While my nephew, Dave Chase is a fun-loving, always active in every sport there’s a team for and the most sociable guy, his wife (my niece Toni) has ever met, what stands out above all, is his participation in family activities and his devotion to ALL of his family!! Dave took a number of trips this year, including a trip to San Diego, California for the NCAA Championship, a skiing trip to Winter Park in Utah, a fishing trip in Canada, a trip to Sturgis, South Dakota, several trips to Colorado for concerts and baseball, several trips to Centennial and Laramie, Wyoming for football games, basketball games, hiking and spending time with family, and a trip to Jackson Wyoming for hiking and sightseeing. Dave and Toni love to travel, and that has been a good thing for his whole family. Toni tells me, “Of course, I’ve always felt his love and kindness toward me and James and now Manuela and have always recognized him as the most unimaginably loyal and dependable patriarch of my little family that he is. BUT this goes way deeper, and I didn’t see it until I started thinking about what Dave has been up to in the last year. Dave’s devotion extends to his whole family circle. I could fill up the next 300 pages if I tried to cover all the examples that come to mind, but in an attempt to keep it short, I will just throw out a few.”
Dave has traveled to Laramie (sometimes on his own) just to accompany his mom to basketball games so that she doesn’t have to go alone. Dave is very loving and loyal to his mom, and since his dad passed away, he has made sure that she can still do the things she likes to do. He took his mom, sister, and Toni to Sturgis, South Dakota, so that they could all see their dad and sister’s new headstone together. Then, when Jane (his sister) and Nancy (their mother) were preparing to leave the following morning, it was discovered that his sister’s tire had a slow leak. Dave insisted that she take his car back to Laramie and on to Colorado where Jane lives to ensure their safe travel. Dave and Toni took Janes car back to her the following week, complete with a new tire. Dave and his brother both enjoy hiking, so Dave went to Centennial days in advance to hike with his brother, Dan before everybody else got there…just to have time with his brother.
Dave has been a great blessing to his mother-in-law (my sister, Cheryl Masterson), treating her just like he does his mom. Taking care of her lawn is difficult for Cheryl, and Dave just took it upon himself to take on that job. Cheryl tells me, “Dave has been such a blessing to me, and our family, ever since he and Toni began dating. He honestly took our family to heart from the very beginning!! He just accepted us all as his own and made each one of us his friend with his hilarious sense of humor, and his kindness!! He brings those traits with him to every family event, and to church on Sunday!! He continually looks for ways to be a blessing. He’s a man who always likes to be busy. He sees a need, and he finds a way to fill that need. I can’t tell you the countless times he has come by my house on a Saturday just to rake up the leaves in my yard! Or how he’s made space in his garage to store some of the guys in our family’s motorcycles in the winter, or the times he and Toni have taken some of my grandchildren to their home just because they were bored, and fed them, entertained them, got them out of their parent’s hair, and made them happy for a while. Or the times he has gone far beyond what could ever be expected to meet a need greater than I could ever afford!! And above all else, he is a wonderful husband to my daughter, Toni, and a wonderful stepdad to my grandson, James and to James’ wife, Manuela.” Dave is so thoughtful, and everyone around him becomes the beneficiary of his kindness. He gave up his second-row seat to “Hamilton” to Toni’s sister, Elizabeth Masterson, because he knew how badly she wanted to go. Tonie told me that “just in the last 5 days he went out of his way (at 6:30 am) to WalMart for the sole purpose of buying me a space heater because my feet were cold. And he made a deal with James and Manuela to get me James’s Mustang knowing that I couldn’t stand to see it sold to anybody else.”
Nancy Chase, Dave’s mom says, “Dave is always eager to help me with anything. – Changing light bulbs, moving deck furniture to and from the garage, replacing bad 2x4s on the deck. And he gives me hugs and put his arm around me when we visited Jim’s (Dave’s dad) grave in SD…” Of her brother, Jane says, “My brother Dave has always been a natural leader. He is intelligent, funny, athletic, stays active with numerous interests and makes friends wherever he goes. It’s easy to think of funny stories regarding Dave. This year, instead of sharing some of Dave’s funny antics, I’d like to share something more meaningful. As you may know, we lost our dad just over a year ago. Throughout all the sadness and aftermath, Dave showed his true strength, gentle kindness, and love of family. Quietly and without fanfare, he has become our Chase family patriarch. I am grateful and he is perfect!” Bother, Dan says, “Some things that stand out for me about Dave over this last summer are he and I working on mom’s deck replacing deck slats, hiking in the Snowy Range and Dave always having to prove his strength by pushing dead Aspen trees down at the cabin.”
