Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Tablecloth

After making my Christmas presents, I FINALLY had time to make my Christmas tablecloth yesterday. Orville and Wilbur are making fun of me. Get home soon Hermione. I need feminine company.

Orville Arrives

In the time Honored tradition of all college attendees everywhere, Orville arrives with every piece of clothing he owns ready for the wash.

When the Kitchen Belongs to the Man

He made the announcement.
I cleared out.
Party Mix is what he's all about.

For several weeks,
He's shopped around.
Nuts and cereal now abound.

Hand-picked crackers,
Lots of nuts.
Our Party Mix has lots of guts.

He cranks up the stove.
He stirs and measures.
The smell of Party Mix is a pleasure.

Our family tradition of 32 years.
He began making it,
In our younger years.

So here's to traditions.
Make some of your own.
Before you know it, your children will be grown!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Teaching in Primary

The first Primary class I taught was a nightmare. It was 1977, and I had a four month old baby. The class had grown too large and had lots of problem students. So the Presidency decided to split the class. The teacher of the too-large class must have had some input into how the class was split because, mysteriously, all the problem students ended up in my class. All the children who behaved were inexplicably placed in the other teacher's class. I liked the kids in my class about as much as I like paying income tax. Without question, the feeling was mututal.

When I remember that experience the phrase "Cold War" keeps coming to mind. In those days I gave lipservice to the idea that we love those we serve. But I had no idea how to love a bratty kid who was entertaining herself by doing hippopotamus imitations and voicing the opinion that she was mimicing my behavior to perfection. Most of the time I was in survival mode. I felt destined to fail at anything important. I had a small baby that I failed to nurse, and so she had constant ear infections. I didn't finish college because I married. So I was a failure to my mother, and she told me so. I was trying to deal with a nasty bout of post-partum depression, which the other new mothers around me did not seem to have. There was no health insurance that offered me any kind of medical help. My husband was still an apprentice at his vocation and made just enough to scrape by, if nothing unexpected came up. At the time, I had no friends in town, only acquaintances, and no one to talk to. There might have been a support system at church, but I was scared spitless to open up to anyone. I wasn't hanging by a shoestring, I was hanging on the edge of the Grand Canyon by bloody fingernails. To be sentenced every week to teach kids who were collecting scalps by running off Primary teachers, set my cup of gall overflowing.

When the call came to be the Stake Young Women Sports Specialist and create a whole new Young Women's sports program, I accepted it in a flash. The words, "You might need to be released from your current calling..." were no sooner out of the man's mouth than I was on the phone to the Primary Presidency telling them I had to be released: IMMEDIATELY

After that experience, I avoided teaching Primary like I avoid bears when I'm hiking. To me, both were deadly. After raising five childen, returning to finish college, having callings in almost every other organization, and working in a job I loved for ten years, at age 53 I was given two Primary callings: one in Cub Scouts, one as a teacher. These have been my favorite callings of all time. I've found it easy to like and love the kids. I've found when they know you like them, they want to behave. I love planning activities that are fun because, doggone it, I don't want to be bored anymore than my scouts do. I love the satisfaction of seeing the kids learn or achieve something. Probably because I am not stressed to the point of breaking, I can laugh with the kids. After sitting through some lessons where I was pretty darn bored, I can understand when children act up a little. I love getting know them and enjoy their unique personalitites. So, here's to hoping my next year in Primary is as great as this year has been.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

New Stories about My Grandpa

My cousin works for the Tri-City Herald. Below is a link to one of the editorials that he wrote. The article contains a story I never heard before about my grandfather:

I have another one I heard from my Cousin Greg, but I'm not so sure I want to publish it online.

