Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Kids,
      First off, I need to mention Aaron’s baptism, which is this coming Saturday, Dec. 3, at 11:15 am, at John and Heather’s stake center in Heber. If you’re coming from the north on Highway 40, turn left on 500 North (at Smiths) and go to the second church building on your left. If you have questions, you can call John or Heather at their house, 435 654 3140. I can hardly believe that whole batch of kids is turning eight in the next year (plus a day.) Let’s see–there’s Aaron, Benjamin, Ellie, Sarah, Emma, and Charlie. Who could believe these little kids are growing up so fast?
      We had a riotous Thanksgiving at the cabin, and we missed those of you who couldn’t be there. Thursday morning we had our first annual Ackerson Family Turkey Trot, from the cabin to the beaver pond and back. Dad had the Yerf Dog at the pond, and the runners had to touch it before they turned around to go back. There were only four of us who did the whole race, because of fatigue, recent surgery (Allen) and other distractions. Bevan came in first, with Paul, Donna, and me coming in after him. Next year we’ll have medals for first, second, and third, and the winners will get to wear the medals for Thanksgiving day. Then we’ll save them for the next year. We’ll try to have it every Thanksgiving morning, probably at 10:00 am. This year was just a trial run.
      We also had our first annual Turkey Shoot, and the turkeys were black and white. The event was held the morning after Thanksgiving, and the turkey carcass was the bait. Tom was the only contestant. He bagged two trophies, and I paid him $5.00 apiece for them. We plan to make the black and white turkey shoot an annual event, too.
      Chuck and I have become regular patrons of the Kamas fitness center. We needed to prove we were residents, to qualify for free senior passes, and the guy at the desk asked if we had utility bills or drivers licenses to prove we lived there. All I had was a ward list with our names and our Woodland address, but he said that was fine. Saturday afternoon we went swimming there with John and his kids, and we had a great time. Let us know if you want to do a swimming activity with us!
      Speaking of our ward, they just put in a new High Priests group leadership, and it includes Jack Robb, Jack Johnson, and Jack Prescott. (There’s one other guy, who isn’t named Jack.) So, why all the Jacks? Is it a country name? A Kamas Valley thing? Does anybody know?
      More of life’s deep questions! I love you all! Mom

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Kids,
      There’s a winter storm blowing in. Hopefully there will be enough snow to cover up the dreary brown ground, and the dead leaves I never did rake up. Dad and I will be leaving for the cabin when he gets home from work, but we’re stopping at the Kamas fitness center on the way, to go swimming. Ever since we found out that we could swim there for free (since we’re residents, and senior citizens to boot) we’ve had the plan to stop and swim every Friday afternoon on our way to the cabin. But it hasn’t worked out even once. So wish us luck. By the way, we’re keeping swimsuits at the cabin now, so anybody who wants to meet us and the fitness center and go swimming, just let us know.
      Sharon had an ultrasound, and she’s having a . . . . What, they didn’t tell her? She and Seth want to be surprised, so they asked not to know the sex of the baby. Sharon says that since they already have at least one of each, it doesn’t matter, and they want to be surprised. Dad and I were surprised nine times, at the birth of each of you, and I can tell you it was pretty exciting. But it's also very exciting when each new grandchild is born, whether we know what it’s going to be or not.
      For the next two months, I won’t be cooking Sunday dinner at the cabin on Sunday. For November, it will be Thanksgiving, and for December, the day after Christmas, when we have our sledding party. Not that I don’t like to cook, I still do, but Dad and I are in both the stake and the ward Christmas choirs, and they both practice on Sunday night, back to back. So we go to the Francis ward building first, for ward choir, and then we drive up to the stake center in Marion, for the stake choir. (Billy Sue McNeil is directing it, and who can say no to her?) I know I’ve never been a choir person, but it was only laziness on my part. All the time we were in Fifth ward, it was easier to take a nap or have my chance at the computer when Dad went off to choir. In fact, I usually reminded him when it was time to go. Now I’m lovin’ it, going together with him. Besides, our Sundays at the cabin are so quiet, it’s great to have someplace to go.
      We’re looking forward to Thanksgiving next week. If you haven’t told us your plans, please call me!
