Amanda and I just returned from a 4 day visit to Utah/Idaho. It was like a breath of fresh air into my life. It was just what I needed. Sorry it has taken so long, but here is some of what we did.
We arrived at Norfolk, Virginia airport at 6:00 in the morning to fly out for Salt Lake. I am seriously considering if it was worth the $150 we saved to have two layovers. I thought I would die from the trip. We flew from Norfolk to Detroit, Michigan, then to Minneapolis, Minnesota on to Salt Lake City, Utah. I think on each flight I became motion sick. The layover would cause the sickness to subside and then we took off again. It was a form of torture. By the time I arrived in SLC I felt sick, weak, and irritable. We went to bed pretty early to combat jet lag and my feeling sick.
Friday dawned bright and early. I was up well before everyone else and was ready for the day before 7 AM even thought of rolling around. We had crepes for breakfast. The Hemsley family had a new crepe maker and it turned out to be a great purchase. They were good. I always liked the feeling of biting into a warm crepe with cold ice cream oozing between your teeth. We found our way to Salt Lake again to pick up Bryan and attend the Salt Lake Temple. I was really not feeling well and I ended up with a pair of pants that were far too tight. I am glad I switched them out. I am sure I would have passed out if I had kept them and not switched them for a larger waist size. The session went well and Sherise, Amanda’s cousin, was beautiful.
After the endowment session Amanda and I split up. Brad picked me up and we headed north for an evening of visiting and fellowship. I changed at the Hemsley house and went on our way. Our first stop was Lillian Talbot. Lillian is my mother’s father’s sister. I returned the three journals I typed up from 1961, 1962, and 1963. I was glad to return them. We visited for a few moments and went on our way. The next stop was to Lona Jonas. She is the sister in law to Lillian who we had just left. We had a good visit with her. She told us about her operation on her forehead and eye which came from a piece of glass working its way to the surface after 55 years! Our next step took us closer to the Wasatch Mountains with a visit to Jennie Britzman. She is my father’s mother’s mother’s daughter’s daughter (1st cousin to my Grandma Ross). We had an interesting visit. I discovered she had another husband I never knew about! Brad turned out to be very interested in learning about Jennie. He asked all the right questions and so I learned some family history things I hope I have not missed often in other family members. How in the world did I ever not ask or find out she had another husband? Brad really found her story fascinating and we enjoyed ourselves with a good laugh. It doesn’t seem that she is 90 years old. Her son Richard came home while we were there and we had a good visit with him as well.
We wound up the conversation and made our way to downtown Ogden to visit Mary Coley. Her relationship to me is two fold. She was married to my mother’s father’s brother, Irwin Jonas. He was killed in WWII and she went on to marry Arthur Coley, Irwin’s Uncle. It was an interesting story. I knew that I did not have her parents in my family history so I had some questions to pose. She answered them all with amazing clearness despite her being 89 years old. She grew up in Minnesota and met Irwin while he was in training for the military there. They were married and he went off to the war effort. He wanted her home in Richmond, Utah when he came back so she moved out there. She lived with Great Grandma Lillian Jonas (Lillian’s mother, Lona’s mother in law, Irwin’s mother). It was there she lived when Irwin was killed. At dinner with my Great Great Grandmother, Martha Coley, Art (Arthur) walked in one evening and asked where they had dragged up Mary. They were married shortly after. Anyhow, she does not remember her parents but was able to tell me their names. Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by a foster family. She also gave me the names of her foster parents. So I have some research to do but have Mary’s lineage. She also told us of her conversion story to the church. That was very interesting as well.
We made our way to the home of Dave and Betty Donaldson after Aunt Mary. Dave is my Grandma Ross’ brother. We originally were going to stop at Grandpa’s but there was a man in a ten gallon hat sitting in his living room that we could see from the road. So we decided to come back. It wasn’t far since Dave and Betty live next door. We had a good little visit with Dave and Betty. Dave just had his knee replaced in the past few months. He feels more confident and strong in his new knee than he does his other. Plans are to replace the other probably this fall. After all, we would not want to miss a perfectly good summer or fishing laid up in bed at home. Next we found Abe and Caroline Gallegos home. Caroline, my Dad’s sister, had just stepped out of the shower. We visited with Abe for a while and Caroline emerged. We talked about her new found love of family history, viewed photos. Meanwhile Brad visited with Abe.
