Sunday, July 29, 2018

Dear Kids,
         As if the Allen family reunion wasn’t spectacular enough, Lucy’s baptism in the Provo River topped everything.  I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful setting (we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jann Leffler for that), and there were so many wonderful people there! (At least 60.) And the ordinance itself was beautiful.  Lucy was very gutsy to climb down into that river, and Seth did a wonderful job with the baptism.  I know every baptism is a wonderful event, but we’ll always remember this one.  (Dallin says he wants to be baptized there, but his birthday is at the height of the spring runoff, and that would be a totally different experience.)
         We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sharon for hosting the wonderful after-party at our house, and for everyone who helped.  Which means everyone.  Thanks for the wonderful food you all brought!  Thanks to those who set up the pop-ups and set out the chairs.  We had plenty of seating, for all those people.  Thanks especially to those who cleaned up!  At one point I staggered upstairs and fell asleep on my bed, while the little teenage girls were gathered in our master bath, coloring their hair.  When I woke up, they were gone.  When I woke up again this morning and went downstairs, I was delighted to see that everything was put back and cleaned up.  I can’t thank you all enough.
         So today the fun continues at Paul’s house, with Joshua’s birthday party (and mine) at 4:00 pm.  Paul’s address is 1042 Lindi Way in Layton. I’m sure it will be a blast.
         And after that, the fun will pick up again at our Ackerson family reunion at Pine View, starting late Thursday.  Thanks to Nora for taking charge, and for posting the plan.  We’ve read it over, and we’re really excited for all the events and activities.
        See you all this afternoon, and again starting Thursday!
        Love, Mom

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dear Kids,
         All the fun events are getting really close.  The Allen reunion is next Saturday, the 28th, at the same park (Riverwoods) from 9 am until 1 or 2 or so.  All the details are in my last two letters.  Be there or be square!  Then, that same day, Lucy’s baptism will be at 5 pm in the Provo River.  Pretend you’re going to the cabin, but when you’re on Lower River Road, don’t turn right at 1000 East.  Keep going a couple more miles to 3544 East (you’re on Hwy 35.)  You’ll know you’re there when you see a cougar on top of a tall tree trunk.  Turn right just before the cougar.  It’s not really a driveway, just a track. There will probably be somebody standing there to direct you. You’ll drive past the house and through a couple of pastures, and somebody will show you where to park.  It will be a great event!  Yes, there’s plenty of water there.  It’s at least waist deep, according to the locals.  Rick Gunnerson, the bishop of Woodland ward, will be presiding, because it’s in his ward’s boundaries.  The after-party is at our house, and Sharon will probably be giving food assignments.
         And the next day is Josh’s birthday party, and mine, at Paul’s (1042 Lindi Way, Layton) at 4 pm.  Be THERE or be square.  It will be hamburgers and hot dogs, and you can bring a side dish, if you want. Then, just four days later, our Ackerson family reunion will start, at Pineview Reservoir.  It goes from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning.  Nora’s getting out the schedule.  After their trip to Mount Rushmore, she and the girls went right to camp, and they just got home yesterday.  Go, Nora!
         We had Charlie and Matthew here from Tuesday to Friday, and it was lots of fun. I couldn’t do much, but they totally entertained themselves.  On Thursday I had to be gone all day, so Dad took them swimming at the rec center, and to lunch at the Food Town deli.  Friday we drove to Heber where I had an eye appointment (I’m going to be having cataract surgery on my left eye), and Dad took the boys to Midway to pick up Stu, Isaac, and McKay, who had been staying at Donna’s.  Then we all drove to Centerville and dropped the boys off at Nora’s house, where James was in charge.  I’m sure the fun continued there.
         In just a couple of weeks, Allen will be moving to a condo in Centerville.  It miraculously opened up for him!  It’s in the same complex where I picked up Tina a couple of years ago, so you know it’s a magical place.  And what a short commute for him!  It’s only a couple of blocks from the police station.
         Life is good. I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dear Kids,
         There’s so much fun coming up, I’ll try to give you all the details.  The first thing is the Allen family reunion July 28, and besides last week’s information, here’s more from Bonnie: “I wanted to just add a few things to update you all on the upcoming park reunion! It's looking like it will be hot, so I decided to rent an inflatable slide that will have water running on it (hopefully!) to keep the kids cool. If you want to contribute to the cost of that, you can just give me $20. We will have a water cooler, and other drinks, but bring sunscreen, toys like bikes, footballs, frisbees, etc  And if the kids want to play on the slide, clothes that can get wet. Does anyone know who brought the volleyball net last time? It would be great if someone could bring that again as well. With a crowd this large, its hard to plan a lot of structured activities? So mostly we will just be visiting with each other, which is the best part!”
         Then, of course, Lucy’s baptism will be that evening at 5:00 in the Provo River.  I’ll write the directions in my next letter.  It’s about ten minutes further than coming to our house, so you can plan the time.  The after-party will be at our house, and I think it will be a dinner with hamburgers and hot dogs.  Sharon is planning it.
         Then, the next day, July 29,  is Josh’s birthday party at Paul’s house in Layton (1042 Lindi Way) at 4 pm.  Again there will be hamburgers and hot dogs, along with cake and ice cream.  You can bring a side dish to share.  We’ll sort of be celebrating my birthday, too, since it’s the same day as Josh’s. 
         Nora’s getting together the agenda for our upcoming Ackerson reunion (August 2-5).  If there’s a particular meal you want to fix, text her and let her know.  I asked about bathroom accommodations at our campground, and they’re sort of primitive: pit toilets, running water (but not warm) and a garbage dump.  If you want to shower, Nora’s house is only 35-40 minutes away.  She said anybody who wants to stay overnight there is also welcome.
         Andy and Renae came by our house to visit on Friday.  They’ve been home from their mission less than two weeks, so they’re still in culture shock.  They’ve been serving in Dad’s part of Virginia for the last 18 months, so the three of them had fun comparing places and roads.  I asked Andy what the strangest thing was about coming home, and he said people in Brigham City are too white and too old.  Hummm.
         Here’s something that never happened to me in Salt Lake: Claren Palmer, my only piano student that comes to our house, showed up Monday morning for his lesson.  He said he had a present for me, and then he stuck a huge rainbow trout right in my face. He’d been down at the Jordanelle since 6 am fishing.  (Left his home in West Valley at 5.)   I told him he could keep his fish, so he asked for a plastic bag to stash it in.  Then he had his piano lesson.
         Lots of love to you all!  Mom

