laugh

SistersFew relationships are like that of two little sisters. They love each other from the moment the youngest arrives…well most of the time. That first year of the younger sister’s life, will determine if she is a pain in the neck, or cool enough to take what her big sister can dish out. It will also determine just how much she is willing to put up with, before she takes matters into her own hands. It is a learning process for both sisters. Most generally, sisters will end up being friends for life, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few bumps in the road. My own sisters and I are good friends, but that doesn’t mean that the years we spent sharing our childhood home were smooth as silk, because they weren’t. We are five different people with five different personalities, and that is bound to cause clashes every now and then.

The same is the case for my sisters-in-law, Jennifer and Brenda. Jennifer had been the baby of the family for two years when Brenda came along. With three older siblings bossing her around with all their no no’s, Jennifer was very excited to have a younger sister, who wouldn’t be the boss of her. Maybe they could even be best friends. And, things were going along well…most of the time. Jennifer loved her little sister very much. It was almost like having a real life doll when she was a baby, and then later, she had a friend who liked to play the same games she did. It was much better than having a little brother, in her mind, because boys just want to play dumb cars, and not dolls. Jennifer hugged Brenda often, and life was good.

Nevertheless, Brenda was her own person too, and she didn’t always want to do things Jennifer’s way. They have two very different personalities, and what one finds funny the other might not. And, as with most little girls, they can both get annoyed when their friend Frenemiesstarts feeling too much like a frenemy. No one likes being laughed at, even if that isn’t really what was happening. Sometimes it might have been just a matter of something striking Brenda funny, and Jennifer didn’t agree. That was all it took. Jennifer was…less than amused with this little sister…who she loved very much. That didn’t excuse Brenda’s laughter about something that Jennifer didn’t think was funny. With that one little giggle came a totally new situation. They were now definitely frenemies, and Jennifer was sure that things would never be the same again. Thankfully, the whole situation was a fleeting moment in their childhood years, and they would go on to be friends again…until the next little clash, that is.

Dixie Lynn Byer_editedBy the time my Aunt Dixie joined the family, there were already seven children in it. That meant lots of help to take care of the new baby. If she was anything like she is today, my guess would be that she laughed easily and often. Aunt Dixie has never been a melancholy person, but rather always seems to look for the positive things in life. That is a trait that few people have these days, and one that will make her life always rich.

Aunt Dixie has a creative side to her too. She has a talent for making things that add a touch of beauty to her life and to those around her. I can remember the many family Christmas parties that Aunt Dixie and her family have put on, and her talent is easy to see. We have all been blessed by the things she and her family have made for those parties. They always bring something new to the feel of them.

Aunt Dixie has always loved living in the country, and has had her little farm for many years now. I remember when she came to the rescue of my sisters and me, when she took the chicken/rooster my mother ended up with after one of the kids brought it home from the fair. It was cute at first, of course, and Mom’s plan was to have eggs. Having chickens in town was against city ordinance, of course, but Mom didn’t think anyone would know, since it was just one chicken. Then it started crowing, much to the embarrassment of all the rest of the family. Finally Mom gave up and admitted that it was indeed a rooster. Then she had to figure out what to do with it. Aunt Dixie saved the day by adopting the rooster. IMG_0539Now, I’m sure he became fried chicken or chicken soup, but there are worse things in life…like having to listen to that rooster crowing every morning.

Aunt Dixie loves kids…especially her grandchildren. She has 5 grandsons, and then…finally, three short years ago, she received the granddaughter she had longed for. Now her life is complete…at least until the great grandbabies start coming, but that’s another story. Today is Aunt Dixie’s birthday!! Happy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Playing with the cameraLooking through old photographs from a time when I didn’t even realize that cameras were something lots of people had, it occurred to me that when these pictures were taken, the people in them were still trying to figure them out. It was probably hard to figure out what pictures to take. I’m sure they felt funny posing in all the normal ways. I’m sure they were almost embarrassed when they first started posing for those pictures, and much like people were embarrassed about home movies when they came out. People used to run and hide, or even covering the lens to avoid being filmed.

I started thinking about the number of pictures I have seen in the past few years that were taken in the 1800’s. it seems that they finally warmed up to the idea of picture taking by posing like they were in a robbery situation. I suppose that a robbery picture was something they could laugh about, so they were able to relax and enjoy the whole picture taking process. It seems that pictures of robberies were what we in this day and age would have called now trending. It was the thing everyone did, like the Staged hold upshocked look photo, the exaggerated kiss photo, or the angry look photo. It was just something to make people laugh.

