Glacus Merrill’s Class

Back(l-r): Ira Hillyard, Unknown, Bob Johnson, Junior Petterborg, Irwin Jonas, Unknown, Unknown.  2nd from Back: Unknown, Ruth Rich, Kaye Funk, Anna Lawrence, Joyce Larsen, Ruth Hutchinson, Nadine Johnson, Darrel Smith.  Middle Row: Unknown, Unknown, Eva Kershaw, Lyle Wilding, Unknown, Afton Sorensen, Dorothy Nielson, Unknown, Norwood Jonas.  2nd from Front: Alvin Spackman, Bernice Frandsen, Unknown, Glacus Merrill, Joy Erickson, Unknown, Allen Spackman.  Front: Garr Christensen, Oral Ballam Jr, LaMar Carlson, Unknown, Gail Spackman, Ivan Anderson, Warren Hamp.

This is Glacus Merrill’s class from what I believe is 1936.  He taught class at Park School in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  Several individuals have assisted me to name the individuals I have so far.  There are too many unknowns that I hope to clarify in the future.  If anyone can help, I would certainly appreciate it.  My Grandfather, Norwood, and his brother, Irwin, are both in the photo.  Irwin died in World War II, and I assume some of the rest did as well.

I have listed all the individuals below with some limited information I could find on them.  At the very bottom is Glacus’ obituary.

Ira William Hillyard (1924-2009)

Unknown

Robert “Bob” Jay Johnson (1924-2009)

Junior “Pete” Lee Petterborg (1923-1990)

Irwin John Jonas (1921-1944)

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Ruth Rich

Norma Kaye Funk (1924-2002)

Anna May Lawrence (1924-1988)

Joyce Larsen

Ruth Hutchinson

Nadine Johnson (1924-2005)

Darrel Wilmot Smith (1924-2008)

Unknown

Unknown

Eva Kershaw

Lyle Wilding (1924-2002)

Unknown

Mary Afton Sorensen (1923-2008)

Dorothy Nielson

Unknown

Wilburn Norwood Jonas (1924-1975)

Alvin Chester Spackman (1923-1994)

Bernice Frandsen (1924-2002)

Unknown

Glacus Godfrey Merrill (1905-2002)

Joy Erickson (1924-2002)

Unknown

Allen Elijah Spackman (1923-1997)

Garr Dee Christensen (1923-2002)

Oral Ballam

Victor LaMar Carlson (1923-2008)

Unknown

Harold Gail Spackman (1924-1991)

Ivan Anderson

Warren Thomas Hamp (1924-2009)

Here is a copy of the obituary I found for Glacus.  Wow, I wish my school teachers had been this amazing.

LOGAN – Glacus G. Merrill, 96, died of causes incident to age in Logan, Utah on Saturday, February 9, 2002.  He was born May 27, 1905 in Richmond, Utah to Hyrum Willard and Bessie Cluff Merrill.  He is a grandson of Marriner W. Merrill, a pioneer prominent in the settling of Cache Valley, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the first president of the Logan LDS Temple.  He married Constance B. Bernhisel in 1925, and they were later divorced.  He married Marie B. Bailey, March 24, 1945 in Washington D.C.  Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple.

While attending school, he participated in track and football at North Cache and Brigham Young College, where he graduated in 1925.  Glacus graduated from Utah State University in 1935 and also attended the University of Utah and Chico State College in California.  He is a graduate of the REI Radio Engineering School in Sarasota, Florida.  He was the principal of the Richmond Park School for 11 years and served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War II.  He served an LDS mission to California from 1954-1955.  While living in the East, he served as President of the West Virginia Farm Bureau and the State Black Angus Association.  He is an honorary Kentucky Colonel.  He also served as President and District Governor of Lions Clubs in Utah and West Virginia, and was a member of the Lions Club for 42 years.  Glacus was Vice President of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, and is a member of the USU Old Main Society.  He established a Scholarship Fund in the Communications Department at USU.  The Montpelier, Idaho Jaycees presented him with their outstanding Citizen’s Award.  He was also a member of the Montpelier Rotary Club, Utah Farm Bureau, VFW and American Legion.  He is a member of the “Around the World Club” having traveled around the world with his son, Gregory.  He and his wife, Marie traveled extensively.  Merrill was a popular Rodeo announcer in his early days.  He authored the book “Up From the Hills” which was finished in 1988 and is available in area libraries.