The night was running out and we had to be in our best shape for the long haul Saturday. After the Gallegos home Brad dropped me off at the Hemsley residence and went to stay with our old roommate, Mark Morris, in Salt Lake.
Friday turned out to be a long night. I had not recovered from whatever it was I had. I wanted to blame it on the flight, but the usual suspect of a cold sore (which I always get after flying) showed up before I left Richmond. I felt sick enough Friday evening Bryan made a run to the store for some Pepto Dismal (the correct spelling). It is the first time I remember in my life having PB and it sure seems to have done the trick. I awoke up at 1 AM in emergency situations. I went on to vacate my entire system of any remnants of food. I panicked after tossing the perfectly good hamburger in the toilet when it came up all red and pink. My brain kicked in to tell me it was only the evidence of PB. Before the night was finished, it felt I had puked every thought of food I had entertained for the past week. The rest of the system went on to winterize itself. By the time I went back to bed at 3 after a shower and a cleaning of the throne I was feeling much better about life. That constant sickness from the flight was gone.
Saturday dawned bright and early. We were headed off to Salt Lake City for the sealing ceremony. We were parked found our way through the temple maze for the sealing party and visited with friends and family for a while. Before long we were ushered up to a sealing room and we waited for the happy couple and sealer to appear. Travis and Sherise made their way in followed by Elder Bednar. It was your typical sealing except Elder Bednar gave some very direct advice before the sealing. Usually it tends to be a rather superfluous group of niceties which are showered on the couple. He gave the couple, and for those listening in the party, a direct sermon on several topics I don’t think this is the place to disclose. I do remember coming out of the ceremony thinking, “I wish they would teach that in General Conference.”
We waited outside in the beautiful spring weather for the couple to appear for photos. I made a few quick expeditions around temple square and even looking at deconstruction and construction sites bordering temple square. The flowers and grass didn’t look real. (They were as testing went on to prove) The couple made their appearance, we spent the next 45 minutes under the loose commands of a photographer and I made my escape.
Brad appeared and we made a quick venture to the Church Museum to see the exhibit on the Tabernacle. We trekked northward changing clothes at the Hemsley’s and pressing on to Cache Valley.
Our first stop upon arriving at in that blessed valley was in the city of Nibley. We stopped to visit Larry and Margo Anhder but they decided not to be home. We visited with Cynthia Farnsworth around the corner who Brad worked with at the city of Nibley. It was a good visit.
We left Nibley and headed into Logan to visit Sunshine Terrace. During school Brad and I used to go down and visit all the old luvs who were there. Brad only had one of hers still living, Thelma Freeman who is now over the 104 mark. She remembered Brad very well and even asked if he was off to spray lawns in Malad. It was a good visit with her. Even thought she is pretty well death and blind, she remembered quite a bit. She began to give Brad a rundown on all her grandchildren and I excused myself to go see if anyone I used to regularly visit was still alive. Nope, they were all gone. Even Eula Waldron who I thought would live for a good while longer had passed away last fall. Harriet Elison had passed away last summer. Apparently right after my last visit she passed. I felt kinda bad knowing every single person I used to visit while at USU was now dead. Good for them I suppose. I decided not to start up any new friendships with an old luv as I didn’t know the next time I would be around to visit. I went back to listen to Brad and Thelma talk about how she wasn’t going to die until Brad was married. She openly admitted she wants to die but the Lord just doesn’t seem to want her yet, or perhaps it was because Brad wasn’t married yet….
We left and wandered our way around Utah State University. Fascinating how quickly things can change. The new library is completed and we wandered its corridors. Don’t know if I think it was designed very well, but it was certainly interesting. The Merrill Library was gone with only the stark increase in the size of the Quad to mark its passing. We paid a visit to Dentist Office #6 to visit with Matt Geddes and Lucas Garcia for a good while. Justin Siebenhaar also showed up and we were able to visit with him too. We did not remain long before we headed out.