Acting goofy in the pictures probably broke the ice to a degree. It made the feeling of being embarrassed a little less noticeable to them. Many people are nervous about photos, in fact, I would say that most of us feel that way at some time or another. Maybe we should all try this trend that seemed to sweep the nation during those years. If nothing else, we would get a good laugh about it. I guess that’s why the latest fad in pictures come about…to laugh about something new that is now trending.

Caryn and Bob share a laughFor as long as I have known my husband, Bob, he has been a person who loves to laugh, and so loves a good joke and loves to tease. Of course, I have been the recipent of much of his teasing, and so can attest to his teasing personally, and that was ok, since I was raised in a teasing household too. I’m not talking about mean teasing that leaves lasting scars, but rather, practical jokes and other funny stuff. People who have never been around playful teasing are really missing out if you ask me.

In our more that 38 years together, Bob and I have shared many a laugh. It has made our life rich in so many ways. I believe that a house filled with laughter is the best kind home to live in, and teasing is a big part of that. Life can get so serious at times, and if there is laughter in the home, it lightens the mood and makes the tough times so much easier to bare.
Bridge on the Trail
Bob can be so funny sometimes, and yet, it hasn’t just been the laughter that has made our lives rich. We have so many things in common, and we love being in each other’s company. There is nothing quite as amazing as spending the rest of your life with your best friend, sharing all the great times that life has to offer. Hiking is our main activity of choice. It is our way of getting away from it all and spending quality time together. Our hikes always include laughter and joking, along with sharing our hope, dreams, and plans for the future. They also include, picture taking, because many of the beautiful places we hike are begging to have their picture taken.

Pictures are a big part of the memories we have from our times together. They I love looking back on all the great shots I’ve taken of the many special places our hikes have At Harney Peaktaken us. From places right around home to hikes in the Black Hills, and along the Grand Canyon, we have seen so many wonderful sites on foot. I have been amazed at how far our feet have taken us.

This life with my friend has turned out to be the most wonderful journey that we could ever have taken. Our dreams of seeing wonderful places…places most people never see. Places that don’t cost thousands of dollars, and yet they are worth billions of dollars to me…because they are ours. Our footsteps on the many trails we have hiked have made this life with my best friend the best it could have been.

Great Uncle HermanAfter my story a couple of days ago, on logging in the old days, my cousin, Elmer told me a story that our grandma told him years ago. I didn’t know that some of my mom’s family was also in logging. They were loggers in Cascade, Idaho, which is a beautiful area. In figuring the time frame, I would expect that my Great Uncle Herman was a logger in the 1940’s or so. Logging may be something that can be done year round these days, but back then it was more a seasonal thing, and required that the men who worked there find other work in the off season.

According to the Grandma, who is Great Uncle Herman’s sister, he had been hired to dig 
graves in the off season. The ground there is rocky, and in the winter, the ground gets frozen and really hard. Digging graves under those conditions would be quite difficult. Uncle Herman’s boss told him to use a little bit of dynamite to loosen the soil a little bit. I don’t think my uncle had ever been around dynamite much…nor have I, but Elmer figured that a quarter of a stick would have been enough. He didn’t know for sure how much dynamite Uncle Herman used, but apparently the resulting hole was big enough to bury half of the townspeople. The good news was that somehow he didn’t hit any graves in the area, because no body parts were unearthed…thankfully, because I can’t imagine what a scene like that would do to a person.

The pictures that immediately came to my mind when I heard this story is the look that must have appeared on my uncle’s face when he saw what the dynamite had done. I also thought about the noise the blast made, and the fact that this mistake was not going to be able to be kept to himself. Not only would his boss know about it, but the whole town was going to know about it. Of course, Uncle Herman lost his job that day, and went on to do other off season work…probably a lot less exciting, but maybe less dangerous for everyone concerned. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that every time that incident came up in Uncle Herman’s mind or in the conversation that was going on, he couldn’t help but laugh at the very absurdity of the situation. I know Elmer and I have laughed about it repeatedly since we heard the story.

