Sunday, December 29, 2013

Skiing at Seeley

Great snow, great company, great scenery, great fun!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wilbur: Art Aficianado

Until now, Wilbur has never been a fan of art.  Usually his remarks about famous paintings he sees are something like this, "My grandkids can paint better than that."   Since Melissa completed the family tree painting all that has changed.  This is a painting with merit in Wilbur's mind. Here are some reasons that have led me to the conclusion that he loves this painting:

  • He wanted me to have it framed as his birthday present
  • He brings all of his employees into the house to admire the painting
  • He tells everyone we meet, from the slightest acquaintance to close friends, about the painting and invites them to drop by and see it.
  • Any person who comes to the house, including the Fed-Ex delivery man, is invited into the house to admire the painting and walk through the genealogical information it contains.
Yes, he loves it.  I love it too.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Uncle Les

When I first moved into my house and painted it peach, for some unexplainable reason I kept thinking of my Uncle Les and Aunt Myrtle.  I told Mom about this random thought that kept wandering around in my head. Turns out Uncle Les's house was painted peach when I was young.   Memory is such a funny thing.

My Dad's second oldest brother was named Leslie David Robertson.  I assume he was named David after his grandfather, David Brodock.
Win, John, Les

Uncle Les was short, dark, and wiry.  I remember him smoking cigarettes and dropping the ashes into his pants' cuff.  When I was around six, he shot questions at me about people in the Old Testament.  When I could not answer who was the oldest person in the Bible, he informed my Mom that our church wasn't teaching me anything.  I guess that was his argument to support why we should join the Jehovah's Witnesses like he did.

When Uncle Les was fifteen, he ran away from home.  He was the oldest student in the school at York.  I gather from talk that I heard that the teacher viewed him her own personal servant.  Since he was the oldest, she had him hauling water and chopping the wood for both the school and the teacherage.  I imagine the older students had responsibilities to help out with wood and water, but this teacher pushed him to the limit.  One day he informed her, he would be happy to help out in any
way, provided she would sleep with him.  Fifteen year old boys.

Apparently, the thought of what was going to happen to him at home scared him a lot more than leaving home and shouldering life's responsibilities.   Uncle Les hit the road.  His travels took him the the South where he served on a chain gang.  He was found guilty of vagrancy.  He hated the South after that experience.  He swam in the great Salt Lake.  When he got salt in his eyes, an old man helped him by rinsing his eyes out with water.  He eventually found work with the circus and then on the race horse circuit. He met and married Aunt Myrtle and helped her raise her son.  He became a baker and returned to Montana.

Les on right
After working as a baker for some years, the dust from the flour began causing damage to his lungs. Nowadays, I'm sure Les would be expected to relax and let the government support him as he lived out his days.  In those days, people weren't trained to think of the government as a benefactor to help them out of every tough spot.   With money he saved, Uncle Les bought a dump truck and went to work as a contract truck driver for Helena Sand and Gravel.   When that truck wore out, he purchased another one.

He was interested in horse racing all his life, although he was savvy enough with money not to get involved financially when he got out of that business.  He and Dad had some in depth discussions about race horses.  I particlarly remember how impressed they were with Secretariat, the triple crown winner in 1973.

I remember riding in the dump truck once.  That was a pretty big thrill for a little girl.  I remember him telling me to listen and pointing out that a robin was singing his "rain song."  I recall that he gave me five dollars when I graduated high school.  When my grandparents had birthdays and anniversaries, he made the most beautiful cakes for them that I have ever seen.

Uncle Les had his faults. He was "owly" when it came to money. I imagine that being
Les, Winifred
hungry and sleeping on park benches could make a person tight with a buck. When he died of a stroke in his 80's, everything he owned was paid for, and he had over a hundred thousand dollars in the bank. One regret I have is not taking the time to ask him about his own life.  I wish his adventures would have been recorded for posterity.
Les, OD Robertson, Maude Brodock Robertson

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Art of Relocating

If you relocate to a new place and think you might need help moving again soon, follow the steps below. You will have people lined up to help you move.
  • Call up those who have lived in the new area for most of there lives.  Complain about the shopping, the schools, and the people.
  • Tell everyone how superior your previous place of residence was and elaborate on your negative feelings about coming to the area.
  • Drop names.  Tell everyone about your friend the celebrated author or your niece the movie star.
  • If you notice that those in your new area have a regional accent, correct their word pronunciations that differ from yours.
  • When you are addressing a group, tell everyone about your horror and shock when you found you would be living in the area.  Tell the assembly that you thought only cows lived here. Say how relieved you were when you found out that the area was inhabited with people who were normal.
  • If your former place of residence is within driving distance, tear back there every weekend. Don't get to know anyone in your new area.  Moan about having to return at the end of the weekend.
  • Don't wait for an invitation to tell everyone all about yourself.  Tell them about your uncle the senator, the elite boarding school you attended, your $25000 handbag, your advanced university degrees, and your prestigious, lucrative jobs.  Don't ask anyone you meet about themselves. How interesting could a bunch of ignorant hicks be anyway?
  • Show up at community meetings and demand changes in the way things operate.  Tell everyone how things were done in your former community.  Insist that this community operate exactly like the place you moved from - you know, the place moved away from because you didn't like it there.
  • Make fun of the natives in the area where you moved.  Portray them as a bevy of backward hicks with subnormal intelligence.
  • Show everyone in town how a real urban dweller drives.  Honk at everything, no matter how minuscule.  Call up the radio station program that takes public comment and whine about how people in the area use their turn signals or complain about some other driving fault.
  • Forget that you moved here because you were sick of city life.  Decide that the opportunity to increase your wealth is irresistible and more important than the peaceful lifestyle you sought.  Buy up land and start developing it the same way you did in the city

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Pranksters

I suppose some people might think it is random, but I don't believe it for a minute.  All of the last six of my grandchildren have been born on or next to a holiday or family birthday.  My knowledge of these little pranksters leads me to the only rational conclusion:  they had a Bon Voyage party before they left on their earthbound journey and decided to be born as close to holidays and birthdays as possible.

This is the ringleader  She was the first of group to arrive.  She entered the world on Christmas Day.

Modern medicine interfered with his planned Veteran's Day arrival.  Since he wanted his own birthday, he arrived the day after his Great Uncle's birthday and the day before his Great Grandmother's birthday.

The next jokester to arrive picked Valentine's Day to take the plunge into mortality.

This comedian didn't want to share a birthday with her cousin, so she arrived December 26, Boxing Day.

Next, this rascal kept the prank going, arriving on Labor Day.  Very funny, kiddo.

The latest rascal kept his mother waiting for 11 days so that he could keep the holiday arrival  agreement.  He arrived on Thanksgiving about 7:00 am, weighing in at 9 lbs 11 oz.

And what lies in the future for my impish grandchildren?  I'm betting the next scamp checks in on Martin Luther King Day.