Category Archives: Adventure and Comedy

A New Bike for Larry??

After finishing two cataract surgeries. Larry was now ready to ride a bike with me again. He bought a new bike that was more adaptable for his foot problem. Today we went on his first maiden voyage, but he could not get his feet out of the cleats. Yikes! I could just imagine him crashing again and needing another surgery. He has had 25 surgeries already. We were ready to finally engage in activity again—- And now this? But we are resourceful and came up with this idea. He made his way to a fence in the nearby grave yard and grabbed onto the fence coming to an abrupt halt in his 4 mile journey. I got his feet out of his size 12 bike shoes and he walked home wearing his colorful bike socks. As for his shoes, they were still attached to the clips. Yes, another moment—an adjustment solved the problem. Now how many times has God given us a fence to grab on to while catching us before disaster strikes. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of need. ” Psalm 46:1

Stranded But Not Alone

It was a very hot day close to 90 degrees and after our volunteering obligations were over, I suggested to my husband that we take a motorcycle ride toward Lake Geneva, WI. We have new helmets that I’m learning to take on and off. Our communication devises have not arrived. So, we listened to the radio on the way to WI and ended up finding an outdoor supper club just over the Illinois border. It was a delightful ride and we had a delicious fish fry. On the way out, a friend from our past tapped me on the shoulder. It was a surprise to see Rosanne and her friends at the restaurant. We hugged and visited for a while and she said, “Now I’ll pray for you that you have a safe trip of about 50 minutes home.” Larry helped me adjust my helmet and then he jumped on the motorcycle. I started getting on the left side, but I said, “Honey, I’ll get on the right side instead.” Larry didn’t hear me and thought I was on the back. “Wrong” He took off without me like a strike of lightning. I yelled out and ran frantically towards him shouting, “I’m not on.  Stop! Stop!” but he never heard me with the sound of traffic and the sound of his radio. All my belongings were in the back trunk. I didn’t have a nickel to my name, nor my phone.  I walked a couple of blocks to the nearby gas station just over the border between IL and WI, and waited patiently for him to come back and get me. Surely, he will soon know that I am not on the back of his motorcycle. But after 20 minutes my hope depleted. Here I was on a hot summer evening walking back and forth along the highway with my helmet on. There were many who stopped to help me. They would say, “Would you like to call him.” You can use my phone. There were three wonderful people that offered their phones but Larry did not answer. I tried to take off my helmet since now I was sweating, but I couldn’t get it off. Finally, a young man helped me and yeah, I was now helmet free. I decided to walk the two blocks back to Rosanne at the restaurant. They burst out laughing that I was left behind. She also tried calling Larry. I then went back to my post by the highway hoping he would return. Larry made it all the way home to Fox River Grove, IL before he realized I was not on the back. He contacted Rosanne and came back in his Ford truck to pick me up. It was another lifewithlarry story that we will never forget. I’m really looking forward to the communication devises. And I’m so happy there are people like Heidi and Scott who tried to help me that night.

Manna from Heaven?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” But what about a banana a day? My friend, Carol, was bemoaning the fact that she didn’t have a banana while we were on the forest covered path to Sunset Beach in Door County, Wisconsin. She said, “I wish I had a banana. It helps me sleep and helps fill my stomach when I’m hungry, like now.” The six of us continued up the path with the anticipation of seeing a spectacular sunset on Lake Michigan.  Visitors to the park had already begun setting up their professional cameras and I phones. Chris, Carol’s husband, said, “Look, there’s a banana over there.” He passed it up since it was in the dirt, but I picked it up and rubbed it clean. “Carol, look it’s ‘Manna from Heaven’! It looks good,” I said while peeling it. Her expression needed no words. She was surprised to see a banana, but tentative about eating it. She said, “Sue, you take the first bite.”  When I didn’t pass out or feign illness, she gleefully chumped down the tasty fruit. As we joined the group of about 50 people at the park, I excitingly told the story about ‘Manna from Heaven’ in the ear shot of a woman sitting on a rock nearby. She kiddingly said, “That was MY banana.” We all laughed and had such a good time while continuing to watch the most spectacular sunset we had ever seen. Pink and purple hues streaked the sky as the sun peeked in and out among the clouds making its way until it disappeared from our view.  In the past, every one would clap because a sunset at the beach was the best show in town. We made our way to a local restaurant with stomachs growling, but happy to have had not ‘Manna from Heaven’ but a banana from Door.  

What can curiosity teach you?

