When we think of eavesdropping, we think of trying to listen in on the conversations of people around us for the purpose of malice. However, not all eavesdropping is like that. I like to sit quietly in a room listening to the conversations going on around me, because you can learn so much about what other people think. My Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren, who wrote a wonderful journal about her family’s lives and the world they lived in at that time. Bertha quoted Charles Lamb, who in 1890 said, “I love to lose myself in other men’s minds.” I feel that way about eavesdropping.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all listen to the conversations going on around us. I can’t tell you how many times several tables in a restaurant end up in a conversation, because someone at one table said something that struck a chord with someone at another table. It is impossible for a person with good hearing not to hear the conversations going on around you, and I don’t think of it as being snoopy. Our ears were designed to listen to things going on around us. Maybe it was originally so that we could hear impending disaster, such as a growling bear, a tornado, a rushing flash flood, or screeching car tires, still our ears can’t avoid hearing the child saying something hilariously funny to its mother, the couple talking about something they don’t understand, or just the family saying something that you passionately agree with. We hear it, and eventually, our mouth cannot help itself, and we find ourselves engaging in the conversation we were just eavesdropping on.
Yes, sometimes people get annoyed when we try to engage in their conversation, but often, they do not get upset. Today, while my husband, Bob and I were riding the 1880 Train in the Black Hills, a trip we take every year when we go to the Black Hills, overheard the couple behind us talking about the many cars that stop and wave and take pictures of the train at every crossing. As I listened to their incredulity, I could stand it no longer. I turned and told them that people loved the train so much that they followed it from stop to stop to wave and take pictures. I was not being rude, just telling them about the love people have for the 1880 Train. They loved it. They asked if we lived in the area, and when we said that we just came every year, the conversation was on. We talked about the Harney Fire Lookout Tower on what is now Black Elk Peak (Formally Harney Peak), and that Bob and I have hiked it 14 times. Then I showed them a picture of us at the top. After they looked, the people behind them wanted to see too. I think they might have been traveling together, but I’m not sure. They might have been eavesdropping too. It was a great conversation, and no one was upset by the eavesdropping, in fact, they and we enjoyed the resulting conversation very much.
I suppose that most of the time, when someone sets out to invent something, they have a specific plan in mind, but maybe not. A number of inventors were trying to invent something completely different from what they ended up inventing, or they weren’t trying to “invent” anything at all, but ended up making something very cool.
One day in 1853, a chef at the Carey Moon Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, named George Crum was at work, and making a meal for a customer. Apparently this customer was rather picky, which I can understand when it comes to certain things. The customer had ordered a plate of fried potatoes, and since my mom, Collene Spencer often made fried potatoes when I was a kid, I can attest to how great they tasted. Fried potatoes, however, must be correctly cooked to be really good, and I suppose that there are many differing views as to which way of cooking them is correct. Sometimes, its just a matter of personal preference.
Chef Crum fried the potatoes in the way he had always done so, but found that he was apparently unable to please this particular customer. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows that it is really frowned upon to have food sent back to the kitchen. The chef is given a goal of almost reading the mind of the customer…and expected to get it right. I know that this can be difficult from my own experience. I love what I would call extra crispy bacon, but when I tell them extra crispy, I usually end up with bacon that is floppy and, in my opinion, disgusting. I have long since learned that if I want to get truly crispy bacon, I must tell them that I want it burned. Only then will the bacon come out “crispy” enough for me, which, by the way, never has any black parts that would indicate that it was burned.
On this particular day, Chef Crum was having a bad day, at least from the perspective of pleasing the customer, who sent the potatoes back many times, asking that the potatoes be thinner and crispier. Finally in a fit of temper, Chef Crum sliced the potatoes insanely thin and fried them until they were “as hard as a rock,” before sending them back out to the customer. To his astonishment, the customer absolutely loved the potatoes, and wanted more. Now, for anyone who likes potato chips, the request for seconds comes as no surprise, because it really is hard to eat just one potato chip, as the saying goes. Since that day, I’m sure that these new fangled potatoes were a menu favorite at the Carey Moon Lake House. They must have been, because as we all know, they are still available to this day, and they show no sign of losing their popularity now either.
My niece, Andrea Spicer is a person who is known for her caring, generous nature. She is always willing to help or a friend or family member in need. Once when a friend of hers left her wallet in a restaurant while they were traveling, Andrea offered to take her all the way back the next day and she would have done it too, but the group decided to turn around and go back right away. This kind of act is not foreign to Andrea, but is rather is something that Andrea is well known for. It doesn’t matter if she’s at work or with friends. Andrea has a caring heart and she lets everyone know that she is there for them.
Andrea has worked for the last couple of years at the Turnbuckle Lounge in the Best Western Hotel. She is a cook there and everyone who is are there agrees that she is a great cook and an easy employee to get along with. She lives her job and in reality has always been very interested in cooking. She loves serving people her creations and the watching them enjoy the food she has made. It is another way that her caring nature can come out. Sometimes, showing people how much we care, is displayed in the nutritious food we make for them.
