Interesting Days

It is strange how coincidence seems to play into our lives. Even I, a low staffer, an Idahoan, who is of very little importance in the realm of all men who have walked upon the earth have the privilege of meeting such amazing men. There are giants around us and we very seldom realize it. Most of those will never be  recognized or accredited for what they do. However, today I wish to pay tribute to the common man (men and women, you know what I mean…man is not without the woman, and woman not without the man). There are souls around us who affect us so deeply that they forever change our course. Most of them are the every day run of the mill who humbly go about doing their duty. Many men do what they can to get by, others in service to others oblivious and often doing more damage, but then there are those who know what they need to do and do it well. Those who seek to do what they do well, live their lives to the best of their capability who influence the most.This week I met a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Talat. He paid a visit to Senator Smith. He is the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It definitely is not every day that we meet the President of a small country. What is more, one that is a bit more questionable in the eyes of many nations. Besides that, he is a very powerful man. He came with his entourage and sat in the office for a while (the Senator was meeting with the President of Starbucks…how ironic) and then left to visit with the Senator in his office. I do not know the culture, I do not know the man, but he seemed very deliberate and almost unhappy. The whole group seemed almost dire in many ways. While I can boast that I met the man who leads another nation, he left little or no influence upon me.

The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.

If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.

In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.

With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.

The low down on Miss AH

Well, the details about Amanda. Since everybody keeps asking. Here we go.

She is a beautful, red head at about 5’6″. She grew up in Kaysville, Utah about 20 minutes north of Salt Lake. She has two parents (duh) Bryan and Jill, and three siblings Derek (16), Scott (12), and Alyssa (6). She is a biology major at Utah State, but after we marry will finish her last semester at BYU. She plans on attending Virginia Commonwealth University and become an Dental Hygienist.

We met at Utah State as we both lived in the same ward. The first month of the school year the Elder’s taught the same apartments they had from the summer. I home taught her apartment the first month and met her then. I don’t remember anything in particular about the incident, other than she struck me as the usual freshman, but cute. There was something that intrigued me, but I never thought twice about it. I would say hello to her at Ward Prayer but otherwise never saw or visited with her.

It was not until the end of January that we had a snow storm that dumped snow on us. We received about a foot and a half overnight. Well, being the dutiful Elder assigned to keep some of the sidewalks cleared, I was out shoveling snow. It was a chore to keep my sidewalks clean. Finally when it slowed down some, I thought, well what is the point of shoveling walks if they have to walk through it to the church. So I started shoveling a walk all the way to the church doors. I had crossed the parking lot and was headed by some trees when I was nailed in the side of the head with a snowball. Looking around, a girl who I could not recognize with her hood and everything was looking very innocent. I walked over to her and told her we needed to chat. Putting my arm around her, I picked her up and did a full body plant with her in the snow and then proceeded to white wash her. (I could full body slam her in a foot and half of snow, so I did) She laughed, I laughed, I helped her up (I now knew who it was), and then went back to shoveling. Only seconds later, I was hit by another snow ball in the side of the head. I turned around and was more shocked by the audacity of the girl, (J Golden Kimball comes to mind, “You damn sons of perdition, have you no respect for the Priesthood!) and thought well, here comes another white washing. Again, she did not attempt to run and I proceeded to dump her again and white wash her. However, when I planted her, she put her elbow down, and I heard it hit the pavement. It visibly hurt her, so I felt really bad. I helped her up, felt really bad, and walked her home. I promised I would make it up to her somehow.

A few weeks later, I finally got up the nerve, and a hole in my schedule to take her out. A married friend (James) of mine was given a turkey at Christmas. His wife (Catherine), hates turkey, so he told me to bring a date to dinner, a hungry one. After being turned down twice, Amanda accepted. I did not tell her we were having dinner with a married couple until on the way there, that way she could not back out. We had dinner and played games afterward and my friend insisted on telling stories of me the whole time. After the date, she seemed to enjoy herself, I was impressed with her demeanor, and decided I wanted to take her out again. A week later I was invited by a family in Richmond to come to dinner and bring a date. I did, another awkward date, but she handled it well. I have been taking her out ever since. She keeps letting me!

She really impressed me with an understanding of astronomy. It was also very impressive how she studied biology and could retain it. She was learning it, not just studying it to pass a test. She is one very smart cookie! That kept my attention and she has taught me many things. A very thoughtful girl, deliberate, and interesting. She has a quiet confidence which is very attractive. That is not to mention that she is really cute too. She loves me, and everything has lined up perfectly. Sometimes I think it is too perfect how everything has turned out.

Anyhow, that is the story from my side of the paradigm. Any other questions, feel free to let me know.