Honored by the Utah Broadcasters as a pioneer in Radio Broadcasting, Merrill started his broadcasting career in 1938 as part owner and Program Director at KVNU Radio in Logan.  After serving four years in the Navy, he built his first radio station Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He owned and operated 11 other stations in West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Idaho and Utah, including stations in Montpelier, Idaho and Logan, Utah.  He was well known for his frank and outspoken editorials, news and comments on KBLW in Logan.  He has given over 7,000 newscasts and editorials always ending them with the saying, “Have Good Day Neighbor.”  In 56 years of radio broadcasting, he trained several young broadcasters who are now making good.

As a hobby, wherever he lived, he operated a cattle ranch and farm.  He served in many civic and church activities including counselor in the LDS Stake MIA, counselor in the East Central Stake Mission Presidency, 5 years as a Branch President and 11 years as District President in West Virginia.  He also served as Deputy Scout Commissioner in Idaho and for 12 years taught the High Priest Class in the Logan 3rd Ward and served for several years as the High Priest Group Leader.  He was an avid supporter of many missionaries in the area.

His wife, Marie preceded him in death on April 22, 1993, as well as six brothers and one sister.  He is survived by his two daughters, Darla D. (Mrs. Dennis Clark) of Logan; Madge (Mrs. Melvin Meyer) of Smithfield; one son, G. Gregory (Joan) Merrill of Logan; nine grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held at 12 Noon on Thursday, February 14, 2002, at the Logan 3rd Ward Chapel, 250 North 400 West, with Bishop Grant Carling conducting.  Friends and family may call Wednesday evening, February 13th, at the Nelson Funeral Home, 162 East 400 Norther, Logan from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Thursday at the church from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.  Interment will be in the Richmond City Cemetery.

Christine Wanner Nuffer

Back (l-r): Ida, Joe, Louise, Clara, Anna, Fred, Bertha  Front: Christina, Laura, Preston, Charles

This is a biography written of Christina (Christine in her record in the first line) Wanner Nuffer by her daughter Louise.  I have maintained her grammar and spelling in the biography.  I have written of Charles and Christina previouslyHere is August’s autobiography.

My Mother, Christine, Wanner was born 30 March 1872 in Holzgerlinger, Germany.  She was the daughter of Johann Georg Wanner and Anna Maria Schmid.  She was the second child of a family of ten children.  Mother started school at the age of seven in 1879 and graduated at the age of fourteen in 1886 in Greengrant (Gruenkraut), Germany.

The gospel message was brought to her parent’s home in Germany by the Mormon Missionaries.  My grandparents joined the church and came to America 18 Jun 1893.  Mother was twenty-one years old then.  She was baptized on the 26th of January 1894 in Mapleton, Idaho by Heber Taylor.  She learned to speak English by talking to other people.  Her parents settled in Glendale, Idaho.  There is where she met my father Charles August Nuffer, he was living in Mapleton with his parents.  Mother did some housework for people before her marriage.  She didn’t get much money, what she earned she had to give to her parents.  My parents were married 1 Feb 1894 in the Logan Temple by W. M. (Marriner Wood) Merrill.

Father had built a rock house and they moved right in about all the furniture they had is what Father had made from boxes and other wood.  In those days they got along fine with the few things they had.

Mother always made the best of everything.  She also believed the best of everyone.  She was kind and loved her children very much.  Mother was a good homemaker and did all the sewing and knitting for her family.  She loved to do things for others.  She believed in bringing up her children by teaching them to pray and by always taking them to church.

Father was busy making a living for the family, he worked hard to secure the necessities of life.  Wood was used for fuel and Father had to get this from the canyons.  Kerosene lamps provided the lights for the house.  Father and Mother often visited the sick and sat up nights with the dead and helped lay them away.

They lived in their first house over thirteen years and seven children were born there.  In November of 1907 they moved to Preston.  For the first few years they had much sickness, Father, Clara and Annie had Typhoid Fever.  This worked a hardship on Mother as she had a young baby also.  Mother promise the Lord that if He would bless her husband to get better that she would let him go on a mission.  She was true to her word and in the spring of 1910 he left to go on a mission to the Eastern States for two years.  Mother was left to care for nine children including Laura who was the baby only two months old.  This took much courage for Mother and was a hardship but she never complained.  With the Lord’s help and the help of friends and relatives she got along the best that she could.  When Father came home from his mission they had to start all over again, by borrowing money to buy a farm.  It took a long time for them to get out of debt.