And here is another one from my cousin Bobby who is the first of O.D. Robertson and Maude Brodock Robertson's grandchildren:

Do you remember the trap door in the kitchen at Grandma and Grandpa Robertson's house? Grandpa kept a wolf in the root cellar under the kitchen. The reason I know:

When my mother, your Aunt Neve, was pregnant with my sister Mona in Missoula, the doctor ordered complete bed rest for her if she hoped to carry the baby. As a result, I was sent to Helena to live with Grandma and Grandpa Robertson. I was 5 years old, and Grandpa Robertson told me about the wolf who would eat me if I ever tried to open the trap door in the kitchen. Well, the day before Easter, Uncle Les (who lived up the hill in the little white house) brought me a HUGE decorated Easter Egg in a clear cellophane box, and Grandpa put it up on the shelf by the clock in the kitchen, over the west windows. I was told I could open it and eat it on Easter Sunday morning. So I went to bed dreaming of that beautiful Easter Egg. The next morning, I ran into the kitchen in my pajamas to claim my Easter Egg. But the wolf had found the Easter egg and eaten more than half of it. It had his big, jagged teeth marks all around it. I was horrified. What if he hadn't found the Easter Egg? He might have eaten me!

I was in high school before Uncle Les 'fessed up and said he and Grandma and Grandpa had carefully carved the Easter Egg to look like it had been eaten by the wolf with long fangs. He roared with laughter when he told me and said, "You should have seen your face when you saw what was left of the chocolate Easter Egg, and we told you the wolf had eaten on it; your eyes were as big as saucers! Grandma told me she tried to stop them from spoiling my Easter, but the men loved chocolate. That wolf made sure I behaved when I was living with the grandparents - I didn't want anyone to let him out of the trapdoor to the cellar.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

High Tea

Every year there is a High Tea held for the Festival of the Trees. Below are picture I took. To really get a good view, click on the picture. This year my friend Charmaine sponsored a table and she invited me! Also invitees were invited to come an hour before the tea to look at the beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Each table hostess specially decorates her table. The women in pink in the background was co-hostess with Charmaine. She wears her Victorian dress to several historical events around town. Below are other tables sponsors decorated. We were served tea or herb tea, scones, tea sandwiches and chocolate mouse and petite foires (correct spelling please, Prudence ).

Charmaine, our hostess.

Eloise brought hats for us all to wear.

More tables.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving preparations

1) Greet company

2) Practice for singing.

3) Wrap any presents purchased for

4) Install rail on stairway for grandma
5) Thaw Turkey

6) Shop

7) Make garlic dip
8) Wash all the sheets so beds aren't dusty

9) Do laundry. College son will be bringing home ALL his dirty laundry. (Know from experience.)
10) Enjoy everyone's company!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Washing Carts

I’m not as easily intimidated as I used to be. Ask the Guardian of Shopping Carts at Wal-Mart. Due to the new swine flu (which seems remarkably like the Hong Kong Flu that went around when I was in 8th grade) some stores provide wipes to wipe off shopping carts. Wal Mart moved their wipe station from where the carts are in the vestibule to inside the second set of double doors where they used to line up the carts for the Guardian of Shopping Carts to dispense. There are no carts in that area anymore. So, you have to grab your cart which is presumed dirty, push it through the second set of automatic doors, grab a wipe, and wipe your cart. This makes about as much sense as showering before running a marathon.
So my cart washing routine has been to walk all the way into the store, get a wipe, walk back through the automatic doors to the carts, wash off one, and shop. I do this with a disgusted expression. While performing my routine a week or so ago, the Cart Guardian became huffy. “Ma’am,” he informed me in a superior tone , “we have the wipes in there for a reason – so this area doesn’t get backed up.” Since he and I were the only sentient beings in the vestibule, the line of shoppers waiting for me to wash off my cart before they could get theirs was strictly imaginary.
When I was younger, I would have been abashed, angry, and at a loss for words. I would have gone home and fussed and fumed and come up with 33 clever replies that occurred to me later. Without even thinking, I said, “Well, too bad. What good does it do to handle your cart and then wash it off?” I felt a bit guilty because I know I am supposed to be a religious person who is nice to everyone and that response wasn’t overly polite. Still, there is no rational argument. The new set up might make traffic flow easier, but the genius who came up with the idea forgot about the reason for having the cart wipes in the first place.

