Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Conference is coming up next weekend! It’s funny how things have changed over the years–the cabin used to always be our conference refuge, partly because of the beautiful location, and partly because it had our biggest TV screen–32". But now we have a 75" in our basement, where the conference speakers will truly be bigger than life. And we have a 55" screen upstairs. And plenty of seating. So if anybody wants to watch conference here at our house, with us, you’re welcome. If you want to go to the cabin, of course you’ll be welcome there, too. For Saturday night, I’m planning my usual soup and bread dinner here at 5 pm. Any of the guys who want to go to the priesthood session with Dad can do that. Afterwards, we’ll have ice cream and toppings, and if it’s warm enough, we might have a fire out in the fire pit, and make smores. If you want to sleep over here or at the cabin, you can do that. Sunday at noon, between the sessions, we’ll have our usual Sunday dinner at the cabin. I heard a rumor that Tom will be making dutch oven. Be there, or lose out totally!
           Glenn and Jana McGettigan came to visit us yesterday, and we had a lot of fun, talking over our lives, and going to lunch at High Mountain Drug. (Still the best burgers in Utah, in my opinion.) We bought a cheesecake on our way home, and ate it while we played games and watched a movie. They didn’t stay over and go to church with us, like they usually do, because Jana is choir director in their new ward. But we still had plenty of fun. Nora and some of her kids came by, too! I love having people here! When we moved here, I thought we were going to the ends of the earth, and nobody would ever find us. But look at us now!
          Our new little cat, Solar Eclipse, never came back, and we’ll never know what happened to him. John said there was a great horned owl in Heber that was carrying off chickens and small cats, and maybe that happened to Solar. It was just at dusk when he disappeared, prime hunting time. I know he was orange, and might have been deficient when he grew up, but he was so cute, and he purred all the time! It’s hard to get over losing him.
          We’ve had two snow storms, but winter isn’t really coming. We need to have a long, warm fall, like last year. I’m hoping for a reprieve.
           Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I’m sorry to report that our new little cat, Solar Eclipse, has disappeared. It was last Saturday night, while Dad and I were gone to the adult session of stake conference. Solar had been playing in the yard with Tina. (Yes, they had become friends. They raced and chased together.) I should have put him in the garage when we left, but he’d been here for nearly three weeks, and I assumed he’d be OK. When we got home, he was gone. It was a nice evening, and a lot of people were out walking, so maybe he followed somebody. He was so friendly, he would run up to anybody! They might have assumed he was a stray. Or maybe he got homesick and set out for Idaho. The worst would have been if he was run over and somebody disposed of the body and didn’t tell us. We’ll never know. It’s heartbreaking to lose a cat. Tina is very smug now, and happy to have us all to herself.
          We might be having an early winter this year. We had a generous rainstorm on Friday, and it’s 35 degrees this morning. It’s supposed to be down in 20's this coming week. Naturally I’m wishing it will stay warm longer, like last year–I was still raking rocks in the yard in November, while Dad was gone to Hawaii with Allen. I did a whole dry creek bed while they were gone. I wish we could have a long warm fall again this year, but it’s cooling off pretty fast.
          When I say my prayers at night, I always ask the Lord’s help for all our grandchildren in school. I mention Julie especially now, since she’s in college. Then I realized that Sharon is back in school, for a nursing degree, and James too–he’s getting his masters degree from Georgia Tech Online. So I mention them, too. Is anybody else in any special program? I never could have made it through college without the help of the Lord, and I assume everybody else needs it too.
           I’ve bailed out of Francis 2nd ward (again) and I’m back in the Spanish Branch (again.) I love it there. On any given Sunday, you never know what you’re going to do–they ask you when you walk in. Last Sunday I led the music in Sacrament meeting. Today I might be doing something else. I don’t have any official calling yet. But I always look forward to going. You really feel the Spirit there.
           I love you all! Mom

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Thursday night Dad and I met Allen and Carson at the Centerpoint Theater to watch Ellie in "Seussical." She was one of the tigers in the Jungle of Nool. We really enjoyed the production! I always love watching our grandkids in their musicals!
