys may be very rough and tumble football players, but when it comes to their sister…well don’t mess with her. Isaac and his brothers love to run scrimmages out in the front yard. Of course, they love to play lots of games in the front yard, like war games, wrestling matches, or snowball fights. Isaac and his brothers are definitely boys.
Isaac loves guns too, as do his brothers and his parents, Steve and Jenny. Of course, the kids all are learning about guns, and gun safety, but whenever he has the chance, Isaac likes to play gun slinger. He likes to be the robber who holds up his little sister, of have gun fights with his brothers. Isaac is a busy kid with many interests, most of them the same a his brothers. I suppose that comes from being the youngest boy in the bunch. Most younger siblings look up to their older siblings, whether they like to admit it or not.
Isaac is often a quiet kid, but maybe that is just when he is around people he doesn’t know well. Or maybe it is just when he is around adults. He certainly isn’t quiet on Thursday nights when he gets together with his cousins, Matthew and Anna. His cousin Raelynn doesn’t play very much, but when Matt, Anna, Xander, Zack, Isaac, and Aleesia get together, things are going to get rowdy. Now their parents and grandma, really don’t always appreciate that, and there is the invariable injury somewhere in the mix, but the kids are usually having a pretty great time…they just don’t do it as quietly as their parents would prefer. Such is life. Today Isaac turn ten years old. Happy 10th birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Imagine charging a horse with murder, reckless endangerment, or vandalism for things like bucking its rider off, causing death or injury, or kicking the neighbors fence down. Insane, right…wrong!! For centuries, animals, including insects faced criminal charges across many parts of Europe. Now, I personally think that most insects need to be executed…no trial necessary!! The earliest documented case was a pig, who after being found guilty, was executed at Fontenay-aux-Roses in 1266. At that time it was believed that animals knew right from wrong, like humans do. I don’t think they were far off, because animals do seem to know when they have done something wrong, but I’m not sure that they understand guilt over of an accidental death or injury.
Nevertheless, these trials went on as part of several legal systems until the 18th century. Animal defendants appeared before both church and secular courts, and the charges ranged from murder to criminal damage. Human witnesses were often heard and in Ecclesiastical courts the animals were routinely provided with lawyers. If convicted, the animal was usually executed or exiled. Several books were written about these trials. E.P. Evans’ The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, published in 1906, and Sadakat Kadri’s The Trial: Four Thousand Years of Courtroom Drama were two such books. Kadri shows that the trials were part of a broader phenomenon that saw corpses and inanimate objects also face prosecution…which takes weird to a completely new level. Some people think that modern day punishment of children and the mentally ill is rather an echo of those strange earlier rituals.
Several thoughts have come to my mind concerning these animal trials. For instance, animals can’t talk, so how were they supposed to testify or speak in their own defense? Also, were these trials held in a courtroom or a stable…for obvious reasons? And, if the offending animal belonged to someone, not the person who was the victim, how were they compensated for the loss of their animal? After all, they didn’t commit the “crime” that their animal was accused of. This is such a strange practice, that I have to wonder who came up with the idea originally anyway, and were they sane…or more likely insane.
My nephew, Allen Beach just returned from spending his last two years of service in the Navy in Japan. It was there that he met and got engaged to his future wife, Gabriella. While she finishes up her time in the Navy, they will be living in Washington DC, which is an area they both like. Washington DC is an amazing place, but I think it would be a little too busy for my taste. It takes a specific type of person to chose to live there, and I know that Allen and Gabby like the busy lifestyle DC provides, so they will fit in there quite well. Of course, Allen isn’t new to the Washington DC area, because as a Naval Medic, he was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital before he went to Japan.
When Allen first joined the Navy, his dream was to be a naval aviator and I think he would have been a really good one, but an injury sidelined that dream. After that he became a medic, and I think that is probably his true calling. It takes a special person to work in the medical field…in any capacity. Having been a caregiver, myself I know that there are a lot of aspects of the medical field that can be quite difficult to deal with. There is blood, infection, smells of all sorts, and that is just to name a few. You have to care about people enough to put their needs ahead of your own. Of course, I’m sure Allen’s work is much different that what I did. I was more like a CNA (certified nurses assistant) and he was more like a PA (physician’s assistant). Nevertheless, you have to see a lot of horrible things.