My dear friend, Lola, came to visit us this past week. Everyone flocks to see her when she visits from Virginia.  Not only is she beautiful, discipled and fun, but she has a childlike curiosity about life.  And that brings me to a book I just got done reading entitled SENT by Heather and Ashley Holleman. They write about “Curiosity” as being the magic bullet to begin conversations with strangers and to connect with friends. She often begins a conversation with a question and then listens intently to your answer therefore remembering your answer years later. “When we allow ourselves to feel curious about other people’s lives, we believe that we will discover something meaningful and valuable from the interaction.” As we value the person before us, we need to remember he or she is made in the image of God regardless of social or economic standing. 

A bike ride with Lola means being prepared to hop off to pet a dog, to observe a plant or just to capture the moment with a picture. An Asian man down the hill from me has spent endless hours on his garden by the road.  I have been curious about his plants, since I’ve never seen some of them before. So through the Spring and into summer my curiosity simmered but never to the point where I would stop and ring his door bell. That happened when Lola was with me. She had such a level of curiosity that she echoed the words, “Old and Bold”, and rang the doorbell. The man came out and she asked her question about his flowers and I asked about the plants. The man hesitated and said, ”I don’t speak English.” Now that opened the door of curiosity for me and I said, “I can teach you,”. I taught ESL years ago. When I spoke slowly to him, I discovered he was able to answer many of our questions in English and now that Lola was “Old and Bold”, I will help him learn English and then we will discover how he grows the most amazing plants. What have your friends taught you?

Lola visiting Chef and Butch in my neighborhood!

The Schuerr Brothers & Their Nine Lives

Visions of Cowboys and Indians Dancing in their Heads                           By Sue/Larry/Ken Schuerr

Today, April 28th, 2018, we have a Celebration of Life for Kennith Schuerr. We will remember him as a wonderful husband and father who loved to laugh and lived life to the fullest.  He enjoyed reminiscing about his childhood. Below are some of those stories.

All little boys growing up in the 50’s were influenced by the TV cowboy characters Roy Rogers, Hop-a-long Cassidy and John Wayne. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black. Of course, both were always fighting the Indians. Larry was no exception. He and his two toe-headed stair-step brothers, Bill and Ken, were glued to the TV screen soaking up the many lessons to be learned about being a real cowboy.  They were thrilled to have electricity and a TV in their small, primitive summer cottage supported only on posts. It was located in Lily Moor just outside of McHenry, a better place than the city for three growing boys.

In 1952, Larry’s dad bought the summer cottage from his half-brother.  The goal was to convert the summer cottage into a year round home. Money was a scarcity so the transformation took years. The  Insulation, heat and indoor plumbing were non existent, and they had to take a bucket to the hand pump on the front porch to pour  water down the indoor-outhouse to flush it. The wood burning stove sizzled with wood scraps Larry’s dad brought home from his carpentry jobs.

“We’d wake up in the morning with snow blowing through the eaves onto the floor,” Larry recalls. “Only one bed would fit in our room and we nestled close to one another for warmth.  For Christmas each of us received two presents—-an article of clothing and one toy. One evening, the VFW showed up at our door with a turkey and a box of food.  It was the first time, I saw my dad cry.”

Larry’s dad, a man whose arms resembled the cartoon character Popeye, dug a well and installed a pump by the sink in the kitchen similar to what we had seen on the TV series, Lassie.  The next ongoing project was to dig out a basement under the house. This was a Herculean task for three young boys. First, walls with windows were installed. Then Larry and his brothers, Bill and Ken, would  dig out the basement by throwing the dirt out of the window.

But at least it was their place, and the TV provided a mental escape from on-going chores. There were trees to climb, sticks to turn into guns and plenty of new places in the country to explore

Ken, the youngest of the three, was often the target for taunting. When it was his turn to swing from the rope on the tree, Larry, being the chief, would tell him when to jump. Of course, the oldest brother was always right.

Ken would yell, “When should I jump?”

“I’ll tell you when,”  said Skip.

“Not now,” screamed Bill and Larry

With their early understanding of physics, they would wait until the distance between Ken and the ground was greatest and then yell, “Now”!

As would be expected, they all were wounded regularly just like the real cowboys and Indians on TV;  Dad, the medicine man, was an expert at making butterfly bandages and other repairs to their frequently wounded bodies.

Another time, they ventured into a dairy farm behind them and visited the cows. Bill and Larry talked Ken into grabbing the tail of a Holstein to see what would happen.  When the thrill of seeing their brother fly on the end of a cow’s tail passed, they yelled.

“Let go.”

But the shock of being dragged by a moving cow, made Ken grab on harder.

