Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hiking to Elk Creek Falls

It's quite amazing that I've lived in Idaho for over 70 years and have never been to Elk River, a small community of 125 residents, just 70 miles from here.  The Lewiston hiking group planned a spring hike to this area, promising a four mile hike with opportunity to view three different waterfalls.  We met Scott and Carol Fletcher, our leaders, at the community center and since there were just five of us we all piled in their truck and headed for Elk River.   The rain pelted the windshield at times and I wondered if we would really hike in the rain...  But when we got to Elk River, the rain was a fine mist, but this scene made us consider turning around...
Scott drove a bit, but soon turned around and we decided we'd just hike through the snow to the trailhead.  I did not take their picture, but we came upon a young couple, totally stuck in the snow with their rental car.  The young woman said, "yes, you can tell your friends you met two strangers from Florida who thought they could drive all the way to the falls."  She'd already called 911 so we bade them farewell and wondered all afternoon if the tow truck was able to get their car unstuck.
This picture shows the spot where they were stuck and we were quite happy to see the car gone when we hiked back to Scott's truck on the snow-covered, slushy road.

Snow covered the trail for the first 1/2 mile, but we did not mind - we kept telling ourselves how adventurous we felt today.

The new signage informed us of the history of the formation of the falls and the geology of the area.

The middle section falls 90' and is considered the tallest falls in Idaho.  

Debbie's telling me to come look at the rainbow!  We were quite happy to see the sun.

 Carol broke out in big smiles when the sun came out.  The lookout near upper falls got us really close to the rushing water!

I love the sound of the water!

A small group of us became good friends today, despite the challenges of the snow and the rain!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Karlee's Bridal Shower

I love this picture of Mom and daughter, celebrating a life-long dream to find love, be a blushing bride, plan a unique wedding, and embark on a life with a soul mate.  Marilyn shared a story, "I was so happy when Karlee moved to Aspen, because I was quite sure she'd find love among the rich and famous.  She told me she was just not attracted to those rich people."  At her bridal shower we learned a bit more about the people who Karlee definitely is attracted to, some by family default, but other chosen friends from early childhood.  
Her aunties - each of us claiming to be her favorite, starting with Connie and Joan.
Connie, Karlee, Theresa, and Marilyn
Dena, Karlee, and Jill, a cousin. Jill and Raya, Justin's significant other sweetheart.

The Kuhlmann side - Aunts Judy and Teri.   Cousin Serena and her daughter, Jovie.
Karlee gave Marilyn a tear-filled glance when she opened the gift of a head-table cover, embellished with lace from Marilyn's wedding dress. Marilyn seems undaunted by big projects like this and I'm happy that I had a small part in her big surprise.  Marilyn and I shopped together for the skirt fabric and I agonized over the measurements, but it appears our efforts pleased this bride-to-be.  

I snapped a few shots of some special gifts.  Karlee and John both expressed a desire for wedding gifts that might enable them to get new windows and a garage for their home in Colorado.  So Joan presented her with a special gift from Germany, a unique bank in the shape of a house.  She included the artist who created the design and the area in Germany where she found this special gift.  Dena and Jill presented Karlee with  a cute jar with the label, "House fund."  I understand part of their gift to this couple is Don's expertise in home remodeling.

I gave her an antique jar filled with a dried rose from one of the hundreds of bouquets from our Mom's funeral.  I added dried flowers from Marilyn's bridal bouquet and encouraged Karlee to add some petals from her bouquet and eventually present the flower-filled gift to her own daughter.
Jenny and Lauren have been Karlee's friends for years, through the thick and thin of life.  Lauren moved to Spokane from California in the late 1980's and said, "I was scared and felt so alone, but Karlee talked to me when everyone else ignored me.  We've been friends ever since that moment in first grade."  Jenny and Karlee became friends during high school years at Lewis & Clark High School.  Marilyn told me Jenny was Karlee's biggest cheerleader when she played volleyball - she'd come to the games with signs and her big, gravely cheerleader voice.
The BBF's and their moms, Glenda, Marilyn, and Karen.  I loved hearing the stories that connected these young women over the years.....craft parties at the Kuhlmann's, volleyball games at L&C, and preschool at the Presbyterian Church.  

Karlee and aunts and cousins.  Her aunt, Rhonda, and cousins Korin and Nikki, joined us when Karlee wanted a group photo.  We all had opportunities to share stories about our relationship and memories of Karlee.  Connie talked about Karlee coming out to the farm in the summer months, filling her days mentoring her young impressionable cousin, Julia.  Connie said, "that's when I knew  Karlee would be a great teacher."  The Kuhlmann cousins remember a picture of the four cousin babies, taken in 1985, when the three baby girls seemed to the push the only boy cousin, away from them.  The stories spanned 34 years in time as relatives and close friends shared joy, memories, concerns, and giggles that only a lifetime of friendship can bring.  
We all loved Lauren's lovely mid-century modern home and her delightful spring decor.  
We couldn't be happier for this daughter, niece, cousin, BBF.  Karlee, enjoying the love and support of forever friends and their Moms, her aunts and cousins, eagerly awaits a beautiful summer wedding in the glorious Rocky Mountains.  She and John want it to be spectacular - how could it not be with all their planning and special touches of lace, lanterns, thrift store treasures, fleece blankets, and Idaho wood-rounds?  Karlee, we love you to those Mountains and back!