Now that Allen is out of the Navy and they are back home, I don’t know what his future plans are. He can use the GI Bill to go to school to do whatever he wants to do. I don’t know if he plans to stay in the medical field or not, but I think he would do well in any area of medicine. Only time will tell what his future will bring, but I do know that Gabriella is in his future. They make a very cute couple, and now that Allen is out of the service, I’m sure the wedding plans are in full swing. My guess is that the wedding will be held in Washington DC or in Oregon, where her family is from, but again time will tell on that one. Allen and Gabby have a bright future ahead of them, and I pray God’s greatest blessings for them all their future plans. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Everyone has done it…stopped, or at least slowed way down to they can look at the roadside wreck they have just come up on. Of course, we all hope and pray that the people who were involved are ok, and we feel really bad for them that their vehicle is a big mess, if not a complete total. Still, we can’t help but look at the scene with curiosity. We wonder how the accident happened, and who was at fault. And while it may seem strange, we find ourselves in awe at the way metal can twist and go from being a car to something that doesn’t even resemble a car. My dad and his brother, my Uncle Bill came up on this truck at the side of the road. It had rolled, and I guess there wasn’t a tow truck readily available, so it was left on the side of the road for a time. Well, their curiosity got the better of them, and they stopped to have their picture taken by the wreck. Maybe it was the first one they had ever seen…who knows.
I suppose that since cars were a little bit less common back then, wrecks were too. So, maybe that was a big part of the draw to look over the wreck…but that doesn’t explain the fascination we still seem to have. People take pictures of the wreck and post it to Facebook, the newspaper sends a reporter out there to get the shots that will go into the paper, and the television station sends reporters out to get shots for the news. Odd as it is, we still seem to want to see these wrecks. I suppose it is an appetite for the sensational. We watch monster truck wrecks, and love to see the rollovers. I suppose we have become somewhat immune to the reality of what these accidents can bring to pass in peoples’ lives.
As an insurance agent, I see the other side of many of these accidents. I am thankful that I very seldom see accidents with fatalities. Maybe that is just that I live in Wyoming, and with less people in our state, there is less likelihood that there will be a fatality in any given accident. Whatever the case may be, I have been fortunate enough to only have to deal with a small amount of fatalities in the 25 years I have been an agent. Nevertheless, the accidents with injuries, especially when it is a family member, even if the injuries are very minor, can be very traumatic. Probably the worst one for me, was the accident involving my niece, Lacey when a semi-truck ran a red light, and hit her car. Thankfully, she and her cousin had only minor injuries. The truck driver felt so horrible about the accident, that he sold his truck, and quit driving trucks completely. While not all roadside wrecks are this bad looking, sometimes they don’t have to be in order to be really bad.
My sister-in-law, Debbie was injured at work about 10 years ago, when she fell while carrying a heavy crate. She has had back problems and multiple surgeries in the years since that injury, and has been unable to work or stay in one position for very long. It has been a long, hard road for her, and her family, all of whom have helped her through this ordeal.
On August 30th, the day after his 82nd birthday, my father-in-law, Debbie’s dad, was struck with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). While BPPV is not life threatening, it is seriously problematic. BPPV is a condition that brings on dizziness…the kind that makes it almost impossible to locate a safe place to sit down. It also brings with it, nausea that will quickly bring a strong man to his knees. The condition comes and goes throughout the day, and is the worst right after standing up from a sitting position, making its victim a serious fall risk.
Immediately after the first episode, I recruited the family to take turns staying with my in-laws, until we could figure out what to do about this. We heard from my mother-in-law’s respite care giver, about the Dizziness and Balance Clinic at Wind City Physical Therapy. We made an appointment with them, and a wonderful therapist named Kathy, did two treatments on my father-in-law. She showed me how to treat him at home, and we are now in the midst of daily treatments to fight off the dizziness…and it is working well. In the interim, however, my father-in-law has fallen twice, and we just can’t leave them alone safely at this time. It is hard for people who work to be caregivers during the work day, and that is where my sister-in-law, Debbie comes in.
Debbie came down from Powell for a doctor’s appointment in Casper. She usually stays with my in-laws. She came to town last Saturday and was to leave this Saturday, but after seeing how bad things were here and knowing that everyone needed to go back to work, she has not only stayed all week, but will likely stay until Wednesday of the coming week. While it is hard for her to do a lot things, she has really stepped up and set aside her own pain to do many things for her parents, so that my father-in-law will not have to try to get up and down too much. Many people might not think that cooking and straightening are a big deal, but my father-in-law is normally the one who does all the household chores, since my mother-in-law can’t help with things like she used to. Debbie has also taken on the blood sugar checks, day time meds, and helping her mom with grooming. The things Debbie has done, are monumental in the situation in which we currently find ourselves. I want to thank Debbie for her sacrifice. She has been a tremendous help in a time of serious need. Love you Debbie!!