A report of a few thoughts

I am not really sure what to write.  My life feels like there is so much going on at the moment I would not know where to start.  I feel like singing a little Johnny Cash and “I’ve been everywhere.”
So more a couple of thoughts on a variety of issues.
I am learning more and more there is only so much some people can be helped.  I have a friend, Kevin, who says he cannot find a job.  I have now given him over 4 different job opportunities and he isn’t willing to do much.  Granted, it might not be the perfect fit, but why not jump in until you find something better.  I guess there is always the benefit of sitting and home and hanging out with the family.  The money doesn’t run forever (at least, for most of us).  I thought he was interested enough in a job that I set up an interview with the two individuals doing the hiring.  He went and brought his wife along for the interview.  Why not bring your mother too?  How far should one go in trying to reach out and provide opportunities to another?
There is another friend, Dustin, who has been tending a car for me for several years now.  He offered and I was happy to have his help while I was away to Virginia, Missouri, and all my other travels.  I went over to take a look today and it broke my heart how terrible of condition it is in.  I know it is free, I appreciate the watchful eye, but I think I may have done better leaving it sitting in my own backward.  Then it would have been more friendly dirt, less rusty water, and mice who belong to the family.  I don’t know if the neglect is what really bothers me but rather the questions I posed of whether or not everything was okay.  Did I need to pay him for some upkeep, did I need to help with expenses.  The answer was always the same, “Nope, everything is taken care of.”
I was visiting with my boss, Doug Kelley, the past few days about the Catholic Religion.  Particularly with the Pope’s visit to the United States and his news noted attempt to try and bring the US Catholic portion in line.  My boss, a self proclaimed “Roman Catholic with a little R” said the real issues he has with Pope Benedict is his apparent desire to undo Vatican II.  Primarily the fact that with Vatican II the church was less authoritarian and the congregations could really take on responsibility and serve on another.  It is always the Father out doing all the good while everyone sat around.  Now the Pope is diverting the church back to the authoritarian mode and he is very frustrated.  My first thought is he should definitely take a look at the LDS.  If he wants a congregation that serves on another, I don’t know of a better church.  We talked some about Mormonism and I even gave him a Book of Mormon.  He was thrilled and said he would read it soon.  I very much hope he does.  The sooner the better.  I won’t be around him for years to finally discuss and talk about it when he does read it.
I have been accepted to Oklahoma City University Law School.  I really like this option.  It takes me back to the center of the country, I get to live in another area I never lived, and in some cases another culture.  We are still waiting to hear from some other law schools for which I may be interested.  There certainly is no rhyme or reason to why schools accept or reject applicants.  I have acceptance to schools better than others that rejected me according to some ranking systems.  We shall wait and see.
In sitting down one morning to breakfast with Marie Lundgreen, she asked me what I thought about the relationship with her and the sister.  This Sister seems to have a relationship which may be similar in many ways with my own full sister.  The giving of great opportunities are not only rejected, they are turned back on you in a negative way as trying to interfere in their life.  Where credit or help is given, not only are they taken, but no recognition or appreciation is given.  In one case with my own sister, my willing to help her out cost me a vehicle and several thousands of dollars.  What is one to do?  Marie and her sister, over a period more than double my sister and me, has been more extreme.  In some instances the help offered cost thousands of dollars, and then it was all rejected part and parcel.  Even after acceptance was agreed upon and all the effort expended, then the gift rejected.  What is one to do?  How much should we extend ourselves to help those, especially family, where it seems to do more harm than good?  Nobody likes to be taken advantage of in any way.  I do think I am magnanimous, but is there a point where you should take your efforts elsewhere?  What happens when you know later the sister is being kind and nice just to get something more?  Forgive but not give the gift?  Is that possible?
Dad and Jan have been called to serve for two years in the Twin Falls Temple when it opens.  This is an exciting opportunity.  It will be a calling close to home, the privilege of officiating in the House of God, and the spiritual blessings that only come from the Temple.  I hope and pray the couple days a week they serve will not cost him his job.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  We are all in the hands of the Lord of the Harvest.  Dad and Jan have been called and they will give their all to serving.  As anyone does so, everything always works out.  We don’t know how, it just does.  The same has been very evident in my life.
I had dinner with Kevin and Jean Gore from Walkden, Lancashire, England.  What a joy it was to meet up with friends from within the England Manchester Mission.  Just like the sons of Alma after meeting up after all those years, nothing has really changed in the relationship.  Why, because we all live the gospel.  As we keep our hearts in tune with the Savior, we cannot help but find ourselves in tune with others who are seeking to do the same.  We enjoyed a great meal and discussed a wide variety of topics.  I thank God for how kind and generous he has been in my life.  There are so many great and noble people I have the privilege of association.
Work continues very well.  There are some things in the pipeline which will do great things in expanding the production of Magnesium Hydroxide at the Paul Plant.  It is just a matter of getting everything lined out and ready to go.  There are a host of equipment opportunities and I am sure there are many more.  We have met with a couple of engineering firms lately all of who are interested in our equipment and services.  There are some tremendous opportunities.  I hope we can get them on line before I possibly leave for law school.
I know this post has been a bit more negative.  I just needed to vent I think and relieve the concerns I have.  The future is so unknown, you try to help others out and they don’t want the help (such a fine line between meddling and genuine service), and the desire to anxiously engaged.  What comes next?

Passing of sand; Mr. E. E.