Friday, March 16, 2018

A life well lived - Bernard Funke

Our world dimmed a bit when Bernard died on February 25, 2018.  But when we, the survivors, really thought about it, Millie's bright light welcomed Bernard to his heavenly home.  He's really been ready for that blessing for over four long years.  He missed his sweetheart so much after her death in December, 2013, that even wandering through their home on McCarroll St. in Clarkston continually broke his empty heart.

So, after, a rehab stay at Prestige Care he told the kids he wanted to move to Evergreen Estates.  Honestly, I doubt they've ever had such a delightful resident.  When I visited Bernard he always told me how grateful he was to live there.  He lavished compliments on all the staff, the good food, and the ability to visit with others throughout the day. The kids filled his room with images of Millie and lots of pictures of the grandkids.  Bernard was quite proud of the Quilt of Valor hanging behind his easy chair.  He continued to live positively, even when his eyesight failed and watching TV did not bring him much pleasure.  He looked forward to daily visits from his devoted children.  I think Bonnie came every day, unless she and Jerry were spending time at the cabin.  The boys visited too and enjoyed a late afternoon drink with him.  I loved to visit Bernard and Millie, especially at Christmas time because they made the best Tom and Jerry's and were quick to offer one during my visits. 

Bernard loved to dance.  He rarely sat one out when we were together at family wedding celebrations!  He never seemed to get tired or winded, but honestly he wore me out whenever I danced with him.  I know he and Millie loved to square dance and travel with their group.  They were able to enjoy one of their passions in their retired years.

 Bernard was also passionate about extended families.  He loved to call the spouses "outlaws."  This picture was taken at Tillie's 88th birthday celebration.  

He loved all family celebrations and even though it wore him out, he insisted on attending the annual Wessels' reunions at Hells Gate State Park. 

I love all these pictures of Bernard, thanks to Gary and Duane for the photos!

Father Root delivered a beautiful homily about Bernard's life, which we likened to the tapestry of the quilt on display in front of the altar.  Father Root described Bernard's life as colorful, just like a quilt.  He loved to have fun and by default, became the life of any party.  He loved people and Dale told the touching stories of his last phone calls to the people he loved.  He apparently liked a good cigar and good bourbon!  He loved his kids and grandkids.  He enjoyed spending time at Bonnie and Jerry's cabin and was so proud of them and the work they did on the cabin.  He loved his sons and expressed so much gratitude to them for continuing the auto detailing business that he started.  He was proud of every grandchild and even some great grands! 

Thank you, Denise Wilfong Aldous, for this picture of your children, Mom, and Grandpa Bernard, taken in February!  It's a great photo depicting the tapestry of lives that Bernard and Millie created by their love for each other.

This one also from Denise on Facebook, When it's almost time to let go but you just don't want to...

Bernard would want us to raise a glass and enjoy a cigar and truly live the words that were on his memorial card.

"I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
of happy time sand laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun,
of happy memories that I leave, when my life is done!"
Thank you Bernard for all the happy and laughing times.  You enriched my life and taught me how to laugh and how to love!  Rest in peace my dear brother in law!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas celebration

Oh, how I love the Christmas season!  The music, cards, letters, decorations, and the preparations, feasting, baking, and anticipating precious family time.  However, I do not enjoy shopping for gifts or even thinking about the perfect gift for my small family because it seems to cause me stress and un-needed anxiety.   My kids have embraced alternative gift giving for four years now and it seems to take away some stress for them too.  The eight of us draw names and find some sort of theme to guide our gift giving.  We've done thrift store gifts, T-Shirts, and this year we agreed to buy hats for each other.  Here are a few memories courtesy of Duane's photos.

 Anne and Bradleigh bought the same knitted pony-tail hat for each other!
Hard hat for John with lots of personalized stickers
We spent some time recalling some favorite or memorable Christmases/gifts
Theresa:  1958 when my Mom was in bed with Rheumatic Fever and Santa Claus delivered gifts to all eight kids, including new handmade clothes for all the dolls.  We kids got to decorate the tree and thought it was gorgeous with spray-on snow!
Duane:  1980 - one of the first Apple computers!
Anne:  Sizzler's hot wheels track
Karen:  Tears to go along with the gift of Tree Crabs
Bradleigh - Laughter and giggles opening the thrift store gifts
Jake:  The fake gifts hidden in IPAD and IPhone boxes
Colin:  No way to fake the Hockey Stick gift

And, we piled non-perishable food into a huge gift bag and donated it to the local food bank to remember those in our community who are hungry.
Next year we may have to insist that we wear our T-shirts and hats to our party!
Duane spent time trying to get cute pictures of the dogs, Odie and Boomer

 I love Christmas morning at my house, watching the family open their gifts for each other!  They come up with the best ideas, such as a case of toothpaste for Duane
Odie socks for Colin
Colin got super excited about an old fashioned keyboard, one that makes clicking sounds!
New doorbell device to call the family to dinner!
And I got a lovely heart indicating I'm the World's Best Grandma!  It doesn't get much better than that!   Feeling grateful for the best gift of all - my sweet family!