James and friends in Virginia BeachMy grand nephew, James has become quite the ladies’ man, and now that he is turning 16, I’m sure that will only get worse…for his mom, my niece, Toni, who would much rather have her young man stay a boy for a while longer, I’m sure. Unfortunately for Toni, there just isn’t anything you can do about your kids growing up, and James is one of those men who would have to be classified as tall, dark, and handsome, and we have always thought he looked a little bit like Elvis, so most likely that is what always catches the eye of Pony Ridethe girls in the area. It is a fact of life.

It seems like just yesterday that James was born. He was such a cute little boy, with lots of dark hair. He was a quiet boy, but that didn’t mean that his sense of humor didn’t shine forth. James likes being funny, in a subtle way. He’s not like the class clown or anything, but instead, his antics are designed to make people notice that he is goofy and then laugh with him. Although, every once in a while, James will go on a streak, and do something totally crazy, like ride on a pony ride…I didn’t think those even existed anymore…did you?

It seems like with every baby that was due in June, my mom Young James_editedwould hope for them to arrive on her dad’s birthday…June 15th. While some have come close, none actually made Mom’s perfect arrival date, until James came on the scene. I wish he could have known his great great grandpa, but that was not to be, since he would have been 104 at the time James was born. Nevertheless, James reminds me a little bit of my Grandpa…mostly in the way he is built…tall and slender, and maybe in his personality…both of them being quiet men and all. So my mom finally got her wish for the June babies in our family. One finally arrived on the right day…June 15th, the birthday that James shares with his great great grandpa. Today is James’ 16th birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

253_16278143633_6003_nIf you were to ask Garrett what he likes to do, you would probably find that his ideas of fun would fall squarely in the area of guy stuff. Garrett likes just about everything from golf, to hunting, to big trucks, and of course, Garrett loves sports of all kinds…and always has. Yes, I am aware that lots of girls like those things too, but to me they will always remain guy things…or maybe guy things that girls do too, sometimes.

Garrett also has a funny side. He loves to joke around, and especially to tease his sisters, Michelle and Lacey, and is sure to be the one goofing off at the exact moment that a picture is snapped. Anyone who knows Garrett has personally witnessed his goofy side, because it is simply not something Garrett can hide. It just bubbles out of him. One minute he might be serious, and the next he is busy making everyone laugh. When you think about it, that is a really great way to be.

These day’s Garrett is a grown up, with a job and all…not that a job changes the way he is. It’s not about whether or not Garrett is funny or whether or not he has a job though, in this case, its about what the job is. I thought about the fact that Garrett is a welder. That is what my dad was, and Garrett’s job reminds me that in many ways he is his grandpa’s grandson. Dad could be quite a cut up too. There are many things about Garrett that tend to remind me of my Dad. Mostly, I suppose it is a group of things. Mostly things that you can’t put your finger on separately, they just add up to a similarity, and that is an Garrett Cut-Upok thing. I like the way many traits pass down from generation to generation and from ancestors to generations of the future. It somehow gives us a sense of belonging to someone…of belonging to a family, and really, that is what makes us who we are. Bloodlines, DNA, and simply imitation of those we love.

Today is Garrett’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that you aren’t a kid anymore…especially when you are being a cut up, but I am proud of the man you have become. I hope you have a wonderful day. Happy birthday Garrett!! We love you!!

Better You Than MeThere is nothing quite as amusing to a kid as their sibling getting into trouble. I’m not sure why that is something that kids find so funny, but they do. Of course, the one who got in trouble sees nothing funny about it at all, and in fact is often very annoyed at their sibling…if they have the chance to see it anyway.

My grandchildren have told me of several events where they were guilty of laughing when one of the other three kids was getting in trouble. Of course, I told them I was shocked, but in reality, I was a kid once too. I caught them on several events, and of course, that meant that an equal measure of the same punishment had to go to the offending child. As time went on, I caught them less and less, so either they quit doing it, or got better at not getting caught.

I’m not completely sure why kids like to see other kids get into trouble, but they sure seem to. Of course, sometimes they are just annoyed at their sibling anyway, so seeing them get in trouble is almost like revenge. And if an argument between the siblings preceded the one getting in trouble, then obviously they are all for it.

Most of the time kids won’t admit to laughing at other kids who just got in trouble, because of the distinct possibility of getting the same treatment, but every once in a while they simply can’t deny it. When they get caught, they are probably in the most danger, because well…Mom is a already mad, but sometimes they get caught years later, because pictures just don’t lie.

