Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my dad, but especially today, on my parents’ 61st wedding anniversary. It seems impossible that my parents have celebrated the last seven anniversaries apart. That has been real hard on my mom. She misses Dad so much. Nevertheless, she keeps on living, because she knows that is what Dad would want. Dad loved life. He loved travel, sports, the outdoors, and mostly his family.
Together they raised their five daughters to be well mannered, responsible adults, all of whom love the Lord. And they loved each other through all of life’s ups and downs. Dad was always Mom’s rock…in fact, he was that for all of us. If ever there was a typical, old fashioned, “Father Knows Best” type of dad in real life, he was it. Dad was always able to keep all of us grounded. Whenever there was a problem, we looked to Dad on how to solve it. This was a wonderful trait of Dad’s that many people noticed, and I think it was one of the things that ultimately attracted Mom to Dad in the first place.
Mom and Dad were always so good together. Not many people can actually work together, but they could and did for many years. They were two people who truly wanted to be together 24/7. They never really needed space from each other, and never liked it when they were apart. So many people these days have girls night out or guys night, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it was just never my parents’ style. When they said, “I do”, they meant “I do…together with you”. They were such a team. When you saw one, you expected to see the other. They completed each other.
It’s hard to think of another year without Dad being here. It seems so impossible, even today…7 years later. Nevertheless, he is here with us in our hearts, and the love Mom has for him is as strong as ever. Theirs is a love to stand the test of time and beyond. What one lacked, the other made up for. It was pretty much love at first sight for these two, and love forever after. Mom was Dad’s princess, and he was her prince charming. It was a storybook romance, that would always retain that storybook feel. I wish my dad could be here to celebrate their 61st anniversary too, but I know that he is celebrating in Heaven, and looking forward to the day when they will be together again. Happy 61st Anniversary to our wonderful parents. We love you both so very much. You are the best parents ever.
Many years ago, radios were not as common, and could not be used outside the home, so when families would gather together for a dinner or dance, music by radio was not really an option. I think people probably learned to play instruments so they could entertain themselves and others. Music has been a part of my family’s heritage for a far back as I have been able to trace, but it has taken many different twists and turns. This picture is one of my Uncle Bill’s favorites. He calls it “The Musicians”, which is exactly what it is, but it was named with a little mix of respect and sentiment that said what a special thing Uncle Bill thought the little group was. My grandfather had taught each of his kids to play the violin, so they knew what it took to play music. It took a lot of practice and if you were going to play at dances and such, you had to pack all of your equipment and go to where the dance was and play, often late, then pack up and go home…all in a covered wagon way back then.
Nevertheless, even with all of the work and such, musicians who really loved what they did, made the sacrifice, and the rest of the people were glad, because a good band can be hard to find. Barn dances, square dances, and other such functions would not be the same without the musicians who made them possible. Those barn dances were the thing that the people looked forward to all week, or sometimes all month. It was like out going to a show these days. If you didn’t get to go, and it was planned, you were really bummed out.
I remember taking square dancing in school, and how much we hated that, but to those people, it was the latest thing. When you think about it, square dancing probably was the start of the line dancing of today, just like the music was the beginning of some of the music of today…at least the country music. It’s funny how much music has changed over the years, and yet really the musicians have not changed all that much…other than in looks. They still devote a lot of time to practice and work really hard to perfect their art. Whether it is country, contemporary, or even rock, being a good musician takes a lot of dedication in order to become great.
My father-in-law, Walter Schulenberg could build almost anything, and so it was that when the family moved 12 miles north of Casper he built the house they owned, as well as the big garage on the place they had lived prior to that. After they moved to a house on McKinley Street in Casper in May of 1989, he decided that he wanted to give the front of the house a little face lift. He had always liked the look of natural stone, so that was what he did to the lower half of the house. While I was watching the work on their house progress, I found myself thinking, “How does he know how to do all this stuff?” It looked amazing when he got it done.
I think a lot of people really liked the work he did…especially he brother, Butch Hein. Butch liked it so much in fact, that my in-laws made a special trip up to Forsyth, Montana, where Butch lives, so they could do the same kind of thing to Butch’s house. The rocks around Forsyth are quite different form the ones we have here, so Butch’s house looked very natural to the area. I assumed that the quarry, or wherever they got those rocks, must have been local, but I can’t say for sure. All I know is that any rock work he did, always looked great.
That is the kind of man my father-in-law was…always ready to lend a helping hand when it was needed. Whether it was a car that needed work, a new sink installed, or just somebody to sit at the house so a repairman or carpet layer could come when the homeowner needed to be at work, he did whatever was needed. His family has always come first, whether it was his wife and kids, or his in-laws, or his parents and siblings…they came first…and second to that, his friends. Isn’t that the kind of people you want in your life? I know it is for me.
Even during his retirement years, when he spent some time in Arizona, the people around him found out just what a talented man he was. I guess that wherever you can find or buy rocks, you can have rockwork to dress up your home, and it didn’t take very long before my father-in-law found rockwork jobs to occupy him in all his spare time. He was always a bit of a workaholic, and sitting around was not really his style. He wanted to be busy, and I suppose that is what kept him young for as long as it did. He wanted to be creative, and so he found people to put him to work…so much for retirement. He was too busy lending a helping hand.
