Ides of July

There is not loads to report for this week.  I have applied for probably nearly 50 jobs online.  I have an interview tomorrow for a position with Combined Insurance.  Who would have thought?  What are the chances? Grandma worked for Combined for 30 years.  I have in essence sold Combined Insurance for 6 months of my life.  That is probably the equivalent that I spent with Grandma out on the road selling insurance.  I sure loved it.  Funny what we remember isn’t it. 
There was a couple of times we went to Soda Springs to sell.  I remember the Caribou Lodge.  It was my first time going over, I must have been about 4-6 years old.  We were in the old 1974 two door Mercury Cougar.  What a car.  As we came down the pass from Lava Hot Springs we hit a pheasant.  The old car took it in the headlight cover.  So when we needed the light, we were Popeye into Soda.  Grandma liked the Red Baron pizza and she promised that she would treat me.  Accordingly, we went and bought one and took it back to the Caribou Lodge.  It was only then we realized that we did not have an oven.  Grandma went down, and knowing the owners well, asked if they would cook it.  They agreed and we ate Red Baron Pizza.  It sure was good.
This was my first time on the road selling with Grandma.  She had taken me several times to other places close like Kimberly, Twin Falls, Wendell, and American Falls. I always felt so loved.  She would buy me clothes and completely dress me for the week.  This week, she bought this little red suit that had zippers over the pockets.  It was a short sleeved shirt with shorts.  She gave me the permission to carry the money if I promised not to lose it.  So I would zip it up in my little pockets and keep it safe all the time.  Made me feel like a million bucks. 
Every morning we would get up and she would make oatmeal out of the packets.  She had a little warmer that you put in the coffee cup and it would boil the water in the cup.  She would pour the water in with the oatmeal and we had the little feast every morning.  She would comb and part my hair with a duck’s tail in the back.  I felt like a little prized doll the way she took care of me.
It was this same week that we stopped at this home to visit some people.  That is one thing I remember, we always had leads.  Grandma never knocked not knowing who lived there.  This house was on a corner or curve in the highway.  I could probably take you there today, even though I was only about 5.  We were sitting in the front room of the home and the people kept commenting on how adorable I was.  Being a little bashful I asked to go in the backyard.  I went out and stood at the back fence watching a baseball game.  Never had seen a baseball game.  I was thrilled, it was warm, slight breeze, and the shining metal baseball bat.  Our visit came to a close and they were begging Grandma in front of me if they could keep me.  She asked me if they could keep me and I remember breaking out in tears. They thought I was so much more adorable.  It would be funny to know who lived there and see if they even remember this.  I very much doubt it.
One of the best parts about being with Grandma and doing this insurance business was that when we set out to drive there, she would give me all the lead cards.  Sometimes there would be up to 200 of them.  It was my job to take a look at the map and figure out where things were.  Then I would go through and organize the lead cards according to street, and then line the streets up to area.  This was a big job coming to towns like Idaho Falls/Rexburg.  I remembered I became quite the pro.  The entire week we came back to the car, I could tell her the house number of the next house, and then would direct her how to get there.  I became a master at map reading and directions.  Even to this day, I can look at a map, get a good feel for where anything is, and I can know how to get where I need to go.  Coming to Richmond, I think Amanda is constantly amazed that I already know where everything is.  I already know the main streets, where they are, and where they go.  Even in church today, changing our ward boundaries, I knew all the roads they talked about.  This has been a great blessing to me.  All thanks to my beloved Grandmother, and Combined Insurance.
It is funny how much we remember.  At least me.  I have noticed that others are not so fortunate.  I remember that same week going to the sulfur mines and Grandma showing me where the Circle A trucks were.  She took me and showed me where my Uncle Doug lived at the time.  (Uncle Doug moved from there about 1987, which means I was definitely younger than 8.  I remember going to Grace, Idaho and Grandma showing me where Evan was raised.  I cannot take you there now, even though I have tried to find it.  Evan and Grandma divorced in 1987 as well.  I remember her taking me to the Minne Tonka caves, Bennington, Georgetown, and even little Niter.  Oddly, driving through Chesterfield a few years ago, it seemed too hauntingly familiar.  I still don’t know if it was from an expedition with Grandma or if it was for family history purposes.  (I did later find family history links)
This weekend we went to Northern Virginia.  Amanda and I have made a commitment to keep President Kimball’s challenge to the Saints that if circumstances permit, members should attend the temple at least once a month.  I have done this ever since I came home from my mission.  I have done it pretty well since I was endowed, except for several months in the mission when missionaries were not allowed to attend the temple.  Accordingly, Amanda and I needed to attend for the month of July and thought now was as good time as any.  We went up Friday night, stayed with Dennis and Gwen Thompson, who I lived with when I worked in Washington, D.C..  We spent the evening, caught up, and planned out Saturday.  Saturday, we went to the temple, dropped Miss Mandy Lundstrom off at the Baltimore Washington International Airport, drove to Annapolis, Maryland; and then crashed back at the Thompson home.  I did 15 initiatory at the temple and Amanda/Mandy both did a session.  We got lost getting there as we talked and passed every single junction for a free way.  Mandy was staying with the Thompson’s.  Oddly, she was the old girlfriend of Brad Hales, my good friend and old roommate.  She was going to ride the train from Springfield clear to BWI with all her luggage. Knowing how horrible that is, how much I hate traveling with luggage, I offered our services.  Plus she got to go to the temple one last time.  Amanda and I then ran to Annapolis to see the historic downtown.  Sadly, we got there 5 minutes after they closed the statehouse.  But we drove around a little longer.  The Maryland Capitol is the longest used Capitol in the U.S..  It has also served at the United States Capitol while the current one was being built.  It was in this very building that General George Washington resigned his commission of the Continental Army.  Wonderful history.  The College of St. John is right by as is the United States Naval Academy.  The town reminds me so much of Britain.  I love it.  I recommend all pay a visit there.  Go to the Capitol when it is open. I did last year and enjoyed it.
Anyhow, we came back to Richmond this morning and got ready and went to church.  They reorganized our ward, but as we did not know anyone, it did not make much difference to us.  At least we don’t have to attend another ward.  It was a good day.  At least we got a new lesson, no more of that adultery lesson we had for the last 3 weeks. 