Of course, the most important thing in Andrea’s life is her son Topher. He is her reason for getting up every day. He is her reason for doing her best in everything she does. Topher puts a smile on her face with his sweet ways, and his silly sense of humor. He makes he smile and he makes her laugh. Topher is, in many ways, Andrea’s best friend. They love to do things together, because they are very close. Sometimes, I think that Andrea, like most parents can’t believe that Topher is becoming a grown up young man, but he is. Time refuses to stand still, and Topher is almost a teenager, but he is. For Andrea, it has been a wonderful life. Today is Andrea’s birthday!! Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sometimes the age your kids or grandkids are turning on their birthday has a tendency to shock you. That is where I am on this, my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen’s 21st birthday. It just seems completely impossible that he could be 21 years old today. Chris has come so far. He finished college last year, and he is busy setting himself up in his chosen career. He has a degree in Culinary Arts, and his work is beautiful. I know that Chris will go far in this field, but I suspect that it will happen down the road a bit, when he is able to open his own restaurant. For now, he is busy getting some experience in all aspects of the restaurant business so that he will know what things that make a restaurant successful and what things make one fail.
A few months ago, Chris moved out of his parents home, and into an apartment of his own. He is enjoying his new found independence. Of course, it wasn’t like he wasn’t independent before, but when you live under your parents roof, there are still certain rules you have to abide by. By the same token, when you live on your own, you don’t have anyone else’s rules to follow, but you are the one responsible for your own bills and such too, so I guess it’s a trade off. Still, I don’t know of a single kid who has moved out on their own, who didn’t think it was worth the trade off in the end. Chris is no different than any other kid, moving out for the first time. He is adjusting to new things, and he really misses his family, especially hanging out with his little brother, Josh Petersen. I suppose that is why Josh has stayed the night several times. Brothers just need to hang out.
All that change is one thing, but the biggest change for Chris and every other kid turning 21 is the legal drinking age. Gone are the days of trying to con his parents into letting him have a sip, trying to find someone to buy beer for you, or going to a party and hoping you don’t get caught. Now I don’t know if Chris ever did any of those things or not, and as the grandma, I can feign innocence, and assume he would never do such a thing. It is my right. Nevertheless, today, Chris is of legal age to have a drink if he wants to. That is sure going to take some getting used to. He is still too young in my mind, so to see him drinking a beer with the guys will be one of those shocking moments for sure!! Nevertheless, that day has come. Today is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day, and make sure you always have a designated driver!! We love you!!
It seems impossible that I have been a grandmother for twenty years now, but with this birthday, my first grandchild, Christopher Petersen turns twenty. We were so excited about his impending birth…and then he was here. Like his mother, he had arrived on his great grandmother’s birthday. There was excitement all around. As Christopher grew, we were treated to his smiling face, his cute little animal sounds, and his antics. He loved throwing all the clothes out of the clothes basket, and climbing in instead. Every time he did something new, he was so pleased with himself. Chris loved being the funny man. Still, as much as Chris liked the funny side of life, I can also tell you that Chris is a young man of deep feelings too. He is sensitive to the needs of other people, and he hates hurting anyone’s feelings.
Chris is very close to his parents, Corrie and Kevin Petersen, and his brother, Josh. Leaving home for college, while a great experience, has been hard of Chris too. He reminds me a lot of myself in that way, because I like living in the same place as my family. I know that doesn’t work out for everyone, but for me, and for Chris…we really wish it would. I can see Chris coming home after college, and opening his own restaurant. It has been a dream of his for some time now. College, for Chris, has been a means to an end. It remains to be seen, what kind of cuisine Chris will choose, but I think he has some ideas in mind, and he is a great chef!!
For Chris, there is no greater hobby than working on cars…especially hot cars. I think he gets that from his dad and both grandpas. Chris has a Camaro that he loves to work on, and whenever he is home from school, he, his brother, Josh, and their dad can be found out in the garage or in the front driveway working on their respective cars or trucks. It’s a great way for them to bond…and to have great cars too.
With all that the guys do together, they still don’t forget about the one female in the family, my daughter, Corrie. I would love to say that they treat her like a princess, and really they do, but she has to be the most picked on princess ever, because they all love to tease her. That is something the boys learned from their dad, Kevin. They can tell you a story with a straight face, and make you believe it…or at least wonder. That is one of their best talents, and Chris is one of the best kidders. Today is Chris’ 20th birthday. I can’t believe it. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
There is a time each year, when the kids are getting ready to head back to school. It is a different date for different places, and in most cases, the parents are pretty happy to have their kids back in the school routine. Some of the kids are happy about it too. I suppose it feels different when the kids are going to school in the town where they live, because they aren’t headed so far away that you won’t see them in the evening.
However, when they are off to college in another town, even if it is in the same state, there is a sense of lonliness that comes over parents, and grandparents who are used to seeing them often. That is how I am feeling today, because tomorrow, my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen heads back to Sheridan to go to college for his second and final year. Yes, Sheridan isn’t that far from Casper, but this year, because he has a job and a Friday night class, he will only be home a few times, whereas last year, he came home most weekends, because he had a job here.