Father and Mother always took the time to go visiting relatives in the early days.  They would travel by horse and buggy.  They also liked to go fishing.  When her sister Pauline died they took Cyril (Crossley) the youngest boy and took care of him for two years.  When Annie died 25 Jan 1928 there came another big responsibility for Mother that of taking care of her two youngest children, the twins Barbara and Beverly.

Mother was set apart as a Relief Society teacher 30 April 1916 by N. S. Geddes and she retained this position until the time of her death and she was faithful in her duty.

She and Father worked on the Genealogy Committee for years going into the homes helping people prepare their family group sheets for their own use and to sent to Salt Lake.  They were very interested in Temple work and made many trips to Logan doing this work for their ancestors and others.

Father and Mother were active in their German Speaking Latter Day Saint organization until World War I.  Racial feelings at that time made it necessary for the organization to be discontinued.  Many times our parents used to practice singing Germany Hymns in the home.  Preston and Laura were born in Preston, Idaho and the rest of us in Mapleton, Idaho.  Mother died 10 August 1940 on my sister Clara’s birthday.  She is buried in Preston Cemetery.

Funeral services for Christina Wanner Nuffer were held August 14th, at 2:00 P.M.  The pall-bearers were Donald Hansen, Max Hansen, Keith Winn, Devon Winn, Donald Cummings, & Leon Nuffer.  Admiring friends and relatives assembled at the Second Ward Chapel to pay a final tribute to Christina W. Nuffer.  Scores of floral tributes were added testimony of her many admirers.

Services were conducted by Bishop Howard Hall and interment was in the Preston Cemetery.  Mrs. Christina Wanner age sixty eight died Saturday August 10th at her home of a tumor of the spine.  She had lived in Preston for thirty three years.  Surviving are her husband, three sons, and five daughters, six brothers and sisters, George and Fred Wanner of Preston, Gotlob B. Wanner of Inkom, Idaho, Mrs. Louise Bodero and Mrs Mina Bodero of Logan, Utah, and Mrs. Mary Wagstaff of Ogden.  Mrs. Nuffer reared two of her grandchildren, Barbara and Beverly Cummings with the help of her daughter Louise Nuffer Roberts.

Ode to Grandma Ross

Gladys and Maxine; ages 5 and 3 (1927)

Since Grandma would have been 90 today, I thought I would put together a couple of memories of her to commemorate her birthday.  Not so much a biography, just more of my personal memories and a couple of pictures through the decades of her life.  Gladys Maxine Donaldson was born 20 September 1921 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  I have written of her parents, David and Dena Donaldson, previously.

1939

Grandma married Milo James Ross 4 April 1942 in Ogden.  I have written some of their history at the following link: Ross-Donaldson Wedding.  Milo and Gladys had three children; Milo in 1943 (my father), Judy in 1946, and Caroline in 1948.

Milo and Gladys, 1943

I think the following photo was taken on the steps of Grandma’s parent’s home on Wall Avenue in Ogden.  I believe this photograph was taken the day of Glady’s father’s funeral.  The little girls are Caroline (left) and Judy (right).

Caroline, Gladys, and Judy about 1953

Here is a picture of Grandpa and Grandma in front of their home (built by Grandpa in 1955).  If you look closely, you can see the back of them in the window.

1961

Here is a more formal photograph of Grandpa and Grandma.  I do not know the occasion.

Milo and Gladys in the 1960’s

Another one.

Abt 1976

I think this is the first photo I have with my Grandma.  I do not know exactly how old I am, but I am most likely under 2 years old.  Since I grew up in Idaho, I only got to see my Grandparents once or twice a year.  In this picture, I do not seem too sure of the lady on the bike!

Paul and Gladys, about 1981

I do not recall what the occasion was for this picture but we were dressed up for something.  I do not recognize the building.

Paul, Gladys, and Andra in 1985

In 1992 when I received my Eagle Scout, my mom refused to step into an LDS church where the Court of Honor was held.  Dad invited Grandma to stand in for my Mom.  Mom arrived around the time of this photo in her thermal overalls and was royally upset and offended not only that my Grandparents were there, but that Grandma took her place.  Either way, it was a great honour to my Grandparents, especially in light of the history between my Grandparents and Mom.

