Laws and ordinances forever?

A day off from school from a snow storm that would not give much pause to those of more mountainous regions.  But I shall not complain of the wimpy Okies, after all, I have been relieved of a day of law school classes.  Last semester just about killed me from the sheer amount of information I was reviewing and trying to keep in my head.  This semester the amount has decreased, but the problem is how incredibly dry this semester’s classes are.  Tell me if this doesn’t sound like a snore: Corporations Law, Debtor and Creditor Law, Administration Law, Agency Law, and Constitutional Law II.  My rear fell asleep just from having to type it.  How shall I ever endure?

We work again on Saturday at the temple.  This will be our second go of it.  It has been interesting for me to think about the administering of the temple, rather than just the receiving of the ordinances and that which takes place in the temple.  This Tuesday, a couple from our ward received their endowments and were sealed right after.  It was beautiful.  There is a certain spirit that comes from it when it is for somebody live.

Here are a couple of thoughts as we have been reading.  We have just completed Exodus and are plowing our way through Leviticus.  Some of them are very interesting and fascinating, others just wear and you have to skim read.

“And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.  And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”  Exodus 40:12-13.  “And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.  And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.  And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and Thummim.  And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses.”  Leviticus 8:6-9.

So the sons of Aaron are to be presented at the tabernacle to be washed with water, anointed with oil, and clothed in the holy garments.  All this to be done to sanctify him and that he may minister.  So this is the line of Aaron, or descendants of Levi, that have this privilege.  Why was this privilege confined only to the sons of Aaron in his time?  Was it available to all before Moses and Aaron?  When would it be restored to all worthy lines?

What exactly do all these emblems, or parts of clothing mean?  What was their symbolism then, and how does that translate to you and me?

I guess the other question I have is what degree of the Mosaic Law was done away with?  Nobody seems to argue that the 10 Commandments were done away with by Jesus Christ.  Sure, the higher law technically is in force, but the lesser law, or the school master it was still pointed to the higher law.  The whole Mosaic Law was pointing to that last a great blood sacrifice, namely the atonement of Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.”  Alma 34:13.

I always found the idea of the law being fulfilled, not passing away, to be an interesting though.  It shall be fulfilled, but not pass away.  Does that mean the spirit of the law still applies, but the actual outward ordinances done away.  I believe that is precisely what is meant.

The whole Mosaic Law was not something that was new.  It also was something that just disappeared overnight.  “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”  Galatians 3:24-25.

“Yea, and they did keep the law of Moses: for it was expedient that they should keep the law of Moses as yet, for it was not all fulfilled.  But notwithstanding the law of Moses, they did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them.  Now they did not suppose that salvation came by the law of Moses: but the law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ; and thus they did retain a hope through faith, unto eternal salvation, relying upon the spirit of prophecy, which spake of those things to come.”  Alma 25:15-16 (Between 90-77 BC).

The Law of Moses is the underpinning, and outward manifestation of our current law.  I would supplement your understanding of our law, a good study of the Law of Moses can be insightful.  After all, it was a schoolmaster for thousands of years.

“Their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.”  Exodus 40:15.

Days of Thanksgiving

Life seems to be a constant blur as the days fly by with such speed that it almost becomes alarming.  The variety of reading, the topics, and the constant barrage of information in law school is enlivening and thrilling.  On the other hand, the lack of change, and the sheer amount of information thrust upon us, and the endless days of a self-imposed imprisonment make the days not pass fast enough.  The diligence required of the situation is wearisome, and yet I beat myself up for not being diligent enough since I cannot seem to digest the material to the degree that I want.  Another week, and the full final preparation mode kicks in.  I am so numb from school now, I have to find something extra within me to endure to what will be an inevitable end of the semester.  Hopefully I can pull all above average grades again.

I have nothing really to offer with relation to school.  Income Tax requires so much time and effort that I can spend up to 3 or 4 hours on it a night.  The problem is that I then go to class and find myself still getting half the problems wrong.  It is hard to stay motivated when no matter hard I try, I seem to be incapable of making it all work out.  The final scares me in that I have no clue how I will work through the entire semester and the huge amount of material during the semester.  The only consolation I have is that with all I speak, they assure me it is the hardest class any of them ever took.  That does make me feel better, but makes me wonder why I thought I would take it the heaviest semester of law school!?  (insert swear words of choice!)

The rest of the classes are cake compared to tax.  Evidence is more memorization of rules and knowing the interpretation surrounding them.  The same is pretty much true for Legal Ethics.  I took the MPRE two weeks ago and have no clue how I did.  I prepped for two weeks and felt really good going in.  That test came from somewhere else though, so we will just have to wait and see.  I just have to get above an 85 for Idaho (Utah is the highest at 86, Oklahoma one of the lowest at 75).

Criminal Procedure is a class that heavily relies on case law and the nuances that come with it.  Sometimes I admit I wonder what the Supreme Court is thinking or what mind-numbing drugs they are on.  Sometimes I wonder if we ought not to abandon stare decisis and revert to the civil code.  Boy, it sure appears to be a whole lot easier than taking a course on 80 years of the Supreme Court trying to make a sentence of the Constitution mean something.

In addition to all that, I still serve as Ward Mission Leader.  How I dedicate another 10+ hours to that each week I don’t know.  J. Reuben Clark takes an hour or two, and then an hour for LDSSA/Institute.  President Gillespie of the Oklahoma City Temple pulled Amanda and I into his office a few weeks ago and invited us to become temple workers.  We have turned in all that paperwork and it looks like we start training to be temple workers right after Christmas.  We will start working two Saturday’s a month.  Where I will push my other Saturday activities, I am not entirely sure.  We will make it work.

Anyhow, I wish I had a day to sleep in beyond 7:00 AM.  But then again, I have always been selfish that way.  12 hours a day at school, Fridays at work, Saturdays in missionary work and trying to catch up on the yard and homework, Sunday’s full of church and missionaries, and the week starts all over again.  It is not so much that I feel like I am not spending my time in worthwhile pursuits, it is just hard to keep my mind about it and keep the purposes in mind.

