My grand niece, Christina Masterson and my granddaughter, Shai Royce were like two peas in a pod as kids. Unfortunately, now that they live far apart, they don’t get to spend much time together. Nevertheless, they pretty much crammed a lifetime of mischief into those young years…like most kids. The things they used to do, while not really bad, were a part of the same shock factor actions of the kids today. I remember Shai being in my car, and suddenly yelling out the window at someone on the street, “Hi!!” After they looked at her, and me like we were crazy, she told me that she and Christina do that all the time. In my day, we didn’t want to look like the nut case in town, but apparently in their day, it was the cool thing to do. I guess I should be thankful that they were not the boys with their jeans around their knees. When I was a kid, it was the kids who didn’t want to be seen with the parents because they “might” do something embarrassing. So, now I guess it’s the in thing to be embarrassing, but I can promise you that, if I did that from their car, they would be quick to tell me in a shocked voice, “Grandma/Aunt Caryn, what are you doing?? Shhhhhh!!!” Apparently, I’ll never be back in the cool generation…sigh!!

Christina and Shai were born just 5 days apart, and they were among 6 of my parent’s grandchildren born over a three year period…all the rest of those grandkids were boys. I guess the girls would have to stick together. They would try to hide out away from the boys, but you know how little boys are. They did their very best to torment the girls. That of course resulted in much screaming from the girls. They could make it sound like mass murder, when it was simply that the boys were in the same room…or the same universe for that matter. And telling them to ignore them, you received a look like, “what does that even mean?” They just thought it was their right to ask for the removal of the offending boy, preferably to a different family. Of course, the main tormenter cousin was my grandson, Caalab Royce…Shai’s brother. That made matters far worse. Not only was he wanting to play, but Shai was around him all the time, so the screaming was more like howling!!! Caalab was always a true teaser, and the girls were his favorite target. I can’t tell you how many times Shai told me she wanted to have he adopted…by any other family in the world!! Thankfully, the three of them are the best of friends these days…who would have thought.

A number of years ago, Christina moved to Colorado to live with her mom, and finished growing up there. I have to admit that while the drama of those prior years drove me and their moms crazy, I missed it too. Christina graduated from high school, and went on to study dental hygiene. When she was done with school she got a place of her own, and in true Drama Queen Fashion, she has decorated her apartment with all the girlie, drama queen things. I don’t know about the rest of the apartment, but Christina has a pink living room, and I have to admit, drama queen or not, I think its really cute!! Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Cheryl and CarynWhile going through our parents things the other day, we came across a note that I had written to my parents. The note, I don’t recall writing, but the event surrounding the need for the note, will be forever, vividly burned into my memory files. In fact, every time I think about it, and the possible outcome of that event, I cringe. It was no one’s fault really, it was just two intertwined moments that collided in a terrifying way. And I know that my parents reacted, as every parent would have to a potentially deadly situation. They yelled, and I was the target of their yelling. Looking back now, I totally understand why they yelled at me. It was because the whole thing scared them really badly, but had they known the facts that they couldn’t have known at that time, they might have reacted differently. I suppose that was why I wrote the letter. It just seemed very important to me to explain the full details, which they had missed. I felt like they needed to know that I wasn’t such a horribly mean person, who would do such a horrific thing.

I suppose I am getting ahead of myself here, so I’ll fill in the blanks for you. It was Christmas time, and around our family, that was one of the most special times of the year. We all loved Christmas. We loved everything from the shopping to the decorations. Which brings me to the whole problem. We not only loved the decorations, but we all felt like the Christmas lights needed to be turned on as much as possible. On this Out treeparticular day, it was me who decided to turn on the Christmas lights, although it could have been anyone who found themselves in this unfortunate position. Our lights were plugged into an outlet that allowed us to simply flip a switch by the front door to turn on the Christmas lights on both tree and window. It required no crawling under the tree or behind the furniture to get to the outlet. Just flip the switch by the door. So that was what I did.

It was a totally normal thing to do, but the seconds that followed were anything but normal. Suddenly there was a flash, a sizzling sound, screaming, and a rush of activity. The lights were switched off, but the screaming continued. Unbeknownst to me, my older sister, Cheryl had decided at that very moment to stick her finger into one of the colored light bulbs that had somehow been broken, and as I flipped the switch, her finger proceeded to get a significant zap. I had no way of knowing she was sitting there behind the curtains, in front of the window, touching that light, and she had no way of knowing that I would pick that exact moment to turn on the lights. Nevertheless, that was exactly what happened.

I suppose that if it hadn’t been such a serious situation, my parents would have realized that I would never I'm Sorryhave purposely tried to electrocute my sister, whom I loved dearly, but in that moment who could think clearly. It happened, I flipped the switch, therefore, I got yelled at. As a parent, I know they were more scared than anything, but as a kid, I felt unjustifiably blamed. I guess I didn’t want to risk getting yelled at again, so I wrote the note to tell them that I really hadn’t done it on purpose. As I said, I don’t remember writing the note, and in looking at the spelling, I can tell you can tell I was pretty young, but I will never forget the moment when I almost electrocuted my sister, and I thank God that she was alright.

The MoviesRemember the last time you went to the movies? There might have been a line as you went in, but with the ability to get movies right at home on the television, the lines were probably not like they used to be. I remember going to the movies when we stood in line, outside…for over an hour to get inside. In the wintertime, that was brutal, but you did it, because you really wanted to see the movie. Of course, when I was a kid, and we went to the movies, the theater was packed with kids, planning to see the latest Disney film, and the minute the lights went out, the crowd could no longer contain their excitement, so they broke out in loud screaming. It was simply the excitement that could no longer be contained inside, coming out in the form of a scream.

