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IT'S A GOOD TIME FOR ME TO BE THANKFUL
Posted on Sunday, November 20 @ 20:32:22 CST by van

Other Stuff As I sit here one week from the day when I will celebrate three score and ten years of life, I have occasion to ponder a number of things for which I am and have been for years, most thankful. There were so many good things which happened in my early life, it would be difficult to focus on just a few. Let it suffice to say I thank God for Roy and Cleo Van Valkenburg (aka "Jean" and "Sadie") the wonderful parents who brought me into this world. Also for my sister Kay, who now serves as a sounding board for some of my outlandish ideas, but like all "little sisters" she was my pal, my sparing partner and from time to time, a pest in our early years. Now that our parents are gone, Kay and I often reminisce with fond memories about the "good old days" during which the foundations of our lives were formed. While we now live over 1,000 miles apart, we are able to stay in frequent touch, thanks to computers and telephones.

Unlike the "kids" of today, I was lucky to have only four grandparents, all of which were living when I was born. Those on my Dad's side were the more conventional yet very strict. My maternal grandmother was a bit more on the "fun" side and my Mom's Dad was not around all that much as he had somewhat of a problem with liquid products made from corn. When he was around, he was a jovial guy...at least in my presence. All of my aunts and uncles (not including the ones by marriage), save for one - Don Coulson - have departed this life. Like all gaffers who still have a reasonable portion of their memory remaining, I sometimes reflect upon how each of them played an important role in my life. Since I grew up during the "War Years", I can recall all of my uncles proudly wearing the uniforms of our country. Two were in the Army (Infantry and Air Corps), one was in the Navy, one was a Marine and one served in the "C.B.s" I learned a lot and expanded my vocabulary by listening to the boasting, service rivalry and "war stories" they told. Our whole family was thankful when they all returned "from the War" with only minimal physical damage.

Since I was married at a rather early age by today's standards, most of my fondest memories involve the fifty years I have spent with the second daughter and fourth child of Walter and Elsie Oldehoeft. I am indeed thankful to them for bringing forth the one who became the First Lady of my life - "Lady Elaine." She was the one who persuaded, promoted, and pushed me into becoming a confirmed Lutheran Christian (LC-MS), something for which I have for all the years since been thankful. We were married in Christ Lutheran Church, Perry, Oklahoma on 4 September 1955 by the Rev. Charles Keturakat (who now lives in California) Pastor "K" did a good job, for the "tie" over which he presided remains unbroken as we journey on the downhill side of our first century of marital bliss. It is somewhat of a miracle that a hard headed Dutchman and an equally hard headed German girl have been able to make a rewarding life together which includes many things of which we both can be proud. She deserves all of the credit!

To our marriage first came daughter Geri, now a Registered Nurse living in Los Angeles with her husband Brian. She is our "Oklahoma daughter." Next came Tami, a business woman who has traveled with her husband Chuck all over the world in their life callings. She is our "Texas daughter." Then came Kelli, also a Registered Nurse like her Mom and older sister, who now lives in Omaha with her husband Bill. She is our "Ohio daughter." Finally, we were blessed with our only son, Ronald a computer wizard and marketing specialist, who currently lives in Lincoln. Ron is our "Nebraska son"..... and we quit moving!

Five of the major joys of our lives are Philip, Victoria, Will, Emily and Lauren, the grandkids which have been added to our "clan" over the years. They range from 22 to 9 years of age, making Christmas shopping an ever growing challenge to my "Dearly Beloved." I am thankful for all of them and very thankful Lady Elaine likes to shop.

The Lord has been my co-pilot during the thousands of hours I have logged in airplanes and helicopters both in civilian life and in Uncle Sam's service. He has been both my protector and my comfort in trying times, including the three plus decades I wore Army uniforms on active duty and in Reserve status. My God has blessed me and my family with a Protector as well as a Savior for whom we all are indeed thankful.

Elaine and I have had our share of adversity, but not nearly as much as some, for that we are thankful. Because our marriage was based on common beliefs, common goals and perhaps uncommon love, we have endured the hard times and enjoyed the good. Our daughters have all found and married great guys. We are pulling for Ron to chance upon some lovely lady who will capture his heart so we can add another "daughter" to our "gang."

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to all of our extended family members and to our many friends around this country and overseas. My prayer is that before my days are over, all families can be united and that there may at last be "Peace on Earth."

VansOpinion
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