We spent all day yesterday working in the Oklahoma City Temple for the Days of Thanksgiving.  We did an endowment, 2 hours of working in the baptistry, and 4 hours in sealings.  While tiring physically, it was a much needed boost spiritually.  I will look forward to working there on a more regular basis.

What will happen when this semester ends?  I really don’t know.  I think we are going to paint a kitchen and hang a new door in the bathroom.  We have to drive to Dallas to attend the temple there and buy our temple working clothes.  Then we start another semester.  I am definitely going to try and take a lighter load next semester.  Until then, endurance is the name of the game.

Laundry list of escapades and visits

Amanda and I just returned from a 4 day visit to Utah/Idaho.  It was like a breath of fresh air into my life.  It was just what I needed.  Sorry it has taken so long, but here is some of what we did.

We arrived at Norfolk, Virginia airport at 6:00 in the morning to fly out for Salt Lake.  I am seriously considering if it was worth the $150 we saved to have two layovers.  I thought I would die from the trip.  We flew from Norfolk to Detroit, Michigan, then to Minneapolis, Minnesota on to Salt Lake City, Utah.  I think on each flight I became motion sick.  The layover would cause the sickness to subside and then we took off again.  It was a form of torture.  By the time I arrived in SLC I felt sick, weak, and irritable.  We went to bed pretty early to combat jet lag and my feeling sick.

Friday dawned bright and early.  I was up well before everyone else and was ready for the day before 7 AM even thought of rolling around.  We had crepes for breakfast.  The Hemsley family had a new crepe maker and it turned out to be a great purchase.  They were good.  I always liked the feeling of biting into a warm crepe with cold ice cream oozing between your teeth.  We found our way to Salt Lake again to pick up Bryan and attend the Salt Lake Temple.  I was really not feeling well and I ended up with a pair of pants that were far too tight.  I am glad I switched them out.  I am sure I would have passed out if I had kept them and not switched them for a larger waist size.  The session went well and Sherise, Amanda’s cousin, was beautiful.

After the endowment session Amanda and I split up.  Brad picked me up and we headed north for an evening of visiting and fellowship.  I changed at the Hemsley house and went on our way.  Our first stop was Lillian Talbot.  Lillian is my mother’s father’s sister.  I returned the three journals I typed up from 1961, 1962, and 1963.  I was glad to return them.  We visited for a few moments and went on our way.  The next stop was to Lona Jonas.  She is the sister in law to Lillian who we had just left.  We had a good visit with her.  She told us about her operation on her forehead and eye which came from a piece of glass working its way to the surface after 55 years!  Our next step took us closer to the Wasatch Mountains with a visit to Jennie Britzman.  She is my father’s mother’s mother’s daughter’s daughter (1st cousin to my Grandma Ross).  We had an interesting visit.  I discovered she had another husband I never knew about!  Brad turned out to be very interested in learning about Jennie.  He asked all the right questions and so I learned some family history things I hope I have not missed often in other family members.  How in the world did I ever not ask or find out she had another husband?  Brad really found her story fascinating and we enjoyed ourselves with a good laugh.  It doesn’t seem that she is 90 years old.  Her son Richard came home while we were there and we had a good visit with him as well.

We wound up the conversation and made our way to downtown Ogden to visit Mary Coley.  Her relationship to me is two fold.  She was married to my mother’s father’s brother, Irwin Jonas.  He was killed in WWII and she went on to marry Arthur Coley, Irwin’s Uncle.  It was an interesting story.  I knew that I did not have her parents in my family history so I had some questions to pose.  She answered them all with amazing clearness despite her being 89 years old.  She grew up in Minnesota and met Irwin while he was in training for the military there.  They were married and he went off to the war effort.  He wanted her home in Richmond, Utah when he came back so she moved out there.  She lived with Great Grandma Lillian Jonas (Lillian’s mother, Lona’s mother in law, Irwin’s mother).  It was there she lived when Irwin was killed.  At dinner with my Great Great Grandmother, Martha Coley, Art (Arthur) walked in one evening and asked where they had dragged up Mary.  They were married shortly after.  Anyhow, she does not remember her parents but was able to tell me their names.  Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by a foster family.  She also gave me the names of her foster parents.  So I have some research to do but have Mary’s lineage.  She also told us of her conversion story to the church.  That was very interesting as well.

We made our way to the home of Dave and Betty Donaldson after Aunt Mary.  Dave is my Grandma Ross’ brother.  We originally were going to stop at Grandpa’s but there was a man in a ten gallon hat sitting in his living room that we could see from the road.  So we decided to come back.  It wasn’t far since Dave and Betty live next door.  We had a good little visit with Dave and Betty.  Dave just had his knee replaced in the past few months.  He feels more confident and strong in his new knee than he does his other.  Plans are to replace the other probably this fall.  After all, we would not want to miss a perfectly good summer or fishing laid up in bed at home.  Next we found Abe and Caroline Gallegos home.  Caroline, my Dad’s sister, had just stepped out of the shower.  We visited with Abe for a while and Caroline emerged.  We talked about her new found love of family history, viewed photos.  Meanwhile Brad visited with Abe.

The night was running out and we had to be in our best shape for the long haul Saturday.  After the Gallegos home Brad dropped me off at the Hemsley residence and went to stay with our old roommate, Mark Morris, in Salt Lake.

Friday turned out to be a long night.  I had not recovered from whatever it was I had.  I wanted to blame it on the flight, but the usual suspect of a cold sore (which I always get after flying) showed up before I left Richmond.  I felt sick enough Friday evening Bryan made a run to the store for some Pepto Dismal (the correct spelling).  It is the first time I remember in my life having PB and it sure seems to have done the trick.  I awoke up at 1 AM in emergency situations.  I went on to vacate my entire system of any remnants of food.  I panicked after tossing the perfectly good hamburger in the toilet when it came up  all red and pink.  My brain kicked in to tell me it was only the evidence of PB.  Before the night was finished, it felt I had puked every thought of food I had entertained for the past week.  The rest of the system went on to winterize itself.  By the time I went back to bed at 3 after a shower and a cleaning of the throne I was feeling much better about life.  That constant sickness from the flight was gone.