Today waiting for a stop light, I looked for a number in my cellular phone.  There I noticed a number for a friend who passed away a few months back.  I don’t know any reason to keep it anymore, so I deleted it.  The thought crossed my mind of another friend who had passed away and found his number.  I deleted it as well.  Again I find myself reflecting with the passing of another life.  There seems to have been a number of them lately.  Terry McCombs, David Donaldson, Justin Rose, and now Evan Elliott.
I learned of Evan’s death on Halloween.  Apparently he had a massive heart attack and died at home on the 24th.  There was a pang of guilt for having not written him back two weeks before when I had felt the prompting to do so.  I wrote some others I thought would be easier to write.  I guess I am absolved of the responsibility now.  His graveside service was just a few hours ago.
Once again, I reflect on the influence of another in my life with their passing.  The flood of memories come back.  This is a relationship I don’t know I will fully understand while in this life.
On my left knee, up a few inches and outwards is a scar I carry about an inch in length.  I still remember climbing over the industrial vacuum equipment and slicing it on the corner of duct sheet sitting there.  It was a deep cut and it bled nicely.  I didn’t have stitches but whenever I think of scars it is one of the two which first come to mind on my body.  I must have been only about 6.
I remember the morning I awoke with mom sitting on the bed.  It was downstairs at the old house along the freeway.  I was about 8.  Mom came to tell me that Grandma had found out about some things with Evan and that they would be getting a divorce.  I had no clue what that meant.  But he disappeared.  That is what divorce meant to me for several years.  The tone in which she told me was one of disappointment in Evan.  There were no harsh words of his character or personality which Mom would later spew about him.  I remember not understanding but feeling it would be okay because my Mother told me so.
I remember fishing many times with Evan as a young boy.  I don’t ever remember catching anything.  But it was fun to sit on the shore and fish.  I don’t even know that we ever really even talked.  The most common spots were fishing at the lake near Hwy 27/I84 and the lake near Hwy 30/I-84.  For all I know there are not even fish in those lakes.  I think they are man made.
It seemed a regular occasion we drove to the Paul Cemetery to maintain the long flower box seated on his parents grave.  I assume it is near the place where he and his wife Shirley are buried.  It was on those days I remember playing in the cemetery and enjoying the day.  I remember the day I stumbled on Wes Charles drunk next to a tombstone.  I knew him from Dad’s work and couldn’t understand why he was different.  I think that is the first time I realized people were different when they were drunk.  He was beside himself sobbing.  Evan explained to me that those stones were not just there for looks but were monuments to people who were buried beneath.  That was why Wes was upset, he presumably had family buried beneath.  I think this was my first introduction to understanding death.  Cemeteries horrified me afterward.  It wasn’t until my Great Grandmother’s funeral in 1987 that I saw a dead person and understood more of those people buried beneath the tombstones.  A large tombstone near the entrance of the Paul Cemetery became the image of my nightmares.  I have since made peace with death, but still the image of the large “Duff” tombstone seems to be the epitome of death for me.  It proclaimed the finality of death.  In later years learning the gospel and about the resurrection removed much of the nightmare, but it haunted me for a very long time.  I imagined in my mind the placing of a body into the ground and when nobody was around who remembered, as Evan regularly did, you were forever gone.  While Evan probably had no clue the effect of all this, he played a very real part of it.
There were many, many homes I went with Evan where he did sheetrock work.  Oddly, it is with Evan that I have my first memories of my Aunt Sergene.  We stopped at her and Bert’s place for something.
Growing up, Evan always seemed to be seated in the big leather chair in the family room at Grandma’s.  Somehow, I was oblivious, or he was just always good enough, that every time it seemed I passed the chair, usually at high speed, this arm would appear and scare the daylights out of me.  I guess he was just always in the chair enough that he became a part of the chair.  Perhaps it was such a rare thing he was in it that it scared me, I don’t know.  It was a good scare, not a bad scare.
Evan grew up in a home that was on the same property that Grandma’s house was.  I don’t remember the house standing, but I seem to remember the day it burned down.  The old barn out back of Grandma’s, the little tar paper shack, the hayrake were all part of what was once his childhood.  I felt a connection to it as he did.  I remember filling in what was left of the foundation years later and feeling the sadness of what passed with the house.  There was some debate that somebody burned it down, I don’t remember who was the one accused.  There were tombstones on the other side of the canal I remember Evan taking me to in the trees.  There was a tombstone there by the barn which would move around through the years.  I don’t know if they had anything to do with Evan’s ancestry, but he knew their location and felt enough to watch over them.
There were the occasional day when he would appear at our house along the freeway to visit.  Mother did not make him welcome from what I remember.  He longed to see us.  I always felt he favored “Sissy” over me but that was okay.  I knew he loved us.
I always remember keeping him at a distance.  I remember seeing Grandma crying a few times and she would tell me how much she felt betrayed and hurt by Evan.  Add that to Mom’s sharp denouncements and I locked my heart to him.  I remember one time seeing him at the house along the freeway and nobody was there but Andra and me.  We went up to him and Andra hugged him but I refused.  I remember the tears he shed that day.  I do not know if he understood what was in my heart and thoughts that day.  I have never been able to overcome that emotional block.  I do remember he came to visit less and less over the years.  Christmas and birthday cards were about all that remained.  He remarried about two years later to his highschool sweetheart.
Due to the nature of him leaving our lives I always called him Mr. E. E. in the present of Grandma and other family members.  Mother had other choice words.  I don’t remember Grandma being harsh on his memory, just more disappointed.
My next memory has him at my missionary farewell.  He came for all of the church service and gave me a monetary gift and said he was not staying to not cause concern with Grandma and the rest of my family.  I do not know if he stayed for the farewell or not.  I tend to think he did.  I do know he was there at my missionary homecoming two years later.  Grandma had passed away and he sat in the overflow section.  He lingered after the homecoming crowd of well wishers had dispersed and I walked him to his Buick in the north parking lot.  He had a cane at the time.  We visited for a moment and he shed some tears then.  He told me my Grandmother would be proud.  I don’t remember holding ill will, but a bit annoyed that he came to the homecoming.
Since that time we have kept in contact via mail.  We responded through letters several times a year until the past year it has increased in number.  Mostly because he collected spoons and I was a traveling maniac with Amanda.  We purchased spoons for him in nearly all the places we would go and would send them to him.  He repaid us for all of them.  I don’t know I would have done it just out of the kindness of my heart or at least so many.
Some time in 2004 Evan called me and told me he was heading to Salt Lake to a doctors appointment.  He knew I was spraying lawns for Larry and wanted to know if he swung through Cache Valley if we could do lunch.  I wasn’t particularly interested but was nice and agreed.  We ate lunch at a little Mexican Restaurant in Smithfield.  It was good food and we discussed just the lighter topics.  Nothing of too much interest other than the fact he brought me an envelope of pictures.  I had been mining him for information about Grandma and the family.  He had not been very forthcoming until this day.  I finally quit asking him about Grandma and asked him about him.  He brought photos and I took them and scanned them all for him.  He had very few pictures of him and Grandma, at least that he shared.  You will notice that I have added the Elliott Family Album to my pictures with Evan’s passing.  These are the photos that had only to do with him I kept copies of.
He did finally disclose information on how he met Grandma, some of their courtship, their leaving each other, and their activity in the church.  Some of which comments I believe I have even posted here on the blog.
In reflecting upon his death I have a variety of feelings.  I still feel a sense of betrayal and emotional blockade.  A distancing I maintain for reasons I do not understand nor would I know how to dismantle them.  There is also a pity or sadness I feel.  Evan always seemed like such a lonely soul.  I don’t believe he was depressed or anything like those types of feelings.  He was married three times I know of.  The first two ended in divorce.  The third one was his highschool sweetheart for which he had pictures of from that time.  He had no children.  Even in his death, it was a time before someone found him after his death.  In looking back I see a man longing for belonging and love and I feel some guilt for offering none more than friendship.  He loved us as his own children, he told us that many times.  I feel a sense of release in a commitment that seemed to be a burden.  I have no ill feelings for him and want to weep that I feel a release in his passing.  This doesn’t seem my nature to harbour what appears to be some malice or bondage to another.  I do not understand the array of feelings I feel with Evan’s death or in reflecting on what I know of his life.  I am not sure I will ever truly understand in this life.  I am saddened by his death though and that the relationship we have has been growing and increasing incrementally over the years since the mission.  Perhaps it is the loss of what could have been in the healing of our relationship.  That is certainly a brighter light to look at the scenario, the disappointment of my wanting to mend the broken bridges of the past.
Regardless, I have taken an inventory of my life to a degree.  Are there other people who I can do more in extending love and fellowship to?  Is this a tragedy?  Was he really lonely or my imposed desire for him to be lonely from the betrayal I felt of him in hurting Grandma?  He mentioned his fighting in Korea and how he still often thought of it.  What happened?  Does that explain some of the rest of his life?  I will not know in this life.
Who met him on the other side of the veil?  Has Grandma and him at any point met to bring any more reconciliation they did not find in mortality?  I sense tragedy in the life of Evan’s parents.  Were they present and are they all finding their ‘rest’ from mortal cares?  Tragedy seems somehow to be the word to describe Evan’s life to me.  Tragedy to me or to him?
As I survey the world around me I think how time marches on.  Each and every sand grain falls through the constricted glass.  Each is numbered and recognized in their place even though not every grain is noticed.  How much are our lives the same?  Some more recognized than others.  But each has our part, whether large or small.  “I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.”