Paul, Gladys, Milo (Jr) in 1992

In 1997, I moved to Logan, Utah to attend Utah State University.  Since I lived so much closer, I made an effort to visit my Grandparents at least once a month or so.  Typically it was not hard as I could catch a ride with someone passing through to another location.  Grandma was always very kind and would repeatedly remind me how much she loved me and that there was always a bed for me to sleep in if I wished to spend the night.  As her mind started to slip after Aunt Judy’s death the next year, she would often repeat the same two phrases at least every 15 minutes.  While they were the repetitions of an old lady, I still recognized that they came from the heart of my Grandmother who dearly loved me.  She knew me, loved me, and only had two phrases in which to express that in her mental infirmity.  I now feel her love over and over again with the phrases, although at the time they were sometimes annoyances.

I have to share a quick story at this point.  I had just come home my mission in England in December 2000.  I had not been home very long when I visited Utah again with my friend Dustin McClellan.  I was given some gifts and homemade soap to drop off at Grandpa and Grandma’s in Plain City.  Dustin and I stopped and we were visiting when Grandma left the room announcing she would cut up some fudge and bring it out.  Grandma came into the room and I turned down the fudge (I try to avoid sweets).  Grandpa took a piece and Dustin took a healthy portion.  Dustin put most of it in his mouth and when Grandpa took a bite he exclaimed that the fudge was soap.  Grandma had cut up the soap we brought as a gift thinking it was fudge!  The look on Dustin’s face was clearly a man who had taken a mouth of fudge and was completely disgusted and deceived but did not want to let anyone know lest he offend my Grandma.  Grandpa had to take the soap from Grandma who was about to eat a piece despite the warning.  Dustin who was nearly foaming at the mouth from the soap excused himself to wash out his mouth.  We still laugh about this episode now, 10 years on.

Another episode occurred in 2001, probably around September.  I was driving through with a friend, Kevin Orton, for business and I convinced him to pay a stop on my Grandparents.  It was a fairly routine visit and Grandpa invited Kevin and me to go out back to visit his large garden.  Grandma walked with us and after a while we all retired to the back porch to sit a while.  Grandma went in to the house after offering us all a drink.  Grandpa went after her because she was so forgetful (to the point that he was concerned about her safety when cooking).  She opened the door, walked in, and Grandpa caught the screen door as it was closing.  Grandma turned and exclaimed, “Don’t touch my damn door!”  Grandpa jumped back, let the door close, and Grandma closed the door behind.  Right before she closed the door all the way though, she spoke softly, “I love you honey.”  She then closed the door and we heard it lock!  Kevin and I laughed and laughed about the whole scene.  Even years later he will randomly reference this experience.

Here is a great picture of Grandma at her 60th wedding anniversary.  She looked great but her memory was pretty much gone and I think she was lost half the time she was there.

2002

Jennie Britzman, Grandma’s first cousin, came to visit and this picture was snapped.  Grandpa was Grandma’s full-time caretaker by this point (Grandpa and Grandma were both about 82) and they rarely strayed far from home.

Jennie Britzman and Gladys, 2003

I believe this is the last photograph I have taken of Grandma before she passed away.  Grandpa looks younger and Grandma looks happy.

Grandpa and Grandma in 2004

Grandma died 25 August 2004 in the new McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.  Her funeral and burial took place in Plain City on 25 August 2004.  Happy Birthday Grandma, I look forward to seeing you again.

Sons of Joseph and Isabella Carlisle

Standing(l-r): Harve Carlisle, Frank Carlisle. Sitting: Fred Carlisle, Joe Carlisle, Jim Carlisle.

I thought I would share this photo because I have it and do not know how many others do.  This is the five sons of Isabella Sharp and Joseph Carlisle.  Isabella is the sister to my William Sharp, who I have written about previously at this link: Sharp-Bailey Wedding.  Here are some of the details of the family, but I do not really know much more.  They have a pretty large family with plenty of family historians so I will let them write the Carlisle history (which I know they have probably already done)

Joseph Carlisle was born 21 July 1826 in Sherwood on the Hill, Nottinghamshire, England and died 17 March 1912 in Millcreek, Salt Lake, Utah.

Isabella Sharp was born 22 December 1831 in Misson, Nottinghamshire, England and died 29 March 1904 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  If you search her brother, mentioned above, you can read more about her parents and family.

Joseph and Isabella were married 18 May 1853 in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri.

Joseph Richard Carlisle was born 19 December 1854 in Millcreek and died 2 April 1935 in Salt Lake City.  He married Lily Naomi Titcomb 29 November 1853 in Salt Lake City in the Endowment House.

