Greasy Creek is about life as it was lived near this peaceful creek in the late 1940's. Join Larry W. Janis -- or "Bud" as some call him -- for an exciting trip to this special place and time.
While we travel through time and space, we hope you'll see that the future isn't controlled solely by the events of the past, or by the uncontrollable things that happen to us -- but by the people who touch our lives, and also the choices we make everyday.
However, one of those farms would be more memorable than the others. That was the year he would be in the 7th grade and live along Greasy Creek. Strangely enough this move would take him into Ste. Genevieve county as his Great ... Grandfather had done back in the 1700's when the city of Ste. Genevieve was founded and he became the proprietor of the first inn west of the Mississippi River. This was a fact of history that Larry would not be aware of until many years later as he had little interest in education prior to becoming a man.
At 17 Larry entered the military, again as his Great ... Grandfather had done when he joined with George Rogers Clark’s forces and became the flag bearer in the capture of Fort Vincennes in Indiana during the Revolutionary War, On his second tour of duty, (the Army first then the Air Force), Larry finally made a belated start on his formal education. It would culminate many years later with a masters degree in, of all things, educational administration. Along the way he would not only accumulate some 240 semester hours of formal education, but also many informal programs such as: carpentry, heavy equipment operation, truck driving, long range radar repair, electronics, emergency medical training, pilot's license, (bush flying in Alaska), IBM office products repair, auto-body repair, and repelling instructor.
Larry, with his late wife Patsy, daughter Susan and their German Shepherd, Ginger, moved to Alaska in 1972 where he would teach a number of things, including 7th grade science. A far cry from his time spent along Greasy Creek as a boy who hated school. To make it even more of an unlikely situation he would be teaching in a small country town called Wasilla. You may have already guessed the next part of this strange situation. In 1977 one of his students was to be a young lady by the name of Sarah Heath who would become the first female governor of Alaska and later the first female to run for vice president for the Republican Party. A teacher never knows what the future holds for their students.
Alaska was to hold even more that would affect Larry’s life. Due to circumstances both within and beyond his control, (his home caught on fire), he would realize a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. Thanks to several missionary pilots that he worked with he was able to buy a 1934 Taylorcraft. A small 65-horsepower airplane that in the right hands made a very nice bush plane. Larry’s instructor happened to have one of these planes and was an excellent pilot. Due to his background in farm work and later in the military his work with heavy equipment and trucks of various sizes he was able to pick up the ability to fly his T-cart into and out of some very small places.
Larry also continued his work in black-light chalk art. With his wife Patsy being an excellent pianist and his daughter Susan becoming old enough (4 years old) and with her mothers training, good enough to become a soloist they began a real family ministry that would continue for many years. Along with his chalk art Larry also worked to improve his artistic talents with various mediums, from painting gold pans and ceramics in Alaska to pictures for fund-raisers in St. Louis, or illustrations for books and teaching aids, he spent much of his spare time doing art work. During his time in Alaska, Larry was the recipient of a government mini-grant to design and build a one-of-a-kind historic totem pole for the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. This led him to visits the kennels of Joe Redington, father of the Iditarod Trail dog sled race. Also the ghost town of Iditarod and the gold mining area around Flat where the Guggenheim family fortune was made.
The next 15 years were spent doing maintenance work at Tower Grove Baptist Church and school before retireing for the fourth and final time.
Beginning at the age of 18 Larry was transferred to France by the US Army. This began his travels that would result in his visiting 23 countries. After a second tour of duty, this time in the US Air Force in England, Larry would marry Patsy Rucker in St. Louis and continue his travels. They would visit all 49 of the continental states and all but one of the Canadian Provinces, (this one would later be split into two). Larry loved to drive and his wife loved to travel so together with Susan and one of their four German Shepherds they drove as far north as Deadhorse, Alaska on the Arctic Ocean to Goosebay, Labrador in Canada.
Larry’s driving experiences would progress from horses along Greasy Creek, to camels in the Sahara Desert, from tractors of various types on farms in Missouri, to earth movers in France plus military vehicles from jeeps to eighteen-wheelers. And finally to flying over the mountains and through the passes of the Alaska Range.
He has taken ferries across several of Missouri’s rivers to those along the Pacific coast of the US and Canada, and the Atlantic coast from the US to various Canadian Provinces. Larry has also sailed across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, encountering a hurricane along the way.
From 115° in Death Valley to the minus 55° in the banana belt of Alaska. From beneath the ocean in the coal mines of St. Johns, Nova Scotia to the hard rock gold mines in the mountains of Hatchers’ Pass near Wasilla, Alaska. From the salty depths of the Dead Sea in Jordan to the pure snows of the Saint Bernard pass in the Alps. From the ancient monastery carved into the red rock high above the rose-red city of Petra to the modern creation museum in Kentucky. The author as a boy studying a number of newly hatched catfish in one of many pools of water in Greasy Creek could never have imagined what God had in store for him in the future. Every area of learning that Bud would later be involved in became useful at one time or another in his life. As a final word of advice to the readers of this little book I would suggest that each one would learn all they could and then place their life in God’s hands and just see where He will lead you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 gives us the directions if we will just follow them.