July Letter from Mom

This is the latest letter.  I edited quite a bit out of it to keep it from being offensive.

Paul,

I just wrote Jill back and sent Alyssa a card in thanks for the picture she drew me of Rojo.

So I take it you are all moved and settled in your place in Richmond. So you got another house?  Or an apartment?

Aint Karma a bitch!  I tried and tried to get that prick Carlson off my case but the bias gutless bastard was not man enough to take himself off my case.  So my 2 good friends Mother Nature and Father Time took care of my problem for me.  Those obits you sent me was a joke.  That is one reason why I will not have one.  What a crock of shit.

Anyhow, I called Dunlap the 9th and he was taking off for somewhere but said he was taking my file with him.  He said he found something else in my paperwork and was investigating it.  He wants everything over and done with by the end of this month so hopefully in a couple of weeks I will leave on transport to Jerome.  Another judge has not been appt yet.  SO I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything turns out for me OK.  Then I can get out of this screwed up state and start over again.  Hopefully I can get Sis to go with me.

I did not think Milo had the guts to answer my note.  I told you he was a gutless wonder.  I sent Doug a card for his birthday and asked him to please put the plot next to Dads in my name.  I said you would probably help if needed.  Will you?

Beings you are working in a bank now are you going to forget about law, lawyering, politics and all the corruption that goes along with it.  I hope so.  The system is broken and too far damaged to ever fix.  Besides DOC is one of the biggest money makers in the country.  Then you have all the parasites that suck the incarcerated for everything with commissary, phones, ect.  I would prefer you stay away from it.  Stick to banking.  That is where the money is.  Pun intended.  You can find out for me how to get off shore accts.

I do not remember you telling me about Ross.  Hope you have fund showing Donald around.  Thanks for the info on the Jonas’.  Does not the death certificate tell the cause of death.  What or why the person died.  Like Grandpa Jonas died of electrocution.  Did you find out anything about autopsy reports.  Are not they public record?  If so then you can get them.  Autopsy reports are used in court which is public.  I know at one time I had the autopsy report of the one who got herself dead in my hands but it made me sick reading what little I did read so that means probably both the attys had a copy.  Check it out or if you run across a lawyer ask and see.  I think Colleen had Dads.  Whatever, if you come up with anything let me know.

