Sunday, August 29, 2021

 Dear Kids,

We’re really looking forward to Super Sunday this afternoon at the cabin at 3pm.  Donna and Bevan are in charge, and the food will be stupendous, like always.  Totally unpredictable, but stupendous.  The new play yard is totally put together, except for the roof over the clubhouse, so kids will be able to try out the swings (including the baby swing) and the slide.  If anybody has extra energy and muscle, they can help Dad heave up the roof.  It’s been anchored down with the anchors Lifetime provided, but we’ll have to watch kids swinging to see if we need more to keep it from tipping over.

We’re tentatively planning a campfire here at our house a week from tonight, and we’ll roast hot dogs and make smores.  It’s Labor Day weekend, so we’ve gotta celebrate.  It all depends on the weather and the wind, however, so I’ll let you know for sure in my letter next Sunday. 

I’ve finally finished round 4 of my chemo, so I can start feeling better now.  Every round brings some new symptom, and this time my fingers swelled up and the skin started peeling off.  It’s called Hand-Foot syndrome, only I wasn’t lucky enough to have it on my feet.  The treatment is that you rub your hands with “Udderly smooth creme,” which comes in a container decorated like a cow.  You also wear nitrile gloves most of the time.  It’s already working on my hands, so they’re not as scary as before.  Next Friday I’m having another CT scan which will show how much my tumors have shrunk.  I know they have, because I’m breathing so well now.  Even the smoke from the California fires isn’t making me gasp.

We’ve been putting Scout’s dry cat foot in the garage recently, since he’s been banished from the house, and he has an eating partner now–the raccoon–who eats way more than an average cat.  We’re going to try to mount one of our automatic superfeeders high on the garage wall, and have it go off two or three times a day, with a pre-apportioned amount of food.  If Scout can learn the times, he can beat the raccoon.  If the raccoon turns out to be smarter, Scout will have to catch more mice for his protein.  Dad thinks the raccoon lives up the street at our neighbors,’ the Butlers, so we might try talking to them about keeping their pet caged up.  Or not.  It is what it is.

I spent some birthday money on new toys: an 8' stepladder and a tree lopper that has a mini chainsaw up on the end.  You use it to trim trees way up high, and since our trees are getting taller, I have plans for it.  Right now my arms are too weak to use it, but it’ll be fun down the road.  Onward and upward.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, August 22, 2021


Dear Kids,

Sterling gave a wonderful talk in the Suttons’ sacrament meeting last Sunday.  He’s way prepared to be a good missionary.  On Monday morning he started home MTC, learning Spanish and how to be a missionary.  I’m sure he’s working really hard.  Rumor has it that Vanessa wants him to be sent to Texas, but I really hope he actually goes to Honduras.  I noticed, in the Spanish branches I’ve served in, that the most dedicated members seemed to come from a little pocket around Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.  I think they’re really descended from Father Lehi down there, and I hope Sterling is able to teach some of them.  But it will be a wonderful experience for him, wherever he goes.

Upcoming events: Super Sunday will be next week, the 29th, at the cabin, at our usual time, 3 pm.  Donna and Bevan are in charge, so you can contact one of them if you have any questions.  I had hoped the swingset/slide would be done by then, but Dad has been stopped by the rain. There have been three or four inches at the cabin, just in the last few days, even more than here at our house.  And I understand Salt Lake has been absolutely drenched.  Couldn’t be better.  Anyway, back to Super Sunday–Be There or Be Square!

Another upcoming event is Dallin’s baptism, scheduled for Saturday, September 11.  (Abi’s birthday, by the way.)  I’ll have more details next week.  

And looking way down the road, Dad and I will be having our 50th wedding anniversary next June 2nd, 2022.  We’re going to reserve the clubhouse at Francis Park (actually an oversized shack) and possibly have Bambam barbeque again.  It’s a Thursday night.  If you have a calendar for next year, you can put it down.

Al came by Friday afternoon on his way to a backpacking adventure on the Shingle Creek Trail.  He had Artemis with him.  Artemis???   She’s Jenny’s dog.  She’s part pit bull and seems to hate cats.  She was lunging at Sonia, barking, and Sonia stood just inside our front door, holding her ground and hissing.  Allen had Artemis firmly on a leash, however, so the situation didn’t escalate.  Finally he secured her back inside his car.  He showed me some little hiking shoes he’d bought for the dog, so her paws wouldn’t get all cut up on the trail.  He had put them on her at home and they practiced hiking around, to get her used to them.  Honestly, and I thought we over-indulged our cats!  Anyway, I hope they’re having a safe hike and haven’t been too drenched by the rain. 