Ellis and Geri Jonas we found in their van. Brad and I did not figure out if they were coming and going. They said they were waiting for someone (who did not appear while we were there) and yet talked about dinner (so were they coming or going?). It was good to visit with them for a while. They gave us the scoop on Ron in Afghanistan, BJ in the hospital, Amie a new house, Jennie a nice guy who she might marry, Ryan and his wife, Julie with her leg, Dan and his job, and the whole story that went with the family. Geri is just so funny in how she tells it. Brad and I got a good kick out of it. Ellis seemed to be more with it than I remember him for the past 5 years. He has thinned down quite a bit which the Dr.’s wanted him to do anyway.
Allen, Marie, Kade, and Kallie Lundgreen were where we spent our next hour. Richmond, Utah seems like time is treating it well. Marie told us the entire latest saga for the city. The city is publishing a new history but nobody seems to like the author except a few who like to stir up trouble in town. There is a story unfolding about public records from the old North Cache High School that was torn down which now want to be taken back probably only to be destroyed or lost. We talked about some history and the story inevitably moved towards Mom. The best part, I offered Marie a Eureka vacuum cleaner from the 1950’s that I have been lugging around for over a year. I finally remembered to take it, had it where I could take it, and remembered to give it. All in all, we enjoyed the reunion and laughs. It was if I had never left. Brad sure got a kick out of it. He thinks we are all crazy.
Next we enjoyed the new highway in Southern Idaho from the Utah border to Preston. How nice. So totally cruisable now. We stopped at the home of Larry and Barbara Andra to visit. They were not home. Brad and I took a good look and tour of the new facilities Larry has set up and his new ride in delivering lawn spraying services. Those new guys have it good! He has a brand new truck with a new trailer and two 500 gallon tanks. He appears serious about this whole lawn spraying business!
It was as we climbed into the car we realized we really needed to get moving in order to make it to Blackfoot in time to even catch the last 30 minutes of the reception. We did a little speeding up the old highway past Winder, Banida, Red Rock, Downey, and Virginia. We had some good conversation. We decided we both really like Inkom and could live there some day. We rounded through Pocatello and made our way to Blackfoot in good time. We arrived 15 minutes before the reception was scheduled to end. We went through the line, did our hugs, ate some cake, and enjoyed the family meal in the kitchen. It was the close of a good day. We started with Travis and Sherise and ended with them too (not to mention frog eye salad!!!).
After the reception, we watched the fireworks and the send off. I have to admit, I can’t stand some of the cheesy traditions that accompany marriages and receptions. I am glad Amanda and I left most of them out. We loaded up some food for the road and made the way across Southern Idaho to Kasota. On the way Brad read some really good articles from the latest Summit Magazine from Brigham Young University – Idaho. We both decided that if we were going to school this fall out of high school, we would both choose YofI.
Sunday morning dawned far too early for us. We arose, had some wonderful country biscuits and gravy and headed to church. Church was quite enjoyable. I really enjoyed the completely humble tone in which the meetings took place. Elder’s Quorum’s lesson was on Testimony by President Kimball. Every single person shared some thought and all, except one, did it in a completely humble tone and perspective. I was not only impressed by the tone of those who participated but the fact that all participated. It was not even encouraged by the teacher. I don’t ever remember becoming emotional in Elder’s Quorum as it is usually the least spiritual of all the church meetings. Sunday school was by Sister Crane and she did well. Ted was totally shocked when he sat with his family to find us sitting with them. Sacrament was Fast & Testimony Meeting. I really quite enjoyed it. President Merrill bore his testimony and I very much enjoyed it. President King also bore his testimony which was powerful. I followed President King which was a bit intimidating.
After church we made a quick trip home before making our rounds for the day. The first stop of the day was at Sergene Jensen’s in Heyburn. This was Brad’s first meeting of Sergene and he commented that he could definitely tell she was an Andra. It was the first time I have seen her in probably 5 years. We had a good visit while there. Brad talked golf with Neil from Filer while I fixed Sergene’s computer, her cell phone, and chatted about her son Andy. She had a pacemaker put in last December which was a surprise to me. But she thinks it was a worthwhile investment as it has drastically improved her golf swing. Neil says he wants one now. It was a good visit.