I still caint figure out why you want a timeline of my life.  You sure are not going to get it from anybody else.  1st accident happened about 4 days after I graduated from high school.  May 26, ’72 I think.  Doug Taylor and I were up in the mountains above Oakley.  I think we were up where we used to get wood.  We had spent the night up there in his Blazer without the top on.  Doug had been screwing around trying to be cute and found a gog and stuck the Blazer in it.  It took us most of the morning trying to find big rock to put under the tires to get out.  We stopped in Oakley at a little store and got a couple cans of soup and a big can of tomato juice.  Doug did not have a drivers license so we stayed off the main high by taking the road east that ran parallel to the highway.  Doug had one of those small sport steering wheels and the juice can got stuck under the steering wheel and the seat.  Before he could get it out the Blazer drifted to the left and hit a culvert and that had big chunks of cement thrown in it where the force of the water had washed away the dirt.  Doug bounced out 1st thing and only got a scrape on his shoulder.  I rode with the Blazer being thrown back and forth like a rag doll.  The Blazer came to a stop where it hit an uprise where the ground had been cut away.  I was thrown out and the barb wire broke my fall.  I slid along the wire a little ways and ended up upside down hanging by my leg.  When I lifted my head to try and figure out whatever, it was like someone threw a bucket of blood on my arm.  I kicked down and was wedged between the Blazer and the uprise ground.  The wreck crunched the front quarter fender passenger side.  I think there was front end damage.  I busted the back of the seat so it layed flat, took out the dash with my ribs and the windshield and frame with my head.  Then I spent time at U of U Medical Center trying to make my face look like my face again.  Before I got my last operation on my face I got my hand hurt at Del Monte.

Aug 17, 73 I went to Mt. Home Air Force Base to pick up Doug (brother).  When I got back and went to work I was late.  It was break time so I was giving the other workers their breaks.  I was by the buff line squatting down picking up stuff up off the floor.  I started to lose my balance and reached back to steady myself and grabbed the chain right in front of the sprocket which pulled my hand in.  I spent the next 4 years getting my hand rebuilt.  I lived on comp for the first 2 years.  That was when I moved back to Richmond and then Logan.  After they cut me off comp in between operations I worked odd jobs.  I worked as an automotive electrical mechanic in Mt. Home (76), canning kitchen in Rupert (76).  I went to Voc Rehab at CSI (77), was the 2nd to leave and get a job which was at Motor Parts in Burley (77).  I enlisted in the Army in the DEP (delayed entry program) in Dec 77, left in Mar 78 for boot camp at Ft. McClellan Alabama, then to Ft Knox Kentucky for AIT as 63C which is track vehicle mechanic.  Was ½ through my 13 wk training in 2 ½ wks when I said fuck it cause a faggot kept getting me in trouble cause I would not play her game.  I went to my DI (drill instructor), CO (commanding officer), JAG (lawyers), IG (Inspector General) for help and no one would help me so I got out on a medical discharge.  Came back to Colleen’s in Paul and started working for Circle A.

New Years Eve ’79-’80 I put my arm through the window at the shop, cutting my arm in half and almost bled to death.  DO not know if in 79 or after midnight in 80 when it happened.  Feb 10, ’80 wrecked my jeep out by Max beet dump.  Flipped jeep 7 times end over end and side ways.  My dog is buried at Max.  Everyone standing around said I was dead.  But I am too damn ornery to die.  The picture by the little red car is when I got in the wreck with Doug in ’72.

Does that fill in some of your spaces.  I been bunged up pretty good.  Some still bother me.  In the little house when I was first living in it I walked out the front door and ** Sunday punched me and kicked me in the back right where spind and hip bones come together and ruptured the spinal column.  Between the hematoma and spinal fluid that leaked out I had a lump the size of a soft ball cut in half.  Took about a year for my body to dissolve and absorb it.  One of the war wounds that will bother me til the day I die.

Love,

Mom

Pulaski Roots

Speaking of roots, I had a dental appointment on Friday.  Due to Measles as a baby, I have ameliogenesis imperfecta with several of my teeth.  Basically, some of my teeth have deformities.  One of which is that the nerve in one tooth reaches quite a bit higher than normal.  Also linked with the deformity of the drugs (legal!) I took in the early 80’s, those teeth are weaker and more susceptible to problems.  Many, many years ago I had a filling put in the tooth that touched on that high reaching nerve.  Over the years that nerve touching the filling, in addition to a slight tapping from the tooth having moved (from squash racket trauma about 2000), and just normal advancement of time that root has decided to pass away.  Yes, I am the owner of a slowly dying tooth.  I have been placed on antibiotics to keep the nerve from getting infected as it decays.  In the next few weeks I will experience my first root canal. 

