Observing whatever tickles my fancy

Archive for March, 2013

Bored at work

Work has gotten a little boring.  When this happens I’ve no option but to crawl into a daydream.  Sometimes I drag friends along via email.  This is what happened today.

L:

Riding the fence line again today.  I’m out in Wyoming, near the Tetons, and of course it’s early summer.  My horse, Chisholm, is a beautiful Pinto.  He is a solid, yet gentle animal.  Earlier, as I attached the post, Chisholm playfully nudged me.  He nibbled at the pocket of my jacket knowing that there was a carrot tucked inside.  It’s beautiful out here on the range.  The sun beating on my back, a gentle breeze coming off the mountains.  Chisholm and I are going to rest near the creek down a ways.  Good place for a nap.

J:

I could visualize everything about this…even you giggling as he playfully nudged you!

L:

Of course I laughed, then rubbed his muzzle as he crunched the carrot.  Chisholm is an awesome companion.

A:

Please continue……I am so right there.

L:

Found a calf stuck in the scrub bushes on the way to the creek.  It’s one of ours.  Can’t see its mother anywhere and don’t see any crows overhead so she must be out there somewhere.

A:

NORMAN!!!!

L:

NO!  Not Norman…..no, no, no…..you city folks and your talkin’ pictures….it’s a plain old calf.  No name, no number…yet.  But it will get a number…. a number, not a name.  You don’t name something you’re going to eat….unless it’s Ribeye.

A:

Sorry about interruption.  Please continue…found a calf stuck in the scrub brushes…

L:

Found the herd over the rise.  The minute we crested the hill old Bessie heard her calf calling.  She came lickety split to him and he latched onto her with a hunger.  He sounded more like a suckling pig than a calf.  Bessie shot me a look of contempt, as if I took her baby.  “You’re the one that lost him,” I told her.  “Don’t blame me for your incompetence as a mother.”

I watched the herd for a bit and didn’t see anything amiss so headed back toward the creek.  No wayward calf would deter Chisholm and I to take some time for ourselves.

*note: friends who were dragged along via email.  I did do some editing when I realized some geography was off.  A writer should always edit.

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Ipod Nopod

Last week I bought an I-pod.  Taken in by a sale, bright lights, and apps galore I boldly entered an electronic store, picked out the color I-pod of choice, and laid down the money.

At home I excitedly opened the small package then struggled to find the on/off button.  There are no instruction books included when you buy it.  There are little sheets of paper telling you where to go on-line and download the manual (100+ pages) but who takes the time to read it?  20 minutes later I had the gizmo up and was trying to figure out how to make it do what I wanted.  It was a struggle.  The bright lights and small icons made my eyes hurt.  My patience reached its limit.  Siri, at one point, pissed me off so much I told her that she had to be turned off.  In her arrogant, digital voice, she replied “Is that so?”  Who knew a digital voice could have such attitude.

Over the weekend as I continued to play with the I-pod I wondered why I needed this “toy”, this distraction from better pursuits?  In the end I decided that I didn’t.  Life is more than a little box filled with music and games.  Yes, it’s a camera, a map, and so much more but to me it’s not worth having.  I rolled the cord up and tucked it back into the box.  I slipped the “instructions” in too.  Then I placed the I-pod back into its container and closed the top.  This morning, through snow and slick roads, I returned the I-pod to the store.  No I-pod for me, thank you.  I prefer to see what’s around me.

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Lost in Osten

It has been a delirious few days of genealogical discovery.  Pure giddiness.

It goes like this:  on Sunday I was distractedly surfing the net for …. well, I don’t remember what my initial surf was about but I ended up surfing to Norway and wandering through the Oppland Fylke (county) where some of my kin lived.  (As a side note: if you’re ever in the area drive through Gudbrandsdalen.  It’s gorgeous!)

Back to the surfing.  Something must have hit my one working nodule of brain matter and I typed my great-great grandfather’s name, his whole name, in the “Google” search box and pressed enter.  Now, in the past this method has never worked when I’ve sought him out.  He has hidden behind the multitude of Norwegian names that he could use.  (Have I ever mentioned the insanity of Norwegian naming practices.  The last name could be “son” attached to the end of their father’s name.  Example: dad is Ole.  He has a son.  The son’s last name is then Oleson, or Olson, or Olsen….and so it begins.  There is also the possibility of the last name being the place they were born, or last lived, changing as they move.   So Ole Olson from Bergen becomes Ole Olson Bergen.  But let’s say he moves to Oppland Fylke.  Guess what, he might be called Ole Olson Oppland.  Oy ve.)

It surprised me when Google came up with 2 hits on his name.  I stared at it for a very long time before clicking on the link.  But I did…I clicked….and I was stunned.   You see, I didn’t know if this guy had died or had ditched his wife and 3 children in Norway.  I decided years ago that he abandoned his family and I’ve held him low regard ever since.  However, that never stopped my curiosity of finding him; discovering the reason of why he would leave his wife and young children behind.  All I knew is that I couldn’t find him in Norway and was mostly unsuccessful in finding him in the U.S.  Until this week.

osten olsen strand gravestoneMy great-great grandfather did leave his wife and kids in Norway.  I don’t know if he ever contacted them after that.  I doubt it.  He came to America in the early 1860s.  In 1864 he enlisted in the 43rd Infantry Regiment from Wisconsin.  He served during the Civil War.  He didn’t fight in any major battles but provided guard detail for the railroad in Tennessee.  He mustered out in 1865.  After that I have no information other than his gravesite in Oklahoma.  He died in 1893.

In 1893 there was a “land rush” in Oklahoma.  Remember your history class?  The “sooners” of Oklahoma? That’s when the federal government opened up the land for “first come first serve” land grabbers.  Apparently there were 4 or 5 of these land grabs.  1893 was one of the last.  A dusty race to find a hunk of land.  Some people died of heat stroke, stampedes, greed.  I don’t know if he died during the 1893 land grab.  It’s possible.

I’ll never know why he left his family.  Did he come to the U.S. to find a new home for his family? Was he going to send for them once he found a place in the land of opportunity?  Was he going to work, save money, and then send for them?  Did he simply abandon them?  Only the past knows the answers.  I will try to find some answers: where did he live between 1865 and 1893? What kind of work did he do?  Did he marry someone else?  These answers will take time.

Finding him gives me comfort.  I now know where he went after leaving his family.  He served his new country in the war between the states.  He settled the frontier.  I know where he is buried.  That satisfies my curiosity but I’m still disappointed that he left his wife and children behind in Norway.