Manuela, Dave’s daughter-in-law, says, “We’re so happy for Dave’s life, he didn’t have children of his own, but life still gave him two. One is always teasing and making fun of him (James), and the other, “a little chocolate boss” who is just like him. (Manuela). Before James and I make any big decisions, we always ask Dave for his opinion or advice, because we know how much he knows. And even though Dave always says that he is the boss, the truth is that Toni and Manuela are really Dave’s boss?” As you can see, Dave and Manuela really do share the same sense of humor!!
Some stories that I write are the kind that I have to think long and hard about, but some…like this one, are so easy, because the people who love and care for my subject (in this case, Dave Chase) have such deep feelings of love and respect for him that my words would pale by comparison. Dave is one of those people who makes life better for everyone he meets, and there truly is no better tribute than the honor and deep gratitude of those whose lives he has touched. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We all love you!!
My great grandnephew, Aysa Balcerzak is turning one today. I can hardly believe he is a year old already. This sweet smiley little boy is always happy, although his parents might disagree with me, but I only see his best faces, so I’ll go with what I see. Aysa loves spending time with his big sister, Reece, who is just as smiley as her brother, and loves that she has a little brother. Reece loves “showing her brother the ropes” about things, and Aysa is really having a good time exploring the world around him. He really is learning the ropes, like what all these leaves on the ground are all about and that food is fun to eat…and to play with. Of course, he is also exploring the multiple toys he now has, and as we all know, that collection will quickly grow. It is just the way it goes with kids.
Aysa is learning the art of coaching his big sister’s sporting events…with a little help from his daddy, Keifer Balcerzak. He loves to be right there on the field, so he can see all the action firsthand.
I suppose there will come a time when Aysa will be more into sports that Reece will, so it makes sense that he should watch closely. I know that because his daddy and grandpa, Dave Balcerzak both love sports, and quite likely his other grandparents do too, so Aysa comes from a long line of sports people. I know he will grow right into it.
While he loves watching sports, Aysa is also a cuddly boy. He loves snuggling up with his family, and they should really enjoy that while the can, because as we all know, most little boys grow out of the cuddly phase pretty quickly. I mean, a school aged boy can’t be seen hugging on his mom and such. Still, some boys don’t care, and maybe Aysa will be one of those. It’s always fun to have a boy who just loves giving hugs, because so many don’t. Whether Aysa continues to be a cuddly child or not, remains to be seen, but nevertheless, Aysa is a sweet little boy, who has captured the hearts of all who know him. His smiley face, and cheerful personality, make him a child who is so much fun to be around. Aysa is just perfect in every way. Today is Aysa’s first birthday. Happy 1st birthday Aysa!! Have a wonderful day, sweet boy!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Keifer Balcerzak is a busy guy these days. Keifer and his wife, Katie now have two kids, with the addition of Aysa on November 8, 2021, making their daughter, Reece a big sister. Keifer and Katie are wonderful parents, who are always encouraging their children to experience life to its fullest. Keifer love most sports, and these days plays softball, in addition to the sports he loves to watch. In fact, the teams he has played on have taken first place a number of times, including this year when the team he was on with his dad, were the All Around Safety USSSA Wyoming State Champions. I can see down the road, that Keifer will have lots of fun watching and participating in sports with his kids and probably even coaching as the years go by…maybe he already has with Reece. Keifer and Katie are definitely “hands-on” when it comes to raising their kids. They love to do things with them, encourage their personal growth, and show them all the possibilities in life. Keifer and Katie really are great parents.
Keifer and Katie are two of the happiest people I know. They are always smiling. They have been together for a long time now, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Some couples are just perfect for each other right from the start, and even though they are young, you can tell that it’s a forever kind of love. Keifer and Katie’s marriage has withstood the test of time, and now they have been married over 7 years. They are still very much in love, and they are still very happy. It’s a wonderful thing to see. Their family is very blessed, and now with their second child, complete. They have their daughter, and they have their son. It’s like what many people would consider the perfect family.
