Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is She or Isn't She?

The older kids used to tell Deborah she was dead. I guess she believed them, because she would come to us, crying about it :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas, 2008

Christmas is really hard these days. I am torn between spending it with my children and spending it with my wife. I wish I didn't have to make that choice, but there it is.

For reasons that I won't go into right now (no, I'm not dying), I have chosen this year to spend Christmas and New Year's with my children. I am happily going to be able to do that in two stops; Mary and Mark will be in Houston the week before Christmas and Deborah will be there for the whole holiday.

So a week from tomorrow, the 15th, I will be flying to Houston. Mary and Mark will already be there and Deborah comes in the next day. I'll get to know Ian, finally.

The day after Christmas I will fly to Salt Lake City. I would like to be able to spend Deborah's birthday on the 27th with her, but I just couldn't make the flights and my budget work out.

I am planning on staying with Paul and Melina, as long as I don't have too severe a reaction to their cat. I don't know what Plan B is on that front.

Paul and Melina have something planned for New Year's Eve, so that night everyone else is having a party, probably at Rachel and Tim's. I will spend other time with the girls too, I just don't have it figured out yet.

Then I go home on the 2nd, Friday.

I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, though I also feel bad about not being with Sally and Emma on their first Christmas without Walt. But as Art Williams used to say, "All you can do is all you can do".

One other thing came up which almost scuttled the trip. I just found out (minutes from pressing the "Buy this plane ticket" button) that I am being moved to a different project at work, and that I might have to stick around to get trained on it. Luckily, that got ironed out.

I wish could come bearing Christmas gifts for everyone, but not this time. I am working on a sorta hand-made gift for the kids, one per kid, but I'm afraid it won't be finished in time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bonnie in France

I had two favorite cousins, Ginny May on my mom's side and Bonnie on my dad's side.

I spent part of my mission in the south of France, not on the Riviera. I spent time on the Riviera as well, but this one summer I was farther west than that.

My cousin Bonnie got a job there! She spent a summer as (if I remember correctly) something along the lines of a chambermaid at a resort hotel on the Mediterranean.

I got the opportunity to spend some time with her, which was really a lot of fun.

All I Ever Wanted To Be Was A Dad

Even as a teenager, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a dad.

Of course I went through all the usual stuff that young boys went through in those days, cowboy, fireman, astronaut. But they were all childhood dreams that passed.

I used to even pick babies up out of shopping carts and play with them. You could do that in those days, and moms didn't mind. The best I can do now is to make faces and try to get a smile.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Conference on Short Wave

I had found out from Elder LeGrand Richards that Sister Nelson, my Mission Mom, was his granddaughter. But I didn't find out until later that Present (Joseph Fielding) Nelson was Joseph Fielding Smith's grandson.

So he had spent his whole life among the General Authorities and knew a good many of them.

I was odd man in the mission two different times and also served in the city of Geneva for three months. The Mission Home, located in Chambésy, had a short-wave radio in the family section, and the missionaries in the Mission Home and in Genève were invited to listen to General Conference on the short wave radio. At 2:00 o'clock in the morning.

I only remember getting to do that once, but it was so special being there and doing that. President Nelson could tell us just by the sound of the voice who was speaking.

In trouble with Homeland Security

We were in a real rush to get Emma to the airport for her trip to Salt Lake City and I ended up dropping Sally, Emma and all her stuff at the curb while I parked.

The plan was that we would push her in a wheelchair right up to the gate, then leave her in the good hands of the Delta folks.

I was so rushed when I parked the car that I forgot to do what I had planned to do, which was to empty my pockets of everything that was suspicious, especially my Swiss Army Knife.

So we got to the security checkpoint, I dutifully emptied my pockets into the little basket, and they dutifully told me I couldn't take the knife in.

In a panic now, because I didn't want Sally to have to push that wheelchair up the ramp, and not having time to take it back out to the car, I tipped up a garbage can and stashed it underneath.

On the way back I retrieved it, thinking all was fine. Well, it wasn't. I got nabbed by a very stern security guard who told me that was "artfully concealing a banned item" :(

But he let me go "this time".

Thanksgiving at the LTM

When I was there in the fall of 1967 it wasn't called the Missionary Training Center, it was the Language Training Mission.

These days all the missionaries pass through the MTC, but then you got one week's worth of training in Salt Lake and if you were going to an English-speaking mission, or there was no language training for your mission, you just left after the one week.

The LTM was in a building called Knight-Magnum hall, on the very south-eastern corner of campus. It had been a residence hall (dorm) in it's day, but didn't have enough living space for all the missionaries being trained, as there had to be classrooms. So my district lived around the corner in a house on 9th East.

Well, my group got to spend Christmas in the mission field, but Thanksgiving in the LTM.

We had sloppy-joes.

The Mormon Church in Pittsburgh

I had made plans to stop off in Pennsylvania to see my mother's family on the way home from my mission.

At that point the only ones who lived there that I really knew that still drove were my Aunt Jay and Uncle Allan. They came out to the Pittsburgh airport to pick me up and on the ride back to the farm they were so excited about the Mormon Church in the area.

We drove past it, and it was a Reorganized chapel :)

Azteca Coffee

In the Spring on 1975 when I was theoretically going to graduate from Brigham Young University (I ended up not, short one class), my parents came to Provo to attend the graduation ceremony.

They wanted to take us out to dinner and we chose a restaurant that we had never been to (we were very poor) called (and I hope I'm remembering this right) El Azteca.

El Azteca was one block off the south end of campus on the second floor of a small building on the corner. You had to live in the area to know it was there.

Well after dinner my parents wanted a cup of coffee. My dad asked the waitress, who gave him a puzzled look and said "Let me go check".

She came back some time later and told him "We used to have some coffee, but it spoiled!"

Only in Utah.

I understand, by the way, that it takes a long time for coffee to spoil :)