Tuesday, October 30, 2012


As we traveled the route to Denver, we made frequent stops to “grab a cache.” We figure it’s good for us – and especially good for the dog. We were disappointed that the cache seemed to be missing at several sites.

In Utah, where we turned off I84 to I80E, we immediately exited to Echo Canyon Road, obviously the old road running parallel to I80 for ten miles or so. The cache site was great – an historic site with a wide parking spot. However, a trucker hauling hogs had parked his rig there, and the aroma emitting from the truck was less than pleasant. No sign of the operator – he was probably asleep in his rig. I couldn’t blame him too much for choosing this isolated spot rather than parking at a public rest area where I’m sure he isn’t popular. I commented to Mike that life with him is certainly an adventure. “Isn’t it though!” was the comeback.
I didn’t pay too much attention to the historical marker. Mike followed clues as he searched the sign for the cache, but we had no luck finding it and figured it was gone.  

We wore Emmy out yesterday and she slept in this morning, but as soon as she had eaten her breakfast we were out to geocache again. It’s great that within the city are parks and fields where the dog is welcome, too.

We also took time to shop. I have been looking for a Cuisinart stand mixer to replace my old Oster Kitchen Center which is worn out. (Actually, I wore mine out years ago. The one I’m using was my mother’s.) Today was my lucky day. We found the Cuisinart at Bed Bath and Beyond and ordered it shipped.

Here are more pictures of geocaching with Emmy. She loves it. Big M and Little Em search the tree for a cache while Kelly looks on the other side.

This cache was hard to find. We all looked -- and someone found it.

Yancey and Little Em practice "The Hummingbird," a yoga move to massage the shoulders. 

To the right, Little Em chooses a treasure from the cache to trade while Big M does the paperwork. Note the shirt -- machine embroidery by Gramma Kathy.
And here's Emmy posing on a frog statue at a park.

Tonight the family will accompany Jack to his Boy Scout Halloween costume party. I suppose we could call it the first official Halloween event. KW

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Take a lot of pictures .. . "

“Take a lot of pictures,” said Hallie when I told her we would spend Halloween in the greater Denver area with the “Mile High Warnocks,” son Yancey and family. And both Mike and I have done our best to comply.

We had already had a good time before we got to Denver. We spent Saturday with son Clint and family in Gooding, Idaho. Mike and Clint took Nellie and hiked to Teapot Cave where Mike took a lot of pictures. He says he will post about that later. All three agreed that they had had a really good time. But Elisha and I had a good time, too, with our “shop Gooding” tour. We visited several thrift and antique stores, and I found some vintage craft magazines, if you call the ‘80s and ‘90s vintage. I did find one Star Crochet booklet from 1941, however, and the price for all four was definitely right – less than a dollar.

Sunday we drove on to Denver, leaving Gooding at 4:45 a.m. and driving in the morning darkness until about 7:45 when it was finally fully light outside. We arrived at son Yancey’s at 5:00 p.m., in time for a delicious dinner and some fun with the family.

Mike calls young Emmy, who is four, “Little Em.” Apparently she’s supposed to call him “Big M,” but they argue over who’s big and who’s little. And she’s apt to call Mike “Uncle Murray.” (Murray, our eldest son, apparently bears a striking resemblance to Mike, at least in Emmy’s opinion.) Occasionally she calls him “Uncle Mike.” But she always calls me “Gramma Kathy.”

I don’t like to write about religion and politics, but I have to tell you about Little Em’s unofficial presidential poll.

“Who’s running for President?” asked Kelly, Emmy’s mom.
“Barack Obama,” Emmy replies.

“And who else?” prompts Kelly.

“Mitt Romney,” says Emmy.

“Emmy is running an unofficial poll,” Kelly explains.

“Who are you going to vote for?” asks Emmy as she steps to her little easel.

So we told her and she applied two hash marks and tallied the votes for that candidate. “How do you make an eight?” she asks. “Is it the two circles?” And then she carefully – and correctly – drew an eight.

Shopping here in Thornton is one of my favorite things to do, especially at this time of year, and Kelly and Yancey are always obliging. They both had the day off, and it was great to be able to spend time with them and Little Em. Kelly took me to the grocery store where I replenished my stock of spices, so much more affordable here than at home.

After lunch we went to a wilderness preserve a few miles from the house to find some geocaches – “a treasure hunt,” Grandpa Mike told Little Em. And she was great at finding them and also putting them back for the next seeker to find. We spent two hours there and I’ll let you guess which of the “Ems” cried when several of us deemed it enough for the day.

Things improved -- people quit crying -- and Emmy helped me mix a pumpkin pie. 

The “big kids” (14 and 16) are busy with school activities, so our time with them is limited. But it’s great to see them. As my southern mother-in-law used to say when she came to visit, “I just want to be with you all.” KW

Thursday, October 25, 2012


“Dear Cousins of the Round Robin letters,” wrote my grandfather Julian Dobson in 1939. One of his cousins had started this “round robin,” which means that he had written his own story and mailed it off to another cousin inviting him to add his own letter and forward both on to another cousin, and so forth. The initial letter undoubtedly included a list of cousins and their addresses. Fortunately, a copy of Julian’s contribution (and also June’s) was saved with the family letters.