Keifer is his daughter’s superhero, and his son’s best buddy. Keifer loves being a dad. He is also a wonderful uncle to his nieces and nephews. Keifer really just loves kids in general, of all ages…and they love him. He’s so much like his dad, Dave Balcerzak. Both of them are like big teddy bears, and their smiling faces draw the kids to them both. Keifer and his dad love to watch football together, and unless something has changed, they both love the Pittsburgh Steelers. That does make for a more compatible game time. Keifer is just a guy who loves his family and loves life. Today is Keifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Keifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Zack Spethman, like all kids these days has been staying home, sheltering in place, and attending homeschool. Zack is a very social person, often making the rounds of people in the room and hugging many of them. It is just Zack’s way. He is a very loving and kind person. Now…in these trying times of social distancing, he isn’t supposed to hug people anymore…seriously!! That is something that makes me sad, because hugging is one of the things that defines who Zack is. I know that somewhere, down the road, things will get back to normal in the world, but even then, we are being discouraged from touching each other. That is especially sad, because when babies are little, we know that the lack of touch can actually cause them to stop growing. People need contact, and I don’t want to see that end. For those of us who are huggers, this is a really hard thing to do.
Zack is a very upbeat kind of guy. He has such a calm way of walking through this world…a kind of peace about things. Nothing ever seems to get him riled up. I suppose his parents might tell me different, because they are around him much more than I am, but the Zack I see is very much at peace with life…and what a great way to be. For me, and most others who know Zack, it is a phenomenal way to be, because he gives us a feeling that everything is going to be ok too.
Zack is the second child of my niece, Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve. He and his 3 rowdy siblings, keep their parents hopping with all their activities. His peaceful personality, does have it’s “warrior” side too, for lack of a better word. The warrior in him mostly comes out on the football field, the basketball court, and any other sport he likes and is playing. I also suspect that his “warrior” side would come out if someone was hurting his family, or even his friends. He is the kind of guy who doesn’t tolerate bullying of anyone.
Zack’s family has been having some very special times, just being together, even if that means they can’t spend time with extended family members, and that is hard on everyone. Social distancing doesn’t mean they can’t go to the mountains, the lake, or parks…at least not here in Wyoming, so they have been getting out in the fresh air too, and that has kept the cabin fever at bay. For Zack and his siblings, like so many other kids, this school year has been one for the record books, but they will survive and even thrive, as this pandemic passes, and life reopens. Today is Zack’s 15th birthday. Up next…learning to drive. How can that be? Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Every family struggles to find ways to do things together…not to mention the time to do so. Kids have their own activities, such as sports, dance, and other club and school activities. Parents work, kids have school, and then there are things that need to be done around the house. By the time dinner is cooked and eaten, and the table cleared, who feels like doing more activities. Plus, there is homework to be done. It seems like there isn’t time for anything more than a television show before bed.
Most of us think this is just something that has come with modern day families, where they barely have time to eat dinner together…if that. In reality, it is a problem that has been around for a lot longer. Kids just naturally grow up and become more independent, and parents get busier too. Something had to be done, so in 1939, so Charles Steinlauf stepped up. He didn’t build his bicycle for a record, because there wasn’t such a thing then. The Guinness book of records didn’t begin until the early 1950’s. Nevertheless, he was some “inventor” to use the word lightly. His was an interesting bicycle, and apparently it held something for everyone…I guess. As odd as it was, the bicycle really did work. The top rider, namely Charles steered the bicycle with an automobile steering wheel. His wife sat below operating a sewing machine. Their son was in back and their daughter sat on handle bars in front. When they stopped, the legs of the sewing machine kept the two story Goofybike, as it was called, from falling over. I don’t know any other way to safely stop it.
It might have been one of the strangest inventions in history, but, it did get his family out and about in Chicago, Illinois, and I’m certain it also brought them quite a bit of notoriety. I’m sure that there were lots of people who that of Steinlauf as that “weird inventor,” and to be honest, it looks like he just hooked a bunch of odds and ends together. It was, however, a little more technical than that, after all, just hooking a bunch of things together, does not a bicycle make. It has to be able to be ridden in order to really qualify as a bicycle, weird or not. And the Goofybike could be and was ridden by the whole Steinlauf family.
It is a rite of passage…turn 16, get your drivers license. For my grand nephew, Xander Spethman, today is that rite of passage day. Soon he will be able to take himself out on dates and not have to find a ride. He will be able to drive himself to school, and of course, run errands for his parents. I’m not sure how long that will be fun, but most kids like it for a while, because it means they get to drive. Nevertheless, I think that Xander’s younger siblings will reap the benefits of Xander having a driver’s license.
