ladies

My uncle, Wayne Byer was for many years the head of the bus garage of the Natrona County School District. It was a job he liked, and he was very well known and liked by everyone within the district. We, his nieces and nephews, were also very proud of the fact that our uncle was in charge of the bus garage…whether we rode a bus or not. I think most of us felt like he ran the school, which of course, he didn’t, but we were kids…what did we know?

While he wasn’t in charge of the school, some of us still found that it pays to know people in high places, or not so high places. As long as they were liked, it paid to know them. Knowing Uncle Wayne was not something that I ever recall bringing me any special treatment, but my sisters, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock had a different take on that story. While attending East Junior High School, the subject of Uncle Wayne, and our relationship to him, somehow came up. That was advantageous for my sisters, in that the ladies who worked in the cafeteria, knew and very much liked Uncle Wayne. That said, they also took a liking to my sisters, and therefore, saved them some of the best food…freshest, best cuts, biggest pieces, best desserts, and such, were among the perks. I’m sure that Uncle Wayne never knew this was happening, not that it would have bothered him. I can see him grinning over such an event right now.

Of course, it was a great compliment to Uncle Wayne, and well earned. He was always an easy going, fun loving, slightly mischievous man, and that endeared him to a lot of people. He didn’t have to do much…just smile at them with that infectious smile of his, and people immediately loved him. And anyone who could honestly say they were related to him should have special treatment too. I guess it was just not something I ever thought of telling everyone, although I can see now that I should have. I can totally see how the ladies in the cafeteria could grow to like Uncle Wayne, because he was a very likeable man, and every one of his nieces and nephews would tell you the same. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 81st birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne. Have a great day!! We love you!!

When we think of our nation’s early wars, and really, up until the Persian Gulf War, soldiers were officially men only. Prior to the Persian Gulf War, any women who were in combat were disguised as men, or they were in non-combat roles, such as support staff and nurses. Few women were recognized for their service, much less honored for it, but on March 12, 1776, in Baltimore, Maryland, someone decided to change the way we looked at the effort made by women in wars. And when I say effort know that I include much sacrifice.

That day, a public notice appeared in local papers recognizing the sacrifice of women to the cause of the revolution. The notice urged others to recognize women’s contributions as well, and announced, “The necessity of taking all imaginable care of those who may happen to be wounded in the country’s cause, urges us to address our humane ladies, to lend us their kind assistance in furnishing us with linen rags and old sheeting, for bandages.” On and off the battlefield, women were known to support the revolutionary cause by providing nursing assistance. But donating bandages and sometimes applying them was only one form of aid provided by the women of the new United States. From the earliest protests against British taxation, women’s assent and labor was critical to the success of the cause. The boycotts that united the colonies against British taxation required female participation far more than male participation, in fact, the men designing the non-importation agreements chose to boycott products used mostly by women…how thoughtful of them!!

Tea and cloth are perhaps the best examples of these boycotted products. While most schoolchildren have read of the men who dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped large volumes of tea into Boston Harbor at the Boston Tea Party, as a form of opposition to the hated Tea Act, few realize that women…not men…drank most of the tea in colonial America. Samuel Adams and his friends may have dumped the tea in the harbor, but they were far more likely to drink rum than tea when they returned to their homes. Conveniently, their actions actually deprived their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters, and not themselves. The colonists only resorted to an attempted boycott of rum in 1774, after Britain had closed the port of Boston. I guess it was time for drastic measures.

Similarly, when John Adams and other men in power thought it best to stop importing fine British fabrics with which to make their clothing during the protests of the late 1760s, it had little impact on their daily lives. Wearing homespun cloth may not have been as comfortable nor look as refined as their regular clothing, but it was Abigail and other colonial wives and homemakers, not John and his fellow men, who were forced to spend hours spinning clothes to create their families’ wardrobes. Thus, in 1776, when Abigail begged John to remember the ladies while drafting the U.S. Constitution, she was not begging a favor, but demanding payment of an enduring debt. And her husband, in good conscience could not deny her right, or her important request.