Isabella Jane Carlisle was born 12 April 1857 in Salt Lake City and died 1 April 1928 in Salt Lake City.  She married Joseph William Walters 3 January 1875 in the Endowment House.

Thomas Matthew Carlisle was born 12 April 1857 in Salt Lake City and died 10 March 1869 in Millcreek.

James Sharp Carlisle was born 4 September 1859 in Millcreek and died 2 December 1938 in Millcreek.  He married Keturah White 11 February 1885 in Logan, Cache, Utah in the Logan Temple.

Ezra Taylor Carlisle was born 14 August 1861 in Millcreek and died 12 February 1862 in Millcreek.

Elizabeth Ann Carlisle was born 24 November 1862 in Millcreek and died 6 November 1881 in Millcreek.  She was engaged to married John Calder Mackay and obviously died before that marriage could take place.  On 21 December 1881 in St. George, Washington, Utah Isabella performed Elizabeth’s eternal ordinances in the St. George Temple.  Isabella also stood in as proxy as Elizabeth was sealed to John Mackay, who accompanied Isabella to St. George.

William Frederick Carlisle was born 14 November 1864 in Millcreek and died 5 January 1922 in Millcreek.  He married Sarah Ann Rogers 23 December 1897 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Harvey Cartwright Carlisle was born 22 September 1866 in Millcreek and died 3 July 1935 in Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah.  He married Lucy Carline Cahoon 21 January 1891 in the Logan Temple.  After her death he married Amelia Annie Towler 16 January 1901 in the Salt Lake Temple.  After her death he married Emily Steven McDonald 19 July 1923 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Herbert Towle Carlisle was born 23 August 1868 in Millcreek and died 25 October 1870 in Millcreek.

Orman Carlisle was born 8 May 1871 in Millcreek and died 9 May 1871 in Millcreek.

Carrie Brown Carlisle was born 18 November 1872 in Millcreek and died 15 July 1873 in Millcreek.

Ether Franklin Carlisle was born 11 September 1873 in Millcreek and died 4 May 1915 in Salt Lake City.  He married Maude Miller Harman 10 November 1897 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Rosamond Pearl Carlisle was born 29 July 1875 in Millcreek and died 13 June 1921 in Murray, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Uriah George Miller 19 February 1902 in the Salt Lake Temple.

The family certainly lost quite a few children.  But all those who lived to marry did so in a LDS temple, or its equivalent at the time.

The Scotsman who doesn’t love the Thistle

Whenever I see this picture, I think of “The Scotsman” from Utah State University.  It is not the formal fight song, but has been used as a song from the university for over 90 years.

Show me the Scotsman who doesn’t love the thistle.
Show me the Englishman who doesn’t love the rose.
Show me the true blooded Aggie from Utah
Who doesn’t love the spot . . .
Where the sagebrush grows!

Here is a version of it caught by ESPN for your viewing pleasure.  You have to be patient to get to it as the broadcast proceeds: ESPN Scotsman. You can see some other videos of the Scotsman from this link.  Listening to it and remembering my experiences with the crowd still makes my hair stand on end.  Here are a couple of the other chants: Aggie Cheers.  This includes the Scotsman, I believe, and Winning Team/Losing Team.  The later two chants arose after I graduated in 2005 but show that Aggie spirit is still well and alive.

It was not until we arrived in Scotland that we saw the marvel that the Scottish Thistle really is!  Look at the size of this thistle compared to Amanda, who is 5’6″.  Growing up in Idaho we had what we call Canadian Thistle, but it rarely reached half this height.

Legend tells that the Scottish were protected by the thistle when conquerors came upon them at night and hoping to attack in stealth.  Unfortunately the conquerors were thwarted by the mighty thistle as it caused some of the men to shriek in pain and alerted the clansmen of the impending attack.  It has been used as a Scottish emblem since the 13th century.  I wonder if the English used the rose for the same reason?  I do not think the Aggie will find the sagebrush to be of the same value, unless it is the delayed response of the morning after when the ticks are discovered!

At any rate, when in Scotland, stop and smell the thistle (as you can see Amanda doing).  I can admit, I love the sagebrush, and I definitely love one of the spots where the sagebrush grows: Logan, Utah.

A dog named Navel

Today I thought I would share a humorous story about the late-night escapades of a car loaded with Utah State University students venturing down to see the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Sanpete, Utah.  Brad Hales, Mark Morris, Emily Sarà, Seth Warburton, and I made the trip in my 1998 Toyota Camry in what I believe was the spring of 2004.