We went to visit my Aunt Jackie afterwards. We found Willie, Jackie, and Jesse all home for the day. Willie was just leaving for work but it was a good visit. I visited with Jackie for a good while. Brad wasn’t feeling well so he went and took a nap in the car. We discussed a variety of things, none of which are worth mentioning here. Pretty much it boils down to she seems like a lost soul who isn’t willing to make the changes necessary to get her life back in order.
We went to visit a friend of Brad’s, Eli Hansen but he was not home. We did visit with Eli’s mother, Teri for a few minutes. We then attempted to pay a visit to Scott and Chris Horsley, but they too were not home. We stopped to visit Brad’s great Aunt Ora Barlow. We had a good little visit with her. I guess before she married Woodrow (Woody) she was married to a Jones. Her son Lenny popped in and visited with us while we were there too. It was interesting to hear some of the dynamics of another family.
We attempted another visit to the Horsley home without success and we headed to visit the Orton family. Kevin, Megan, Ryan, and Kegan were all there. I wanted to visit with them but had to so I could get a picture with Ryan and Flat Stanley. As you are aware, I helped with his Flat Stanley project (FS has his own album!). So chatted about Tran-Systems, Circle A, Ag Express, Washington DC, life in general, the positioning of the stars in the cosmos, and other various lowly conversations. The actual camera for the photo was at Kevin’s parents so we made the trip to Paul for that. Brad and I did a quick driving tour of Paul to see what changes have been made. It is still there, I can verify that. They are also getting a new city park across from the Stake Center and Harpers are finally subdividing the property next to the Stake Center. Paul, Idaho is on the boom!
Brad wanted to nap some more so I left him in the car to snooze. I went in and had even more interesting conversations. We discussed the lifestyle of the polygamist fundamentalists in Utah. Wow, I never knew all the ways you could cheat the United States Government! But the polygamists have it worked out to a ‘T”. Kevin’s mother became a polygamist and they are sure she is dead but will not report it so they can continue to collect the Social Security Checks. They mooch the system from the crib to death. If I didn’t believe in honesty I might be tempted to do the same. The conversation with Dennis and Derith Orton turned to other subjects until I received a phone call from my Dad wanted to know if I was still planning on dinner. Yep, the time had arrived and I did not even notice it. I had to end the conversations rather abruptly and made my way home.
Dad usually is very relaxed about food and eating times but I found out Andra was the instigator. She was all in an uproar for some reason and wanted to get out of there. She gave us some reason with Brian needing her somewhere but we could tell it was a lie. She left in a huff without saying anything for a good bye or even hello. In addition, she left the present that was intended for her. I am amazed at how easily people can treat their own family badly and think it is okay. Perhaps those who are closest to us we can just expect they will understand and we can be as selfish as we want. That was the extent of any real time with my sister.
Dinner turned out to be very good. Dad made the t-bone steaks in his usual fashion with the barbeque grill and sugar cure. It was very good. Made me wish we could afford a bit more meat to eat on the grill in Virginia. We had baked potatoes, steaks, salad and plenty more. It was good to sit down and eat a meal with Dad, Andra who ate only a little bit very quickly, Brad, and Jan. We talked health, Idaho, family, and a variety of issues. It was good quality time with the family. Brad finally decided it was time for him to crash. He asked for a blessing which we gave him and he crashed despite the fact it was only 8:30 p.m. I visited with Dad and Jan a little longer before I borrowed Dad’s truck and went to pay a visit to the Tateoka Family.
I roamed up to the top of the hill at Kasota and visited with Ted and Becca. We lounged around for a while as I told them about the events so far during the weekend. Ted was quite fascinated with the advice given by Elder Bednar and took the opportunity to pat himself on the back some. We had a good laugh. He went with me for a drive to AgExpress (I want to call it Circle A) and we filled up Dad’s pickup for him. We talked about life in general. He told me about his struggles in the Bishopric and some of the cases that are before him. I can sympathize and honestly hope I never serve in that type of capacity. It sounds like a nightmare in many ways. I know there are many blessings that come, and Ted openly admits those. We talked about marriage, women, work, and several other topics. In the end, he had to be home at a descent hour. I dropped him off and went home.