When it comes to school, Xander is all about football…with a little studying on the side. He is a great player, and already has colleges looking at him for recruitment, and offering every type of scholarship imaginable, to meet his every academic desire. Not bad for a kid who is just a freshman in high school. Xander has always been good in sports, and especially in football. He just understands the sport and what he needs to do to be successful in the sport. Last year, Xander went to football camp at Black Hill State University, and really learned a lot. He plans to attend the same camp this year, but he as also been invited to a camp at the Colorado School of Mines for their football camp. They are interested in looking at Xander for recruitment into their football program. It’s an exciting offer for a kid of his young age.
Of course it isn’t the only sport he is good at. Xander, like every member of his family knows how to shoot a gun and how to be safe with one. His dad, Steve takes Xander and brothers Zack and Isaac hunting very year, and this year they also plan to do some fishing. Xander and his family have always been close, and while Xander’s interests are changing, I know that he will always enjoy the “man sports” with his dad and brothers. And of course, Xander is an amazing gentleman to his mom, Jenny and his little sister, Aleesia, and to all women. They always know that the men of the family are there to protect them. Xander is quickly becoming a man, and he is going to do amazing things in his future life. Today is Xander’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I asked his dad what was new with my grand-nephew, Zack Spethman, the first thing he said was, “He’s tall.” And that is the truth. Zack has literally shot up in height in the past couple of years. It shocks me every time I see him. I pretty much have to stand on my tip toes just to give him a hug. While Zack is the second son of my niece, Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve, I have a feeling that he might be the tallest person in his family. It’s hard to say, because the boys still have some growing to do, but at this point, Zack is most definitely in the lead.
Zack is such a loving, sweet natured young man, and he is never afraid to show people that he loves them. Many teenagers…especially boys are worried about the hit their “image” might take, if they are seen hugging their mom, dad, or aunts and uncles in public, but Zack doesn’t care about all that. Zack’s sweet nature doesn’t make him a wimp, just the opposite in fact. Zack is great in sports, and a great protector of those he cares about. Zack knows how to shoot a gun, and after passing hunter safety a year or so ago, he is also a great hunter. Zack and his brothers, Xander and Isaac, love to do the same things their dad is doing. From guns to snowmobiles to swimming to hiking, they are all in!!
Of course, these boys aren’t too proud to play with their little sister, Aleesia, and help he with anything she needs. They treat her like a princess, and she loves each and every one of them. Zack is also a perfect gentleman at school, and his teachers all think the world of him. He is never on to get into trouble, and rather is the first one to offer assistance whenever it is needed. He makes his parents, and the rest of the family, very proud of him, and I know that he will continue to turn into a wonderful young man. Today is Zack’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Liz Masterson is a gifted teacher of high school journalism. She is also a gifted photographer. I suppose the two things go together in many ways, but I don’t know if most journalists are also gifted photographers. This dual career that Liz has keeps her very busy. If she is not grading papers, she is taking pictures of the sporting events at the school for the annual and the Kelly Kall. During the school year, she has very little time to do much else.
Nevertheless, on Thursday nights, Liz; her mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; Liz’s niece, Aleesia Spethman; and I go to dinner. We try to go different places, so that we don’t get bored, but the reality is that we just enjoy spending time together. Liz has many interests, and we enjoy hearing about the challenging subjects she addresses with her students. I think they do too, because most of her students become her lifelong friends. I think very few teachers can say that. Most teachers prepare their students for graduation and the next step in their lives, and then they slowly fade into the student’s past. Liz is very different. Her students don’t want her to fade into the past. They want to always be able to share the great things they do in life with their favorite teacher.
In her off-time, Liz is a mommy to her fur babies. Her puppies, Luka, Scout, and Buffy; and her cat, Professor McGonagall…usually known as Kitty. Liz loves her fur babies, and feels bad that she has to leave them during the day to go to work, so if she ends up working at night, as teachers often do, her puppies get to go to the grandma, Cheryl’s house to play with her puppy, Missy. It’s almost comical to me, because I’m not used to seeing puppies need a babysitter for an evening, but these are Liz’s fur babies, and she wants the best for them. And what baby doesn’t want to spend time with their grandma when their mommy can’t be home to play. When Liz is home, she and her fur babies have the best times playing together. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Nick Olsen became my grandnephew when he married my grandniece, Siara this past summer. Nick is perfect for Siara. They love to laugh, and they are always doing funny things. Nick loves to make people laugh, and he has a funny, sarcastic way to do just that. That is something I like. I find comedic sarcasm to be extremely fun, and I like when people are able to laugh at themselves. That describes Nick perfectly. He’s usually up for whatever goofy things Siara wants to do. I think his joking ways were probably in large part one of the things that attracted Siara to him in the first place.