On an interesting note, once Dr. Spitzer saw my x-ray of the teeth he quickly noted how long the roots are on my teeth.  Amanda confirmed to me later that during the freak show discussion that ensued my teeth roots were measured at 25 mm long.  Amanda tells me that the normal individual has roots approximately 15 mm long.  The dentist commented how he may have to order some longer tools to work on the tooth.  Whether it was in jest or not, I have come to appreciate how different I really am.  Deep down inside I always knew I was special.  Now I know it is a good 10 mm deeper why I am special.
So we have frantically tried to figure out how we would pay for what a root canal and crown would cost without insurance.  When in the mail today I received an invitation to join the insurance for my work.  As generous as they are, I will now have dental insurance.  Now I just have to find how long of a waiting period I will have with a tooth that has become highly sensitive to hot and cold with slight throbbing from time to time.
Anyhow, on to the story of Pulaski County, Virginia.  My Ross line left Pulaski County about 1912 and headed to settle in Rupert, Idaho.  The daughter, Fannie had married a Phibbs from Pulaski and Carroll County and moved out previously.  Her husband was the Minidoka County Judge in Rupert.  With the opening of the new Sugar Factory at Paul, the rapid expansion of irrigateable farm land, and an economic downturn in Pulaski it was time to move.  James Thomas Meredith Ross who I have written about before followed his daughter Fannie.  His other three children would follow to the west.  James would later settle in the Vernal area.  The Phibbs would eventually end up north of Sacramento, California.  John would roam for many years marrying in West Virginia, Colorado, and Wyoming.  He would die in Alameda County, California.  Robert we don’t really know what happened to other than he died in California about 1944.
While I have written about all of that previously, James Thomas Meredith Ross would leave behind his half brother William Andrew Ross.  William would marry and move to West Virginia.  He lived in Gary, WV most of his life and raised his family there.  He worked in the mines coal mines.  He and Sarah (Sallie) had 12 children.  The youngest of which is Howard Ross born in 1925.
It was Howard we went to visit this weekend.
Howard is the only remaining individual of his family.  He was born in Thorpe, West Virginia and moved to Bluefield, West Virginia many years ago.  He lives in a home perched on the side of a hill on Essex St.  He had 3 children, and a step child he helped raised.  He worked in or with the mines all his life.  His wife past away a few years back and he lives in the home with his grandson and future granddaughter-in-law.
I knew of Howard because he had spent so much of his life pursuing family history.  Grandpa gave me a copy of one of his books he had written about 1972 on the Ross family.  That is how I knew who he was and that he was related.  By the time I came home from my mission I did not expect him to be alive anymore until one day in Twin Falls I was visiting with a missionary who had served in the West Virginia Mission.  I told him of Howard (I knew he was LDS) and the missionary not only knew of Howard, he had his address and phone number.  He gave it to me and I called Howard.
I have looked forward to meeting Howard for several years and of visiting the famous Pulaski County.  The valleys surrounding Pulaski County had already been home to the Graham and other families for over a hundred years by the time Pulaski County was formed in 1839.  There Meredith, Martin, Booth, Shepherd, and other families were well entrenched.  But my main interest was in going to the area where my family left before heading west.
Friday we drove out to Pulaski County and arrived after dark.  We spent the night in a hotel at Claytor Lake just over the border into the county.  The next morning we drove into Pulaski and just got a feel for the town and then headed for the hour and half drive to Bluefield to see Howard.
Bluefield turned out to be what you would imagine a town 50 years ago.  The little streets, little yards, flags on every house, and a good percentage of people sitting on their porch.  It was a lazy, hazy, day in summer.  We wound through the streets of Bluefield following our directions to Essex St.  Wow, as if we were not impressed.  One side of the street was wood and the other side of the street were homes perched on the side of a hill probably 75 to 100 feet up.  This hillside was probably at a 45 degree angle.  We found the home and climbed the steep stairs to the rickety old porch.
I don’t mean to sound negative, but we had entered what you joke about with rednecks.  These homes sat precariously sitting on the side of this hill and had not had any care in the last 40 years.  There was a hand made 2X4 railing up this terribly steep hike and at the top the porch wood buckled with every step.  Howard met us in the open door and invited us in.  We sat there in a relic of the 1930’s with only the television and sofa to remind us we were actually not in the mid 20th century.
Howard sat there talking with us in a most happy manner with his eye patch and asking for us to repeat often what we said.  Moreover, he spoke with that thick gentleman manner which so permeates the old confederate ideal.  His joking ways were jovial and we had quite the good conversation.
I took him with my computer through all the descendants of William Andrew Ross and he updated quite a bit of my information.  We also showed him a number of pictures I thought he would be interested in from my side of the family.  He then told us a few stories.
Uncle Jim (my great great grandfather who went west) had come to visit in the 1930’s where they lived in Gary, West Virginia.  It was the late 1930’s because the family had all gone to attend a Conference of the church in Grundy County, Tennessee.  One of the speakers that morning was Jim Ross, Howard’s Uncle.  The children did not attend but afterward all these people kept coming to his mother and commenting about how powerful Mr. Ross had been in his preaching.  Howard’s mother had to set them all straight that it was not her husband but her brother-in-law.  Howard remembers the day because it was the day he was baptized.  They would meet for the morning meetings and then have a big meal and baptisms in the middle, and go back to conference in the afternoon.
They went back home after the conference and Uncle Jim came and stayed for a spell.  Howard remembers Uncle Jim taking the wash basin out to the fields and coming back with a huge amount of corn.  He then told Howard’s mother to cook all the corn and they would eat it for dinner.  When Uncle Jim found out they did not have any milk, he went out and purchased a milk cow and brought it back for them to have milk.  (This isn’t necessarily all the same night).  Howard remembers that he was so thoroughly struck by how much Uncle Jim could eat.  Howard swears Uncle Jim must have pushed near 300 pounds and that man could eat.  Howard laughs and laughs about how when Uncle Jim left he went and sold the cow and they didn’t have milk for years afterward.
Howard remembers Uncle Jim was missing a finger.  He doesn’t remember which one, but he did ask how he lost it.  Apparently he had been bitten by a spider and as the finger started to rot and decay he finally just cut it off.  The Dr. apparently told him he had saved his life by taking the finger off.
That was about all he remembered of Uncle Jim.  He knew he moved to California after Idaho and Oregon.  While in Fresno he served as a Bishop of an LDS ward for quite a few years.  Uncle Jim was always a Ross to him even though he took the Meredith name back after moving to California.  The timeline in relation to the name I have told previously.
John Ross, or Jack as he was known, also made a trip out to West Virginia to visit.  He came out after his second wife had passed away (my great grandmother) and tried to convince his first wife to marry him again.  She wasn’t having any of that and Jack left empty handed.  Howard never met Hobart Day, Jack’s oldest child with his first wife.
Howard doesn’t remember ever meeting any of the rest of the family.  Donna Phibbs Beachell came out to visit in the 1970’s and spent quite a bit of time with Howard.  They wrote often over the years, some of which letters I mentioned were sent to me in the papers of Howard from John Ross.
Howard was very interested in what I had found out on the Meredith family and I told him what I was pretty sure to be correct.  He related to me more of the stories of what he believed happened to his grandfather but until further information comes out to prove the James Meredith story of the Harvy Ross story, we still really don’t know for sure.  I think mine is pinpointed quite a bit more firmly than his.
Howard then gave us a bit of the history of the LDS church in West Virginia.  He had us drive him down to the Bluefield Ward Building over the border in Bluefield, Tazewell County, Virginia.  He gave us a tour of the building.  We met the Bishop and a few other people.
We went back to the house and he asked that I give a blessing to his daughter, Sarah who lives next door.  She has MS and various other problems that come with smoking, MS, and the redneck lifestyle.  I will tell you now, I was alarmed that 82 year old Howard regularly climbs and descends those stairs out front.  They were so steep I didn’t feel safe especially with an old man struggling up them.  I gave a blessing to a woman who didn’t want it but whose father insisted.  Talk about a little awkward of a position.  We then went next door where he asked I give his future granddaughter-in-law a blessing.  Not only did he want a blessing for her, but the unborn child as well.  That was my first experience I remember blessing a baby in the womb.  Both turned out to be special events.  I enjoyed them and Howard became choked up after the second of the two.  My oil holder had become cracked and did not stay together any more and so we had to make due with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small glass bowl.  Under the circumstances it was the best we could do and we were richly blessed on the occasion.
Interestingly, the kitchen is exactly how you would have found it in the 1940’s.  The sink, the ironator, cupboards, and more were all of proper vintage.  Sadly, that was probably the last time they were cleaned.  It was quite humbling to see the faith of this man in such humble circumstances.
We left with my promising to do the ordinance work for his son and him after he had passed away.  He joked, part seriously, that through family history he had prepared the way for hundreds to enter heaven despite his own lack of achieving the same goal.
Amanda and I left and wound our way back to Pulaski County.  There we wound our way through the desolate parts of county roads trying to cross the New River.  We found our way across and went through the little towns of Allisonia, Hiwassie, and Snowville.  All towns of which were heavily populated by those of my ancestry.  It was interesting to drive along and recognize names on mailboxes and say to Amanda, “They are probably related.”
We drove back across the river up to Newbern, past Dublin, and back to Pulaski.  There we enjoyed our dinner, as we had our breakfast, at the Sonic Drive-In with gift cards that had been given to us for helping a lady move into the ward.
Afterward we hit the road to try and make Tennessee for some souvenirs and then across Southern Virginia to other ancestral locations.  We realized we were too far from Tennessee too late in the day to make it so at Rural Retreat (how is that for a name?) we turned and headed east.  We drove through Independence (Grayson County) and crashed for the night in Galax (Carroll County).  Both counties are heavily tied to me as well.  Sunday morning we awoke and made our way to Hillsville (Carroll County Seat), Martinsville (home of the Martins of which I am related), over to Danville, north to Keysville and Farmville, and home to Richmond.
It was a long weekend but very worthwhile.  I really enjoyed getting to see Allisonia, Hiwassie, and Snowville.  Maybe someday we will get to go back.  Maybe Howard will be around when it comes time for us to head back west in a year.

