prank

Karen is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s fiancé, and they are having my first great grandchild, a baby girl, just about any time. Since she was just a little girl, Karen has wanted to be a mommy, so this baby is a dream come true. I have seen Karen with her friends’ babies, and it’s plain to see that Karen is totally in her element with babies. She is going to be an amazing mom. Her sweet disposition and her caring ways really shine when she is caring for and playing with a baby. Her little girl is due on my daughter, Amy Royce’s birthday, but you just never know when these babies will decide to make their appearance. Early or late, we don’t have very long to wait, that’s for sure.

Karen has a great sense of humor, and loves to pull of a good joke or prank, and since she has been around my grandsons, Chris and Josh, her pranks, like theirs, tend to be aimed at the grandma…me. Of course, they are all in good fun, and so nothing to get upset about, but it is plain to see that those boys have corrupted that sweet girl already!! Hahaha!! It’s a good thing for her that Karens/Caryns have to stick together (as she puts it), because if that weren’t the case, I might have to retaliate on some of the pranks she has pulled on me.

Karen has been such a great blessing to my daughter, Corrie Petersen, and her husband, Kevin, who always wanted a daughter, and consider Karen to be the daughter they never had. And to top it off, she is giving them a granddaughter, which they really never expected to have. For Corrie and Kevin, this is a twofold dream come true and they are excited beyond words. For them and for me, we love Karen because of the happiness she has brought to Chris’ life. I have never seen my grandson so happy and fulfilled. For him, there is nothing he wants more that to have a family. He is so ready to be a husband and daddy, and I have been so impressed with him as he prepares for the birth of his little girl, and I attribute much of that to Karen. They have been stashing away a savings for after the baby’s birth, and buying diapers so that when she arrives, Karen can stay home with her for a few months. I am so excited for all the wonderful things that are coming in their future…many good things ahead. Today is Karen’s birthday. Happy birthday Karen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

grandpa spencer125_edited (6)When brothers don’t live in the same town, and in fact live miles from each other, it is easy to find that your brother has changed so much that you don’t recognize him. Such was the case for my Uncle Bill Spencer, and my dad one time when I was a little girl of about eight years. Of course, under normal circumstances, Uncle Bill would have recognized his brother…even if it had been a few years since he saw him last, but my dad had a couple of secret weapons up his sleeve. Dad had grown a beard, which is something he never wore, but this was a special occasion…a centennial celebration, and contest. Since Uncle Bill had not seen him with a beard much, he was at a distinct disadvantage.

Another reason that my dad was able to pull one over on his brother is that Uncle Bill was a gun dealer at a gun show, and he never expected his brother to show up there. When we arrived, there were a lot of people milling around. While we stayed out of sight, but where we could watch, Dad went over and started looking casually at some of the guns Uncle Bill had. Uncle Bill was used to letting people take their time, and was waiting to see if anyone had any questions. He simply wasn’t expecting his brother to show up at the gun show, and so he actually looked right through him, Dad's beardpaying no more attention to him that he was to anyone else. When Dad finally asked him a question, it still took a moment for him to connect that this was his brother, because Dad did not look like himself.

I’m sure that Uncle Bill was shocked to find that not only was his brother at his gun show, but he had successfully pulled one over on him. The brothers were always joking around, and to be so successful as Dad was in fooling his brother was the ultimate prank in a long line of good natured spoofs that the brothers had played on each other over the years. I can’t say that Uncle Bill never pull a better prank on my dad, because it is entirely possible, but this particular prank was one that was not forgotten, and was probably ranked up there as one of Dad’s best pranks.

This past summer, my mom, sister, Cheryl, and I had the chance to go to Wisconsin and visit Uncle Bill in the nursing home where he lives since Alzheimer’s Disease made it impossible for him to live alone. Because it had been nine years since we last saw him, the memory loss from Alzheimer’s Disease was quite pronounced for us…even though it had actually progressed at a normal pace. We were pleased that while he did not recognize us for ourselves, he did know who we were once we told him that we were his brother’s family. As is common with Alzheimer’s Disease, the patient has good days and bad days. These good days are Cheryl, Caryn, Uncle Bill, Collenedays when their memory is better than other days. We were so blessed in that while most of the conversation centered around the past, Uncle Bill was able to remember and relate much of it to us. It was sad to leave him, because we don’t know if we will see him again in this life or not, but knowing what I do of Alzheimer’s Disease, I know that as quickly as we left, he had forgotten that we were ever there…a blessing in some ways. He didn’t have to feel the sadness of parting that we did. He didn’t even remember that we had been there, but that’s ok, because we knew that we had been there, and he enjoyed the visit while it was taking place. Today is Uncle Bill’s 93rd birthday…an amazing accomplishment for him. Happy birthday Uncle Bill!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

As a kid, I always heard the stories so many of us have heard, about how tough our parents had it when getting to school. Many walked barefoot, in the snow, 10 miles to school, and it was uphill both ways. It was a rough life, you know, and yes I heard those stories too, but the one that struck me as strange and maybe a bit scary was the one my dad told of hopping a train to school. In my mind, I pictured these two little boys, maybe 9 or 10 years old, running along side of a slowly moving train trying to hop up in the box cars, and of course, feeling that lump in my throat as my mind pictured all the possibilities of such an ill advised venture. Knowing that my dad obviously didn’t land under the train, since he was, after all my dad, and must have survived such a childish prank, didn’t do much to ease my young mind for my dad as a boy. And I never could figure out why my grandmother didn’t beat the daylights out of her two reckless sons.

In going through some of my dad’s things since his passing, we came across a railroad pass, and that took me back to those old stories. You see, my grandpa worked for the Great Northern Railway Company, and his kids had passes to ride the train for free, so while he may have tried some of those reckless ways to board the trail, it wasn’t necessary for him to do it in order to get a ride, and given the evidence, I would have to think that he probably boarded the train in the normal way. Meaning that most likely he had pulled the wool over my eyes or that I was extremely gullible, or more likely a little of both. Still, I can’t say I would put it past my dad or my uncle to attempt or even be really good at hopping a train. They were full of adventurous spirit as kids.

Still, given my own love of trains, and the love of trains my dad always had, I have to think that it must have been such a great way to get to school, or anywhere else that he needed to go. To me, there is a thrill in my soul when that whistle blows, and the conductor yells, “All aboard!!” Then the lurch of the car tells you that you are on your way, and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. The scenery flashes by you effortlessly, and you can let your mind wander through the nearby woods to see what animals, meadows, ponds, or rock formations might be in there, just beyond the next turn of the tracks.

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