Copyright © June 1, 2012,

 by Jan Arensmeier



My husband, Tim Arensmeier, and I were married on May 30, 1963.  It had been initially planned as a going away party for him as he was serving in the US Army, and headed for Korea in mid June of that year.


We had planned to marry after his return from Korea, but circumstances rearranged that, and one week after our wedding, on a Memorial Day picnic which surprised all of our guests, we left for Oregon from Oklahoma City.  The plan was that I was to stay with Tim’s folks, Ralph and Carol Arensmeier, in Roseburg while Tim was away for 13 months.


We drove across the country in a 1958 Chevy 2 door sedan, packed to the gills with our stuff.


We arrived in Roseburg, actually 13 miles west of in Melrose, at 2:00 AM on a Sunday morning.  I virtually fell up the steps into the loving arms of “mom ‘n dad.”  We talked for a good 45 minutes before going to bed.  Beings as how it was Sunday, we all got up in time to attend Sunday School and Church at the Melrose Community Church that mom and dad attended.


On the way home from church, out on a gravel road, mom reached over and patted dad on the shoulder and said, “Ralph!  Stop the car!”  I watched as dad stopped the car.  Mom jumped out and ran to the middle of the road and picked up a snake!  It was a harmless gopher snake, about 3 feet in length.  She held it up, and said to me, “Jan girl, isn’t he beautiful?!”


I said, “Yeah, mom . . . he’s beautiful . . .” thinking, “THIS is my mother-in-law . . .”


She continued, “Jan girl, there’s a jar at your feet.  Would you take the lid off so I can put him in there?”


I quickly removed the lid from a one gallon wide mouthed jar, and as quickly placed the lid back after she put the snake into the jar.  The lid was already perforated so the snake could have fresh air.  I wondered.


I was still somewhat shaken, thinking that I’d never even seen this lady until a few hours earlier that morning, when she informed us all that she was telling a story in Vacation Bible School later that week, and it had a snake in it, and she had to have a real one to assist in the telling of the story.


I soon learned that no one ever went to sleep when Mom Arensmeier was telling a story.


So began my learning experience of getting to know Mom Arensmeier.


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Web posted:  June 1, 2012

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