Saturday dawned bright and early.  We were headed off to Salt Lake City for the sealing ceremony.  We were parked found our way through the temple maze for the sealing party and visited with friends and family for a while.  Before long we were ushered up to a sealing room and we waited for the happy couple and sealer to appear.  Travis and Sherise made their way in followed by Elder Bednar.  It was your typical sealing except Elder Bednar gave some very direct advice before the sealing.  Usually it tends to be a rather superfluous group of niceties which are showered on the couple.  He gave the couple, and for those listening in the party, a direct sermon on several topics I don’t think this is the place to disclose.  I do remember coming out of the ceremony thinking, “I wish they would teach that in General Conference.”

We waited outside in the beautiful spring weather for the couple to appear for photos.  I made a few quick expeditions around temple square and even looking at deconstruction and construction sites bordering temple square.  The flowers and grass didn’t look real.  (They were as testing went on to prove)  The couple made their appearance, we spent the next 45 minutes under the loose commands of a photographer and I made my escape.

Brad appeared and we made a quick venture to the Church Museum to see the exhibit on the Tabernacle.  We trekked northward changing clothes at the Hemsley’s and pressing on to Cache Valley.

Our first stop upon arriving at in that blessed valley was in the city of Nibley.  We stopped to visit Larry and Margo Anhder but they decided not to be home.  We visited with Cynthia Farnsworth around the corner who Brad worked with at the city of Nibley.  It was a good visit.

We left Nibley and headed into Logan to visit Sunshine Terrace.  During school Brad and I used to go down and visit all the old luvs who were there.  Brad only had one of hers still living, Thelma Freeman who is now over the 104 mark.  She remembered Brad very well and even asked if he was off to spray lawns in Malad.  It was a good visit with her.  Even thought she is pretty well death and blind, she remembered quite a bit.  She began to give Brad a rundown on all her grandchildren and I excused myself to go see if anyone I used to regularly visit was still alive.  Nope, they were all gone.  Even Eula Waldron who I thought would live for a good while longer had passed away last fall.  Harriet Elison had passed away last summer.  Apparently right after my last visit she passed.  I felt kinda bad knowing every single person I used to visit while at USU was now dead.  Good for them I suppose.  I decided not to start up any new friendships with an old luv as I didn’t know the next time I would be around to visit.  I went back to listen to Brad and Thelma talk about how she wasn’t going to die until Brad was married.  She openly admitted she wants to die but the Lord just doesn’t seem to want her yet, or perhaps it was because Brad wasn’t married yet….

We left and wandered our way around Utah State University.  Fascinating how quickly things can change.  The new library is completed and we wandered its corridors.  Don’t know if I think it was designed very well, but it was certainly interesting.  The Merrill Library was gone with only the stark increase in the size of the Quad to mark its passing.  We paid a visit to Dentist Office #6 to visit with Matt Geddes and Lucas Garcia for a good while.  Justin Siebenhaar also showed up and we were able to visit with him too.  We did not remain long before we headed out.

Ellis and Geri Jonas we found in their van.  Brad and I did not figure out if they were coming and going.  They said they were waiting for someone (who did not appear while we were there) and yet talked about dinner (so were they coming or going?).  It was good to visit with them for a while.  They gave us the scoop on Ron in Afghanistan, BJ in the hospital, Amie a new house, Jennie a nice guy who she might marry, Ryan and his wife, Julie with her leg, Dan and his job, and the whole story that went with the family.  Geri is just so funny in how she tells it.  Brad and I got a good kick out of it.  Ellis seemed to be more with it than I remember him for the past 5 years.  He has thinned down quite a bit which the Dr.’s wanted him to do anyway.

Allen, Marie, Kade, and Kallie Lundgreen were where we spent our next hour.  Richmond, Utah seems like time is treating it well.  Marie told us the entire latest saga for the city.  The city is publishing a new history but nobody seems to like the author except a few who like to stir up trouble in town.  There is a story unfolding about public records from the old North Cache High School that was torn down which now want to be taken back probably only to be destroyed or lost.  We talked about some history and the story inevitably moved towards Mom.  The best part, I offered Marie a Eureka vacuum cleaner from the 1950’s that I have been lugging around for over a year.  I finally remembered to take it, had it where I could take it, and remembered to give it.  All in all, we enjoyed the reunion and laughs.  It was if I had never left.  Brad sure got a kick out of it.  He thinks we are all crazy.

Next we enjoyed the new highway in Southern Idaho from the Utah border to Preston.  How nice.  So totally cruisable now.  We stopped at the home of Larry and Barbara Andra to visit.  They were not home.  Brad and I took a good look and tour of the new facilities Larry has set up and his new ride in delivering lawn spraying services.  Those new guys have it good!  He has a brand new truck with a new trailer and two 500 gallon tanks.  He appears serious about this whole lawn spraying business!

It was as we climbed into the car we realized we really needed to get moving in order to make it to Blackfoot in time to even catch the last 30 minutes of the reception.  We did a little speeding up the old highway past Winder, Banida, Red Rock, Downey, and Virginia.  We had some good conversation.  We decided we both really like Inkom and could live there some day.  We rounded through Pocatello and made our way to Blackfoot in good time.  We arrived 15 minutes before the reception was scheduled to end.  We went through the line, did our hugs, ate some cake, and enjoyed the family meal in the kitchen.  It was the close of a good day.  We started with Travis and Sherise and ended with them too (not to mention frog eye salad!!!).

After the reception, we watched the fireworks and the send off.  I have to admit, I can’t stand some of the cheesy traditions that accompany marriages and receptions.  I am glad Amanda and I left most of them out.  We loaded up some food for the road and made the way across Southern Idaho to Kasota.  On the way Brad read some really good articles from the latest Summit Magazine from Brigham Young University – Idaho.  We both decided that if we were going to school this fall out of high school, we would both choose YofI.

