Saturday, November 22, 2008

Coffee and Cigarettes

At one point while Paul was on his mission I was working two full-time jobs and was dead tired all the time.

In one of my letters to him I said, jokingly, that it was hard working the two jobs and that if it weren't for the coffee and cigarettes I'd have a real problem.

Now Paul had spent his whole life with me and knew that I joked about odd things.

So for whatever reason he told his Mission President, who called my Stake President, who called my Bishop, who called ME.


The Frog

We had been out to dinner with our good friends Tom and Addie Kay Hartsinck. When we were on the way home suddenly Tom started screaming for me to pull the car over and stop. I did, and he got out about as fast as I could have imagined.

A big frog had gotten into the car and was climbing up his leg, inside his pants. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Choir Practice

At one point when most of the kids had left home Mary saw the birds lined up on a power line and called them thereafter "Choir Practice". I still think of that when I see a bunch of birds on a wire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Okay, getting your tonsils out isn't exactly what one would call fun. The baloney about eating all the ice cream you want afterward is a great idea, except that your throat hurts so bad you don't want to eat ice cream. At least that's the way it was with me.

But two things stood out for me, and obviously meant a lot, since I still remember them. The first was that my father came and stayed in the hospital with me, and we played cribbage. The second was that he bought me a miniature red railroad lantern, that I still have.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I saw some chestnuts for sale in Safeway the other day and it reminded me of one of my fond memories of Paris.

First, I should explain that the chestnuts mentioned in Chestnuts roasting on an open fire were all wiped out in the United States many decades ago due to some kind of tree fungus.

But when we lived in Paris we found chestnut vendors all over the place. They had huge roasting carts, probably 3 feet across, with big metal wheels and handles so they could move them. The chestnuts roasted on a bed of coals.

When you bought some they took a piece of newspaper and rolled it into a cone, then filled it with the (very) hot chestnuts. In my memory that cost 1 new franc, which was about 20 cents. The smell was heavenly and the taste divine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Followup to my Boyhood Dream

I passed my General Class license exam on Thursday. I didn't think I would have time to study enough, but I did. There is just one more level to go, Amateur Extra. I'm not even precisely sure what the added benefits are to an Amateur Extra license as compared to a General license, but having the General license as compared to the Technician license allows me to do the High Frequency broadcasting that can take one around the world.

In the mean time I am waiting for my first ham radio to arrive; it should be here on Friday. I got my call sign this morning, it is KE7YBP. Or, as a ham would say it, Kilo Echo 7 Yankee Bravo Papa :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Boyhood Dream Come True

I realize that this will not resonate with many people. Everyone has dreams that come from their childhood, and that one person's dream can be pretty much blah to someone else. This is about one of my dreams.

Many years ago we were either living with or visiting my mom's family in Pennsylvania. I was able to spend some time with my cousin David May, who was a ham radio operator (K3MUA). I remember him putting the microphone into my hand and telling me to talk. I did, and it was fun, and he was impressed that I didn't clam up as did most people.

From that day forward I have wanted to get my ham license. I stabbed at it a few times, but frankly was scared of having to learn Morse Code to pass the test.

Then, in February, 2007, the Morse Code requirement was dropped.

I finally took the plunge. The stake started up a Technician Class (the first of three license classes) class, which I started attending. Then I really got the bug, studied a lot, took the practice tests, and finally, last night, passed the real test.

I'm a ham. I'm happy. My boyhood dream has come true.

Last night after passing I told the examiner what it meant to me, and he announced it to the whole club, who had gathered for their monthly meeting. They clapped and cheered for me :)

I am studying real hard to pass the General Class test on Thursday, before the last of the nine classes starts, so that I can go to the class with two licenses in my hand. That would be sweet!

I'm a ham!!!

In the Packers' Driveway

Our BYU ward, the 86th, was amazing in the number of General Authority children and grandchildren that were members of it. We had a couple of Boyd K Packer's children, James E Talmadge's granddaughter, A Theodore Tuttle's son, and others.

I got close to Dave Packer because he was in the very next dorm room from mine. I took advantage of this friendship by going to his house in Salt Lake a couple of times.

One time I went was with Mildred, then my fiancee, and Joy, my soon-to-be-sister-in-law. Okay, I admit it, I was showing off. The weather was terrible and we should have just pushed straight through to Provo. In those days the freeway over the pass between Salt Lake County and Utah County was called the "Point of the Mountain" and was spoken of with fear and trembling.

We pulled into the Packer's driveway, rang the doorbell, and were greeted by Elder Packer himself. Dave (and Laurel, also in our ward) were not home. We got back into the the car (a VW, of course) and tried to drive out and found that we were by then snowbound. Back to the door to ask for some help. And to my (and Mildred's) delight we were pushed out of the snow by the Apostle himself.

As we drove away Joy said "Who was that?" :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wild Rides

I was driving a friend's pickup truck in the rain the other day, hauling Ashley's washer and dryer to their new owners. I chose Bigelow Gulch because I didn't feel like tackling the freeway. As I peered out intently I remembered two other wild, scary rides.

The first was many years ago when Paul was in high school. For some reason I never did understand (a friend of a friend of the family was going to make it run?) they had to haul a Volkswagen bug from Union City to Redwood City, and in a fit of mental illness I agreed to basically sit in the bug and "steer" it. Which means that Paul and Ben were in the front car and I was alone in the VW they were towing.

The deal was that if I needed them to stop I would flash my lights and/or honk my horn. It wasn't until we were careening down the road that I found out that: a) the horn didn't work, and b) the lights didn't work. I tried slewing from side to side, I tried braking, I tried everything I could think of. Nothing worked.

That was one of the most frightening things I have ever done.

We got where we were going in one piece, by the way. I don't know how.

The second was when Rachel and Tim asked me to help them move from Tacoma to Sacramento. I thought that meant that I would be packing and unpacking the truck, but no, it meant that I was DRIVING the truck. In the rain. And the snow. And towing one of their cars. I was terrified, especially going over the mountains that separate Oregon from California.

We got where we were going in one piece, by the way. I don't know how.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Short Order

The other day Cameron arrived about the time we were having breakfast. Sally had decided on French Toast, Cameron decided on cereal. "No, Cameron, we're having French Toast".

That brought back pleasant memories of cooking short-order Saturday breakfast for my family every once in a while. I had done it for the staff of the scout camp I cooked for one summer, and it was a lot of fun.

Well short-order cooking for my 9 was fun, too, and a lot of work, and a lot of mess.

Am I My Father

I don't know. Well, no, I'm not. But every time I see myself in the mirror, I see him.