Now, take a trip back in time with me to a time when movies were very new. The novelty had not worn off, as it has today. Not everyone had seen a moving picture show. Even as kids, filled with excitement at the latest movie, we would never have been able to understand the level of excitement that came from seeing those first moving picture shows. I suppose there were people that felt like this new form of entertainment was not a good thing, but most felt like it was something exciting that they wanted to be a part of. I seriously doubt that they could have had any idea what an enormous impact those first moving picture shows would have on mankind.

Today, we have much more than moving picture shows, and television…which exist in almost every home in America, brings us much more than entertainment. We can turn on our TV and we are instantly connected to weather warnings, breaking news, politics, and yes, even entertainment. We can tune into learning channels that teach us about everything from animals to languages to space, and we can even watch programs from our favorite religious leaders and in my case, even our church, which broadcasts its Sunday morning service all over Wyoming, for people who can’t get to church, or don’t have a church in their small town.

So much has changed in our world since that first moving picture show, and while, we still go to the movies, the lines are rarely that long. That is quite possibly because the show is often shown at several theaters, with several showings a day, including afternoon showings. Many people don’t even go to the movies at all, choosing instead to wait for the movie to come out on television or DVD. And these days, we have the even further choice of watching television or movies on our PC, laptop, tablet, or even our cell phone. Whatever way we choose to enjoy this type of entertainment, it all started with the moving picture show.

Caryn and Bob share a laughIn church on Sunday, we were talking about patience…a subject that we all need to think about, but often don’t. It brought to mind something that happened to me years ago…on my way to my bridal shower. For those of you who are a part of the Byer family, you will understand how this could happen. And for those who aren’t, the Byer family has a different way of looking at time than the rest of the world. They operate on Byer Time, and that is 30 to 60 minutes later than the time that the clock shows. Unfortunately for some of us in this family, being fashionably late is not something we ever thought was the right way to do things. I happened to be one of those people, due to being half Spencer maybe, while my mother…a Byer by birth, even if she was half Pattan, definitely operated on Byer Time. I will say that time and circumstances can mellow a person, and I don’t stress about the time nearly as much as I used to, especially concerning Byer family functions.

Mom and I were on our way to my bridal shower, and as usual, we were running late, because Mom took so long to get ready. I was ready early, and growling around like a caged lion. Finally we were on our way, with every stop light and every slow moving car in front of me raising my anger level even more. I was driving, and yelling at everything as we went, and I came up on a car a little way before we got to the turn by the Wagon Wheel Roller Rink, that was moving particularly slow…at least in my mind. Mom tried in vain to calm me down, but I was having none of it. I screamed at the woman, and at some point (looking back I’m not sure just where or how) I passed her, screaming and yelling at her all the way

It was at this point that I realized that the woman in the slow moving car, was none other than my Great Aunt Gladys. Now she never said a word about my behavior, but then she Gladys Pattan Byer Cooperdidn’t have to. Not only was I horrified that I had acted in such a way toward one of my favorite great aunts, but then I got to face her at the shower. As I said, she never said a word about it, but I had to carry on a conversation with her, hoping that she was still speaking to me, and hoping that my face didn’t show the true level of the humiliation I felt.

I have had several turning points in my life, concerning patience…or the lack thereof, and each one of them has left it’s impressions on my mind. I have to hope that I have learned a few things about that in my lifetime, and I often feel like I have a good handle on it now…until the next episode, that is.

When a baby starts crying…everybody reacts. Sometimes it’s a relaxed, normal reaction, such as the baby’s mom or dad…who are used to the crying. Even the grandparents can be pretty relaxed with it, because they know the baby and what this type of crying means.

The reactions of a friend who is holding the baby are a little more nervous. They often range from “What did I do?” to “I don’t think your baby likes me!” looks. Everyone wants to be the one who picks up a baby and the baby just snuggles up and smiles, or the one who picks up a crying baby, and the baby miraculously quits crying…just because they saw your face. Of course, the reality is that unless you are the baby’s mommy or daddy, or maybe grandma or grandpa, you probably aren’t going to get the reaction you hoped for from a crying baby. They want their mommy or daddy, especially at bedtime or mealtime.

Some of the funniest reactions to a crying baby, in my opinion, come from other children. They often think they are going to be in trouble for somehow hurting the baby, because after all “Why in the world would this baby cry unless it was hurt”, right? Claims of “I didn’t do anything!” or “What did I do?” are fairly immediate when they are handed a baby and the baby simply turnes into a screaming bundle of noise in their arms. They just don’t understand that the baby is feeling very unsafe right now, because this person who is holding them isn’t much bigger that they are…and “Where is my mommy!!”

And for the child sitting next to the poor little one who is holding the screaming baby, the looks are a mixture of “Whew, I’m glad that isn’t me!” and “Will somebody do something about this kid!” They are really just glad the baby didn’t cry while they were holding it, and…”Maybe I’ll wait for a better time for my turn…thanks!” Kids just don’t want to be singled out as the one that made the baby cry!

Now a sister or brother who is used to this “screaming kid who has joined our family” has an even different reaction. Day after day, they hear the baby crying, and they often can’t figure out what this kid’s problem is, and why they can’t “be more like me”…because “I never cry for no reason!” and “Why did we get this kid anyway!” When they found out they were getting a little brother or sister, they were so excited, and when the baby arrived, then confusion set in. “Ok people, this crying is just not what I signed on for when you told me I was getting a brother or sister!” “I kinda wanted a bigger kid…you know, like a new best friend…soooooo, could we just trade this one in one a better model…I think this one is just a bit defective!!” “Hey Mommy, can you please turn the volume down on this kid…or better yet, maybe we should put him in his crib…and shut the door please!!”

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