Orofino, Idaho
Jan. 17, 1939

Dear Cousins of the Round Robin letters:

I was born near Deloit, Iowa, April 9, 1864, in the old log cabin. Father had a fireplace in the cabin. One day when I was in the old cradle asleep a coal popped out and got on my neck and burned a scar which I carry to this day.

The first teacher I went to was George Albright. When we came home from school hungry we would get a bowl of hominy and milk. Mother made the hominy in a big iron kettle.

June and I slept in a trundle bed that had wooden wheels. One Sunday when we were dressed up for church, Tell and Frank [older brothers] put June and me in an old trunk and pushed us out on an old pond we had made by damming up a small creek. The Trunk sank and we got a good wetting. So we didn’t go to church that day.

I think I was about nine years old when we moved to the farm Father bought of the R.R. Co. about three miles from Deloit. In the spring of 1884 Gene Patchen and I came west to Lakeview, Oregon. I was the first one of the boys to leave home. From Omaha we took an emigrant train to Reno, Nevada. I think it took us three days and two nights to Reno. People cooked on the train but Gene and I got our meals whenever the train men stopped for theirs. The seats were just wooden benches with no cushions. Gene bought a shuck tick in Omaha to put on the two seats pulled together for a bed. We had no blankets. At one station Gene bought a dried apple pie of an old squaw but we couldn’t eat it and we threw it out of the window. When we got to Reno, there was a freight team loaded with merchandise for Surprise Valley, California, 220 miles farther on our way. There was four horses and four mules hitched to three wagons strung out. The team was driven by a jerk line. The driver rode the near mule on the wheel. We were eleven days making the220 miles to Cedarville, California, where we unloaded. There was eleven barrels of whiskey on one wagon, and the other two wagons was merchandise. The weight on the three wagons was about nine thousand pounds.

The next day Gene and I walked thirty miles over a mountain to Willow Ranch, California. While we were eating dinner two men came in and said they were loaded with four for Lakeview, and we could ride there with them. We sent our suitcase by stage from Cedarville, California, to Lake View, Oregon. We worked on cattle ranches putting up hay in summer time, and in the winters we went out on the desert with a band of sheep. I herded the sheep and Gene done the cooking and tended camp. June came to Lakeview in the spring of 1887 and after that we run sheep of our own. The hard winter of 1889 we lost a lot of sheep. Then we sold out in the fall of 1890 and came to Idaho.
Dec. 24, 1891, I married Ina Dickson near Troy, Idaho. We have six children all living. Pearl, Myrtle, Earle, Ethel, Vance, and Shirley. When the Nez Perce Reservation was thrown open on Nov. 18, 1895, Gene, June, and I took up homesteads. We built the first cabin in this community. We have lived here ever since, now about 43 years.

Well, this is about all that would interest you, so I will close with all good wishes to my cousins.

Julian Dobson

All that would interest me indeed!!! If I could sit with him today, I would ask him a thing or two.

If Julian and Junius (Jack and June) weren't identical, they were close to it. My dad paused long in identifying pictures of the two men.
1) Julian Dobson, taken by Earle Dobson, Aug. 5, 1941.
2) Jack and June were the second set of twin born to John and Lucy Dobson. Julian identified this photo as "Mary and Julia Dobson, about 14 - June and Julian about 7, 1871."
3) Julian and Junius -- don't know which is which.
4) Junius and Julian -- I think the man on the right is Julian because I think it's the same tie as Photo 1. However, that's a poor way to identify.
5) The twins are pictured here with their brother, Clinton Metellus ("Tell"), Aug. 5, 1941. Judging by the tie, Grandpa Julian is on the left and Uncle June on the right. KW

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This morning I looked up from my review of vintage holiday magazines to see falling snow. Our mid-morning temperature is 34. The lawn is strewn with leaves and pine straw. I want to say the snow won’t stick – and it won’t -- but looking out beyond the barn, I see whiteness in June’s field. The fog creeps in and moves through.

I walked down the lane before dark yesterday to pick a few remaining apples from the little tree under the pine. Alas! They were gone – every last one. Mike checked the Italian prunes – likewise gone. The 2012 season of jelly-making from the fruit of the land is over – and me with jars in waiting on the shelf. Of course, I can always buy apples and pears and oranges if the spirit moves me to process more fruit.

“How did they do it?” asks Mike, speaking of the family that lived in this house from the time it was new (1917) until my grandmother passed away in 1957. Mike points out that even though it’s chilly today, it’s not really cold, but they endured some cold winters. We’re cozy with a fire in our fireplace insert, the house having been insulated in the remodel process.

Well, I recounted, the cook stove in the kitchen had a fire from morning till night. And there was a wood-burning stove in the dining room, which my dad replaced with an oil-burning stove in the ‘50s. The old fireplace in the living room was well-used, but in later years they closed the pocket doors and Grandma lived in the dining room. And, Grandma left here and traveled to visit relatives in the fall and winter. You know, in the days of the train, it was easy to travel from Orofino to Portland and points beyond. I know she visited her sisters in Drain, Oregon, and also her son, Earle, in Idaho Falls. It’s not that those locations were warm, but the homes were undoubtedly equipped with better creature comforts. And perhaps it seems warmer when you share with those you love, especially when it's not the busy season. KW