Category Archives: Family

The Scanner

For all but two of our married years, my husband Kramer carried a pager.  He served as a fireman, first responder, and for a time on the rescue squad.  Pagers were his way of knowing there was a call and he should respond.

Kramer was terribly rough on pagers.  He’d lose one while picking rock, filling silo, or doing any number of chores on the farm.  One year while filling the silo, Kramer was running the blower.  For those of you who aren’t farmers and familiar with filling silos, it works a little like this…The tractor and wagon are brought to a blower which is beside the silo.  The silage is dumped into the blower and the blower blows the silage to the top of the silo.  The silage goes up into the silo and then falls to the level of the silage inside.

Somehow in the process, Kramer lost his pager.   We had no idea what happened to it.  Crazily, months later when he was feeding the cattle, he found his pager in the feed.

Kramer lost or broke so many pagers that the first responder group always kept a spare pager or two for him.  They knew he’d somehow break one.  They also kept insurance on his pager…because again, they knew he’d make use of the policy.  No one else in the group had insurance on their pagers.

Well, being Kramer was on the Fire Department and the First Responders, the First Responders provided the pager he carried on his person but we had a handheld radio in the house that the Fire Department provided.  He got calls from both services on the pager and the handheld.  He used the handheld when his pager was broken but for the most part, it stayed in the house.

I always listened to the handheld.  Often times Kramer would be on the skid loader and didn’t hear his regular pager so I would call him on his phone if a call came in.  Also, there were some “dead zones” that weren’t the best at picking up traffic so I’d call him in cases like that too.  Another reason why it was handy for me to listen to the handheld was that we live in a spot where three county borders come together.  Often times I would hear a call from a neighboring county but it wouldn’t come through on Kramer’s pager right away.  I’d call him and let him know and he’d be on his way.

When we moved to town, his handheld started acting up.  We didn’t want to bother the fire department to get a new one so it was “fixed” but sticking a silverware fork in it.  The width of the fork was just enough to push the handheld to the charger.  We got along just fine with the pager like that.

When Kramer passed away, I ended up keeping the handheld.  By now Kaliss and Craig were carrying on the tradition of being a volunteer firefighter and first responder.  I still listened for traffic on the handheld only now, it was Kalissa and Craig I listened for.  I started running to their house and watch the kids so they could go on a call.

Then a sad day came.  The handheld broke for real.  The house got really quiet.  I didn’t hear the storm watches and warnings.  I didn’t hear the fire trucks go out.  I didn’t hear the medical calls.  I missed it…but I couldn’t really go to the fire department and ask for a radio.

When the kids were home, they missed the noise and chatter of the scanner too…They had all grown hearing the scanner, immediately being quiet and listening to the call that might take their dad away to help someone in need.  So look what Buck bought me… Continue reading

Kramer Day Sunday

Sunday was a Kramer Day.  Wondering what Kramer day is??  Let me explain.  We have two nurses in the family.  Both work weekends.  We have two men who actively farm and Buck works as a construction supervior by day and picks up lots of jobs on the weekends.

This year Kalissa decided it advance she would announce a couple of weekends over the summer that would work for us all to get together.  That way the cousins can have big cousin weekends and get to know each other better.

This weekend was a Kramer day.  Whoever comes, comes.  Spouses don’t always come.  We’re fine with whatever.  It’s really laid back.  For some of the spouses, all of the Kramer kid siblings plus their kids is just a little too much to take it.  I don’t blame them a bit for staying home and getting caught up, it’s a wild and crazy mess with everyone here.

I snapped some pictures of the day.  I didn’t get a lot.  I was in the moment.

Kalissa LOVES hanging with Lucy, Buck’s little girl.  They bond over Lucy’s hair almost every time they see each other.  Kalissa loves braiding hair and happily Lucy loves getting her hair braided.

Georgia, Kelli’s litte girl came.  She wore her apron here and wore it all day except when they were outside playing with water.  She insisted on wearing it because she is in love with pockets.

Georgie is deep into potty training now and stayed dry the whole day.  That’s a big accomplishment when there is so much excitement.

Eli and Emmett, Kelli’s twin boys were here.  Carver wanted his picture taken with them.

Here Kalissa and her son Gannon are loving up on Eli… Continue reading

Jasper and Kayla are in the House!!

I had a long weekend with Jasper and Kayla.  She came on Friday and went home on Monday.

