Sometimes, there can be a rare phenomenon that happens by chance, but unlike the phenomenon of twins being born on different days, the phenomenon that took place on December 31, 1899, while not totally planned, had to be helped just a little bit. On that night, the last night of the year, the passenger steamer, SS Warrimoo was quietly making its way through the dark waters of the mid Pacific Ocean on its way from Vancouver, Canada to Australia. In the days without GPS, the navigation was calculated by the stars. It was very accurate. That night, the navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the results to Captain John DS Phillips. The Warrimoo’s position was LAT 0º 31′ N and LONG 179 30′ W. The date was December 31, 1899. First mate Payton broke in saying, “Know what this means? We’re only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line.” At first thought many of us would not see the significance of that, but Captain Phillips saw it, and he was just “prankish” enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving the “navigational freak of a lifetime.”
Phillips called his navigators to the bridge to check and double check the ship’s position. It simply would not do for there to be any miscalculation. He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark. Then, he adjusted the engine speed for perfect timing. The calm weather and clear night worked in his favor. With determined and careful maneuvering, the SS Warrimoo was in perfect position at midnight. The ship now sat on the Equator at exactly the point where it crossed the International Date Line! This seems like a minor thing, but the consequences of this bizarre position were actually many. This put the forward part (bow) of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere and in the middle of summer; the rear (stern) was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter; the date in the aft part of the ship was December 31, 1899; in the bow (forward) part it was January 1, 1900. They had managed to place the ship not only in two different days, two different months, two different years, and two different seasons…but, in two different centuries…all at the same time!! Amazing, and unlikely to ever happen again, unless it was specifically planned.
I am a summer girl, but I also like spring and fall, unless they try to act too much like winter. For the most part, I really don’t like winter at all. In Wyoming, winter means cold, wind, and snow…all dirty four-letter words, if you ask me. Nevertheless, I am not opposed to the time change, like many other people are. For me, the “Spring back” part of the change, which gives an extra hour of light in the early morning is very nice, because I love to go walk in the early morning, and as the darker days ascend on us, I can no longer head out to walk at 6:30 in the morning, because it is too dark. I much wait until later in the day to try for a walk on the path near my house…if the four-letter word, wind doesn’t rear its ugly head, that is.
Oh, I know many people don’t agree, because they are now feeling like the evening comes far too soon, and they don’t like driving home from work in the dark. As my daughter, Amy Royce said when we were discussing the time change (she’s not a fan), and I pointed out the light early mornings to her, “Hahaha!! It’s six of one or half a dozen of the other!!” Yes, that is true, but for me, the fact that I’m retired, and don’t have to drive home in the dark, it doesn’t really matter…most of the time.
This morning, however, it mattered. This morning was a balmy 51° with only eight mile per hour winds. That coupled with the fact that the time change made it light at 6:30, meant that my walk was on. It was what I would call a November Gift. The sky was gray, and that isn’t my favorite sky color, but I can deal with that. It tried to act like it was going to rain, but only accomplished a few little sprinkles, so I kept going. I prefer the warm, early morning summer days, but November does hide another good thing…the bugs are gone. In the summer I need bug repellant, and now I don’t. Of course, if there was a rogue bug out there, he couldn’t find my skin…except for my face, so it’s a wash. I will always prefer late spring and summer to late fall and winter, but I’m not one to let a good gift go to waste either. Having a morning in November with perfect walking conditions is a rare thing indeed, and I quickly got going and headed out to enjoy that November Gift.
Every year, around the time of my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s birthday and also around the 4th of July, Bob and I take our annual hiking trip to the Black Hills. We aren’t always there on Bob’s birthday, which is six days after the 4th of July, and so doesn’t always fall conveniently in the same week. Nevertheless, we celebrate his birthday too, with time together as a couple, doing one of the activities we both have loved to do for years…hiking. It hasn’t always been easy for either of us to hike some of the more difficult trails, and one year, Bob’s back was so out of place, that even the easiest of trails was more than he could handle. That was a rough year. We went to the Black Hills and spent a lot of time in a motel room.
This year was one of the good years…at least in how Bob felt. We weren’t hiking any of the real difficult trails, especially our favorite…Harney Peak (now Black Elk Peak), but we hiked every day, even though it was cold this year and rained almost every day. This has just been a strange summer, and one I haven’t exactly enjoyed to this point, but since the temperatures are moving up, so are the prospects of summertime fun. Now, getting Bob to take time off to from the work he does from home…that’s not so easy.