Monday again dawned far too bright and early. Brad arose and was feeling much better after about 11 hours of sleep. We got ready, loaded the car, said our good byes, and headed out. Ted wanted us to stop by for breakfast. We found him at his parent’s place and we had a great breakfast of ham, eggs, toast, and plenty more. We were stuffed. We spent some time talking before Ted had to go back to work on the farm.
We went to visit Dustin McClellan at his home. We found him in the work shop and we took a good look at the Old Dodge. She was covered in dust and bird droppings but still looked good. Dustin says he is going to clean her up and get her going again now that spring is here. Plus he has just finished doing his spring field work and had a week before his next phase. We visited for a while in his house and we looked around to see what he has done differently. Next, we stopped by AgExpress and visited with Dad and he introduced me to most of the people in the office. I knew Michelle and remember Sean. We said our good bye’s and headed off to Paul and Kathy Duncan’s.
Kathy had forgotten we were coming and we found her in her pajamas still cleaning up after the weekend. She quickly changed and we visited for a good hour. She insisted we eat lunch with her and started making food. Brad and I thought we would both pop if we ate more after a big breakfast. It turned out to be really good barbeque chicken, salad, and cheesy potatoes. Brad really liked the desert. Paul came home and ate with us and we had a good visit about farming, the dairy, and life in general. Their whole family is doing well and things are good.
We had to get moving once again and we took the old highway 30 out to the Raft River exit. We took the freeway and got off to head out towards Rockland. It was a beautiful drive with the stormy clouds, the scenic valley, and the crepuscular drama. We paid a visit to Leo and Rhea Udy a few miles of Rockland approaching Roy. It was a really good visit. I quite enjoyed our conversation. They have served several church missions. Two or three of them in helping with engineering projects in the building of temples. One was with Nauvoo and I think there was one or two more. They also served in Adam-Ondi-Ahman. They have known Jack and Janet Duncan since their days in Oregon. It was also interesting to learn about the Udy history. This was even more true in light of the Udy Lawn Spraying business my Uncle Larry has. Rhea is Brad’s great aunt. We spent our time there and needed to head out in order to be able to pay a visit to Grandpa and make it to Kaysville in time for a party there.
We left the Udy home and took the drive to Malad, Idaho. We took some time to stop at Twin Springs and a quick drive through Holbrook. It seemed strange to us to be able to drive through a town literally in the middle of nowhere and know many of the people who live in the homes and much history of the area. We crossed the pass into Pleasantview and talked about our crazy day recording cemetery tombstone names in Samaria. We finally arrived in Malad and took a look at all the lots that I am thinking of buying there. We took some pictures with the phone and left just as the rain was starting to come down again.
We caught I-15 south and got off to drop back into Plain City. We stopped by Uncle Dave’s again to drop the picture off we neglected to do the first time. That is another long story, but I have been trying to get that photo back to its owner for a good two years now. One person takes it, can’t deliver it, and it keeps coming back to me. At one point, so I would not forget it, I placed it on a desk in Provo so I would always see it. The weekend I went to take it back I forgot it because Brad, of all people, hid it because he didn’t like it sitting out. Anyhow, I hope it is the final step to finding its way back to Ed Telford.
We stopped and had a good visit with Grandpa. He seemed a bit down from the latest waves of death in his circle of friends. It was still fun to see him and spend some time with him. In the end he didn’t seem like he wanted to talk much so we said our good byes and headed out. We made our last stop at the Olive Garden in Layton in order to meet the Hemsley family. Brad and I discussed our weekend and figured out we really quite enjoyed ourselves. To top it off, we figured out we had reconnected, visited with, and spent time with at least 43 people since Friday morning together. That seemed like quite the group of people. We felt content in our activities. I came back with 4 pages of family history notes. Brad was able to see family he had not seen in about 2-8 years. Best of all, we just enjoyed the company and the sites of Idaho/Utah.
It was Scott Hemsley’s birthday and we ate out at Olive Garden to celebrate the event. Derek did not join us but it was a good dinner and we had some good laughs. They are a good family. I am happy to claim them as family and to have ties with them. We went back to their home (Brad left for Provo and did not eat with us) and watched The Terminal with Tom Hanks. It seemed highly fitting since we would again be spending a whole day in traveling by plane. Amanda’s grandparents came over and we visited with them some. Finally we crashed since we had to leave at 5 a.m. and felt we needed the rest.