      Love, Mom

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I just came home from a funeral. Dennis Creek, a member of our chess club, died suddenly on Monday of a heart attack. He was one-of-a-kind and nobody can replace him. In October, he did a puppet show at his house, where he played the Wizard of Oz. He told us we could come if we brought grandchildren, so we got Nora’s family to come. Of course Nora’s kids were sad when they heard the Wizard had died. Dad and I are finding out, since we’ve been volunteering at the Harman Center, that when your friends are mostly old people, they tend to die. Dennis was our second fatality in chess club. He was the best chess player we had, and now that he’s gone, I’m #1. Not that I ever wanted that.
      The same day we found out Dennis had died, we were on our way to the Harman Center, and there was a dead kitten in the road. I felt bad that we didn’t have time to stop and pick him up and give him a decent burial. Four hours later, after chess club, I went back to the spot with a shovel and a box, and the kitten was still there. He hadn’t been flattened, either. I guess everybody just drove around him. Anyway, I brought the body home in the box and Dad buried it deep in our garden. Benjamin asked me how many cats are buried there, and honestly, I’ve lost count.
      If the weather weren’t so dreary, maybe I wouldn’t be so obsessed with dead cats and friends. Paul pointed out that November is a very depressing month. It’s cold and dark, and all the plants are dead, but there isn’t any snow or Christmas lights or holidays yet. I’m glad Thanksgiving is coming up soon. Make sure you let me know if you plan to come to the cabin.
      Katie Brooke James will be getting married next April. They want to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, so they had to reserve a room way in advance–otherwise it would probably still be a secret. (Sound familiar, anyone?) She’s marrying Kevin Cheesman (pronounced Chessman) from Orem. His dad was my lab partner in chemistry at Orem High. Together, we broke more test tubes and beakers than any other partnership in the class. (It was all glass back then.) Anyway, we had the biggest bill to pay at the end of the year. I’ll have to see if he still remembers that.
      Dead cats, broken glass . . . sorry this letter is so dreary. Really, I’m doin’ great and lovin’ it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dear Kids,
      It’s snowing like crazy outside this morning. We just had the Blizzak tires put on the Sienna, so we’re ready for anything. Normally, we’re at the cabin right now, Saturday morning, but we stayed here last night because there’s a baby shower in Provo (at Andrea Hill’s house) for Carly, Gary Allen’s wife. I figured Dad could visit Grandpa Allen while I go to the shower, and then we’ll drive up Provo Canyon to our beloved Kamas Valley.
      Speaking of which, I went visiting teaching again last Sunday afternoon, tracting out the last lady on my list that I hadn’t found yet, and she was out in her garage polishing her saddles. She’s an authentic cowgirl! (I’m just a phony, as everybody knows.) She introduced me to all five of her horses. They do “Reining” competitions, which are special routines of turning and twisting and running. (I watched some videos of it on Youtube.) I asked her if she wears fancy clothing for the competitions, so she showed me all her cowgirl hats and boots and glittery shirts. They were stowed in the living quarters of a horse trailer that’s as long as a house. I was so interested that she told me I really ought to get into horses, but I told her that we’re spread too thin already. Still, I’m glad to have a new friend and role model.
      A few days ago, I heard a strange scratching sound in the laundry room, and it turned out to be a large guinea pig, outside, in the window well. He was eating our screen. He didn’t run away when I tapped the window, so I figured he was pretty tame. Probably a family pet tossed out. But WE didn’t want him. I got Oreo and showed him the guinea pig, and he turned away. So I took him outside and pointed his face at the guy, and he hissed. I tossed him down into the window well, and he bounced back up again and ran under the deck. Finally I remembered what we did with that badger, years ago, so I found a plank and set it in the window well so the guinea pig could just walk up and out. Which he must have done, because when I checked later, he was gone. He couldn’t possibly have survived the cold temperatures we’ve had, so I feel bad about it all. I have worse feelings toward whoever let him go.
      Thanksgiving is coming up on the 24th! (It’s Anna’s birthday, too.) Let me know if you’re coming to the cabin, either for dinner (about 1:00 pm) or for pie (later) or both. Dad and I will be there from Wednesday afternoon on through the weekend. We DON’T plan to go to the outlet stores late Thursday night, but if any of you want to go, we’ll watch your kids.
      Lots of love, Mom