My son-in-law, Travis has always loved the world of music and radio. He is totally in his element when he is hamming it up on the radio, or at remotes that he is working. He has such a quick wit, that few people can keep up with his ability to ad lib. I suppose you could say that it is a talent born of necessity. When you are on the radio, you are basically talking to yourself for and hour or more at a time. Sure, you are talking to the audience, but they are not adding to the conversation, so you are still talking to yourself. You are then responsible to the joke and the punch line. Sure, sometimes he has a partner on air, but most of the time he doesn’t. And I’m sure that many people think that he is maybe reading a script, and I can’t say for sure that he isn’t sometimes, but being around him, off air, I can tell you that his personality…at least in the joking area, is very much like his personality on air. He is a natural comedian. I guess that is what makes him such a natural on the radio. Travis has worked at several other jobs, but none that fit him so totally, like the radio has.
Travis’ taste in music is maybe different than many people would expect of someone his age. He has always liked Rock, which is not so unusual, but for someone his age to like Blues is a bit unusual. And then, there is the fact that his all time favorite musician is Bob Marley. I have listened to a little bit of Bob Marley’s music, but as a girl who likes Gospel and Country, I guess I probably just don’t get Bob Marley’s style. And as to Blues, I never really got into that or Jazz. Travis and I can agree on Jazz, and on Opera… we both hate those!! Now if I find that I am wrong on that one, and Travis doesn’t mind, or even likes Opera…well, I’ll totally pass out.
More recently, Travis, and my daughter, Amy have found a new hobby. They discovered that they have a real interest in…wine making. I was a little surprised about that one, but my dad always liked making wine too, so I know it is fun. Some friends of theirs introduced them to the process of wine making a while back and each week they get together and work on new flavors and recipes. Amy and Travis haven’t had the opportunity to taste their own wine yet, and I’m quite sure the waiting isn’t easy, but wine making is not something that can be rushed. So for now they will have to be patient, and content to work on their different flavor ideas, until the day arrives when they will be able to try their creations. They have come up with so may different flavors. Flavors like Peach, Strawberry Orange, Asian Pear, Blackberry, and Plum, are among those wine flavors they will be trying, whenever they are ready to drink. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Today, Bob and I hiked the next section of the Mickelson Trail. It was a 3 mile stretch one way, so going out and back put us hiking 6 miles. While this hike was half a mile shorter than yesterday’s and on the Mickelson Trail, which is much more level, the hard thing about this hike is that out of the 6 miles, approximately 5.5 of it was in the bright sunlight, with no shade to be found. We knew up front that it was going to be a tough hike.
We started our hike at the White Elephant Trailhead, so named because of a Feldspar mine across the highway that was named the White Elephant Mine. From there our hike took us on the uphill side of this portion of the trail. Our walk back would be mostly on the down slope…a good thing when you think of being more tired and hot.
When we came to the first real area of shade, which was a place where the builders of the railroad that used to occupy this trail, had found it necessary to cut through the rock for the tracks to go straight through it. Bob noticed a tree that had persevered in its fight for life by reaching through the cracks in the rocks to find the soil it needed. He found it interesting, and asked me to take a picture of it, but I saw something different…perseverance. That tree pushed itself through the little cracks in the rocks in order to live. It was fighting for its life.
As we walked along, I kept thinking about that little tree, and several others as we had seen along the way. Against all odds, they lived, because they never gave up…they persevered. As we sweltered in the heat of the late morning, going from shade source to shade source, we were thankful once again that we were experienced enough to have plenty of water…even if it was warm by this late point in the hike. The little tree stayed on my mind, and I began to see what perseverance is all about. Yes, the tree was fighting for its life, and I was just working toward the end of the trail. They weren’t even the same thing…or were they. In reality, we were both after the prize…the end of the race…the victory. Yes, that was it! We were alike, and like that little tree, I had the victory. The tree had life, and I persevered and made it to the end of another trail. With the completion of today’s hike, we have walked 48.3 miles of the 108.8 mile Mickelson…twice, since we walk out a ways and then back. That is a victory…that is perseverance.
Most little boys are hungry enough to eat a horse most of the time, and my son-in-law, Travis was no exception to that rule. If his family was having meat loaf, they would have to make 2 meat loaves. One for the family, and one for Travis. They came up with this plan, because after each person had taken a slice of meat loaf, Travis would take the rest of the meat loaf. Travis wasn’t being selfish, he was a growing, hungry boy, and he really needed the food.
Many boys are like that. My husband, Bob was called “hollow legs” by his grandmother. My nephew, JD was another hungry boy. I don’t remember what he was called, but he could easily eat a 5 pound bag of potatoes by himself. Other boys have been called a “bottomless pit”, “the stomach”, or some other such thing. Most boys have been given one of these names, or something similar in their lifetimes. Then they reach adulthood, and of course, the uncontrollable appetite goes away. All kidding aside, Travis did outgrow the need to eat constantly, and isn’t among the bottomless pits of the world anymore.
One thing he never outgrew, however, was his unique ability to be a comedian. Travis is definitely a show biz type. He is a big kid in many ways. He has a great personality and quick wit. His son, Caalab takes after him in that. Together they are two of the funniest guys I know. His career as a radio personality is so perfect for him. I am very proud of his accomplishments. Travis does many of the commercials for his radio station, and is the program director. He has a knack for detail, and yet doesn’t seem the type.
He most recent endeavour as a part of a band. They have started to have a presence in our area. The band, IndiSoul plays independent/rock/blues music. That is not the type of music I listen to, but I have heard some of his music, and the band is very good.
Travis is not a typical 35 year old husband, dad, son, and son-in-law, but then, if he were, he wouldn’t be normal…for him. Travis would seem crazy to many people, and I have to admit…sometimes I think he’s crazy, but it’s in a funny, goofy sort of way…the comedian coming out again, I suppose. But the truth is that he can make people laugh at the drop of a hat, and that is not a bad thing. It makes for a happy home…one where the family laughs often…not a bad idea. Happy birthday Travis! We love you!