Sunday morning dawned far too early for us.  We arose, had some wonderful country biscuits and gravy and headed to church.  Church was quite enjoyable.  I really enjoyed the completely humble tone in which the meetings took place.  Elder’s Quorum’s lesson was on Testimony by President Kimball.  Every single person shared some thought and all, except one, did it in a completely humble tone and perspective.  I was not only impressed by the tone of those who participated but the fact that all participated.  It was not even encouraged by the teacher.  I don’t ever remember becoming emotional in Elder’s Quorum as it is usually the least spiritual of all the church meetings.  Sunday school was by Sister Crane and she did well.  Ted was totally shocked when he sat with his family to find us sitting with them.  Sacrament was Fast & Testimony Meeting.  I really quite enjoyed it.  President Merrill bore his testimony and I very much enjoyed it.  President King also bore his testimony which was powerful.  I followed President King which was a bit intimidating.

After church we made a quick trip home before making our rounds for the day.  The first stop of the day was at Sergene Jensen’s in Heyburn.  This was Brad’s first meeting of Sergene and he commented that he could definitely tell she was an Andra.  It was the first time I have seen her in probably 5 years.  We had a good visit while there.  Brad talked golf with Neil from Filer while I fixed Sergene’s computer, her cell phone, and chatted about her son Andy.  She had a pacemaker put in last December which was a surprise to me.  But she thinks it was a worthwhile investment as it has drastically improved her golf swing.  Neil says he wants one now.  It was a good visit.

We went to visit my Aunt Jackie afterwards.  We found Willie, Jackie, and Jesse all home for the day.  Willie was just leaving for work but it was a good visit.  I visited with Jackie for a good while.  Brad wasn’t feeling well so he went and took a nap in the car.  We discussed a variety of things, none of which are worth mentioning here.  Pretty much it boils down to she seems like a lost soul who isn’t willing to make the changes necessary to get her life back in order.

We went to visit a friend of Brad’s, Eli Hansen but he was not home.  We did visit with Eli’s mother, Teri for a few minutes.  We then attempted to pay a visit to Scott and Chris Horsley, but they too were not home.  We stopped to visit Brad’s great Aunt Ora Barlow.  We had a good little visit with her.  I guess before she married Woodrow (Woody) she was married to a Jones.  Her son Lenny popped in and visited with us while we were there too.  It was interesting to hear some of the dynamics of another family.

We attempted another visit to the Horsley home without success and we headed to visit the Orton family.  Kevin, Megan, Ryan, and Kegan were all there.  I wanted to visit with them but had to so I could get a picture with Ryan and Flat Stanley.  As you are aware, I helped with his Flat Stanley project (FS has his own album!).  So chatted about Tran-Systems, Circle A, Ag Express, Washington DC, life in general, the positioning of the stars in the cosmos, and other various lowly conversations.  The actual camera for the photo was at Kevin’s parents so we made the trip to Paul for that.  Brad and I did a quick driving tour of Paul to see what changes have been made.  It is still there, I can verify that.  They are also getting a new city park across from the Stake Center and Harpers are finally subdividing the property next to the Stake Center.  Paul, Idaho is on the boom!

Brad wanted to nap some more so I left him in the car to snooze.  I went in and had even more interesting conversations.  We discussed the lifestyle of the polygamist fundamentalists in Utah.  Wow, I never knew all the ways you could cheat the United States Government!  But the polygamists have it worked out to a ‘T”.  Kevin’s mother became a polygamist and they are sure she is dead but will not report it so they can continue to collect the Social Security Checks.  They mooch the system from the crib to death.  If I didn’t believe in honesty I might be tempted to do the same.  The conversation with Dennis and Derith Orton turned to other subjects until I received a phone call from my Dad wanted to know if I was still planning on dinner.  Yep, the time had arrived and I did not even notice it.  I had to end the conversations rather abruptly and made my way home.

Dad usually is very relaxed about food and eating times but I found out Andra was the instigator.  She was all in an uproar for some reason and wanted to get out of there.  She gave us some reason with Brian needing her somewhere but we could tell it was a lie.  She left in a huff without saying anything for a good bye or even hello.  In addition, she left the present that was intended for her.  I am amazed at how easily people can treat their own family badly and think it is okay.  Perhaps those who are closest to us we can just expect they will understand and we can be as selfish as we want.  That was the extent of any real time with my sister.

Dinner turned out to be very good.  Dad made the t-bone steaks in his usual fashion with the barbeque grill and sugar cure.  It was very good.  Made me wish we could afford a bit more meat to eat on the grill in Virginia.  We had baked potatoes, steaks, salad and plenty more.  It was good to sit down and eat a meal with Dad, Andra who ate only a little bit very quickly, Brad, and Jan.  We talked health, Idaho, family, and a variety of issues.  It was good quality time with the family.  Brad finally decided it was time for him to crash.  He asked for a blessing which we gave him and he crashed despite the fact it was only 8:30 p.m.  I visited with Dad and Jan a little longer before I borrowed Dad’s truck and went to pay a visit to the Tateoka Family.

I roamed up to the top of the hill at Kasota and visited with Ted and Becca.  We lounged around for a while as I told them about the events so far during the weekend.  Ted was quite fascinated with the advice given by Elder Bednar and took the opportunity to pat himself on the back some.  We had a good laugh.  He went with me for a drive to AgExpress (I want to call it Circle A) and we filled up Dad’s pickup for him.  We talked about life in general.  He told me about his struggles in the Bishopric and some of the cases that are before him.  I can sympathize and honestly hope I never serve in that type of capacity.  It sounds like a nightmare in many ways.  I know there are many blessings that come, and Ted openly admits those.  We talked about marriage, women, work, and several other topics.  In the end, he had to be home at a descent hour.  I dropped him off and went home.