The story starts with the rather unexciting drive from Logan, Utah to Manti.  We took the normal route off I-15 at Nephi to drive to Manti.  We conveniently located a parking spot only blocks away because we were plenty early.  We met our friends who drove down separately and staked out our territory with quilts on the grassy green expanse you can see in the photo above.  It is on that very same hill that the Mormon Miracle Pageant takes place.  Here is a nice photo I stole from the Deseret News to give some idea of the stage and what is going on.

The pageant ended and the four of us found our way to my little Camry to head out.  We were told by myriad friends that if we truly wanted to get back to I-15 from Manti in a speedy fashion that we should take the old highway out of Manti to the south via Gunnison and Levan.  We started to wend our way through the darkness.

We had a great, great time leaving Manti.  I do not mean to knock the pageant in any way, but we were certainly making light of it.  We hold no ill feelings towards the doctrines or ideas presented, but maybe it was just that year, but the whole thing came off as pretty hokey.  We decided only the local drill team was allowed to be the angels on the hill with their coordinated flag signals that only someone trained in shipping would have understood.  We drove the darkness really making fun and laughing ourselves silly about how poorly some parts of the pageant were done.

The conversation turned as we continued through the dark roads.  We sang along with a song and the conversation turned to Levan, Juab, Utah.  I do not know how true this is, but lore goes that Levan was named Levan because that is “navel” in reverse.  The area was named Levan because it is the very center of the state, about where a navel would be.  I do not think this is really true since I am sure the town was founded before the final boundaries of Utah were defined, but it sure made great fodder for laughing and conversation that night.  (Apparently there is a Levan, Illinois too)

Well, we made our final approach into Levan with the lights of the municipality drawing closer and closer.  Some of the members of the car were preparing the cameras so we could make a very quick stop and everyone could disembark for a photo with the Levan city sign.  We were laughing about getting a picture with Utah’s navel and then it happened.

Do you know that feeling when you see something and suddenly you do not know quite what to do because it is coming upon you so quickly?  As I drove 70 miles an hour down this road and with the blinding of the lights just as you emerge.  I suddenly had a car behind me with his lights on and that was also partly blinding me.  I made out the faint outline of something laying in the middle of my lane.  Just as I could see that, I had a car also coming my direction so I knew I could not really just dodge whatever it was in my lane so I prepared to straddle it.  I could not slam on my breaks because of the car so close behind me, the shoulder on the right, and the car approaching on the left.  I could see it was too big to straddle just as I was too close and too fast to stop.  I clenched my teeth, gripped hard on the steering wheel, and yelled over the conversation for everyone to hold on.

That is when we heard it.  This massive animal went under the car and we heard and felt him rolling under the car and at one point a serious thump right under the feet of the people in the back seat.  The sickening smell of scalded hair filled the car.  Cries rang out, “What was that?”  I watched for the car behind to dodge whatever it was I hit but he didn’t even flinch.  The individuals in the back of my car were trying to see if they could tell what we hit.  I could see no sign of the roadkill in any of my mirrors (beyond the headlight glare from the car behind).  I continued to let the car coast and finally started to breath realizing that massive thing went under the car and did not appear to do any damage at all.  I continued to coast down the now four lane highway until I hit city limits cruising speed.  I think I should point out at this point that this creature was already laying in my lane.  Although because it was so large and lumped, I assume it was a fresh hit and I was just fortunate enough to be the next person to hit it.

Nobody seemed quite as chipper anymore.  Nobody wanted to stop at the Levan city sign.  It was just silence as we drove through town.  As we left town somebody asked if it was a body we hit.  I told them I did not know what we hit but that it looked like a really big dog.  I thought he was a fresh kill and fortunately he rolled right under the car without relatively little incident.  The way he was clumped up in the road though, I was sure the car would jump or he would be lodged there.  The rolling of the thing under the car was clear so no need to get out and take a look underneath.  The others in the car were sure that I killed the dog.  Then more silence; dead silence.

After another 10 or 15 minutes or so with just the faint strains of the radio in the background, conversation started to pick up again.  We named the poor beast “Navel” after Levan.  I did not know what he was, but we were laughing again and having fun conversation again.