Nick is a hard working man, who takes good care of his wife, and will someday make a great dad, I’m sure. He came from a big family, with 6 siblings, and he loves his mom very much. I’m sure he will want to have his own family. Nick and Siara already have two fur babies, Forest and Emma…their cats. Siara tells me that Nick is obsessed with Emma, and she’s not too sure he doesn’t love the cat more than he does her, but I don’t think so. Nick can fix just about anything, and so he keeps things in their house in good repair. He also likes to “surprise” Siara with a very clean house when she gets home from work. Now that makes him a pretty rare sort of a guy, and a keeper for sure.
Nick and Siara’s dad, Dave Balcerzak have bonded quite well over sports, as well as everything else. They really enjoy getting together to watch the football games. Nick’s favorite team is the Seahawks, but Siara and Dave’s is the Steelers. I’m not sure how that works while watching the games, but they seem to be able to deal with their differences, and the games they spend time watching together are mutually fun for everyone…unless the two teams are playing against each other, that is…then it’s probably war!! Even if they were playing against each other, I’m sure that there would be some good natured ribbing, especially from the winner, but they would still be good friends, and that’s great, because Siara loves her daddy and her hubby, and she loves that they get along so well. Today is Nick’s birthday. Happy birthday Nick!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For my nephew, Dave Chase, each year is defined by the sports that have taken place, and the games he has been to. Whether Dave is watching sports or participating in them, it’s all about sports. Dave is kind of a complex guy. He is very family oriented, and wants his family to lead happy and fulfilled lives, but he is very much a guy, and that means that while his wife, my niece, Toni has a wide variety of interests, and he sees her personality in their home and all she has done with it, but when it comes to what Toni is doing at any given time, Dave’s mind starts zoning out to…you guessed it…sports. I think that the girly things Toni likes, while making their home wonderful, comfortable, and homey, are things that Dave can’t really wrap his head around, because…well, they don’t have anything to do with sports. About Toni’s activities, Dave says, “I’m a male. I don’t remember what Toni has been doing for the last week, let alone the last year. I am not good at details. I just have an analytical engineering mind.” Every time I read that it makes me giggle. It is just so typically Dave, and I find it hilarious to say the least.
It was a good year in sports for Dave’s competitive teams. His co-ed softball team placed first in Division A, his basketball team went undefeated for the season and they are now competing for first place. For Dave it is the thrill of the competition, and that doesn’t just mean in physical sports. Dave has been playing Cribbage most of his life. His dad taught him how, and continues to be the one person Dave can’t beat. In the last three cribbage tournaments that Dave’s been in he placed 3rd, 2nd, and 1st, in that order.
Dave isn’t picky about what level the sports are in either. His favorite college team is, of course, the Wyoming Cowboys. As any Wyoming fan knows, they did pretty well in 2017, and they are doing excellent at basketball as well, except for the fact that they lost today…darn it!! Nevertheless, for Dave the best way to spend a birthday is at a game, which is where he was today. I just wish it had been a better game for his birthday. A couple of weeks ago, Dave managed to be in the right place at the right time to get caught on television at a Wyoming game. While that may not make him a celebrity, it’s cool to be spotted at the game, courtesy of the news.
Outside of Wyoming, Dave is a huge Dodgers, Lakers and Kings fan. The Dodgers did awesome in baseball this year, even though they didn’t win the pennant. It’s hard to say how the Kings are doing this year, because it’s too early to tell yet, but Dave says that the Lakers have been struggling for a while, but a true fan never gives up on their team…right. And the Rams…now that they’re back in LA…are Dave’s new football team…even if 2017 wasn’t their year. And Unlike Dave, who has no idea what is going on in Toni’s world, Toni has been watching his, and she is very much in the know about every team Dave likes. Way to go Toni!! As Toni said, “All I know it’s been a great year in sports for Dave, and definitely a year where his talents got better with age.” Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!