Bob is a mechanic, and when he retired, he really didn’t intend to “retire” exactly. He just didn’t want to go to work and be on someone else’s schedule. He loves being a mechanic, but he wants to work on the jobs he wants to, on his schedule, and from his own garage. He likes the idea of just going out there whenever he wants to, and taking a break whenever he wants to. Don’t get me wrong, Bob will take most jobs, provided he has the time and ability to do the job. Also, he will pretty much work a job until it is done, unless it is one that is obviously going to take several days. Still, he just likes being in control of his days, weeks, and life in general. And he is so much happier these days. He feels better, even though some days his back hurts from being bent over a car. And he is able to take some time and just go for an evening walk with me…which I like very much. The life of a semi-retired, self-employed mechanic suits him to a “t” so I’m happy. Today is Bob’s 69th birthday. Wow!! It doesn’t seem he is 69 at all. Happy birthday Bob!! Have a great day!! We all love you very much…but especially me!!!
Normally, on this first day of Summer, I would be thinking about the days coming up, the precious few days when I finally get to feel the warmth that doesn’t come from being wrapped in a blanket or wearing a coat. Yes, Summer can be sweltering, and I can find myself wishing for a little cooler temperature, but I don’t want it to be much cooler. I am a summer person. I like heat. I like wearing shorts and sandals, rather than sweaters and coats.
This year is a rather odd year…not that we haven’t had years of unusual weather…and no, I don’t buy into the whole global warming, climate change, or whatever they are calling it these days. Weather had natural patterns that have existed since time began, and this is nothing new. Nevertheless, when we have one of those years of an unusually cold Spring, and unusually harsh Winter, and somehow a fairly normal Fall, I find myself waiting for normalcy, impatiently!!
This has been one of those years, and I’m ready for the end of Spring. Our Winter was harsh, with lots of snow and this Spring has been full of thunderstorms and pouring rain…to the point of flash flooding and lots of warnings for lightning, hail, tornadoes, and floods. Those things aren’t all that unusual, with the possible exception of the floods, but the thing I really noticed was the cold temperatures. Normally as we approach the end of June, I am wearing shorts and t-shirts when I go out for my early morning walk. This year, however, I have been wearing pants and a jacket to keep me warm. Of course, by the time I am almost finished, I’m warm enough to go without a jacket…except for the clouds. Clouds just keep things cooler.
As I was walking these past few mornings, I thought about just how much cooler it had been this Spring, and I hoped that as the Summer arrived, it would finally begin to warm up. I also thought about another Summer about 20 years ago or so. The Spring had been cold that year too, and Summer hadn’t improved much. In fact, it was the coldest Summer I had ever remembered. Infact, it was as if Summer never arrived that year. That makes for the feeling of a long cold Winter, even though there were some warm days. The good thing about the colder rainy weather, however, was that the grass, and several other things grew better that they had in years. I guess that’s a plus, but if you don’t mind, I’ll take the warmer weather, with the leaves on the trees and the deer by the trail. Those things make my whole day.
My niece Kellie Hadlock’s boyfriend, Tim Thompson is having a great summer, and it’s just getting started. Now that school is out, Tim gets to have his daughter, Jolene Thompson for the whole summer. Tim and Kellie have so many plans for the summer. For starters, they went camping in the Green Mountains over the Memorial Day weekend. Then, they celebrated his birthday last night, because Tim and Jolene have to head back to Gillette in the morning. Tim is so excited about have his daughter for the summer. It’s been really hard being so far away from her. Tim and Kellie have already been fishing a ton and Tim is super excited that the camper is up and running! Tim is an outdoor fanatic. He loves hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking; and so, they have many plans for the camper and camping this summer!! They are always out doing fun things and being active and, the girls love that!!
Kellie tells me that Tim is such an amazing person!! He is so selfless and is always wanting to take care of his daughter, Jolene and Kellie, and their dogs too, of course!! And speaking of dogs, Kellie’s neighbor is not able to get around easily, and when we had the three feet of snow this winter, she was worried about letting her little dog outside to potty, because if the dog got stuck, it might not be able to get free and she wouldn’t have been able to get it. She asked Tim, if he would mind watching to make sure the dog got back in, and Tim did one better. He went out and shoveled her walks so that not only could the dog get in and out safely but so could the neighbor. That kindness will never be forgotten. It’s a hard thing to be unable to take you pet outside, because you are afraid for the pet and for yourself. Tim saw that and made sure he gave both of them a safe passage.
