My husband, Bob’s uncle, Bobby Cole was a fun-loving person who always made people around him laugh. It wasn’t so much that Bobby told a lot of jokes or played a lot of pranks, but more that he liked to laugh and found a lot of things funny. His laugh was an infectious one, and so you found yourself laughing too. I think that was what made going for visits to Kennebec, South Dakota pleasant enough to make it an annual tradition…at least until they moved to Winnemucca, Nevada, which was a little too far to go for just a few days. The trips to Kennebec were inexpensive enough for a young family like ours, because Bobby, and Bob’s aunt, Linda Cole owned the only hotel in that “podunk” town, so there was nothing to spend money on, other than the contribution to the meals. I don’t recall a restaurant, although there might have been one up by the interstate, which was the only reason anyone would actually go through Kennebec. Mostly we would head up to the tiny market to stock up on snacks and meal items for the three or four days we would be there, and then head back to the hotel, where we had a room upstairs to sleep, when we weren’t gathered downstairs in their apartment to play cards or just visit.
Kennebec wasn’t a place where Bobby and Linda would become millionaires or anything, but it was somewhat close to his family, and family ties are something that often keeps people in an area beyond the financial viability of the lifestyle. Nevertheless, the cost of living in the area was very low too, so they made a comfortable living, and the laid-back lifestyle suited them. It wasn’t that there was nothing to do in Kennebec, because there was. Bobby and Linda were in a square dance club, and they actually traveled around the area going to square dances, complete with the fancy costumes that are common to the old-fashioned dance they loved. These days, I don’t think square dance clubs even exist anymore, although I could be wrong. Maybe they still do in small-town America…who knows. Once they moved to Winnemucca, I never really heard of them going to square dances anymore or anywhere else, so maybe it was just a South Dakota thing.
I miss those old days of visiting Bobby and Linda, even though it has been many years now since we last went to Kennebec…or to Winnemucca, for that matter. Bobby passed away on May 30, 2014, and Linda on September 22, 2016. It’s hard to believe they have both been in Heaven for so long now. Today would have been Bobby’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Bobby. We love and miss you very much.
My little sister, Allyn Hadlock was the baby of the family, and as such, she didn’t get many opportunities to be the leader…or instigator…in the things we did as kids. Now, I suppose that being the youngest can have its upside and its downside. The upside is that you are usually left out of the punishment when it comes to the things your older siblings decided to do, which you were not involved in planning, and simply went along with because your older siblings either made you, by threatening you with your life, or basically played on your gullible side and told you that it was ok. In Allyn’s case I’m sure she also got into less trouble because all one had to do to Allyn was look at her sternly and tell her that was a bad thing to do, and she broke down and cried like you had just beaten her with a club. Mom usually didn’t have the heart to spank her after that. Hmm…maybe she was the smart one after all. My sisters and I always said that Allyn was just always good, and I’m pretty sure she was, because she really hated being spoken to in such a stern way…which I would have to say was barely stern at all, but was rather her interpretation of stern.
Of course, being the youngest has its downside too, in that you never get to play the cool parts in whatever game we were playing. After all, the youngest child can’t really be the mom, the teacher, or the team captain, when there are older kids involved. That is simply unacceptable. My sisters and I loved to play Club House, and we had to have a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. With five of us, and the jobs being assigned by age, Allyn got to be the club member, and that was pretty much it. As I recall, that left her as the delegated gofer. It worked out pretty well, since we figured that if we wanted snacks or something like that, it was best to send the baby of the bunch to ask for it. I don’t recall if she had any better luck at securing the snacks for the club…especially if it was close to dinnertime, but it seemed like the best plan nevertheless.
Those days are long gone now, but I do have to say that I think Allyn still relates quite well to the baby side of life. I’m not saying that she acts like a baby, but she does come up with some of the cutest nicknames for her kids and grandkids, and still gets down on their level to play their kinds of games…a very important part of being the grandma. Of course, I think I did pretty good with my grandkids as well, but since they are virtually grown up now, I’ll have to wait for the next generation to play the goofy games again…or borrow someone else’s little ones to play those games with. I have to wonder though if being the baby of the family gives you a very different aspect on life, however, because it seems to have done that with my sister, Allyn. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As we head into the Christmas season, my mind wanders back in time, to when I was a child, and Christmas was drawing closer. Mom and Dad loved Christmas, so the tree went up as early as possible. Decorating our Christmas tree was always a big deal. Of course, back then, we had a real tree, in fact I don’t think there were any artificial trees back then. The evening started with Dad cutting the tree to the right height, so it wouldn’t bend at the ceiling, but somehow, with the star on top it would almost touch the ceiling. The house was filled with the wonderful scent of pine, and we were filled with anticipation.
Once the tree was up, Mom and Dad would string the lights and garland, while the room was filled with the voices of all of us as we sang Christmas Carols and ate the wonderful snacks Mom had prepared for the occasion. Finally it was time to start decorating the tree. Each of us girls had our own ideas on true tree beauty, and while we didn’t always agree on what that was, we all managed to work through our differences to create a tree that we were all happy with. And we always thought that the current year’s tree was the best ever…and maybe it was, because as we got older, I’m sure ornaments were more evenly spaced, and our choices of placement put more of the elegant ornaments in front.
Those days of family tradition and all of us being together have changed a lot over the years. As more of us married or had to work, the traditional Christmas decorating event changed until eventually it was completely unlike the ones I remember as a child, but the love and the spirit was always there. While each family has their own traditions now, and it is Jessi and some of the other grandkids who come to decorate the tree for Mom and Cheryl, to me it will always be Mom and Dad who really made Christmas what it was when I was a kid. Their love of the Lord and their love of His birthday surrounded our home at that time of the year. They showed us what the Christmas spirit was all about, at Christmas and all year round.