New Grandbaby

Peanut has a little brother! We welcomed him November 6 around 3:30 in the afternoon. He weighed in at 7 lbs 12 oz. I lent my camera to Boris and Eglantine, or I would post a picture. Boris and Eglantine were going to the hospital for an amniocentisis (spelling?) to determine if the baby could come on Monday. They learned that the baby needed to come that afternoon. Mother and baby are both very cute and doing well.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My Week

We are adjusting to daylight savings time. The sun is low in the sky a
at 4:00 p.m.

We attended the Ward Halloween Party. Our team won the contest of dressing Wilbur like a mummy with toilet paper.

I finished a quilt for the newest member of the family.

I worked out with my personal trainer. He is really tough. He insists on daily workouts, no excuses.

Have good week everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Post from Wilbur

Wilbur was reading the cover of Parade magazine today. It featured Hillary Clinton with the headline: Madame Secretary. His comment was, "Oh, she's a madame now."

The Warlock has inspired REDACTED to publish his own exclusive and highly sought after chili recipe.

2 large cans of prebuilt chili by REDACTED.
1 quart tomatoes lovingly canned by REDACTED.
1-2 pounds of tenderized cow cooked for REDACTED hours in a crock pot.
Dump all ingredients into a cauldron (term the Silly Witch and Warlock understand) and heat to boiling.
Serve with REDACTED amounts of onions, cheese, and chili Fritos.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


This is a quiz about family members from grandparents to aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings. Some people are in the quiz more than once. See if you can identify these family members:

1) As a child said quite often that she had "...switched her mind."

2) Was a straight A student in High School, but decided she would rather be a Mom than study medicine.

3) Had a younger brother named Thad.

4) Sold homemade lollipops at school to finance a volleyball trip to China. Then, she couldn't go to China because of the Tieneman (sp?) Square uprising.

5) After her first week in high school beginning Spanish, her teacher moved her to 2nd year Spanish.

6) Although she was a little girl, as a four year old she often asked to wander around in shorts with no shirt. In High School, after she gave up being topless, she worked as a lifeguard.

7) This guy was a darned good gymnast in High School.

8) Loved to play a song called Deep Purple on the piano.

9) Took a long, long bike trip, through more than one state on his own.

10) Served a mission to Australia.

11) Had to send out notes to all her wedding guests changing her wedding date because her fiance's baseball team won the state baseball championship. The championship meant that the fiance would be playing in a tournament the weekend of the wedding.

12) When at age four he could not find his way to his friend's house, he removed every stitch of clothing and ran naked through the sprinkler.

13) Is an awesome artist.

14) Was part of a dance group that dressed up as can-can dancers.

15) Once when she ran out milk and needed some to bake a cake, she caught and milked one of the beef cattle to solve her problem.

16) Won an award for getting 10 consecutive rifle shots within the circumference of a dime.

17) Won a prestigious award for his carpentry work.

18) Is an interpreter for the deaf. Coached a basketball team comprised of deaf students.

19) Was a promising distance runner during high school.

20) Won seven or more medals at state track meet.

21) Had a great batting average when he played baseball.

22) Was Salutatorian for her High School. Also taught herself knitting, and crocheting, and the lost art of tatting lace.

23) Was a cheerleader in the 9th grade.

24) Missed several track practices to participate in a drama meet. When the coach scolded her and told her she was out of shape, she answered the coach by high jumping 5 feet for a personal best.

25) In high school, this person worked nights and weekends as a janitor cleaning a law office.

26) When a guy asked her out for a 7 up after a church activity, she ended up footing the bill because the guy didn't have any money with him. She very wisely turned down a second date.

27) It was love at first sight when she saw her soon-to-be-husband.

28) He and several of his friends dressed up in various Halloween costumes, although it was not Halloween, and went to Wal Mart. We still don't know why.

29) These two women have yellow as a favorite color.