“Let go,” yelled Bill and Larry even louder.

But, Ken continued to grab on even harder as he bounced off stones, sticker bushes and manure patties.

Rainy days were a recipe for disaster for the growing family who lived in the space of a double garage. Mom and Dad were playing cards with friends down the road and the three boys got to rough housing. It wasn’t long before they put a hole in the tender wall.

“Now, what do we do?” said Ken

“We’re dead meat,” cried Bill

But Larry, the ringleader,  came up with an excellent solution. The three would move the refrigerator to cover the hole——-Mom  would never notice.  With a great deal of pushing and shoving, the hole vanished behind the mayonnaise, mustard and sour cream.

When Mom and Dad came home, she asked who moved the refrigerator.

“Not me,” said Larry

“Not me,” said Ken

“Not me,” said Bill

That left their little sister, Mary, gurgling in the corner.

Digging out the basement was an on going project. By then real plumbing was installed and Shirley, their mom, decided to have a Tupperware party.

As usual, the boys came home from school and worked in the basement shoveling the dirt out of the window. The boring, laborious labor cried for adventure. Larry remembered seeing a special episode of Roy Rogers where——–

The memory was crystal clear in Larry’s mind and he diverted his attention from throwing dirt out the window to digging a large hole. He coaxed Bill, the cowboy, into climbing into it. Bill obediently jumped in. The Indians, Ken and Larry, buried their victim up to his neck. All they needed were cowboy hats and feathers—–until Bill’s piercing cry.

“Help! Get me out of here.”

The Tupperware party was in full swing upstairs as the ladies inhaled their Lucky Strike cigarettes, munched on brownies, and practiced burping their new lettuce containers.

But the call persisted, “Help, Help, Get me out of here!”

Shirley politely said, “Excuse me ladies,” It looks like I’m needed below.” She was angry about missing the latest gossip tidbits.

Stomping down the basement stairs, the first thing she saw was Bill buried up to his neck and then Ken and Larry standing in the distance with shovels trying to be innocent bystanders.  The spell was now completely broken—–the Indians were on the run with past wallops in memory.

She grabbed a shovel and furiously began to excavate her middle son promising retribution,” I’m going to kill you guys.” In the next breath she called upstairs in her sweet voice, “I’ll be with you in a minute, ladies. ”She came close to excavating Bill while Larry and Ken flew up the stairs and out the door in ear shot of her impending promise, “I’m going to kill you kids.”

It was hours before they returned home for dinner. But it wasn’t long before the trio once again escaped into the wonderful world of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Tonto—–with visions of future exploits dancing in their heads.

The Cowboys and Indians of the 50’s Bill/Larry/Ken

My latest interview with Ken in March, 2018.

After school, the Indians would go down to Lily Lake to skate around the Lake below our house. It was rather slushy. Larry, whose nickname was Skip, was skating toward the shore wearing a heavy old winter coat with a hood that pulled tightly around his head. Suddenly the ice broke and he sank into the water. Ken, remembering what he saw on TV, laid on the solid ice to keep from sinking himself, and extended his hands forward to help Larry get out. After a struggle, he emerged and quickly rushed to the safety of home escaping Hypothermia. Thanks Ken for saving my future husband.

Our adventures often entailed a dangerous challenge. Ken was the youngest and smallest of the three Indians.  They were having fun jumping off the pier while avoiding pockets of water. But little Ken, while jumping, ended up missing his target and slid torpedo-style under the ice. He was disoriented and unable to figure out up from down.  He imagined himself being Houdini the character they got to know on TV. Like Houdini, Ken finally managed an escape and with the assistance of his big brothers managed to get home, escaping hyperthermia.  Barb would like to thank them for saving her future husband.

Living in the country, one of the favorite sports of the three boys was to climb trees. Mary, who was younger than Ken by three years, wanted to climb the tree too. She was eager to experience a little adventure herself, being the only girl in the family. She climbed the tree successfully but was unable to get down. The thought of descending what seemed like a mountain to her was more than she could handle.  She sat there for hours while her brothers tried to coax her down, with no success. They finally got hungry and set out for home. Mom said, “Where is your sister?” “Oh her, um, she’s stuck up a tree,” they said nonchalantly afraid of getting punished. Instead of serving dinner, she fetched Mary out of the tree.  Kirby, Mary’s husband, would have said, “Thanks for saving my future bride.” No thanks to the three boys or she would still be up a tree.