We were having some family pictures take when the girls were little, and it was the entire family, so their were multiple kids and everyone was getting tired of the whole thing. Tempers were rising, and moods were getting bad. It was at that point that Amy got into a little trouble, and started crying. Obviously, Corrie found that amusing, because she glanced over at her sister, and proceeded to get a grin on her face that said, “Better you than me!” I didn’t see it at the time, and really hadn’t given it much thought until years later, so Corrie got away with that little no no!

Had I seen this at the time it happened, I know without a doubt, that she would had been wishing she hadn’t pulled such a stunt, but in this instance, she got away with it, because since she is a married mother of two teen aged boys, I guess it is a little late for a spanking. Just know this Corrie, I’ve got my eye on you now, and if I catch you laughing at your sister getting in trouble now, I will retaliate…so are you scared yet?

imageAs a kid, Alena was always just a little bit of a prankster. She loved pulling practical jokes on the rest of us, like the time she kicked a metal Chinese Checkers board that was beside the metal frame if her bed, causing all of us to think that someone had kicked in the big window in our living room, and our parents weren’t home. As we all scrambled around trying to figure out what was going on, Alena was laughing hysterically at the chaos she had created.

Alena always found humor in the things that most of us try to pretend we don’t laugh at. Things like tripping and falling on your face, would find Alena laughing in her shirt sleeve, while trying not to be obvious. Of course, after you picked yourself up off the floor, you had to admit that it did look pretty funny, and in reality, you had to admit that you laughed at the same things, only you left the room so no one would notice.

Of course, not everything Alena did was pranking and laughing. Every year she helps our mom plant her gardens for the summer, and pulls the old dead stuff out for her. When she gets done, the gardens look great. Gardening has never been my thing, so I’m happy to let Alena do those, and she seems to like it. She has a knack for design. The flowers are always perfectly arranged. I guess having a knack is important when it comes to flower beds.

Alena also has a flair for decorating. Not everyone can decorate and have it really look elegant, but Alena can. She uses things like wall paper or border, and bright colored paint that most of us would worry about using, for fear of it being too bright or too dark. I have often found myself wishing that I had the same flair for decorating that she has. When you have imageseen her house, it is easy to come home and thinks that your own house is…maybe a little boring, and you can’t do much about it either…unless you can get her to your house.

From a love of pranking, as a kid, to a love of decorating, as an adult, Alena has changed a lot over the years…I think. I’m pretty sure she still like those pranks quite a bit, and I have a feeling she still laughs when someone face plants in front of her, but she might be a little better at hiding it now. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

BrendaMy sister-in-law, Brenda has been a part of my life for more than 2/3rds of her life. That makes her as much my sister as my sister-in-law. Since I married one of the older children in the family, the young girl of 10 that I met while dating Bob, was just a little kid, still playing with dolls and such. It was strange to me that my sister-in-law was going to be so young…only 11, when she would become my sister-in-law. I have watched her grow up from a little girl, to a teenager, to an adult. She has always been a happy, quick to smile girl, and she has an infectious laugh. She was always fun to be around.

Her high school years were to bring a couple of odd incidents, when her car kept getting into accidents without her. After the second hit while parked situation, we began to wonder if BR, as she had been dubbed by my two daughters, who were just trying to learn to spell her name, should have a car, since all of hers seemed to wear a target on them somewhere. Even the car she now owns as an adult, has had its run ins with someone’s car door in a parking lot. While her various cars’ run ins with other cars, while they were innocently parked, have become far fewer, it seems that BR needs to purchase a force field from James Bond’s car designers to truly protect her cars.

These days find BR working in Human Resources at Hilltop National Bank in Casper, where she has been working for many years. She is much loved and respected by her co-workers, as well as all her friends. While her job required that she work long hours sometimes, she still found time to be a part of the team of family members who cared for her parents until her dad’s passing just a little more than 2 weeks ago. I don’t know what we would have done without all her help then, or her continuing visits and assistance for her mom. She Brendawas the second in command on my team of caregivers, and I can’t thank her enough for all her help.

Over the years, she and I have worked together on a number of family matters, and that has brought us even closer than we were before. Her banking knowledge and contacts have made so many of the things we have had to do, so much easier. She is my ally in so many ways, and often find myself wondering how I ever managed to be so blessed to have her in my life…and not ever wanting to find out what it would be like if she weren’t in it. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

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