We climbed on I-15 and started heading north at full freeway speeds.  I seem to remember that Seth was sitting behind me and he commented on the fact that cars driving by us were looking at us.  Sure enough, we could not figure out why in the world everybody was looking at us.  It surely could not be some coordinated effort to stare us down.  It became a game of sorts to make faces back at the people as they drove by.  This elicited some hilarious expressions back at us.  One lady looked at us in complete and total disgust.  I was the one driving and could see expressions of the individuals.

Finally after probably 20 minutes of this, a car pulled beside us on the freeway and rolled down his window and motioned for me to do the same.  He then yelled, “Hey, you’re dragging a coyote!”  In that split second to conjure and give a response, I yelled back, “It’s okay, we picked him up in Levan!”  The total disgust in his face was quickly manifest and they sped off.  All the occupants of my car erupted into laughter at my complete nonsense reply.  Even now I realize how disconnected it must have sounded motoring down the freeway at 80 miles per hour.  It took me a minute or two to realize what I just said and even I was laughing so hard I was in tears.

Then the thought came, “Now what?”  I am not going to just pull to the side of the freeway in the middle of the dark.  We all decided we would get off at the next exit and see what damage was done.  We had just passed the Nephi exit, so we had at least another 10-20 miles to go before the next exit.  In that meantime driving down the freeway, let me assure you we thoroughly enjoyed those who passed us by.  I deliberately slowed down a little bit to maybe not cause as much damage to Navel.

Here is the question; how do you via some form of charades inform those in other cars that you know you have a coyote dragging behind you?  A thumb up and a big smile just never gets the impression across the 3-4 feet to the passenger in the other vehicle.  They would insist on pointing to the rear portion of the car.  We just smiled bigger and give them two thumbs up.  Of course, we were laughing so hard I don’t know how we stayed on the road.  Every person trying to convey the message must have thought we were a group of sick, psycho individuals who could only laugh.  They must have assumed we did not know, which means they tried all the harder.  As we attempted to confirm we knew, we would all break down in heavier laughter.  I cannot tell you how hilarious this was!

The Santaquin exit fortunately arrived and we left the interstate.  Navel was probably pretty excited about the ending of his trip.  We pulled to the end of the off-ramp and into the gravel of the road.  We all piled out to see our first view of Navel.  This is what we saw!

I know this will be a bit gruesome for some of the viewers out there.  I need to describe this a bit more to you though.  This dog is half worn away by this point!  I think you can tell that half of his head is also ground away.  If you click on the picture and get closer, you can see tiny chunks of hamburger all over the back of my car (Which we did not discover until the next morning because it was so dark.  The picture is only lit from the camera flash).  I cannot tell you the smell that was present, but my expression and covering my nose should give you some hint.  It was flat-out disgusting.  Also, I point out to you that Navel’s leg was jammed between the body of the car and part of my undercarriage right in the middle of the car near the axle.  That means Navel is at this point stretched out probably 5 feet in length from the axle to the end of his leg you can see in the picture.  He was mangled, stretched, and partly disintegrated.

Now the issue became, how to get him out from under the car?  We tried backing up hoping he would become unattached.  We tried poking at him with a tire iron.  Brad even had the idea to stand on him when I drove off, but we then became afraid of Navel coming apart.  You know how you should avoid injured dogs?  None of us really wanted to lay down next this stinky dog, slide under the car in the dark, and try to get him unattached.  What options are left?  We decided to drive to a gas station for assistance.

We hopped back on I-15 and began another episode of being stared down by every car passing us.  It was not quite as funny anymore.  Levity did finally arrive as we would deliberately not look at the cars trying to get our attention and then we would break down laughing to the horror of those trying to inform of us our dire situation.  The 10 miles or so to the next exit with a gas station went exceedingly slow.

Now we were parked on the sanitary and clean concrete of the Payson Maverik.  We all stood around the car again trying to figure out what we were going to do.  At least now we had sufficient lighting to really tell what was going on.  We stood around talking and figuring a plan of attack.  Emily and Seth figured out they would not have to do the dirty deed so they went in the store and returned passing out donuts!  Emily remembers that I made some comment like, “What do you think this is, some sort of Relief Society meeting?”  The comments from individuals as they came up to our circle and realized what we were all standing around looking at, WHILE eating donuts.  I remember one lady was very disgusted.