Grandpa lived next door to the Schuerr family. His house was a haven for the brothers who loved nibbling off the many fruit trees in his yard. That day, they were playing War Games. Ken had stuffed his pockets with tasty ripe plums. Skip, being almost four years older, tackled his enemy– and crushed the plums in Ken’s pocket. Wow, it looked like real blood. “It sure was sticky and gooey,” said Ken who wobbled home to the chagrin of his mother.

Grandpa decided to build a small pool where he enjoyed watching his fish while cooling off.  The boys loved it too. But it would not contain the water so eventually Grandpa replaced the water with sand and in the winter, the Indians filled it with snow. Now the war game was to jump off the roof and land in the pit.  If they missed it, they would be hurt by the surrounding concrete blocks. Little Mary, while watching her big brothers jump said, “I want to try it.” She managed to climb to the top of the roof and holding her breath with fear and trepidation, she successfully jumped into the round sandpit.  But once was enough for Mary who had proved herself in the eyes of her big brothers.







Total Eclipse of the Heart/A Communal Experience

We made our Mecca-like pilgrimage to Marion, IL to see a 2:26 minute total eclipse. It was an 8 hour trip both ways. We were not disappointed as we gathered together at the town square. We met people from as far as England to as close as our neighboring town, Lake in the Hills. Later, we met Dan, a TA and physics major at the University of Chicago. We became instant friends sharing our cosmos experience and knowledge.  Glenn, from England, had the best photo set up.  The rest of us, using our solar glasses, were amazed as the moon ate up the sun causing the crickets to chirp and the street lights to turn on at 1:30 PM. We all cheered and clapped when we saw the corona.  We thought of ancient people who would sacrifice to the Sun God to keep it burning. Someone suggested my 6’2″ husband, Larry.  But he said, “No, I’m too big.” So I guess that meant I would be the sacrifice at just under 5′ feet.  We laughed and became instant friends with so many.  For more pictures, see my Facebook page, Sue Schuerr.

Add Spice to Your Life/Talk to a Stranger

One thing about life with Larry is there is rarely a dull moment. He loves meeting strangers and creating friendships especially through humor. You never quite know what is going to come out of his mouth. Believe it or not I once was a shy rather introverted woman  but that all changed with my life with Larry.  To give you an example, he often shops at an auto shop in Crystal Lake. He came in one day and was waiting to speak to the owner. When the owner looked up, Larry said, “I have a professional question for you.”Larry quickly turned around and said,”Does this coat make my butt look big?” The owner who also had a sense of humor was speechless. His coworkers said, he never was speechless but always had a come-back. Everyone laughed as they remembered the words of their wives asking the same thing.

Larry was flying solo one afternoon and asked the flight attendant a question. “Patricia, may I have more sugar for my coffee?” As a result, he won a bottle of wine simply because he was polite and used the flight attendances name. Now when I am at a restaurant, I get to know the waiter, waitress and sometimes bus boys simply by calling them by their name and asking a little about themselves.

If you look at a stranger as an interesting book and you are checking out the forward and the back cover, you will be amazed at how happy it will make both of you. Last night we met Hailey, our waitress, and found out she has a red-headed two year old daughter named Savannah. Her dad was babysitting her daughter so she could waitress and make money to continue to go to nursing school in Addison. She was delighted to be asked about her life instead of being treated like part of the furniture. Sometimes we tell them we are a praying couple and is there anything they would like us to pray about. ” A man that has friends, must show himself friendly.”{Proverbs18:24} Yes, there is no one that you lock eyes with that doesn’t matter to God. People should matter to us as well. “Each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” Philippians2:4

Do you want to be happier today? Then try this out. Learn to listen, laugh and look at people as though they were a fascinating book to discover. In doing this simple technique, you will add SPICE TO YOUR LIFE as well.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Our son-in-law, Geoff, was traveling with our daughter from Illinois to Texas when the engine light went on. He turned to Julie and said, ”Should we turn around and go home?” What would the Schuerr’s do?” She hesitated as the memories filled her mind and said, “Continue on, of course.” I’m sure Julie, now with a family of her own, would remember this childhood lesson in perseverance.

A winter weekend in the 80’s, we decided to treat our three kids to a night at the Holidome. We were enjoying the snow covered scenery and stopped at Mars Cheese House in WI  to use the bathroom. We piled into the van and Larry stepped on the clutch when the linkage broke which meant we could not get into first gear.  You could get into 2nd or 3rd without the clutch. It made the van lurch forward providing excitement for the kids. Life has been a circus of excitement and perseverance would prevail. Larry got on the interstate in 3rd gear and cruised along but eventually we had  to get off the interstate and encounter stop lights and signs. If it was red, Larry would slow down and if it didn’t turn green, he would  make a quick right turn.  In this manner we worked our way to the Holidome where we spent the weekend playing with our kids in the pool and of course, fixing the van. The first word the kids learned with our limited income was “Fic it Daddy.”  He has been fixing things ever since. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” At one time, he used butter to fix a linkage up in the Canadian mountains where no mechanical help existed. But that’s another lifewithlarry  story.

