Memorial Day

I’m a couple of days late in posting about my Memorial Day adventures, but in my defense I have been preoccupied with a neat dresser makeover so no time to write. I will share the dresser DIY process when I finally get it done.

On Monday, my mother, older sister and her husband and I went to visit the cemeteries and place flowers on “our” graves. I like to do this with my mom and siblings because it gives us a time to reflect and remember. Plus its about the only time of the year I go visit the graves.

This year since I have the new camera I took it along hoping to capture the scenes of the day, and I did get some neat shots. Although, I did channel my grandmother since we have pictures of relatives graves in our collections. Not my normal subject matter that’s for sure!

First we went to the Maple Grove cemetery here in town, stopping to lay some beautiful sprays my mother had made on my grandparents on the Orebaugh side as well as great grandparents (Orebaugh and Drewes (both who I never had the chance to meet)). Also Aunt Lucille and Uncle Ralph’s (who died when he was 4) graves.

Then we headed to Windhorst to decorate the BIL’s grandparents grave. I got some cool shots of the wheat surrounding the Catholic church there. I persuaded my passengers to look through the church and see the high school monument that has my mothers name on it. My older sister said our great-grandfather Orebaugh helped lay the brick on the outside of the church. (I’ve also been told he helped lay the brick streets in Dodge City.)

We then stopped my favorite little country church near Offerle to decorate the Wetzel side of the family. Little cemeteries are my favorite since the dates are always old and the designs are different. Plus it gives me an opportunity to see where I come from. There’s lots of German heritage in that little cemetery.

Since it was nice weather I talked mom into taking us by the old dairy farm she was raised on. It’s still in the Wetzel family, but has fallen into disrepair. I got some neat shots of the farm, and will have to find something special to do with them for my mom. It was quite the adventure, but I will share that in another post.

Here’s some photos from our Memorial Day journey.

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Tricky mind

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. My parents were busy farming, and especially in the busy summer time we needed to be supervised while they were working.

Most of my favorite childhood memories involve being at Grandmother and Grandpa Roy’s or at Spearville with Grandma and Grandpa Wetzel. It was a fun time and some of the memories are so engrained in my brain its easy to revert back to that time.

When we were staying at Spearville, it was a time that kids could walk all over the little town and get into trouble and still stay safe. We would walk across two streets and a couple of lawns and we were at the swimming pool. We knew what time the pool opened and what kind of candy the loose change Grandma had sent with us would buy. We’d swim all day and walk back home tan and wore out.

A Wetzel family gathering.

Grandmother Orebaugh would usually make us work, and one of the most favorite memories I have of spending time with her was when she let my sister and I drive the car along the fenceline while she picked up and/or threw tumbleweeds over the fence. She would save some of the tumbleweeds in the trunk of the car – for what – I don’t exactly remember. We were pretty young, and I’m sure kids of that age wanted to drive the car, even if it was only going 10 mph in the pasture.

Of all the good memories I have of my grandparents as a child, my “grown-up mind” sneaks in some of the bad. I remember hearing hushed talk of my Grandmother Orebaugh going to the hospital because she was “sick” and not well for us kids to be around. She was beginning to lose her memory and may even have had the start of Alzheimer’s. (My Grandpa Roy and Grandmother Orebaugh died in a car crash in 1989).

As an adult, in recent years I’ve had to cope with my remaining grandparents getting old, living in nursing homes and then passing away. Since I don’t have any more living grandparents, it was easy for me to latch onto my husband’s grandma Pauline. When we lived near to her it was easy to stop by and see her for a bit. She always had a story to tell and wanted to know about what was going on in our lives.

My family with Grandma Wetzel at my wedding in 2009. Grandpa Wetzel died in March of 2009.

In recent years, I’ve noticed how hard it was for her to just get around and little things she always took care of were hard for her to do any more. The garden just got a good weed-eating instead of new flowers each spring. The mailbox was moved to the end of the sidewalk so she wouldn’t have to go all the way across the yard to get the mail. Her shopping trips to Dodge City were limited.

She’s had a rough year so far, and in the last month she has been hospitalized and not doing well at all. I’ve been hoping and praying that she will get well again. It sure is tough seeing her like she is now.

Shaun with his Great-Grandma Pauline Scott.


Respect and appreciation for those older than me has always been important. Through the years I have learned from other people, whether it be in my professional career or in the horse world. Everyone has something to offer, be it good or bad, you can learn from them.

When my sister and I started out with horses in our early teens, we didn’t have parents who rode. About the only thing our dad taught us was how to saddle our horse and where to ride in the pastures. No fault to him, but he really didn’t have a teacher either. Through 4-H we learned the basics and even attended a number of horsemanship clinics. Those, in my opinion, are the most important for a person who wants to ride and have horses. I still draw on those experiences each time I swing a leg over my horse. I also have respect for those horsemen and women who continually go out there and compete and win at their given disciplines.