30) Born May of 1949

1) Hermione
2) Petunia
3) Grandma L.
4) Rachel
5) Prudence
6) Rachel
7) Uncle David
8) Grandma R.
9) Uncle Kevin
10) Aunt Athena
11) Aunt Bev
12) Chris
13) Anna
14) Grandpa R. (Helena's Bearded Ladies)
15) Grandma L.
16) Orville
17) Uncle Curt
18) Kelly
19) Wilbur
20) Eglantine
21) Uncle Jack
22) Aunt Colleen
23) Aunt Bev
24) Hermione
25) Wilbur
26) Deon
27) Grandma R.
28) Orville
29) Eglantine and Petunia
30) Uncle Murray

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mother of the Year - NOT!

I have it on good authority that I will never be elected mother of the year. According to my oldest daughter, Petunia, my elementary school children were the only children at their school who did not have pierced ears at age eight and who were required to help with the dishes. All the other children at their school regularly had cocktail parties, owned clothes with designer labels, and flew on their Lear jets to the Riviera for the Holidays. And here were my children: they were ordered to turn off the Saturday morning cartoons at 9:00 a.m. What was the reason for the T.V. going dark at this unheard of hour? So they could do WORK. Yes, manual labor. They cleaned bathrooms, emptied the garbage, washed walls, and mopped floors.
This uncalled for toil is only part of the whole reprehensible story. You probably remember that my poor, neglected children were only allowed two birthday parties where they invited their classmates: at age five and age eight. The rest of the birthday parties were just family parties and the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins came. The poor kids. Somehow they survived with only minor emotional scars. One of the children poured this tale of woe into the ears of a classmate’s mother. This woman was so appalled at this neglect that she offered to have a birthday party for my poor, neglected twins.
Another evidence of my total disregard for my children’s well being was the fact that I refused to buy their jeans at the boutiques in the mall. Every other 7th grader had designer jeans that cost $75 and came from the exclusive shops in the mall. Sale jeans from Shopko just did not make the grade for school clothes. Any 7th grader could have told you that. Finally, I got tired of the school shopping clothes dilemma. I gave my under privileged children summer jobs around the house so they could earn money for school clothes. Then I turned them loose and let them buy their own clothes. The odd thing was that the Shopko jeans that were completely unacceptable the year before, suddenly became a sought after item. I heard Petunia tell Prudence, “Let’s go shopping this afternoon! Shopko has jeans on sale for $12.99 a pair.”
Foregoing nomination as mother of the year was completely worth it. If you have ever watched the clock, praying for the time to pass so that parents will come SOON to pick up the 23 children in you charge, you know that no accolade is worth sitting on that powder keg five times a year. Once in a lifetime time praise of the press cannot compete with a little help cleaning the house every week. And I would gladly exchange the Nobel Prize for children who happily shop sales.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Grandma R.:
"You are a regular Gadianton Band." - We were being too wild.

"My word! You have Gaposis!" - Our dresser drawers were not shut all the way.

"It will never be better than it is right now." - She said this when she served a fresh cake right out of the oven.

Grandma L.:
"Tomorrow is another day." - We had a bad day.

Grandpa R.:
"Fair to middlin'" - We asked him how he was today.

"Were you born in a barn?" Our table manners left something to be desired.

I told him to wait and he said, "That's what broke the wagon."

"Hells Bells!" - Grandma overdrew the checking account.

"Enough is enough and too much is a plenty by damn!" Quoting his mother.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Price of Not Being Vigilant

I have to watch him every minute or things like this happen.......

Bring Back Memories?

Labor Day we labored to get the corn in. Remember crisp falls evenings that we would all work together to pick, shuck, blanch, cut the corn off the cobs, and haul it into the freezer? Now we can work on this project on a weekend. But in the old days we had to find a weekday evening to do it because every day even close to a weekend the kids were in: cross country, basketball, volleyball, soccer, school open house, pack meeting, sports parent meeting. I'm sure I forgot something.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Saturday we visited Hermione and stayed the night at her place. The next day we rode the Hiawatha trail. This trail is an old railroad bed that has been converted into a bike trail. It is around 12 miles long. You can ride downhill and then take a shuttle to the top. Or you can ride your bike back up to the top. The trail has over ten tunnels and trestles that you ride through. You start in Montana and ride through a two mile tunnel. When you come out of the tunnel, you are in Idaho. The first tunnel is wet! Notice the mud these two anonymous bikers managed to pick up.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel. In 1910 there was a terrible fire in the area with hurricane speed winds. Over 80 people died in the fire. Trains loaded up people and waited in the tunnels as the fires burned around them. Survival under those conditions was still a matter of chance, or Providence, since fires use so much oxygen, there is no guarantee hiding out somewhere will save you. Maybe the hurricane speed winds contributed to saving those folks.Below is one of the trestles we rode over. They span creeks. I like trestles way more than tunnels.

