Saturday, August 27, 2011

What does it mean?

I looked back and found that nobody has left a comment on any of my posts since January 29th, and here it will be August 29th in two days. I guess that means I can say anything about anybody and not offend them.

On the birth of a grandchild

We are still in Toledo, Oregon, following the birth of our 14th grandchild, Quentin, Amy and Ben's 7th. We are leaving for our home in Spokane in the morning; we wanted to make sure everything was on track before we left.

As I was in bed last night, waiting to go to sleep, my thoughts went back to the birth of Mildred and my 7th, Mary.

I could recall almost none of it! I was overtaken with sadness that I am still feeling this morning.

As I look back I remember so little. I was so busy trying to provide for our growing family that I'm afraid I left a lot of the child rearing experiences, and memories, up to Mildred. And now she's not here to help me remember.

Some things I remember well. Actually, I do remember a lot. But I especially remember sitting together in Sacrament Meeting, and how good that was. I miss that now, a lot, especially when I have to go to church alone because Sally has to stay home with her mother. It's really hard not to be an 'active' dad any more.

Back to the births. I remember Ruth's well. Of course it was our first, plus there were complications. I remember Deborah's well. But again, there were complications. The rest are a blur.

I think another part of this blue funk I am in is that I just plain miss my kids, and of course, their mother. I love my new family, and love spending time with them, but I don't get to see my crowd very often, and that hurts.

I actually talk to most of them quite often, usually at least a couple of times a week. It's the first, Ruth, and the last, Mary, that I can't seem to connect with very often. Coincidentally (?) they are the only two who have never been in my home in Spokane.

I have faith that once we move past this life, all our memories will become clear to us, and I suppose that will have to suffice for now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Drug-Free School Zone

The dean of Science Fiction, Robert Heinlein, used an odd literary device to show how silly we can really be. In several of his earlier novels he would, at the beginning of selected chapters, start the chapter out with "headlines" from current (i.e. 22nd century) news media.

One of the ones I still, to this day, get a chuckle out of, was that the state legislature of some state had passed a law setting the value of pi to an even 3.14.

I was passing an elementary school the other day and noticed a sign that read "Drug-Free School Zone". AS IF JUST PUTTING UP A SIGN MADE IT SO.

I don't wonder if that isn't part of the problem, not part of the solution. We want to solve this problem, but instead of getting in there and really really doing something, we find catchy phrases (Just Say No?) and put up signs (Drug-Free School Zone) and then call it good.

For all I know, the Drug-Free School Zone is just what the community needed, and the sign really is keeping drugs out of that school. But my wife and I took a different route. We actually taught our kids what drugs do and what to do when confronted with them.

I know, that's a novel approach.

P.S. Had I known then what I know now I would have dumped the television set off a cliff.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Virgil Carter

I went to High School with Virgil Carter.

Now if you are about my age and you follow BYU football, or the Chicago Bears, you know who Virgil Carter is. He set a bunch of records while at BYU and was the first LDS quarterback in the NFL.

Today after church my wife was talking to a sister in the lobby. We are still in Newport, OR, waiting for the new grandson (should be tomorrow). I wasn't really part of the conversation until I heard her mention Virgil Carter. I said "I know him, I went to High School with him".

Well, long story short, her husband is Virgil's older brother Mike, she brought him over and introduced me and we talked for an hour about his famous brother, and even better, about Folsom High school and all the teachers and kids we knew in common.

Now this doesn't even related to the church, because I didn't join until years later. Truly, It's a Small World After All.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


As my family knows, Dungeness crab is one of my most favorite foods. I remember fondly sitting around the dining room table with a pot of fresh cooked crabs that my mother had bought, spending hours cracking, shelling and eating. Not to mention what I have eaten in the many years since then.

Well I find myself in Newport, OR. We are waiting for our daughter Amy to have her baby; when we arrived here a week and a half ago she was in labor. Still no baby. So my son-in-law Ben and two grandkids (Lara and Brenden) and I went crabbing yesterday.

What a time!

Newport sits on the central Oregon coast at Yaquina Bay. Both the ocean and the bay floor must be littered with crabs, and not just Dungeness. But there are lots of those.

The process is simple. A crab ring costs $6/day to rent, and enough raw chicken breast to keep you going all day is $2. There are plenty of spots, piers, to bait the ring and throw it off the side. Wait 10-15 minutes and haul it up.

The law allows, for Dungeness,  only keeping males that are at least 5 3/4 inches across, and there is a per-day limit. But the gender difference is very obvious and they give you a ruler. For other species, such as red rock, there are no restrictions.

So it was cold and windy, and boring while waiting out the 10 minutes. But we had a blast and went home with two nice Dungeness and six red rock crabs.

I don't have a license, so I couldn't have anything to do with the process, other than observing. If it weren't such a chore to get to Newport from Spokane (450 miles down through the Tri-Cities and Portland) I would probably get one.

Ben cooked them and he and I dug out all the meat. We decided that red rock were too small, but they were just as tasty as the Dungeness.

I slept like a log last night.