For those of you who are long-time blog readers, you know that Kayla is the second from the oldest in our family of five kids.  Kayla is a health/family consumer sciences teacher.  She’s married to Spencer and Jasper is their 18-month-old obsession.

Jasper has fought some health issues in the breathing department.  He has been hospitalized three times this year for a couple of overnights each time.  He gets viral-induced asthma that leads to breathing problems that are best cared for at the hospital.

Because of that, I’ve not seen a lot of Jasper this year.  I was so looking forward to this visit.

They came on Friday.  Jasper got to visit one of my childcare babies…who is nine months younger than Jasper and is a really close family friend.  Their moms were cheerleaders together in high school.  It’s fun to see second-generation friendships forming.

Jasper really enjoyed time with him.

On Saturday we had plans to meet up with Kelli.  We were going to a local event called Breakfast on the Farm.  It was raining and hard to take the kids in the rain so we opted to go thrifting instead.

Here we are loaded up with Kalissa, Carver, Gannon, Jasper, Kayla, and me.  Continue reading

Iowa Firefighters Memorial

Sunday the 13th was a special day.  Kramer, my husband who died from lung cancer in 2019, was being honored along with 279 other firemen who died.

For those of you who don’t know, Iowa had a firefighters memorial in Coralville, Iowa.  They have a wall of names and persons who served and firefighters and have passed on, can have their names put on the firefighter’s wall of names.

Our family was invited to go to the ceremony.  Kelli wanted to go and we took the kids.  She has a nice stroller that allows the boys’ car seats to be buckled into place.  The stroller is awesome.

It is a just over 2 hours for us to drive there so being we had the kids and needed to there early, Kelli and I decided to go down and stay overnight.  We stopped at the memorial on Saturday night to check out seating and to find Kramer’s name on the wall.

Things were already set up for the festivities of the next day.

We found Kramer’s name and Kelli showed Georgie “his letters”.  We brought paper and crayons so Kelli made a few rubbings of his name.

Kramer was both a 1st responder and an EMT.  He served many years.

In Grand Meadow, MN he was an EMT from 1987-1990
In Chester, IA he was a Fireman from 1990-1991
In Lawler, IA he was a fireman and 1st responder from 1991-1998
In Waucoma he was a fireman and 1st responder from 1998-2019 when he passed away.

Kramer loved life as a volunteer.  He had so much fun with all the people he served with…he helped a lot of people along the way too.

At Kramer’s Celebration of life numerous people came and greeted me.  Many had stories of working with him as a fireman or first responder.  Many had stories of how he came and helped them get through a hard situation.  It was so precious to me that they shared their stories.  It made the times when he got called away in the middle of Easter dinner a little more understandable.

For the most part, the kids were pretty good.  Georgie was all of her two-year-old self but she wasn’t naughty.  There is a difference.

The boys did better with their hotel stay than Georgie did.

We were up early on Sunday to get to the ceremony so we would have seating.  It was packed.  Kramer and others were supposed to be inducted last year but due to Covid, the regular ceremony was canceled.

Georgie was the greeter and greeted many who came.   She even cozied up to a crew that came in riding motorcycles!

One of the most comforting thing about the whole ceremony was that everyone there had lost a loved one or partner in firefighting.  It was a totally safe place to shed a tear.  Every person there felt a little sad but also honored that their loved one’s name/co-fireman was added to the wall.

We bought Georgie a mini flag.  She had fun waving it…maybe just a little bit too much fun.

Kramer would have loved the bagpipers.  He always said if he could have played an instrument, he’d have wanted to play bagpipes.

At the end of the ceremony, they released balloons.

There was a lot of pomp and circumstance.

Some of the local Waucoma firemen and their wives came and sat with us too.  They were great!  They were the ones that did the work to make sure Kramer’s name was added to the wall.  They didn’t even get weirded out when I got teary-eyed.  Kramer was so blessed to have them in his life…and I’m so blessed that they’ve adopted me and our whole family too.

As part of the program, those who lost someone came to the front,  said their loved one’s name, and then placed flowers at the wall near their loved ones’ name.  Here Mike is with me.

Something else they did that was really neat.  Two hook and ladder trucks raised a flag over traffic so passerbys could drive under.  It looked so neat.

It was a beautiful ceremony with some pomp and circumstance and some good fellowship with like people.  It was the perfect way to honor Kramer’s service to his community over the years.

Our family is so thankful for the Iowa Firefighter’s Association and to our local Waucoma Fire Department.  It’s such as honor to us to be part of the department family.