Tim is such an amazing blessing to anyone he comes in contact with, but especially for his girls, Kellie and Jolene and their dogs, and Kellie tells me that she is “so thankful that God gave me him!!” Tim has brought Kellie out of her comfort zone on a few things, such as the outdoor things. She wasn’t really an outdoorsy girl, and now she is. She has even gone ice fishing and enjoyed it!! Life is always better when your partner is a gift from God!! Today is Tim’s birthday. Happy birthday Tim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
There are a number of traditions surrounding May Dad, and the one I think I most prefer is that it is the albeit “unofficial” beginning of Summer. I’m sure that we all know that Summer really begins on June 21st, but by the first day of May, the weather usually begins to warm up, and therefore it leaves all of us “warmth starved” Summer people feeling just a little bit better. My mom, Collene Spencer loved May Day. I think it was almost her favorite day, and she was definitely one of those “warmth starved” people, as anyone who knew her very well could tell you. Mom was never comfortable in the cold of Winter, and she would finally start to feel warm when the temperature inside and outside reached about 90°. That usually meant that anyone in her house was on the verge of becoming “baked goods.”
Mom always went all out for May Day, and I think the neighbors got to where they expected it. It just wasn’t May Day or May 1st, for that matter, until the Spencer girls made the traditional “May Basket Delivery Run” around the neighborhood. Mom would buy candy, and construction paper, and we would make the baskets ourselves. Then we would full them with candy…just enough for a couple or a small family to have a couple of pieces. Then, we went around the neighborhood, hanging them on the door, then running to hide. The recipient was then supposed try to find us. The goal was not to get caught, and we had a great time trying. In our neighborhood anyway, my mom was always the May Day Queen.
In some parts of the United States, while May baskets are a big part of the May Day tradition, the day can also include activities like a Maypole Dance and crowning a Queen of May. I suppose that in a town where the town government supported the day, such traditions as these would be feasible. It might be fun to have that much participation in the holiday, but sadly, it is quickly becoming a holiday of the past in most places. I suppose it as something that was more from my mother’s era than this one. Those kinds of acts just aren’t common these days…sadly.
My sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely’s partner, Brian Cratty is a mountain man…seriously. He loves being on Casper Mountain, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. In the Summer, Brian hikes and mountain bikes for much of the day. He is totally in his element when he is on the mountain. Brian and Jennifer own a cabin on the mountain, and Brian, who is retired, spends as much time as possible there. I’m sure Jennifer will spend more time there as well, now that she has retired too.
Even in the Winter, Brian spends most days at the cabin. When he gets there, he builds a fire in the cabin and then gets to work keeping it shoveled out. The deep accumulations of snow can do so much damage to a cabin that is not kept dug out. A structure can only hold so much snow before damage becomes inevitable. Normally there is a good amount of snow on the mountain, but this winter has been a real challenge. Nevertheless, Brian as worked hard, persevered, and kept it at bay, protecting the cabin. I think we have all been shocked ah the amount of snow on the mountain, and this last storm dumped an additional 48+ inches on the mountain. It looks to me like we might have as much as 10 feet in some places.
Driving to the cabin in the Winter is not possible, so they ski into the cabin in the Winter. Jennifer tells me that it only takes about 35 minutes from the Nordic lodge to get there. They love cross-country skiing, so for them it’s not a burden, but rather an adventure. The mountain might be teeming with activity in the Summer, but the Winter presents a very different atmosphere. There is a deep quiet a lot of the time, and that is part of its charm. Of course, the cabin is near trails too, and there might be snowmobilers around too, but not all the time, so the quiet is the bulk of the day.
Some days, Brian is just not able to get up to the mountain, so on those dreaded “stuck at home” days, Brian likes to work on puzzles. Not everyone has that patience to put puzzles together, but Brian really enjoys it. He also loves to cook, and that is always an advantage for Jennifer, who reaps the benefits of his skill, and he enjoys watching movies, although he probably finds it hard to sit there when he would rather be on the mountain shoveling snow!! Today is Brian’s birthday. Happy birthday Brian!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Every year, maybe simply because Winter can be so depressing, just a little way into Spring, we have a day for fun. If you didn’t know, the day is called April Fool’s Day. Some like the day, others kind of hate it, and some don’t care one way or the other. Still, I think most people give the day a try, at least. As a kid, we tried to pull off the best prank ever, but depending on our age at the time, we often failed miserably. You can only tell someone there is a spider on their head so many times on April Fool’s Day, before they simply stop believing your story.
My parents, Al and Collene Spencer, were pretty good at April Fool’s Day pranks. I remember putting sugar on chicken and salt on cereal. I suppose some people would get upset about that, but we all had a good sense of humor, and found it to be a good laugh. Of course, there are hundreds of other pranks that can be played on people, and some of them are very elaborate. I guess it just depends on the level of imagination you have, and how far you are willing to play your prank out. For some people, April Fool’s Day just isn’t enough, and they become Bonafide Pranksters, ready to prank their next victim at any given moment. Their pranks might happen at any time on any day, which can also be very funny.
