239. Fifty-Fifty

Got another birthday pair for you today:  my niece Jennie Ann (Ford) Ward, 54, and  my nephew Steven Francis Ford, 51.

Besides being first cousins, and sharing their birthday, they also share an appreciation for the great outdoors.  Hiking and fishing are avid pursuits in both their families.

Jennie was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa but she and her husband, Jim Ward,  now live in Mankato, Minnesota. 

Except for their dog Sam, their nest is currently an empty one.  Their sons, Joshua and Jacob are in school right now. 

Jennie has a small line of jewelry which she sells at several local gift shops and an occasional outdoor art fair. Jennie says, “My work isn’t fine art, rather, it is earthy and organic.  I have a small but very loyal following who keep my business afloat.  I love rocks!”

Jennie and Jim have two sons, Josh (25) and Jake (23) who still reside in Minnesota.  Josh will graduate from the William Mitchell School of Law in St.Paul, where he has been a student the past three years.  Jake is currently a student in Mankato. They both are Vikings and Twins fans, enjoy golf, fishing and an occasional  pheasant hunting trip in South Dakota. They are engaging, interesting, compassionate young men. Both have girlfriends. 

Jennie said, “The empty nest syndrome hit me rather hard. I miss having them around.   It’s hard to stop being a full time mom after so many years.”

Describing how she spends her time, Jennie wrote: “We grow lots of herbs and, depending on my mood, the occasional vegetable. I’d rather buy those at our farmers’ market. I walk my dog Sam daily. Sometimes we sneak into the hillside by the nearby golf course and hunt for golf balls. Sam was supposed to hunt other things like upland game, She’s got a mean nose and one heck of a point, but an ill-fated duck boat, gunshot adventure too early in life for a non-water dog changed her course. I couldn’t be happier. (I suspect she feels the same.)

 I love my trips to Iowa. I take my dog Sam as a riding companion. We stop about half way in Clear Lake,  Iowa where she gets a potty break and a hamburger.  (remember what I said about the empty nest….this dog is so lucky…)”.

The only family member born during Jennie’s birth year of 1957 is my daughter Susy who was born on 1/19/57.

Susy loves being outdoors, too, as long as she can be gardening or training and competing with one of her dogs in agility trials.

Now for a little about Jennie’s first cousin, Steve Ford.

Steve and his wife Babs moved to Medford, Oregon last fall. Steve was reassigned there last fall, and so far, they aren’t complaining about the weather. 

Steve loves the outdoors.  He’s quite a fisherman, and he also spend several years coaching youth sports



If I couldn’t find a current photo of Steve, this one could have faked it.  It’s actually a picture of the novelist John Steinbeck. Makes you feel literary just looking at it!  

There’s a resemblance, right? 


Besides successfully surviving the move from Eugene, Oregon to Medford, Steve and Babs recently reported on how they’re going to be spending the some time coming up: they’re learning the ropes on how to serve as father and mother of the groom.  Their only child, son Brian is getting married!

Besides getting acclimated to a new city, Steve is adjusting to his new work, and Babs is doing the same working for a newspaper in Medford.

In all the hub-bub today, I didn’t have a chance to get updated on how they’re faring in Medford, but as soon as I can, I’ll add the info to this blob.

In the meantime, have a happy birthday, Jennie and Steve!  See ya‘ outdoors!

You can check out more about them on this slide show.

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