Moving to Virginia Day #1

The first day has been completed.  We have driven from Provo, Utah to Parker, Colorado. Your typical day of driving but I thought I would offer a few comments.
Driving between Provo and Price going down through the canyon right before you head into Price, I saw a hub cap go flying from the driver side of the car and go behind me off the passenger side of the road.  I saw little chunks of it flying off which indicated it probably was not worth the savage.  To add to it, I had this idiot driver following very closely behind me, so I did not dare slam on the brakes to pull over.  Not to mention Amanda trying to tempt me with some smoked almonds. 
Driving over the continental divide I thought my poor car was going to die.  In the past when I have driven the divide I just set the cruise and once and a while the car would shift down to take it back up to normal speed.  Wow, what loading the trunk and back seat of your car can do!  It kicked my cruise off every time and just to maintain the speed of the loading trucks I had to push the pedal to the floor and drop it to lowest gear.  We sped along nearing red line and still being passed by Walmart trucks (which to me is simply embarrassing).
We finally made the pass and in Frisco filled up the car.  We still averaged about 28 miles to the gallon to that point.  We only had one more real pass to climb. After going through the tunnel, there was an accident by Georgetown 12 miles ahead and we were stopped on the freeway.  I knew the truckers were not happy.  The stop and go traffic on a 5-7% grade made the whole freeway stink with the burning of brakes.  I think my poor brakes even suffered a bit with the load.  I just put it in 1st gear and tried to coast it as much as possible.  There was a vehicle somewhere ahead that was stinking something terrible. 
We drove our way pretty easily to Parker after that.  We were able to see the Denver Temple.  We had to drive on the toll road because we had no idea how to get to where we were going without the directions we had.  But we found the home of my old friend Nicole Whitesides.  She is now married to Nathan Wallace.  We had a great chat.  Nathan is a great guy, it was the first time I met him.  She even came to see me home at the airport when I got back from the mission.
They have a very nice home on the very outskirts of town.  Literally, there is nothing but desert beyond.  But it will be filled very quickly from what we understand.
We went out to eat at some Asian place where the food was very, very spicy hot.  I broke a good sweat and enjoyed it.  Amanda on the other hand ate quite a bit and went home sick.  She is still feeling stomach sick this morning.  I hope it will depart during the day.  We will just have to see.
We crashed and went to bed after Nicole and I went through the yearbook.  I updated her on everyone I am still in contact with, she updated me on who she knew, and we reminisced about the old days.  She was the girl who told me we could not date in high school because I was not planning on going on a mission.  I liked her enough I decided I better look into it.  I was not active yet in the church.  She is the one who really planted the seed in many respects.  I decided that I was not against it like I was before her. I decided to look into the church a bit more.
It was with her car that I ran straight into Kevin Orton and pinned him against a White Toyota pickup.  I wonder if feeling ever came back into the side of his leg. He has not said anything.  Perhaps he has just become used to it, or it returned.  That was the most I ever heard Kevin swear.  It is amazing I did not break both of his legs.  We were both very fortunate that no major hospital bills came from that event and he isn’t maimed for life.
I went on many dates with Nicole and she was such a wonderful friend all through high school. She was from a different middle school.  Her friends became my friends and mine became hers.  Dustin and Kevin became very good friends with her too.  Kevin and her even dated for a spell. 
Anyhow, enough of the past.  Today we make our trip to Kansas City, Missouri.  I pray for heavens protection, guidance, and blessings.  May all go well to Glen Allen.