Chris and CassieDinner with LucasAs children, we think that life is all fun and games. We don’t think about the future, because we are busy having fun. Kids have no idea what life is going to throw at them, and they don’t care. They live for today, and they know that their lives are going to be amazing. And of course, for the most part they are, but in reality every life has it’s challenges. good and bad times, as well as happy and sad times. It’s really what we choose to do with these times that shows the true nature of the person we have become.

My nephew, Chris Iverson, truly loves life. He is a family man, first and foremost. He loves to go fishing, and from what I have seen , he is a pretty good fisherman. I’m sure he finds it relaxing, and exciting, like most avid fishermen do. The rest of us…non-fishermen…just find it boring, but to each his own. Chris is an outdoorsy kind of guy, and I’m sure that all that goes together quite well with fishing.

Nevertheless, life happens, and on July 3, 2011, Chris, and his wife, my niece Cassie, had a baby named Lucas. Lucas was born with Down Syndrome, which they knew about in advance. I suppose that some people would have told them to abort the baby, but Lucas was their son, and it didn’t matter. Over the past 3½ years, Chris and Cassie have been amazing parents to Lucas. Lucas is a happy and quite active little boy, and he fills every day with so much joy for his parents, and everyone else who knows him too. Chris and Cassie could have been saddened by their son’s diagnosis, but instead, they have chosen to take the lemons that other people might find distasteful, and make some of the best lemonade in the world…the memories they are building with their little boy. I know that the parents of Down’s Syndrome children are always a special breed of people, because there are those who give these children up for adoption or abort them before birth, but as Chris would tell you, “Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.” And to that I will add, that it takes a real man to be a daddy, when the going gets tough…no matter the reason.
Chris and LucasChris fishing
No matter who we are, life hands us situations that we have to either deal with or run from, and it is my opinion that the strongest people deal with those new things with grace, giving it their all. Strong people don’t give up, whine and cry, or run from their problems, but rather, they take what they have been handed and turn it into something very special. This is what I see in the parents of Down Syndrome children, and this is what I see in Chris and Cassie. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Caryn, Caryl, and CherylMost kids, at some point in the summer vacation, get bored, or hot, or motivated, or something, and they begin to look for new things to do. As little kids, the choice that most often seems to come up is ways to make some money. Enter the Lemonade Stand. You don’t see as many of these as you might have during the years when I was growing up, but every so often, I still see them. My sisters and I were no exception to that rule. Of course, the big motivation to make money was usually so we could walk over to the Ben Franklin Store that Casper had at that time, to buy candy. I think very few kids have ideas that were much different than ours…I mean kids were going to sock that money away for college, right.
Alena and Allyn
It’s funny how motivated kids can be when it come to esrning money to spend on things for themselves, but when it comes to school work, or something like that…forget it. You will have to force them to do that. I guess we all have things that motivate us, and when you are a kid…well you are motivated by kid things. Planning for the future was just not what you had in mind, not that it would help if we did put lemonade money in the bank. I mean, at 5 cents a glass, we might have made a dollar or so, and boy, did you work hard for that dollar. I guess it was a good thing that we still had penny candy and penny gumball machines.
Lemonade Stand
I remember how much fun we had, selling lemonade to anyone who drove by on those hot summer days. We could sell to just about anyone who drove by, because things were different back then. We didn’t even need a parent hanging there with you, to keep you safe. These days you wouldn’t dare leave your kids there alone to sell lemonade. They would be gone when you came back. We lived in a different time. A safer time. We had the run of the block back then, and selling lemonade on the corner was just one of the many fun things we did, things we really enjoyed… like running a lemonade stand.

My grandmother was not a Southern Belle, but I think maybe she could have been. She was a beautiful woman, with a flair that few people possess. I have seen pictures of her and her sisters, or just her, dressed up as a Southern Belle, and I think she might have made a very fine Southern Belle. It’s funny to think that someone could have been maybe living in the wrong time, or that maybe some people could have lived in more than one time. Of course, her life wasn’t too far beyond those times, but it was far enough. And of course, there was also the fact that she didn’t live in the South.

I have often wondered what it would have been like to live in the pre-civil war days. The beautiful gowns, and the lazy days. Of course, I don’t think I would have liked the whole idea of slavery, but if I could have done the lazy days and beautiful gowns without that, I think I might have liked it. In dreams, you can do that whole setting aside the bad parts and still having the good parts, so in my own imagination, I am able to sit on the veranda with a glass of lemonade, a plate of cookies, and wearing a beautiful gown, not having any responsibilities, just parties and visits with friends. But, in reality, I probably would have become very bored with that in no time.

My grandmother was an amazing woman, who raised 9 children, and never drove a car. She stayed at home with the kids, and cooked and cleaned, and raised those 9 children to be responsible, respectable citizens. First, I can’t imagine never driving a car, much less raising 9 kids without driving. I don’t know how she managed that, but that does seem to be a little similar to the Southern Belle type of woman…one who was taken care of, and yet in reality, was the strong, capable mistress of the home…sort of like Scarlett O’Hara’s mother was…beauty with strength mixed in. Yes, I think that describes my grandmother quite well.

No, she wasn’t a Southern Bell, and didn’t live in that era, but she was a beautiful woman, who has grace and strength. She ran her home with authority, and sometimes, with the palm of her hand, and yet she made Grandpa feel like he was king of the castle. They were quite a pair, and while they weren’t rich southern landowners, they were so much richer in so many other ways, that I don’t think they felt like they missed out on one thing.

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