Monday again dawned far too bright and early.  Brad arose and was feeling much better after about 11 hours of sleep.  We got ready, loaded the car, said our good byes, and headed out.  Ted wanted us to stop by for breakfast.  We found him at his parent’s place and we had a great breakfast of ham, eggs, toast, and plenty more.  We were stuffed.  We spent some time talking before Ted had to go back to work on the farm.

We went to visit Dustin McClellan at his home.  We found him in the work shop and we took a good look at the Old Dodge.  She was covered in dust and bird droppings but still looked good.  Dustin says he is going to clean her up and get her going again now that spring is here.  Plus he has just finished doing his spring field work and had a week before his next phase.  We visited for a while in his house and we looked around to see what he has done differently.  Next, we stopped by AgExpress and visited with Dad and he introduced me to most of the people in the office.  I knew Michelle and remember Sean.  We said our good bye’s and headed off to Paul and Kathy Duncan’s.

Kathy had forgotten we were coming and we found her in her pajamas still cleaning up after the weekend.  She quickly changed and we visited for a good hour.  She insisted we eat lunch with her and started making food.  Brad and I thought we would both pop if we ate more after a big breakfast.  It turned out to be really good barbeque chicken, salad, and cheesy potatoes.  Brad really liked the desert.  Paul came home and ate with us and we had a good visit about farming, the dairy, and life in general.  Their whole family is doing well and things are good.

We had to get moving once again and we took the old highway 30 out to the Raft River exit.  We took the freeway and got off to head out towards Rockland.  It was a beautiful drive with the stormy clouds, the scenic valley, and the crepuscular drama.  We paid a visit to Leo and Rhea Udy a few miles of Rockland approaching Roy.  It was a really good visit.  I quite enjoyed our conversation.  They have served several church missions.  Two or three of them in helping with engineering projects in the building of temples.  One was with Nauvoo and I think there was one or two more.  They also served in Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  They have known Jack and Janet Duncan since their days in Oregon.  It was also interesting to learn about the Udy history.  This was even more true in light of the Udy Lawn Spraying business my Uncle Larry has.  Rhea is Brad’s great aunt.  We spent our time there and needed to head out in order to be able to pay a visit to Grandpa and make it to Kaysville in time for a party there.

We left the Udy home and took the drive to Malad, Idaho.  We took some time to stop at Twin Springs and a quick drive through Holbrook.  It seemed strange to us to be able to drive through a town literally in the middle of nowhere and know many of the people who live in the homes and much history of the area.  We crossed the pass into Pleasantview and talked about our crazy day recording cemetery tombstone names in Samaria.  We finally arrived in Malad and took a look at all the lots that I am thinking of buying there.  We took some pictures with the phone and left just as the rain was starting to come down again.

We caught I-15 south and got off to drop back into Plain City.  We stopped by Uncle Dave’s again to drop the picture off we neglected to do the first time.  That is another long story, but I have been trying to get that photo back to its owner for a good two years now.  One person takes it, can’t deliver it, and it keeps coming back to me.  At one point, so I would not forget it, I placed it on a desk in Provo so I would always see it.  The weekend I went to take it back I forgot it because Brad, of all people, hid it because he didn’t like it sitting out.  Anyhow, I hope it is the final step to finding its way back to Ed Telford.

We stopped and had a good visit with Grandpa.  He seemed a bit down from the latest waves of death in his circle of friends.  It was still fun to see him and spend some time with him.  In the end he didn’t seem like he wanted to talk much so we said our good byes and headed out.  We made our last stop at the Olive Garden in Layton in order to meet the Hemsley family.  Brad and I discussed our weekend and figured out we really quite enjoyed ourselves.  To top it off, we figured out we had reconnected, visited with, and spent time with at least 43 people since Friday morning together.  That seemed like quite the group of people.  We felt content in our activities.  I came back with 4 pages of family history notes.  Brad was able to see family he had not seen in about 2-8 years.  Best of all, we just enjoyed the company and the sites of Idaho/Utah.

It was Scott Hemsley’s birthday and we ate out at Olive Garden to celebrate the event.  Derek did not join us but it was a good dinner and we had some good laughs.  They are a good family.  I am happy to claim them as family and to have ties with them.  We went back to their home (Brad left for Provo and did not eat with us) and watched The Terminal with Tom Hanks.  It seemed highly fitting since we would again be spending a whole day in traveling by plane.  Amanda’s grandparents came over and we visited with them some.  Finally we crashed since we had to leave at 5 a.m. and felt we needed the rest.

The flights went okay.  I don’t like riding in the very back because sometimes you feel every bit of turbulence.  I think I regained my motion sickness every time we were on descent to the airport.  The winds and tossing just doesn’t do much for my stomach.  The last flight put me under and heater vent or something that blew warm air on me the entire flight.  So I turned on my cold air nozzle to high and suffered with the torments of hot and cold air blowing on me.

We arrived at Norfolk, kissed the ground and went to the Odom home in Newport News.  They fed us some Chinese (which was very nice of them!) and we went home.

There is the end of the narrative of the trip to Utah and Idaho.  I know it became a bit of a laundry list of things we did.  But I did not want to write it by hand in my journal and I type so quickly.  Plus I know some of you would be interested.  So viola, there you go!

Monticello and Vernal

This weekend was a great trip.  I don’t know if I have written this, but Amanda and I made a goal to hit all the Utah Temples before we move away.  We made this goal in Jan or Feb and have been working on it since.  Monticello and Vernal both posed a problem for achieving that part of what we wanted to do.  Why not knock them both out at once?  So we did.  We took this past weekend, drove down to Monticello on Friday and stayed the night.  We stayed at, and highly recommend the Monticello Inn (in the phone book as Triangle H) especially if you are LDS.  They were more than wonderful with us.  She even called the temple to make our reservation for the 8:00 session for the next morning.  We attended the 8:00 session and when we came out, got our photo (we are taking a photo with us and each temple as well, Amanda’s idea!) and headed out.  We drove back up through Moab, over to Fruita, Colorado, up through Rangely, Colorado and into Vernal.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.