Ross Family Album

I was finally able to upload the Ross Family Album.  I ran out of monthly space and then just got busy.  Finally, I have posted the photos related to the Ross’ in their own album.  I have not uploaded my own family yet.  This is just what I have under the Ross files on my computer.  This includes mostly photos of my Grandpa and Grandma Ross’ family, my Aunt Caroline’s family, and a few other random photos of related Ross people.  There are a couple of my half-siblings when they were younger.

Here are some of the family groups.

James Thomas Meredith Ross

Born Ross, raised and adopted Meredith, legally Meredith, married Ross, baptized Ross, children named Ross, endowed Ross, married again Meredith, died Meredith.

22 Sep 1868 – Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia

13 Apr1951 – Fresno, Fresno, California

Married

9 Aug 1887 – Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia

Damey Catherine Graham

25 Nov 1874 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

3 Feb 1933 – Marysville, Yuba, California

Children

Robert Leonard Ross

25 Apr 1888 – Draper, Pulaski, Virginia

John William Ross

2 Sep 1890 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

Fanny Elizabeth Ross (married Phibbs)

18 Nov 1893 – Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia

James Thomas Ross Jr

19 Oct 1895 – Radford, Montgomery, Virginia

Married again

? – ?

Etta

Married again

14 Jul 1947 – Fresno, Fresno, California

Martha Elnora Cackler (married before to Brewer)

3 Oct 1877 – Otter Creek, Lucas, Iowa

31 Jul 1974 – Fresno, Fresno, California

John William Ross

2 Sep 1890 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

13 Jun 1948 – Livermore, Alameda, California

Married (Divorced)

6 Jul 1910 – Squire Jim, McDowell, West Virginia

Nannie May Day

6 May 1892 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

19 Jan 1971 – Bluefield, Tazewell, Virginia

Children

Hobart Day

1 Jul 1911 – ,, West Virginia

Apr 1983 – Fairlawn, Radford, Virginia

Married again

12 Jan 1920 – Fort Logan, Arapahoe, Colorado

Ethel Sharp (I have written more about this marriage at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.)

9 Apr 1898 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

6 Aug 1925 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Children

Milo James Ross

4 Feb 1921 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Paul Ross

14 Feb 1922 – Paul, Minidoka, Idaho

John Harold Ross

7 Nov 1923 – Burley, Cassia, Idaho

Ernest Jackson Ross

16 Jul 1925 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Married again

29 Nov 1926 – Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming

Zana Cogdill (Married before to Coffey)

7 Nov 1892 – Dixon, Carbon, Wyoming

2 Oct 1966 – San Diego, San Diego, California

Milo James Ross

4 Feb 1921 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Married

4 Apr 1942 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Gladys Maxine Donaldson

20 Sep 1921 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

25 Aug 2004 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children

Milo Paul Ross

Judy Ethel Ross

Caroline Ross

John Harold Ross

7 Nov 1923 – Burley, Cassia, Idaho

24 Oct 2004 – Syracuse, Davis, Utah

Married

19 Nov 1946 – Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming

Colleen Fowers Hancock

2 Oct 1929 – West Weber, Weber, Utah

12 Aug 1969 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children

Terry Jay Ross

3 Oct 1947 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Married again

2 Dec 1974 – West Weber, Weber, Utah

JoAnn Payne

5 Jan 1934 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children

Jody Valate Ross

Caroline Ross

Married (Divorced)