The flights went okay. I don’t like riding in the very back because sometimes you feel every bit of turbulence. I think I regained my motion sickness every time we were on descent to the airport. The winds and tossing just doesn’t do much for my stomach. The last flight put me under and heater vent or something that blew warm air on me the entire flight. So I turned on my cold air nozzle to high and suffered with the torments of hot and cold air blowing on me.
We arrived at Norfolk, kissed the ground and went to the Odom home in Newport News. They fed us some Chinese (which was very nice of them!) and we went home.
There is the end of the narrative of the trip to Utah and Idaho. I know it became a bit of a laundry list of things we did. But I did not want to write it by hand in my journal and I type so quickly. Plus I know some of you would be interested. So viola, there you go!
This week brought some happy differences from the mundane run. Not at all to give the impression that life is mundane though. The longer I live, the more I realize it is just like beauty, all in the life of the beholder. There are those people wandering their lives thinking they are a nobody and with nothing great in their character or soul. Then there are those people who find fascination, excitement, and life in all there is about them. They are a different breed.
Somehow, I feel like in Richmond, I walk through a load of people with no excitement in their lives. Life is a labyrinth for them to wander and walk. There are so few who are in it for the game, and the experience.
The great Samuel Clemens, a fascinating man. One who watched the every move of those about him with great detail. Their every movement captured their personality for him. That is one of the things that made him such a great writer. He was able to take those little details and wind them into a story and make the characters that much more real.
Suppose it would be the experience of the riverboat pilot which would teach you even more closely to watch the details of the water. The slightest quiver could mean life or death. Just his assumed name of Mark Twain shows a certain yearning.
Earlier this week I was able to pick the brain of a man who I found to be very fascinating. A silent man in the past, but who gave voice this week. I wanted to hear his story. So I started to inquire and found some wonderful stories.
Having William Borah fresh on my mind, I was thinking of the honour of the President of the United States coming to visit you in your home state. Senator Borah toured with him and introduced him to all audiences that he was presented before. For some reason this has really lingered with me the past weeks. President Roosevelt paying one of the greatest honours to a man of the opposite party. President Franklin Roosevelt went to Republican Idaho and toured with its Senator. It also showed the distinction of Senator Borah. This really has hit home with the latest election.
So it was with greatest delight that I wandered through the mind and history of Mel Thompson. Learning he moved with his family to Nyssa, Oregon in the mid 30’s. They moved up there and basically homesteaded a new territory. Knowing many of my own family would move to that same area within the next 10 years I really sought to pick his brain.
Family history and my delving into history met ironically in the mind of Mel. He told of the experience when he was still in school that the President of the United States came to town. Yes sir, little Nyssa, Oregon welcomed the President. I knew who one of the men was who traveled with him, the same Senator Borah.
These stories come to life for me when I can go to the places these events happened. But they come so much more alive when I know a person and can learn from firsthand experience. Like sitting on the porch of the Price home in Malad, Idaho where Senator Borah visited with Helen Daniels Price’s father.
Having been to Nyssa several times in my life, the latest just in 2005 when I traveled out there with a visit to Parma. The Amalgamated Sugar Factory, with which Dad was closely tied for a good 25 years. Cannot forget the Sharp family members who moved, and some of which still live in Malheur County. The Fort Boise replica is not far away either. Oh, and the elusive Rhoda Christensen Davenport Pappas Halan who wrote letters from there, but that is the end of the story. I have found no more.
All truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. That truth certainly extends beyond the theoretical. That truth engulfs us into it as well. Funny thought, to consider ourselves the truth, but in essence all things are truth. Whether we like or live it or not; even our lying is in truth and will be treated as such. Our lives mingle, intertwine, and are very much related to each other. How could one ever conceive that their actions don’t affect another? President Roosevelt, Senator Borah, and in the school yard where the children were let out from class to go out to the street to see the President’s motorcade prove that point. One of those children had a face, had a personality, and had the name of Melvin J Thompson.