Wilbur and Hermione going over a trestle.

Two miles from the end of the trail I got a flat tire. This man helped me. He was prepared with patches and air pump. I appreciated his help so much. Walking my bike for a couple of miles would not have been fun. The patch held until I reached the trail end and then my tire went flat again. Whew!

The Hiawatha trail runs miles and miles more west to Coeur D' laine. The trail is being extended 13 miles east into St. Regis. I can't wait to ride that part of it. When I do, I will have a repair kit and pump with me. Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Family History in the Ft. Benton Newspaper

Maude Brodock Robertson, Gene Robertson, Geneva Robertson
The Robertson men: O.D. Robertson, John Robertson, Sid Robertson, Gene Robertson, Les Robertson

The following is an article from the River Press, Oct 14, 1998, the Fort Benton newspaper. It gives some family history as told by Uncle Gene, my Dad's brother. Sometimes our family stories are accurate, sometimes they have been distorted over time. When they are distorted, I've noticed there is usually some truth, but the facts might apply to a different family member For instance, this article says O.A. Robertson was from Virginia. From census records and other records, I have determined he was born in Virginia but moved to Carroll Co. Missouri when he was two. So, I'm betting he considered himself to be from Missouri, not Virginia. Also, there was a Robertson who led a Missouri Army, but this army fought for the Union. And, by a record written in his own hand O.A. Robertson states he left for the gold fields from Carroll Co. Missouri, not Vicksburg. I am wondering if some of this info was confused with Great Grandfather John Byrd who DEFINITELY fought for the South. My Dad said his ancestors were imprisoned in Andersonville which was a Confederate prison camp. So things get garbled over time, but it's still interesting and brings up questions. Could O.A. have fought for the North and the Byrds for the South? Anyhow, here is some family history from Uncle Gene and Aunt Neve, the twins in my Dad's family.

By Larry Thornton
Eighty-one years ago on Oct. 10, 1917, during World War I a mother-to-be from Valley County, who had been staying with her sister across the river from Fort Benton, made the trip into town, to St. Clare Hospital.
On Oct 10, 1998, the results of that earlier trip journeyed back to Fort Benton to spend a special birthday on the streets of the community they were born in.
Gene Robertson and Geneva "Robertson" Pearson, the son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Duncan Robertson, and who were possibly the first twins born at St. Clare Hospital, talked about their return to their birthplace, there [sic] lives, and their family history, with its many ties to Fort Benton and the state of Montana.
"It's nice to come back to see something that had to do with your past," Gene Robertson said.
At the time of their birth, Gene's mother had been staying with her sister, Mabel Mason, on a ranch east of Fort Benton, while his father was stationed at an Army camp in the State of Washington.
When the war finally ended, Gene said, O.D. Robertson returned to Montana and moved his family to Great Falls, York and eventually Helena.
As he talked about his family, it was clear that Gene's family history was in many cases, the history of the Treasure State.
Gene's grandfather, Oscar A. Robertson, like so many others from the distant state of Virginia, served in the Army of the Confederacy, and like many southern soldiers, was captured at Vicksburg, and faced the hardships of the Union's prison. And like many other confederate [sic] prisoners, took the Union government up on its parole offer.
Faced with the horrors of the Civil War, and its drain on the army, the North paroled many captured "rebels," if they'd once more take up their allegiance to the Union, promise not to take further part in the hostilities tearing apart the eastern states, and head west, where they'd serve as part of the military forces defending the frontier against "hostile Indians."
However, O.A. Robertson apparently got sidetracked on his Journey west, and didn't exactly fulfill all of the provisions of his parole - at least not intentionally.
While Gene's grandfather did eventually fight off Indian attacks in the west, and may have even been assisting the U.S. Military in doing so, it wasn't until some years later.
Gene explained that his grandfather hooked up with Col. Charles A. Broadwater's Diamond R Freight Company, and worked with the company until the railroad came in 1883. By that time, Gene's father had come along, and like many other youngsters wanted to "go to work with his father."
Apparently, Gene's grandmother [ Uncle Gene must have meant Grandma Emeline Owens Byrd who was raising O.D. and his brother since their mother, Rose Byrd Robertson died in 1878] gave in - just once- to her seven-year-old's request to make the freight trip with his father, allowing Gene's father to accompany her husband to pick up freight at Cow Island, in 1879, Gene said said he still remembered listening as his father told about the Indian attack [my Dad told this story too].
Gene also spoke of other memories about his father, a top ranch hand in later days, whose first job included working along side Montana artist, and ranch hand, Charles M. Russell.
In the years that followed their move to Helena, Gene found himself in the saloon business, "I never smoked or drank, but I've been in the bar business most of my life," he said.
While Gene worked at his chosen occupation his sister, Geneva, took the route of the salon, rather than the saloon, becoming a beautician and waitress. Although Geneva's early years were spent in Montana - they both attended school in Helena where Ge
ne currently resides.....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vacation 09