I tried climbing under the car but it was so low to the ground that I could not reach the spot where Navel had his leg lodged.  Nobody wanted to have to get out a jack so we could climb under the car.  I walked into the Maverik and asked for ideas or thoughts.  The attendant suggested I go grab a rod for turning valves down in the ground (about 3 feet long with a “T” at the top) and try using it to get him dislodged.  We poked and prodded at him for a while.  The broken leg and all the tissue just wasn’t helping me pull out his leg.  I cannot emphasize how terribly disgusting of a sight that Navel was.  This is roadkill that we had to deal with in an intimate fashion.

Finally our hero arrived with a couple of rednecks in a red Dodge minivan.  The dad walked up and asked us what the problem was.  Upon seeing Navel and then looking at my Missouri license plate he asked, “You from Mississippi?”  I responded, “No, Missouri” and he walked back to his minivan and his son quickly appeared with a plastic bag in his hand.  That little 7 or 8 year old climbed under my car without any fear and with his plastic covered hand pulled Navel’s limb out of its wedged location.  (I warned him of the hot exhaust which he still hit with his little arm!)  The kid then and went and hopped back in the little van (and did not go inside to wash!).

I walked in and told the attendant I wanted to buy that red minivan’s fuel.  He let me do it.  The man was appreciative, and so was I!

Now, what to do with the remains of Navel?  The Maverik attendant suggested we just throw him in the dumpster at the side of the building.  No small task for a bag of bones that must have still weighed 50 pounds.  Nobody wanted to touch him so we used the valve rod to pick him up and walked him to the dumpster.  We could not get the rod up over the top of that dumpster without Navel sliding down the rod.  It clearly was not working.  I finally had to reach out and touch Navel to hold him in place and keep him from sliding down the rod while Seth and I put him in the dumpster.

We returned the bloody rod to its location and later, unfortunate user.  We both washed our hands multiple times in the bathroom before heading to the attendant to let him know we were leaving.  He gave us both a Mt. Dew for the road!  We thanked him and headed on our way.  We arrived in Logan, Utah about 1:00 or so in the morning and all collapsed into our beds.  But whenever I hear of Manti, Levan, or the Mormon Miracle Pageant; I now think of Navel the dog from Levan.  May he forgive me for dragging him over 40 miles!  May he forgive us for the endless laughs that night and many since then at his expense.  I feel bad about his owners who wondered where their dog ran off to, I guess at least they did not see his terrible state.

I graduated once

Since it is the season of graduations and I am fortunate to have just participated in one, I thought I would give a little personal post about some of my earlier formal graduations.  I am sure there are other graduations I probably participated in, but I do not have photos of them, at least that I am aware.  Like graduation from diapers,  which consists of a diaper on the head with a tassel.  Or graduation from elementary school, which would consist of a wedgie (and a tassel!).

Here are my Kindergarten Graduation Pictures.  The Graduation ‘ceremony’ was held in the West Minico Junior High Auditorium in Paul, Idaho.  I can still remember the day, both sets of Grandparents being present, and some of the program.  It was quintessentially the same program that Andra, my sister, would go through two years later and I remember that occasion for her.  I am assuming I graduated Kindergarten in the spring of 1984.

Now we can forward more than a decade to graduation from high school.  I graduated from Minico High School in Rupert, Idaho in the spring of 1997.  I swear there are photos out there of the occasion, I have seen them.  It does not seem my family has any at the actual ceremony, and whatever my Grandmother had is with her stash, wherever that might be since she passed away.  That could be the dump, but I guess it is in a drawer somewhere in Alaska.  Maybe some day…  This is a photo in my Grandmother’s home in Paul, Idaho.  This photo was taken on my Grandma’s birthday and probably taken by her.  I am still pretty thin, excited about life, and wearing that new class bling, I mean ring (that was rudely stolen by a home invader in 2009).

Forwarding a few more years, here is a picture of graduation from Utah State University in Logan, Utah on 17 December 2005 with a BS in Law & Constitutional Studies.  By this point I am days away from marriage to Miss Amanda Hemsley so she joined me in the photo, along with future in-laws (my Dad and Jan are in the photo too, to my left).  I even got some fancy cords again!  Two more of my grandparents had passed away by this time and the last one was unwilling to attend.

Now the latest event in my graduation history.  Graduation on 15 May 2011 from Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with a Juris Doctor.  Not only is my Dad and in-laws in the picture, my family has been joined by the newest addition of Aliza.  I doubt there are further formal graduations in life, besides death, awaiting in the future.  But at least we have some of these graduations in photograph.

I am such a ham!

Look at the cool hood.