Vernal turns out to be one of our favorite temples.  There is something about it.  It has more character than some, and it seemed more like home to me.  We were sitting in the chapel waiting to go on the next session when I kept looking at the only other couple in the room.  I was sure it looked like the parents of a friend from high school.  She looked younger though, and he had some chops, so I had my doubts.  Finally, I just had to know, walked up to them, and sure enough, it was Scott and Anita Jensen from Paul, Idaho.  Anita was a cub scout leader for me for a few years.  Bryan, their son, helped me secure a ring at a great price for Amanda last year.  We chatted, and were one of only a few couples on the session.  I will tell you what, there is something that is inspiring when the rays of the sun are coming through the veil when they lift the curtain before being introduced.  It just lit up the room and I loved it.

On the session was also a Shane Mayberry.  Afterward, I visited with him and asked if he knew a Carma Preece.  He said he went to school with her son.  I asked about her, and found out she only lived a block of two from the temple.  Before we left, by asking others, he had her address and phone number for me.  So, we are close, why not visit.  I gave her a phone call, she was home, and we were invited to stop.

She is the first person I have ever met who is related to me through the Ross line.  In fact, her maiden name is Ross and her father is the brother to my Great Grandfather.  It was interesting to look at her characteristics and physical makeup.  She must have barely have been over 5 foot.  Similar to most of my closer Ross relatives, other than my Dad, who inherited his height from the Donaldson side.  Amanda snapped a picture of a portrait of her parents.  Giving me the first copy of a photo I have of any of the other Ross siblings.  I have a rough, vague, damaged photo of my Great Grandparents, and nothing of them together.  My Great Grandmother died in 1925 after giving birth.  The baby also passed away with her.  For some reason or another, the Sharp line did not like my Great Grandfather, John William Ross.  So he was run off, and my Grandfather’s family farmed out to members of the Sharp family.  My Grandpa to the Ed Sharp family, Uncle Harold to the Delwin Sharp family, and Paul Ross to Fred and Vic (Sharp) Hunt.  The only thing we really know is that he moved to California.

He died in the Veterans Hospital in Livermore, Alameda, California.  As far as we can tell, all of his siblings ended up in California as well.  John had a sister named Fanny, who married a Calvin Dickerson Phibbs, who was the judge in Rupert, Idaho for a time.  Calvin’s father and some other family members are buried in Rupert.  But the Phibbs went to California as well.  Then there was a Robert Leonard Ross, and his life is very sketchy.  Have very little idea of him.  He was married to a Minnie Belle Hambrick, Rose Ann Clawson, and Ruby Leaster Hall.  The only one of these I could confirm was Rose Ann Clawson, who had been married to a Sanders, but he married her in Burley, Idaho.  Then there was Carma’s father, James Thomas Ross who settled in the Vernal area.  Apparently he was the one who went to Utah so his children could marry LDS.  They missed Virginia so much, they named their first child after their old home.  So, Carma’s older sister is named Vesta Virginia.

It seems to me that somehow they caught wind of the opening of the Sugar Factory in Paul, Idaho, so they moved there from Virginia.  I know the Phibbs were there before the Ross family was.  Fanny and Calvin were married in Virginia in 1906.  The Phibbs all moved to Idaho and then Fanny probably invited her other siblings to go.  Fanny arrived there sometime between 1912 and 1914 as children changed their birth locations.  My Grandpa has a half brother, Hobart Day, born in 1911 in West Virginia.  My Great Grandparents were married in Fort Logan, Colorado.  How that ever happened I will never know.  My Great Grandmother was married to a Mark Lewis Streeter, who gave another half sibling to my Grandpa, June Streeter.  Great Grandma went with Mr. Streeter and they operated a confectionery in Paul, Idaho named Streeter’s Confectionery.  There doesn’t seem to be records of this in Paul, other than a Hall’s Confectionery which according to my Grandfather would have been in the same location.  Whatever happened, my Great Grandmother divorced her Streeter husband in 1919.  My Grandpa is the oldest, born in Plain City.  Paul was born in Paul, John Harold in Burley, and Ernest Jackson in Plain City, who died.  So that pretty well breaks down the time in Idaho for my family.  My Great grandmother married Streeter in 1917 or so as June was born in June 1918.  Fanny and Calvin were there until after 1930, when their last child was born in Rupert that year.

James Thomas had only one child born in Idaho at Rupert.  She is a middle child, and the rest were born in the Vernal area.  That child, Sydney Bea was born in 1922.  As for Robert Leonard, he married the one wife in 1919 at Burley, but that is about all that is set in stone for him.

I do not know what the draw was to California.  All of them seemed to have died there.  I don’t know where Robert died, but I know it was in 1944 and everyone says it was California.  Nobody seems to know where, and I have not found a record.  My John William died in Livermore in 1948.  He remarried a Zane Coffey in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  We don’t know what happened to her, if they stayed together.  Fanny died in 1943 in San Francisco.  James died in Los Angeles in 1964.  California had such a draw that both of their parents, James Thomas Meredith (legally, but went by James Thomas Ross) and Damey Catherine Graham both moved to California and died in 1951 and 1933 in Fresno and Marysville respectively.  I do not know if my Great Great Grandparents ever came to Idaho, or spent any time in Utah.  Carma told me that she met her grandparents in California, so that makes it seem that while she has memory, they were not in the Vernal area.  Who knows for sure.  I seem to remember somewhere that James Thomas Meredith/Ross was a Bishop in California at one time, indicating he spent some time there, long enough to become acquainted and be called.  I don’t remember for sure if it was him or someone else who was called as Bishop.

Anyhow, it was interesting to visit with Carma.  She told me of a couple of visits to Grandpa and Grandma’s place.  She told me how impressed she was with how tender they were with Judy.  They have not visited Plain City since the early 1970′s.  She told me of a time that Grandpa came to visit them in Vernal.  She said they took them around and introduced them to the family and showed them the area.  The one comment that was interesting was that Grandpa used to swear up a storm.  According to her, every other word was a swear word.  I have never known him like that.  The only time I ever heard him swear was when the emphasis was needed, or another word sometimes just did not seem to fit.  She was surprised to learn that Grandpa and Grandma had become active.  I thought that was interesting.  She was even more surprised to learn that they both worked in the Ogden Temple for a few years.  Carma now works in the Vernal Temple.