Last weekend, we went to Washington to attend the temple, to see Amanda’s grandparents, and to witness of a baby blessing. It was a great weekend, but turned even better when Amanda’s grandparents came to stay with us for an evening. An honour I would be willing to give a lifetime to do with one of my sets of grandparents. (I suppose I am giving a lifetime to do so!) It will yet come to pass and I will cherish that day.
We attended the Washington Temple Saturday morning. Amanda and I were asked to be the witness couple for the session. That was our second time. Shanna just thought that was something else. I wish I could have done an endowment with any of my grandparents, living I mean. It bothers me even still today my Grandfather, my only living grandparents, chose not to come to our sealing. For what reason I do not know, and probably prefer not to know. There again, how woven our lives are together. That the mere presence, or absence thereof, would so affect me. What if Mel Thompson had not been in the audience that day? Who would ever have known? Nobody would have known, but now I do. Somehow it rings a siren to my soul and brings back me back to the reality of the past. It seems so far distant sometimes. But now that nameless face has altered my life some 70 years later. Even further, all those who read this will be altered to one degree or another, by this events significance. That says nothing of all the other individuals present that day. How many of them told that experience later in life, how many wrote it down, how many family members recall that event today. I would venture that at least one somewhere, somehow, even if from a recorded record.
Our families were tied a little more closely that day in Washington and the following convo. The drive back to Richmond brought out the stories of childhood in Pingree, Idaho; Nyssa, Oregon; and Ogden, Utah. The stories included excursions to the Pacific and World War II and running into Mel’s brother at Pearl Harbor from Air Craft Carrier #77 to his training at Farragut in northern Idaho. His missing attendance at the Laie, Hawaii Temple by one day was told followed by his bouts in learning telegraphy for the railroad. Even those appear to be the most ordinary have a life to tell. Sadly, it is in the eye of the storyteller that plays just as much of a role as that of the listener. The listener has to seek and find connections, living what is true empathy. In return, the speaker has to give of himself in such a way for the other to experience it.
Is it any wonder the gospel works the way it does? Not only does one have to be prepared to receive, but the giver has to be prepared to give. Otherwise neither will give nor receive and both will most certainly not be edified. One side operating just doesn’t work. It falls on deaf ears, or is droned out before even arriving at the other party.
Too often there are those who are giving for the wrong reasons make it strained. Those who seek it for the wrong reasons ruin the experience.
Anyhow, it was a fascinating lesson, and I was able to come and grasp some more of the 60’s. I have really struggled coming to understand the 70’s and 70’s. I just cannot tell why. Even though I was born in the late 70’s, there seems to have been some type of disconnect.I have been fully engulfed in Richmond, Utah in 1961 and 1962 through the eyes of Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt. The lifestyle of a lady in her 60’s though just does not seem to portray the era. Especially this is true in a community which was still very rural and in some ways behind the times. I just cannot seem to get the culture of the time. 50’s, 40’s, 30’s, I feel like I have a very good grasp, like experiencing through proxy. In stepping backwards farther, I struggle to back further and feel it is due to the 60’s and 70’s. Honestly though, I have not much desire for that time. I don’t know why. So I push further back into the 20’s and 1800’s without it.
Anyhow, I never really got to pick Shanna’s brain much. I got Mel on such a roll that he was not about to give up his shine. We both were so enjoying it while the others just slept, knitted, or did something else. So I regret not picking apart Shanna’s past, which I am sure holds many interesting experiences and stories. Perhaps another day, with the right experiences will open that book.
They spent the night, and we had breakfast together before Amanda went to school and I went to work. Mel, Shanna, Dennis, and Gwen toured the Museum of the Confederacy and St. John’s Church. We invited them for dinner, of which they accepted. We made white chili for their dinner. They loved it, we put it over rice with corn. In the end, games and conversation were out as Dennis seemed not very desirous to stay. So we bid them adieu and wished them well on their drive home.
It was an experience I will not soon forget. It is a rare thing such experiences happen. So much has to align for such events to occur. A man I had viewed as so quiet proved to be very perceptive, keen, and wise.
I don’t like the tone of this little blog, so I think I will be leaving. I feel like I am condescending or portraying some type of sage. Which I am not attempting, but failing. I am so weak at words it is frustration. What I would not give to have the power and verse of Mark Twain or Hugh Nibley.