April Fool’s Day has always seemed to me as the real beginning of Spring, even though Spring officially begins on March 20th, the weather then is usually so windy and cold here in Wyoming, that I just don’t really think much about Spring until April Fool’s Day. Then, there is usually more chance of temperatures in at least the 40s, so I can actually envision Spring flowers. Whether I choose to play any pranks or not, doesn’t matter as much to me as the distinct prospect of the coming Spring. I am more of a late Spring or Summer girl, but if it’s a choice of Winter or Spring, I’ll take Spring every time…and I truly love Spring flowers.
If you decide to prank, I hope you are successful in your pranks, without anyone getting mad at you. And if you don’t decide to prank, well sometimes it’s more fun to watch other people get pranked, as long as no one notices that you are sitting quietly by without a prank in sight, because if they notice you, you are very likely is big trouble. Happy April Fool’s Day everyone. Have fun!!
Jolene Thompson is my niece, Kellie Hadlock’s boyfriend, Tim Thompson’s daughter, and she is such a little sweetheart. She always has a smile on her face, and she is totally fearless. She is a totally tough little girl. She is an amazing big sister to her siblings, and helps take care of them, but this summer, she got to spend with her dad, and they had the best summer. Jolene is in 1st grade this year, and she spent the summer learning to ride her bike and learning how to swim. She excelled at both new skills and can’t get enough of them. Her dad is a great teacher, and he guided his little girl to the level of expert in no time. She even jumped off of the high dive in Thermopolis without hesitation…multiple times!! She is totally fearless in all aspects of her life.
Jolene loves to draw and color. She has that creative gene, I think. She also loves to brush and style Kellie’s hair, which if you know my family at all, is like the greatest blessing ever. Some people hate to have their hair touched, but our family…can’t get enough of having our hair brushed, styles, or just touched. Some people might call that weird, but if you like having your hair brushed and such…well, you just know what I mean. With Kellie, Jolene gets to do all the girly things that she doesn’t get to do normally, because at home, either with her dad or her mom, there is no doing the girly things. Not everyone likes the dress-up, fix the hair, girly things. That is a blessing for both Jolene and Kellie. They are best friends, and they love each other very much.
During her summer with her dad, Jolene got to do a lot of camping, hiking, and shooting. She also got to go fishing, and of course bicycling and swimming. She had a totally blissful summer. Her and her dad had a great summer…and they did all the things!! They went to a rock-climbing wall place, and Jolene climbed like an expert there too. She also showed off her climbing skills on the trees in the campgrounds she and her dad stayed in. Jolene got her first bow this year too and learned archery. Tim is a total outdoorsman, and Jolene wants to do everything her dad does, so she is eager to learn and to reach expert level. Today is Jolene’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Jolene!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-niece, Katie Balcerzak is the mother of a sweet little three year old girl, who keeps her and her husband, Keifer Balcerzak on their toes. This summer has been a busy one, with little Reece playing t-ball for the first time. As most parents of a new athlete, especially a young one, can attest, learning the sport can have its challenges. Reece seems to have no trouble hitting the ball, but doesn’t seem to understand that she is supposed to run to the base after hitting the ball…no matter how much her mommy tries to tell her by yelling from the sidelines. I guess nobody told Reece that she had to run when she signed up. I don’t blame Reece. I don’t want to run either. I know that Katie and Keifer will get Reece lined up on the way the game is played, but in the meantime, they are having a good time watching her.
Katie is a great mom, and along with Keifer, they have raised a very smiley girl. I don’t think Reece’s goofy side just comes naturally. I think there is a lot of giggling, laughing, and goofing off that goes on in that household. That makes sense really. Since Reece’s premature birth and long hospital stay, bringing her home was a time of celebration, and celebrate they have. Everything is a good reason to laugh, and Reece has embraced that part of her parents. I think that if parents can give their children the gift of laughter, they have given them the best gift ever, and she has blessed them because life is great. They have their baby girl making life funny.
Katie and Keifer have been a couple…like forever. They were kids really, when they met. The have been married for just over six years. They are perfect for each other, and their love is strong. While dealing with the premature birth of their daughter, they were both a rock to each other. Any kind of problem with your child’s health is a tough thing to go through. Some end well, and others don’t. The couple needed to stay strong for each other, even when they feel like falling apart. Katie and Keifer did that for each other, and when Reece was able to come home, victory was theirs. I don’t know if that victory is why they named her Reece Victoria or not, and I suspect it was because of her grandma, who is also Victoria. Nevertheless, victory was theirs, and they are very blessed to have their precious, victorious, goofy little girl. Today is Katie’s birthday. Happy birthday Katie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!