It was good to sit and visit with her.  She loaned me a book that was given to her just the month before with all the descendents of James Thomas Ross (Jr).  I was excited about that.  It looks like we will have to call on Carma on the way to Denver at the end of this month.  To return the book and perhaps to glean some other memories from her mind.  She is 81 now, and who knows how much longer she could be around.  Getting into those ages, things change so quickly.  However, I hope she will still be around when we come to visit Utah again, and that we can pay her another visit.  Funny how things happen.

We had a great visit and we snapped a picture of Carma and me together.  I enjoy visiting family.  There are always more stories to hear.  I have many more, I record of all my visits in my regular journal.  Sorry you don’t get to read of some of those adventures.  Perhaps someday I will reiterate some of them here.

Portland

A wonderful weekend in Portland. A much needed break in the drive to Preston, Burley, or Logan every weekend. Tom, Erika, Seth, and Gabriel Kunzler all went with me. We left Thursday afternoon and wound our way to the center of the blue state. The sun set on us in Pendleton so from that point on was mostly not too interesting. I saw a couple of the dams on the Columbia river, and they were beautiful with their shimmering lights. I dropped them off in Gresham and made my way to my Sister Becky’s house. They moved to Portland about two years ago onto Peacock Lane and purchased a 1920′s Tudor House. They have been fixing it up ever since and have it almost done, all except the kitchen. It is a beautiful classic home. She has decorated it with the pastel and rich colors which were popular during the 30′s and have been coming much more back into style. I have always loved the Art Deco colors. Joe, her husband, was in town because he had hurt his back. The constant stress of traveling, meetings, working, and various other things sent his back into little spasms which have laid him up for a few days and probably will for weeks.

Friday I awoke and visited with them for some time. I was given a full tour of the home and the neighborhood. For lunch we went to a authentic German restaurant which was very good. I enjoyed my sauerbraten and spatzle. I did not partake of the beer, but enjoyed an amazing raspberry lemonade. I had to stir it every single time I wanted to drink so the raspberry would not all be in the bottom. There were even seeds in it!

That evening I was privileged to attend the swearing in of Molly Bordonaro. She is the new U.S. Ambassador to Malta. Her husband is part Maltese so I suppose that is one of the factors that put her in favor with the President. The story goes that every time she has met the President, she has been pregnant. That supposedly endeared her to him as well. I don’t know if it is because a pregnant woman would require more effort to do those sorts of things, or the nobility of motherhood. It was an interesting affair. Those who were supposed to be attending with me missed their flight so I ended up flying solo at the affair. It was a good experience. I met and come to know many more people. I also met fellow associates from The Gallatin Group for the first time. Shelley, Julia, Chris, Kent and his wife, were all there. Greg Walden of U.S. House of Representatives spoke and conducted. Also speaking were Senator Gordon Smith. I did not get to visit with Senator Smith as he was always cornered by other individuals. He did give me a hello wave as if he recognized me, but I really don’t think he placed where he knew me from. I was sad his wife, Sharon, was not there. It was a great evening. They took so long to get dinner going after the event that many people left. I decided to do the same. After all, hanging out with some snobby and increasingly drunk lawyers was not my thought of a great continuing evening. It was interesting how I would start visiting with people and my being an intern caused them to quickly lose interest. However, it was fun to have one man come up to me and was so interested after he found out more about the Gallatin Group. He started telling me all about what he does and his business and a myriad of details like I was a founding partner. He must have missed the fact that I was only an intern in our first introduction. He gave me his card, his personal cell written on it, and other little notes and requested us to remember his business. My personal preference is still friends first, then business. I seem to have misplaced his card too.

Saturday was an interesting day as well.  Joe and Becky took me to breakfast at “No Fish! Go Fish!”  It was really good food and I thought everyone was friendly.  The owner came out and visited with us most of the time.  Afterward on the walk home they informed me that Shawn was gay.  I remember the thought crossing my mind, but it didn’t really matter to me.  They went on to tell me about Shawn and John were one of the first couples in Portland to be married.  It was a few months ago, I guess just short of their one year anniversary that their marriage was declared unlawful.  He seemed like a nice man, I did not have any problems with him.  I have to admit, if he can cook that well, I really don’t have any problems with him.  It then led to a discussion of people and their reactions to the gay segment of our society.  We also discussed how people treat them as individuals.  Without going into the political side of the argument, we basically agreed on one thing.  Somehow in our denunciation of the actions of these people, we as a people somehow find it Christian to treat with utter disdain this people.  Being so entrenched in our way of life and our notion of right and wrong, being entrenched in our opposition forget there are people’s lives at stake.  While I will never entertain the lifestyle that these people espouse (pun intended), it does not mean at all I should ever treat them as subhuman.  Becky and I discussed an individual we know who would find it completely unbearable to even be in the presence of Shawn.  They may be okay to begin with, but would fester and before long say things which they should not say.  Or flat out ignore him the entire time.

As part of the discussion Becky told me of a story of a member of Joe’s family.  Who considers himself a good Christian.  However, because Becky has not been “active” in a religion that she somehow is sub Christian, or unable to think in Christian terms.  What is worse, he proclaims to be a Christian while treating his family in ways that are plain rude and inconsiderate, if not verbally abusive.  He made the comment that since Becky came from a family of divorced parents that she would have the same inclinations towards divorce.  He had the nerve to ask her what she thought or what she was doing to avoid a divorce.  (This was before her and Joe married)  He then went on to counsel her about Christian living.  She informed him that while her parents may have divorced, she had two sets of Grandparents who were not.  Plus they were more Christian than he could ever hope to be, and they didn’t have to go around proclaiming it to everyone.

