Monday, October 31, 2011

Five Minutes of Fame.

I know everyone thinks they have the best grandparents around, but really, mine win. Because they aren't awesome grandparents, they are awesome people.

I don't know how many times they've made us (the grandchildren) things, gone out of their way to get us something, driven to us and back home in one day just to watch us get an award... they are getting extra jewels on their crowns in heaven.

They are so cute together. I want to be like them when I'm that age. My grandpa loves woodworking, and up until this year, that's all he did. He would go out into his self-built shop, while my grandma stayed in the kitchen and cooked up some of her wonderfulness.

Turns out, they are so awesome, that the local newspaper wanted to feature them in a story again (this is NOT the first time people have found out how awesome they are.)

Here's a link to see pictures, but I'm afraid that the article will be taken down, so... here's the story!

"Orin Shogren wasn't about to let his 3-year-old granddaughter miss out on Halloween.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1993, Jessica Shogren dressed up for the holiday, just like all the kids, but her intake of treats was strictly monitored.

"I could never eat much candy. It lasted an entire year," said Jessica, now 21, who was reared in Satanta in southwest Kansas.

Through her childhood, when she visited family in Salina, Jessica knew that sugar was not an issue when she rang grandpa Orin Shogren's doorbell. To her heart, his offerings were priceless.

The wooden figurines of cats, ghosts, goblins and other seasonal creatures he began fashioning in a basement shop -- now in a shop out back -- became a hit to Jessica and her grandpa's five other grandchildren.

"It was really cool seeing the things he would create for us," said Jessica, now a senior at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

"It's just a special way of showing his love for us. Our grandparents are really loving toward everyone, not just family," she said.

The handcrafted artwork also made Orin a neighborhood star. The Shogrens live in the 900 block of Sunrise Drive.

"I usually make 45 or 50 of them. It's nothing fancy. They're very crude things, but that's what they want," said Orin, 80. This year, Shogren's saws have been silent, thanks to his bad back and broken finger.

"It just didn't work out this year," Orin said. "Maybe I'll do it again next year."

The tradition he began some 18 years ago has contributed to making the holiday special for many youngsters, some who are now just young at heart.

"We have a couple of kids who are in their 20s, who dress up and come to our house every Halloween to get the things that he makes," said Dorothy Shogren, Orin's wife.

Keenan Bowles, 13, who lives in the 1100 block of Sunrise Drive, targets the Shogren house every year, aiming to add to his collection.

"I think it's pretty cool," he said. "I've gone there since I was a little kid. I thought it was pretty unique and nice that he made things himself and gave them out to people."

Shogren's treats met with the approval of Staci Arnold, Keenan's mom.

"They get plenty of candy, and that's something we can keep," she said.

They're important to Keenan, Arnold said, judging from her son's near "meltdown" two years ago when their trick-or-treating excursion arrived late to the Shogrens.

"(Orin) had just handed out the last one," Arnold said.

Luckily, Keenan was able to negotiate a trade with a girl and snared another figurine for his collection.

While he's not thrilled that no figurines will be available tonight, Keenan understands.

"If (Orin) has a problem, he shouldn't have to make them," Keenan said.

Shogren doesn't confine his handiwork to Halloween, Jessica said. He gifts grandkids with other creations throughout the year, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"He's an awesome grandpa, and that's an understatement," Jessica said.

But don't think grandma goes unnoticed.

"Grandpa's carpentry skills are matched with her cooking skills," Jessica said.

Molasses cookies are her favorite."

(Story by Tim Unruh at the Salina Journal)

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