A week ago we got back from vacation. The greatest thing happened before vacation. Wilbur got a nice bike! The first day we went for a eight mile loop on our bikes. It was a tough eight miles because of uneven roads and uphill. It was beautiful and fun, though. Wednesday we went looking for the old Chinese mines where they have ladder up the side of a cliff and waterfalls. We got really close, but the actual site might be on private property. When Jose and Sophia, and Linus and Lucy showed up we went treasure hunting at an old mine dump. There is no shortage of mines where we camped. There is one above our camp that is still operating. There were sign saying "No mineral entry" all over our campsite. I left my gold pan at home, so the sign posters didn't need to worry.

Lucy particularly liked prospecting. I think she has gold and sapphire fever. Later ,we rode to a lake where the big fish are rumored to be, but got rained out. Well, we were at 7300 feet, and it rains a lot up there. This summer it seems to rain a lot anywhere. I also posted a picture I took last night of a beautiful cloud. It was much more interesting in person from my vantage point in my rocker on my deck.

I might have to borrow some one's cute little kids, so I have something really fun to post about like the Silly Witch and Eglantine. I've seen lots of exhausted parents at church who would love to oblige I'm sure.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Forgetfulness can be Dangerous

Memory, or lack of it, can be a dangerous thing. For several years I have wanted to ride my bike from Cottonwood Lake to Blackfoot Meadows. A couple weeks ago Eloise, Hermione, and I decided to put this plan into execution. However, Wilbur had a repair job to do on the Blackfoot Meadows end, so we changed plans to ride the opposite way. No big deal I thought.

I had ridden to Blackfoot Meadows. I had ridden to Cottonwood Lake. They are both nice rides. Between Blackfoot meadows and Cottonwood Lake was the unknown. It took us 30 minutes to ride to Black foot Meadows. It took us 45 minutes to ride down from Cottonwood Lake. It took us three hours to ride, or should I say push our bikes, in between the two. We had a sweltering, mosquito infested, uphill, and difficult ride in between. Hermione reminded me that the reason I had always wanted to ride the opposite way was that Cottonwood Lake is a thousand feet higher than Blackfoot Meadows. We noticed this as we pushed our bikes up switchbacks and on top of a mountain. Being on top of the mountain made us a little more nervous when were heard thunder. And, we did not ride down a mountain to the lake. The lake was just about on top of the mountain.

After the ride, I talked to Colin Jenkins who had told me he had ridden this route. “Oh,” he said, “I’ve never ridden between B.F. meadows and Cottonwood Lake. I hiked it with the Boy Scouts.” Inattentiveness and memory loss can be a dangerous thing.