Montana Christmas 010


Men and Their Hats

hat picsIt was a warm and beautiful day in San Diego where we escaped the winter by staying with my wonderful cousin Dave Berge and his wife Gail. We woke up to the sound of the ocean and the call of the birds and seals. Yes, his condo was right on the beach of Oceanside. We took our morning walk and ended up at a coffee shop. Larry wanted to stop and get a Marine hat. In his picture he is wearing a Navy hat. You see, Larry spent 4 years as a Marine where our daughter, Deborah, was born in South Carolina. But later, he joined the Navy reserves as an air-controller. Even though he was in the reserves for 19 years, he still was a Marine—–once a Marine, always a Marine. We walked into the local military store and checked out the Marine hats. We were not satisfied with any of them and concluded we would buy one at the Marine base in San Diego.

He was still looking around so I left him to join my daughter at the coffee shop again. She was soaking up the rays. (See picture below)

When Larry returned, I said, “I thought we didn’t like that Marine hat. I guess you decided to buy it anyway.” He frantically put his hands to his head to retrieve the Marine hat and said,”Oh no, I walked out with the wrong hat and left my Navy hat at the shop.” Now Deb and I are laughing at the imaginary sight of police surrounding Larry for the theft of an unwanted Marine hat in exchange for the desired Navy hat he left at the scene of the crime. He quickly bolted up the hill two blocks to the store to return the hat and retrieve his Navy hat.

We had a good laugh and I knew I had another Life with Larry story. Now my question is how many of you have done something similar? Have you left something precious to you at a store or restaurant? I was guilty of leaving my cell phone in a restroom at a Cracker Barrel in Kansas.  My point is that in life we need to give grace to those around us. We all make mistakes or have senior moments.  This scenario turned out OK; how about yours?coffee Deb

Deborah soaking up the San Diego sun!

Every Breath I Take; Every Move I Make


I imagined being Laura Ingalls from The Little House on the Prairie, putting another log on the wood burning stove. It’s a clear sunny day; but make no mistake—it’-2 degrees reminding me of a time several years ago when we went up to Kettle Moraine to cross-country ski. Larry had been begging me to winter camp with him, and I wisely replied, “No”. “Look,” he said, “It will be an adventure and it’s been a mild winter. Let’s do it.” Our marriage has been about a partnership of give and take. Larry is all about his gear and likes to test the durability and reliability of his sleeping bag and tent. If the bag says, “Good to -10,” Larry wants to see if it’s true. I just like snuggling by a warm fire with a cup of hot chocolate at the end of a wintery day. We skied at Lapham near Delafield, WI with friends the first day. It’s a challenging course ending with a huge hill called Slide Run. I was delighted that all our body parts were in order at the end of the day. We spent that night with our friends in a motel across from Lapham. Then we made our way to Ottawa Lake where we set up our tent for the next night. We were the only ones in the campground while our friends smartly headed home. We skied that day at Kettle Moraine near La Grange. It was getting colder by the minute. After dinner and hot tea, we made our way to the homemade tent that Larry constructed from a 1970’s Frostline kit. Our sleeping bags were supposed to be good for below zero weather. I slid into my ice cave bag and could not get warm. I put on Larry’s very smelly and sweaty ski sweater and huddled under the sleeping bag; but the aroma of the sweater was more than I could take. I came out for a breath but the air was much too cold. I felt like a tortoise sticking my head in and out all night thinking of the song, Every breath I take—Every move I make. We finally saw the light of morning and quickly took down the tent and headed into Oconomowoc for buckets of hot coffee. It was then that we learned that the temperature that night sank to -12. “What’s this about camping on a mild winter night?” I said—- after brushing my teeth in the restaurant bathroom while trying to be incognito. We survived and winter camping is now off my bucket list.

What are the lessons to learn here? Marriage is a partnership. To make it an adventure, one needs to leave the comforts of normal life. A hot shower the next day and sitting by a cozy wood burning stove never felt so good. When I ask Larry to do something he is not too excited about, he remembers I winter camped with him and additionally, we now have a good www.lifewithlarry story to tell our grandkids.