Lynn J Taylor

Children

Kristy Lynn Taylor

Cindy Lou Taylor

Lonny J Taylor

Married again

Abe Maxamilia Gallegos

Milo Paul Ross

Married (Divorced)

Victoria K Feldtman

Children

Scott James Ross

Jeffrey Paul Ross

Becky Collette Ross

Married again (Divorced)

Sandra Jonas

Children

Paul Norwood Jonas Ross

Andra Ross

Married again

Janice Faye Higley (Married before to Osterhout)

Republican Presidential Debates

There is a flurry of activity on the blogs about the recent debates.  I watched both of the last two Republican Debates and thought I would add my thoughts as well.  I have refrained from making comments as my connections to the political circles and dialogue is much more removed that in the past.  Those with whom I am most likely to associate now are those whose opinions come from media exposure and relationships that don’t have close association with the actual contenders.  My own experience tends to fall in line with this more and so I question some of the validity of my opinions.  I don’t know all the details or what is really happening behind the scenes.

Out of the debates a couple things are clear.  A few seem to know what they are really doing and are confident in it.  Others seem to have a prepared line or facade in which to convince others of their opinion.  Rudy is one that certainly believes what it is he is saying and is not about to be manipulated.  Romney is also one who has done his homework and knows where he sits and what he believes.  Lastly, Ron is well entrenched in his thoughts and opinions.  The rest of them seem to be giving us a line, trying to impress us with laurels, or out to make political statements and force a change rather than the whole package.

McCain rings out as a politician of the true sense.  Saying what needs to be said and trying to look Presidential.  Truth be told, he just looks old, feeble, and that cheesy smile gets old.

Thompson definitely could be a strong contender but he just keeps talking about the past.  Wisconsin this, Wisconsin that; why doesn’t he just talk about LaFollette and it would be complete.  Rather than really running a campaign it seems he is a bit stuck on himself which never really works out well.

Hunter and Tancredo have their little pet projects for which they are primarily running.  Both ring in often and loud about the immigration subjects.  Neither really have anything that points they are leaders or great men to be at the head our country.

Brownback is just another Senator who has failed to even gain much notoriety in the Senate.  If he can’t shine there, why do we expect him to shine as President?

Jim Gilmore has his leader experience as a Governor like several of the others.  He has a quiet confidence but comes off as not having a great grasp on national issues.  I am sure he does know more but perhaps it is his delivery.  But he seems to be running more for the title of most conservative rather than President which will not sway those independents and other fence sitters.

Mike Huckabee is the only one that seems like he could be a serious contender but he appears to be out of timing.  It is a bit like he should have spent some more time in the incubator.  He has some great ideas, knows where he sits and stands, just don’t express himself fully and completely.  Perhaps it is the lack of forcefulness in his tone.  He is one that comes off as more along for the joy ride.  He is doing what he feels is expedient.  He is out promoting his way of thinking, his actions and example, but that he isn’t totally serious.  Perhaps this will change, but he is just dabbling right now.  His campaign and much more show this.

So, let’s look at who appear as the three big boys of the debate.

Ron Paul certainly knows where he stands and what his thoughts are.  He is so completely predictable in his thoughts and comments that he doesn’t even need to speak on the stage.  We know his thoughts.  That is something which certainly comes to his aid.  He is dependable and will not shirk at the moment of trial.  He was, is, and always will be.  His major weaknesses are that he has an awkward delivery.  First he comes off as an intellectual.  The Dr instantly injures him in some of the same way that it did John Kerry.  Nobody questions he is smart but can he connect with the every day citizen and voter?  His message is stark and clear.  However, it is not the every day thoughts of your typical American.  While he would totally have been center of the road even up until the 1940’s somehow Americans have moved away from his strict interpretation of the Constitution, Monrovian/Washingtonian/Jeffersonian ideas of non-intervention, and smaller government.  Even Republicans are shifty when he speaks of what were once hard-core Republican doctrines.  In order for Ron to win, he will have to teach American history, the importance of history, and convince all citizens of its importance.  Otherwise there is no way we can return to the old moorings of our national and even republican cornerstones.  He may end up like Burton Wheeler and find himself elected out of office if the trends of the past 60 years continue.  (Having said that, it appears we are returning to some of those moorings, but how much I don’t think we really know)  Lastly, his age is a minor unnoticed question.  He does appear some of his age and usually a bit ragged.  As if teaching history were not burden enough, looking Presidential is a struggle for him.

Rudy Giuliani come off looking like a fighter but the audience’s reaction to his challenge to Paul shows how far Ron Paul has to go.  The audience and Giuliani show their obvious ignorance.  If he read the 911 Commission’s Report, he didn’t pay much attention.  After all, that was one of their premises concerning our state and the blow back we were receiving due to our interactions economically and militarily in the middle east.  Paul’s optimium response would have been “Did you read the 911 Report?  If so, you would be very familiar with what it is I am speaking” and left it at that.  Instead he came with a long response that lost the majority of Americans who were awake at this point in the debate.  Rudy gave a zinger, which shows his disregard for parliamentary procedure, debate rules, and the common decorum required.  Nevertheless, Paul was given a response in which he could have nailed Rudy to floor for his lack of security homework but did not.  The debate went on and Rudy was comfortable and confident.  That did everything to help him.  They went after him for his position on abortion and he stood his ground.  He tried to weasel away from the questions but the moderator at a moment of being good required he answer.  We have to question whether he will always be straightforward and honest or will the citizens always have to corner him?  Regardless of personal feelings I may have for or against abortion, Rudy will still have a struggle with many of the Republican Party since this is a topic of interest for them.  In all likeliness, if elected, he would nominate a justice or two and for Republican’s this is the chance to change the tide with Roe.  Will they go for the man who cannot guarantee their position?  Or will they, hoping to get consensus from independents and hope for the best?  Lastly, a question I have is concerning his political credentials.  Yes, he ran New York City, but city government has some stark contrasts with a state or the national government.  Do we really know he can navigate those channels?