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dear Kids,
         Here’s a message from Bonnie for all of you:  Our "every other year in the park" Allen reunion is approaching, and the date we have chosen is Saturday July 28th!  It will be held at the same place as always, in the Provo Riverview park.  (4620 N 300 West, Provo, UT) We have the pavilion from 9:00 to 2:00 p.m.  Please make this a priority since we only do this every other year, and for just a few hours. It is always fun to see how large and amazing this family has grown and for cousins to reconnect!  Bring your own lunch and we will have a few fun games and activities planned. If anyone wants to help with activities, please let me know.
          I’m really excited for this reunion, and for Lucy’s baptism that evening at 5:00.  We’re in the middle of a drought, and the river is really low now, but Jan Lefler said the water is always waist deep in that one spot.  If I had a backhoe I would go dredge it deeper there, just to make sure, but of course it will be fine.
          Because of the drought, there’s a total ban on fireworks in Summit county, so Dad and I went to Centerville for the 4th of July.  Nora’s neighborhood was also part of a ban,  but Allen told me that Main Street was OK.  So went went down to the church just below their house to set off our fireworks.  I had half of a Costco pack that John split with me, and James had his own collection.  (We had already done sparklers and snakes and poppers up at Nora’s house, while it was still light.)  We waited until it was totally dark, and then started setting things off.   My aerials were totally spectacular.  (McKay had his hands over his ears, but he was totally stupefied.)  Then, just as we were finishing, a kid came running up with two giant bags filled with more aerials.  He lit a punk from our lighter, and then started setting them off.  Of course he needed us for an audience, and we totally enjoyed his show!  Besides that, the whole valley was alive with fireworks.  What a night!  Dad and I slept over, because it was way too late to drive home.
         There’s no major medical news from us this week, but I’ve made one giant improvement.  For the last three months, ever since I had radiation, I haven’t been able to even look at dark chocolate.  (Who could have believed it?)  But now, suddenly, I’m loving it again.  I’ve tackled the stack of “Midnight Reverie” I collected on Mothers Day, and relishing every bite.  So life is really good again.
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dear Kids,
         My only medical news this week is that I had a tooth pulled.  It was nothing, compared to all the other medical procedures I’ve been through.  Dad was there holding my hand, of course, and Dr. Condie worked out the tooth in two different pieces.  (After several shots to numb me all around.)  It was a back molar, and it had been failing for a long time.  I won’t even have an implant to replace it. With the type of food I eat now, I may never use my molars again.  Chocolate pudding and pumpkin cookies–who needs molars for those?
         Thursday afternoon Dad and I had eye exams at John’s office, which is always fun.  We love to watch John on the job.  And of course we admired all his state-of-the art equipment.  He showed us pictures of exactly what’s going on in our eyes.  Dad got new prescriptions for his glasses, but I have to wait.  I have opposite prisms in my eyes, which causes me to see double. That sometimes happens if one eye has had cataract surgery, and the other hasn’t.  So I have to see an opthamologist about having the other eye done.  Julie made the appointment for me–Julie, sitting at the front desk, looking totally professional.  I remember how odd it seemed the first time John examined my eyes, to think my little boy was grown up, and did I trust him to put drops in my eyes, and now here’s my granddaughter sitting at the front desk!  Yes, I feel old, but it’s wonderful to have all of you kids and grandkids turning out so well.
         Later that afternoon we drove over to Woodland to scope out Lucy’s baptismal site on the Provo River.  It’s the same spot where Mark and Tamry Allen’s son was baptized a couple of years ago, and Tamry’s aunt showed us around.  We’ll have to drive through a couple of pastures to get to the site, but she said she’d move the cows before then.  The river is really low now, mostly rocks, but there’s a spot near the far bank where it’s always waist deep.  Luckily it’s not high water, and we won’t have to tie a rope onto Lucy to keep her from being swept away.  In an e-mail to me, she wrote, “I hope when I fly out I get to be baptized. I hope when Dad leaves me down in the water I can feel the spirit inside me.”  Yes, Lucy, I hope we’ll all feel the Spirit.  It will be a wonderful day.  (July 28.)  Sharon will be sending out cards with directions and information about the baptism. And since the Allen family reunion will be that same morning at Riverwoods Park, I’m sure Bonnie will be sending out information on that.  I’ll pass it on to you as soon as I get it.
         So much fun! So much to be grateful for!  Lots of love to everybody! Mom