Just knowing that he will be staying in Sheridan most of the school year feels like he has moved as far away as my daughter Amy Royce, her husband Travis, and son, Caalab, who live in the Seattle area now. I have never been one to like change, and while I know that it is a part of life, I still find myself wishing that things would just stay the way they were. I know that for Chris’ parents, my daughter, Corrie Petersen, her husband, Kevin, and son Josh, tomorrow will be a very lonely day, as they drop Chris off at his dorm room, and head back home without him. They are such a close family, and this is just hard.
Nevertheless, as the new school year begins, they will have to face the facts that Chris is away again. It would be lovely we could all just teleport around the country. That way it wouldn’t matter where anyone lived, because we could see each other as often as we wanted. Since that is not to be, I guess we will all have to get used to the idea that for another school year, at least, Chris will be living in Sheridan and we will be here. I know that for his family…and for him it is going to feel like a long year.
Chris, I know this year will be a great one for you. It will be hard, but it is the culmination of all your hopes and dreams. You make us all so proud as you persue your dream of being the owner of a restaurant of your own someday. You are an amazing chef, and I know that you will be very successful in your future endeavours. So Chris, while we will miss you very much, I know that it is time for you to get back to work now. I know it will be an amazing year for you. Enjoy all of it, because before you know it, your college days will be over, and you will be in the working world like the rest of us. We love you very much.
Nineteen years ago today, I became a grandmother for the first time, when my daughter, Corrie, and her husband, Kevin Petersen gave me my first grandson, Chris Petersen. It was such an exciting time for me. It seemed like I had waited for this day for years. In reality, I was a young grandmother, not yet forty years old. Still, the wait for this little boy, and his cousin, seemed endless. Then suddenly, they were here and my world seemed so complete…until the rest of the grandbabies arrived anyway.
It seems impossible that so many years have passed so quickly and we are looking at a nineteen year old young man today. Chris is attending college in Sheridan, Wyoming studying the Culinary Arts, and plans to own his own restaurant someday. He is an excellent chef, who is the latest in a long line of chefs in his family. It is becoming quite a tradition, and one that Chris is proud to carry on into the next generation. College life takes Chris away from us for most of the school year, but thankfully he is still in Wyoming, and can come home on nice weekends. That doesn’t really make the rest of the time any easier on us, his family. We miss him very much. I am just thankful that his birthday fell on the weekend this year so he could come home to celebrate it on his day.
This birthday is even a little more special for Chris, since it was just two weeks ago that he had a car accident that could have been bad, but ended up good, in that all is well, and Chris is ok. We are beyond thankful that God’s angels had been given charge over Chris to keep him safe. While he was achy and bothered by recurring thoughts of the accident, he has no other ill side effects. The car was totaled, but it will be replaced. That is nothing really when compared to the life of my grandson. We will not dwell of the could have beens, because we know the reality of what was and is. Chris is still with us, and all is well. We rejoice in that fact. We praise God for His protection, and thank God for his life.
Chris is a young man with a healthy mix of responsibility and a fun sense of humor. He is a joy to be around. His kindness runs deep, as do his feelings. He is sensitive to the feelings of others, almost to a fault, but that is a trait that blesses us deeply. He will continue to grow into a great man, who will live up to his full potential. His love of the Lord has increased exponentially this past year as he has stepped into the position of Spiritual Head of his own life. He takes that responsibility very seriously, making sure that his spirit is fed and continuously growing. I am so very proud of the young man he has become. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!
On Thursday nights, I spend the evening with my mom and my sister, Cheryl. We watch movies, have dinner, and just hang out. It is our girls night. Tonight we went to a restaurant called Hayden’s Place, which those of you who know Casper, might know as The Kopper Kettle, or The Pink Kitchen. As we were having our dinner, we were reminiscing about the many times we had been there for dinner through the years.
My earliest memory of The Pink Kitchen, was when Mom and Dad would take us there for dinner as kids. I always ordered the Hot Roast Beef Sandwich…always, even though I had always pre-determined to order something different. I can’t tell you why I always ordered it, or why I thought I might want something different, it was just my memory of every dinner we spent there. And I still love Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches to this day.
By the time Bob and I were dating, the name had changed to The Kopper Kettle, and we occasionally went there for dinner. One summer day we went there to eat, and there was something wrong with Bob’s car. He opened the hood, and was working on something…not sure what now, but as he laid his screw driver on the cross bar of the car, it slipped off, and stabbed the radiator. How it managed to do that, I’ll never know, but he couldn’t believe it. What are the odds…right? He just stood there looking the antifreeze flowing out of the radiator onto the ground for a minute in shock. Then he went in and made a phone call to get his dad to come and help him fix it.
Tonight’s dinner was the first time I had eaten there in many years, but the food was still just as good, and I finally ordered something different…a smothered Burrito with Green Chili…quite a change from my Hot Roast Beef Sandwich days. And to tell you the truth, it felt a little strange when I thought about it.