On the same note, there seems so many people who are so set on protecting the Christian way and lifestyle that they have forgotten to live it.  While we do not permit any form of adultery, it doesn’t mean we still stone everyone in the street.  Which is the equivalent to what some of these professing Christians do.  Moreover, it extends to the conservative party in many ways.  They are so set on providing the perfect life, what they determine to be the right way of life, they don’t care who they stone along the way.  I do not agree with their lifestyle at all, but I cannot force them to live my way.  If I don’t like it, well, suck it up and get on with it.  I remember the scriptures talk about gathering to people of similar beliefs.  Of leaving Babylon and letting them go on to their own destruction.  I cannot remember any scriptures whatsoever that talk about transforming or making Babylon live the the Christian life.  We keep that up we will end up with a state similar to the history of the Catholic Church.  Many, many Catholics, but most simply in name.  Heck, lets go back to Constantinople and force all of Rome to be Christian.  Oh wait, we are already headed that way.  Suddenly I sound very blue!  I am not either party.  In some ways I am Constitutionalist, other Fundamentalist, others Republican, and yet others Democrat (heaven forbid!  Utah higher education failed here!!  Pass some more laws!).  Too bad Utah State does not teach down any particular line.  Randy Simmons, don’t let the Utah State Legislature find out.  Lets stick with the basics of the Constitution and let people govern themselves.  Even better, Common Law, which I advocate always is much better to the governing of society than Statutory Law ever was.  I think some in this country are beginning to see this.

Anyhow, Saturday afternoon Becky and I made a trip to downtown Portland.  What a great city.  Their buildings have style and design.  They don’t all look the same.  I applaud the Portland urban renewal belt.  It is helping revitalize the city.  While Portland may claim to be the most green city, they have some serious roads yet to make in their downtown area.  Some streets had trees, others without.  Some were hot concrete jungles, others were nice, shady, beautiful areas.  What a beautiful city, hopefully that will spread throughout the rest.  You get so far out of the downtown and it is a dump.  In fact, driving into Portland Thursday night, I had a fight between two end up in the road and I nearly ran them over.

Well, off my little soapbox about politics.  Saturday night Joe and Becky took me to dinner with a couple of their friends.  Hal and Mindy seemed like a great couple.  She teaches acting or something like that at Portland University.  I don’t remember what Hal does.   Since we were in a big city, I told Becky of my hankering for some good Indian food.  Especially if I could get a donner kebab.  So we met Hal and Mindy and ate at this great Indian restaurant.  There were not any donner kebabs, but I had this amazing chicken korma.  We ordered and somehow my future marriage came up.  It then came knowledge to Hal and Mindy that I would be married in an LDS Temple.  So cornered me and asked if I was excited about learning all the secret stuff that happens therein.  In jest I assured her I already knew.  Becky told her I had already received my endowments and that this was just the sealing.  They did not know there were multiple ordinances performed in the temple.  She turned to me and asked if I would tell her the secrets.  I told her I could share with her those things which are in the scriptures and thereby give her a general overview of what takes place therein.  I went on eating my appetizer and realized they wanted it now.  Well, for the next hour I taught them the overall scriptural ideas of the endowment.  They found it utterly fascinating.  Hal at one time was quite the scholar on the ancient tabernacle in the wilderness so I did the discussion completely from there and the Temple in Herod’s day.  They really liked how I kept tying the Old and New Testaments together and were apt to asking questions before I could even finish a topic.  Finally after nearly 2 hours we had gone through the endowment.  Washing, Anointing, Garments, New name, Adam and Eve, covenants, and finally the sealing.  What was great was the promptings I felt of the Spirit to where I could nearly quote entire passages of relevant scripture.  Obviously I did not reveal any of the signs, keys, or tokens.  Mindy as a acting instructor found the theatrical portion ideas of the endowment to be very interesting.  We discussed some of the ancient plays recorded in the scriptures, Greece, and Becky even brought in this one part about the Native Indians.  It was a very fascinating conversation.  In discussion of the covenants portion of the endowment, I discussed why the covenants were sacred and why we do not reveal or tell them.  Hal made the most interesting of all evening on how he missed the rituals of organized religion.  He commented how he noticed there was a certain mystic, power, in the ritual.  I instantly thought of some Hugh Nibley and thought to refer him, but did not.

The conversation moved away to politics.  They were noticeably impressed with the clarity the endowment made.  They said they would think about it and next time definitely have more questions.  Perhaps I may be able to refer them to the missionaries next time.  However, after the discussion of the temple, they then asked what my political leanings were.  Especially since they liked the way I thought.  We ended up discussing marriage, abortion, stem cell research, death penalty, republicanism, democracy, the proper role of government, and a whole host of things.  Joe and Becky were much more a part of that conversation.  By the end of the evening I just barely finished my food and we all had a great time.

That evening we were plum tired out.  So we decided to go to bed early.  However, Becky and I stayed up and talked about family, genetics, and traits until nearly midnight.  It was a good bonding experience.

Sunday rolled around and I finally awoke and got ready for the day.  I had blueberry pancakes with Joe and Becky and then headed out to pick up Tom and Co from Gresham.  It was good to see Chad and Morley again.  They are good guys.  Rather than going home on I-84, we chose U.S. 26.  It was a beautiful drive.  We found the church in Madras but they had it earlier in the morning and there was not an afternoon ward.  We tried again in Prineville, but they were just letting out of church when we got there.  There are two wards, but the second ward started at 11:00 AM so that put us too late.  In the end, we were not able to attend church.  We tried.  There were some really cool little towns on the way like Mitchell, Dayville, John Day, Prairie City, Unity, Vale, Nyssa, Parma, Notus, and back to home.  It was interesting to drive through Nyssa and see the Sugar Factory there.  I have known of it all my life with my Dad’s association with Amalgamated Sugar.  I have recently heard much of it working for The Gallatin Group and watching DR-CAFTA with Amalgamated and their closing the plant this year.

Today found me back at work and loving my job.  This is my last week, so there are some bittersweet feelings there.  Nevertheless, DC will prove to be fascinating and interesting.