When I started running barrels, I looked to the gals with whom I competed with. Just by watching them you could see how soft their hands were, where their bodies where when they were running and what it was like to win. We compete against several NFR qualifiers here in southwest Kansas, and I even went to college with a WPRA world champion. I’ve always said, you are only as good as your competition, and around here we have some pretty darn good competition. I have a lot of respect for those gals whom I call friends and try to learn from them.

I was a director for the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association, and currently am the secretary for a local barrel racing association, so I hear and see a lot of things, both right and wrong. However, I have the utmost respect for those gals who try to make things better and work for their respective associations.

I got a phone call last night from one of the gals whom I have looked up to for a long time and respect her skills as a horsewoman and barrel racer and only hope I can be as tough as she is when I’m her age. She told me about her encounter with another barrel racer from our area, and although I hate that she had to deal with this person’s ugliness, but I have to say that I was not surprised by it. I too have been on the receiving end of her wrath. Some people will never change.

No matter what sport you are in or what hobby you enjoy, respect the people you are around. Everyone has something to offer, even the ones who want to be ugly.

Running at the Syracuse, Kan., KPRA rodeo in 2009.

Broken down

On my way back from a wheat field day yesterday for work, I took a little side trip through the countryside looking for a pretty setting with some wheat fields in it to photograph.

I first swung through Offerle and down the street my great-grandparents used to live on. I thought their house was at the end of the street, but my mind was mistaken. I found the house, and while it still looks a little bit the same, it wasn’t. The porch was closed in and the beautiful gardens and flowerbeds were gone. The huge side yard was gone. Made me sad to see. Least it was still there and I have all of my wonderful childhood memories spending time there with my cousins and family. I wondered what the inside looked like, but drove on, saddened by the change.

South of Offerle I saw a lot of green wheat fields, and just kept driving the back roads. I took a few pics here and there, but the main thing I noticed was all the old farmsteads. Some of the houses were gone and the outbuildings remained. Others were missing the barns and other buildings but an old, falling down house still stood. Occasionally I would run up on a new place, all mowed and proper with a new(er) house and new barns and farm buildings.

I like old houses. They have character and craftsmanship. The builders cared about what they were doing and made the homes to last. I live in a new home, a modular we set in 2010. It was a model home, so it had some wear in it to begin with, but it doesn’t have the character of a home built 50 years ago.

If I was rich, I’d buy one of the old broken down farm houses I seen on my drive yesterday and fix it up. It would be a total money pit, but it would be fun. At least to me anyway.

Here’s a few photos from yesterdays drive.

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A year ago today

It’s hard to believe it has already been a year since my son was born. It was long, hard and messy so I will spare you the details, but it sure has been a ride.

Shaun arriving home, May 12, 2011.

We celebrated his birthday on Cinco de Mayo with family and friends, and I have to say he knew it was a special day and one just for him. I made him a smash cake, and had cupcakes, fruit, ice cream and other goodies for the party goers.

We had the party at my work place simply because our house wouldn’t hold everyone. Here’s a couple of pics from the birthday party.

Shaun smiling at his dad as everyone sang Happy Birthday.

Not quite sure what to think of the frosting.

After a while he dove face first into his cake.

Too close for comfort

Last night my biggest dilemma was whether or not to ride my horse since it looked as though it could rain. Once I got to the house the radio started barking at me that there was a tornado warning for extreme northeast Gray County, northwest Ford County and southwestern Hodgeman County. My ears perked right up since that’s about where my house is and I listened to the warning while looking to the west via my rear view mirror in the pickup.

I got out of the pickup and stopped in my tracks trying to identify the noise coming from the south. As soon as I realized it was the tornado sirens in Dodge City (we are about 10 miles from town) my phone rang. It was my sister. Her husband had called her and told her to go to our parents basement (they live on the same road about 1/2 mile apart) and take shelter as it was headed her way. I got in my house and the phone rang again. My husband was telling me the same thing since we don’t have storm shelter either.

Mom was at my house with Shaun, so we packed it up and headed west. I said a little prayer for the good Lord to take care of my animals and look over my house and headed down the road. However, it looked like we would be driving into a rather large wall cloud/funnel cloud, so I quickly called my sister and asked what it was doing over there. She said, “its rotating above the shed and I’m in the basement.” I told her we were headed to town and to stay safe. Called dad and asked where he was, and of course he was headed home. I told him to go to my other sister’s in town, but of course he didn’t listen.

As I was heading into Dodge City, gawkers and lookie-loos were lining the street outside of town watching the clouds and taking photos. I was not impressed and silently hoped they got stuck in the muddy ditches for their stupidity. I wasn’t stopping even though I had my camera with me.

It wasn’t even raining when I got to my sister’s house. It never really did rain there. We waited it out and eventually I went back home to check on horses, dogs and my husband. This is what I found..

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The hail beat our siding up pretty good and broke the outside pane on two windows. I’m sure it obliterated our roof and it dimpled up our metal gutters. Hopefully the insurance will take care of us.

I’m not sure if there was an actual tornado that touched down near us, but the hail/wind damage was enough to scare me. That’s for sure. I have never seen such ugly clouds as I was driving to town. Hopefully we just get nice, slow, easy rain from here on out.