          After the production, we stayed over at Nora’s house. We always sleep on their living room floor, on our camping mats. I know the basement will be finished one of these days, and there will be a guest suite down there, but in the meantime we really like the living room. In the morning, while it’s still dark, you can see the lights of all the cars down on the interstate, and the Frontrunner, going into Salt Lake. Where we live, nobody’s going much of anywhere in the morning. Such a difference!
           Later in the morning, after most of the kids had left for school, and Nora was giving Dad a haircut, McKay and I walked up the switchback trail hunting for "spiders." (They’re actually black beetles.) McKay carried a jar and I had a big spoon to scoop them up with. We got six of them, of all sizes. McKay was fascinated watching them "fight." Nora wasn’t as impressed, and screwed the lid down tight on the jar. She said they had plenty of air to last them all day.
          Our Toyota Sienna has been suffering for almost three years with a dent I put in the front fender (a metal dumpster I misjudged), plus a large rusted spot and some flaking paint on the bumper. We asked around here about body shops, and everybody recommended Mick Clegg in Marion. His shop blends into the scenery–grassy pastureland, lots of cows, pine trees–not your usual West Valley body shop. He did a fabulous job on our car, and he only charged us $600, and it took less than two days. We definitely recommend this guy!
          For the last 32 years I’ve always been in charge of my mission reunion, every October. This year, the guy who said he would host it was out of the country, and another guy I called sounded so tired and used-up that I didn’t want to bother him. I made a list of everybody who has ever hosted our reunions. Two of them have died, two have recently lost their wives, and one has dementia. Of the people who are still OK, most of them are on missions, or serving as mission presidents or temple presidents. Finally I sent out a letter to everybody saying maybe it was time to say "we had a good run" and let it go. I’ve had lots of responses. Everybody wants to keep our reunions going, but nobody volunteered to take over my job. One guy, just leaving on a mission to Latvia, said he would host a big final 50-year reunion when he gets home. So we all have that to look forward to now, but I won’t have the stress and fun of doing it every year.
          Life is good. I love you all. Mom

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I was sorry to miss the farewell party for Sharon that you guys had at Nora’s on Sunday night, but I was completely partied out. Besides our family reunion, and the wonderful trip to Idaho for the eclipse, and having Sharon’s family here, we’d also just had a party with our former Sunday night study group. Mark and Laura Ulrich are back home from Manchester, England, where he was the mission president for three years, so we got together at Spencers’ house for a dinner. All of our old group came, including Herb and Amy Rasemussen. They’re both past 90 now! Mark and Laura had lots to tell us, and of course they were great mission parents! We talked until nearly midnight. We hadn’t seen any of our old study group for more than three years, and we decided we need to have a party together at least once a year now. I volunteered our house for next summer. That means I absolutely have to get the yard finished. I’m glad to have a goal.
          We’ve had a cardboard prototype of a 75" TV on our basement wall for more than a year now, but now we finally have the real thing! John picked it up at Costco last week. We also needed his help installing it, because it weighs 91 pounds. Now it’s up and running. If anybody wants to come and watch Zorro tonight, you can see it on a really big screen. Or you can bring a blu ray disc of a movie you like, if you’ve got one. The TV is ultra HD, 4k, all that technology, so it’s capable of a really great picture. I’m sure we’ll have lots of good movie nights now.
          Last night Dad and I drove to West Valley for Adam Fulton’s wedding reception, and we stopped on the way at O’Reilley auto parts. When we came back out to our car, a man was sitting in it! He had locked himself in. (For just once, we’d left the car unlocked.) There was a good Samaritan on his phone trying to get the police, because the man was disoriented and had been acting crazy. Finally the good Samaritan coaxed the crazy guy out of our car, and led him away. It struck me, what I miss about West Valley–the crazies! Everybody in Kamas Valley is so normal! We went on to the wedding reception and had a great time there. So many old friends! I couldn’t count them all.
        The fun goes on! Lots of love, Mom