10154541_10151963681442237_1219601367756108202_nMy grand nephew, Zack Spethman, who is the middle son of my niece Jenny and her husband, Steve, is a boy who knows what he wants. He has his own sense of style, and doesn’t like to leave the house until he is satisfied with how he looks…something that will definitely appeal to the ladies as he gets a little older. Ladies can’t resist a tall, dark and handsome, well dressed man, and Zack will fit that bill for sure. Zack likes to wear everything from casual style to suit and tie, so taking him places is an easy thing to do. He is also a very thoughtful boy, and is well mannered. If he were just a little older, I could see Zack really wowing the girls with his thoughtful style. He is a child who likes to hug and do sweet things for those around him.
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Being the middle son, or middle child is something many kids don’t like, but Zack enjoys having an older and a younger brother, and the added bonus of a younger sister to make his life complete. He and his brothers, Xander and Isaac, are all boy for sure, and Zack is very good in sports, and loves most types of sports. He loves to get out and ride his bicycle with his brothers, but doesn’t mind a wrestling match with them either…sometimes even a middle son has to try to prove his superiority. But when it comes to his little sister, Zack knows how to play gently and always treats Aleesia with love and kindness…and protectiveness.
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Zack is a very smart boy and is at the top of his class in school. He enjoys learning, and his curiosity about things around him shows in all his studies. That is something I’m sure his teachers appreciate. Zack, like all of Jenny and Steve’s kids, know how to behave in public. When we are in church on Sundays, you just don’t hear or see them acting up or running around. They are sitting quietly, listening to the pastor or Sunday School teacher speak. Today is Zack’s 9th birthday. I can’t believe he is 9 years old already. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Knowing the kind of man my dad was, makes me wonder about the journey that his life took to reach that place of being the most wonderful dad in the world. He was a man who was respected, and who has been remembered by people I would never have expected to remember him, because the amount of time they knew him was so short, and yet, he made a lasting impression on them. How did he become such a charismatic person. Dad was the kind of man who always treated women like ladies. He was a gentleman to the end.

So often, we look at a child, or a picture of a child, and wonder what they might become. Even their teenaged pictures make us wonder about the adult they will become. It’s normal to wonder about the future, but sometimes, I find myself looking at pictures of my ancestors and, especially my dad, and wondering who they were as children.

I know about some of the antics my dad and his brother pulled, as well as some of the good things they did, especially for their mom. I have a feeling that I would have very much liked the boy that he was. Dad might have been a boy who was full of mischief, but he was also a boy who loved his parents and siblings. He loved the Lord, and lived his life for Him. His letters home from World War II proved that to me. He discussed church services and his own Bible study with his mother. His relationship with God was very apparent. The boy was growing into a man, and I think he would have been very much my friend…if he hadn’t been my dad, but I wouldn’t want to trade the dad he became for anything…not even the friend he might have been.

Because Dad and I thought so much alike, I can imagine that we would have had lots to talk about, but because we both also had a teasing, mischievous side, I can imagine that we would have probably gotten in a little trouble now and then, because…well, teasing and mischief are just naturally followed by the opportunity to sit in a corner, or spend time thinking about it in our room. I know that my dad as an adult loved to tease my sisters and me, so I’m sure his sisters were an easy target…not that I expect they minded much. His teasing was always in good fun.

I very much think I would have liked the child and young man my dad was. He was just
mischievous enough to be funny and enough of a gentleman to treat people right. I suppose that is why so many people remember him 5 years after his passing. Even people who treated him for a short time at the hospital, like the respiratory therapist who asked me if he was my dad. That really shocked me, especially when I asked how she remembered my dad after all these years, and she said, “Some patients are just special.” Of course I cried, but she couldn’t have said anything that would have made my day more than knowing the my dad was not forgotten.

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