Lastly, there is the enigma of Mitt Romney.  Where in the world will he take the country?  He is the only person on the roster who appears to need to answer questions about his religion.  Each of the candidates has their changes or “flip flops” as they like to refer to Mitt’s reversals.  I am not sure that is totally the issue at hand.  Romney appears confident and well thought out, much like Giuliani, except Romney has appeared to have that the whole time.  This is all the more true when compared with the first GOP debate.  Romney has real work experience.  He is not just a lifelong politician.  It is obvious that he worked his way up through the world of business and can understand the true forms of efficiency, responsiveness, and having a vision/charter.  What is more, he is specialized in knowing how to weed out problems and rebuilding an organization from the ground up.  That does not deal with consensus but in flat out making decisions, learning, and pressing forward.  A politician has the long history of always making sure his rear is covered so he can be reelected.  He has to second guess everything and reevaluate things to recast them to a variety of people for their acceptance.  Opinions rule in politics.  But in business, those things are not rewarded and not often encouraged.  Leadership and pure blazing the trail is what really makes one successful.  Romney has shown that he can do that with absolute power in an organization and has stepped into the government realm to add his help.  That seems to be of great value.  Make decisions and then see who you can line up as friend or foe rather than the other way around.  That is his strength.  He understands the need of fiscal and financial leadership.  Capitalism does not long reward debt and operating in the red.  This is something which will be of great value to him in office.  He took it to Massachusetts and it seems he would take it to Washington.  He has many characteristics which make him agreeable to be among the best for the options for GOP Nominee.  But I still have some serious reservations about a the man who professes complete fidelity to his religion but wants to bash some of its fundamental doctrines.

We will have to see where these things move.

Mom’s March Letter

Paul,

I started this letter last week and got so mad I put it up.  I wrote some things that I did not feel comfortable about.  I am going to try to rewrite it and keep myself under control and not lose my cool again.  Anyway I do not know when I will be going to court.  I have already waited over 5 years on a 30 day time response, 60 times longer than the law says.  I do not remember what all I have wrote you so if I repeat I guess you will get told again.

Jerome County is in a bad way.  The corruption is oozing out everywhere.  The head PA left and has not been replaced yet.  The DPA stepped up and has his hands full.  The DPA had my case and my appt atty does not believe he is prepared or anxious to take on my case.  N the meantime I sit in this incubator and watch what nasty stuff is breeding.

I filed a complaint against Stoker and Paul in April 99.  It was never brought up by either.  It was not acknowledged at all, nowhere by anyone and should have been with a hearing.  There was a lot of shit that went on and should not have and a lot of did not and should have.  My ignorance of the law was used against me but then I caint make the attys do anything anyway.  So no matter what I was screwed from the very beginning even though it is my US Constitutional Right to have a fair and impartial trial.  Idaho things otherwise.  But I am not going to get into the corruption and injustices of a back woods greedy cult state.

I do not know nothing about the religious trash books.  I was told they had stuff against the cult that you have been brainwashed by.  The other stuff I got from the info Franz sent me.  It is too back you caint read the stuff he sents me.  Maybe someday.  It is about the abuse, neglect, ect that goes on in the DOC’s across the nation.  You would shit if you knew what went on.

Did you know my Dad was born in Lewiston?

Dead man walking, end of subject.

I called Sis and the last thing out of her mouth was that she was homeless and that was all I know.  I got a ½ page letter from her last week but she did not say much of anything.  How stupid are you Paul?  DO not you think there is a reason why she will not ask him for anything?  You do not know what he has done to her?  So sad, so pathetic that you are so brainwashed that you caint see past the end of your nose.  Why would she ever want to go near that house not alone ever live in it.  He fucked her up pretty bad when she was forced to live with him after what happened.  Then the dirty bastard kicked her out about a week before she turned 18.  She is not going to crawl and beg him for money.  She will not lower herself to his level.  She is independent.

As far as what Franz has tried to do from the other side of the world, at least he has tried to help which is more than you or anyone else has ever done.  Thanks I am glad to hear you think I have the mentality of a 10 year old.  My case has nothing to do with you except probably saved your life.

Where in the hell did you get the idea I was wanting financial help from any relatives.  I wanted to know my heritage and if there were any still alive in the old country.  You really ought to putt your head out and take a breath of fresh air.  I really do not give a pinch of hammered horse shit about the Andra side of the family.  I, like my Dad am a black sheep when it comes to the Andra’s.  I am a Jonas.  You are a Jonas.  You were born a Jonas and carry the name.  I am sorry I ever gave you that bastards name, either one of you kids.  Did you know Sis came to me at one time and asked if she could change her name to the same as mine.  Heed your own advise and made sure you got your shit straight too.

How was your weekend of the 7th?  There went all of the money for books.  Did you get to see Sis?  If so how is she doing?  Tell me anything you know about her.  How she looks, healthy, so forth.  The 7th was a Sat not Thurs.

Thanks for the B card.  Tell your little woman I will not hold my breath waiting to hear from her.  To start off she does not know what to say to me.  I am sure my letter to her folks went over like a ton of bricks and I really do not care cause I am tired of people just doing and not knowing or caring that what they are doing hurts other people.  If she writes, fine.  I will answer.  If she does not then that is fine too.  She really does not need to just cause she is married to you.  I already know what people think.  Human nature is to run their mouths when they have no idea what they are talking about and to suck in everything they hear.

Time to go so you two take care.  Hope you guys have or had fun this month.  I will let you know what happens when I know.  Make you let me know where you are at.  I love you, Mom