I’m having my final infusion Tuesday afternoon, lasting until Thursday, and then I expect to be well for a long time.  Please keep praying for me!

\ Lots of love, Mom

Saturday, August 14, 2021

 Dear Kids,

I’m uploading my Mom letter a day early because we’re going to Pocatello later this afternoon.  It’s Sterlings farewell tomorrow morning at 9, as everybody knows, and we’re looking forward to it.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know about Addie’s mission call: Manchester, England, December 27.  We’re so excited for her!  We’ve heard she’ll be doing Home MTC, unless things change before then.  At any rate, we’re sure she’ll have a wonderful experience.

Once more, I’ve got to thank all of you that helped put on our Ackerson luncheon last Saturday afternoon, before Julie’s wedding.  When have we ever had such fabulous food?  Thanks, thanks, thanks, to everyone who helped to plan it and pick up the food and serve it and clean up.  It truly was a wonderful day, and the luncheon made it even better. 

Our next Super Sunday will be the 29th, with Donna and Bevan in charge.  I’m not sure yet where it’s going to be, but I’ll put that in my letter next week.  It’s the fifth Sunday, not the fourth, like we usually do, but we’ve had so much family togetherness that it seemed like a good idea to move it back.  Not that we can get together too much, but it’s nice to be able to spread it out.  

We were sorry to say goodbye to Sharon and her kids.  It always seems like they go home too soon!  We drove them to Centerville Tuesday morning, and then Sharon went with me to the  Cancer Center to start my infusion.  With all the medical gear beeping and chirping around us, and the nurses with their rolling computer carts and IV tubing, she was like a little girl staring at Christmas toys.  She has definitely found the right vocation!  I introduced her to everybody as my daughter who’s in nursing school at the University of Maryland, and they all showed her what they were doing.  I learned a lot, too!  My infusion itself was wretched, like always, but the worst day was yesterday, and I’m slowly improving now.  And then there’s only one more round, and hopefully I’ll feel good for another year.  At least I can breathe now!

Love to all of you!  Mom

Sunday, August 8, 2021

 Dear Kids,

Whoa, what a party!  I’m talking about Julie’s wedding, and our luncheon, and the reception at that wonderful house in their ward.  We devoured a lot of food and visited with a lot of people and overall felt very happy.  Trouble is, this wedding sets a very high bar for all our other grandkids, when it’s their turn.  But of course the important part is just that they’re married now, and I’m sure they’ll have a wonderful life together.

Here’s something cool from a letter Chandra Garcia wrote to me when they got home to Arizona: “We heard one of your kids interviewed on our last day in SLC.  Natalie was bored and started fooling around with my mom’s radio.  Suddenly she was shouting, “Lieutenant Allen Ackerson, Lieutenant Allen Ackerson!”  Could it be?  The officer was recounting a hit and run accident in a Target parking lot.  When he described the injuries as “a human crayon of abrasions (meaning the color red) I just knew Lieutenant Allen Ackerson had to be one of yours.”  Well, of course Allen is one of ours!  Al, your fame has spread far and wide!  BTW, the all-knowing Natalie Garcia not only knows all you kids’ names, but she has a cat named Nora.   And she named that cat before she even knew about our family! 

We’ve really been enjoying having Sharon and Lucy and Conrad here again for the last few days.  Too bad their visit has to end so soon.  Tuesday we’re driving them to Centerville, and Wednesday they fly home.  Seth and Charlie and Matthew left on the same schedule last week.  They got home just fine, and Seth reported that both Charlie and Matthew connected with the friends practically the moment they hit the ground.  Poor Maryland teenagers, being deprived of Charlie and Matthew for nearly four weeks! 

I’ll be starting another infusion on Tuesday, and  Sharon will be coming to my appointments with me.  She did an oncology rotation during the last school year, so she knows all about my routine.  Normally Dad comes with me, but this time we’ll leave him in Centerville getting a haircut from Nora.  Life is good!  By the way, I’ve only had two out of four infusions, but my breathing is so much better than before that there’s no comparison.  Thanks so much for all your prayers!

Lots of love, Mom

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


The wedding is almost here!   Crazy how fast kids grow up.  To help things flow, there are 4 parking groups for the family reception starting at 6:30 this Saturday.  If you could figure out which one your family falls into and park accordingly, it will help us use the limited parking well.  There will be ushers starting at 6:00 to help you know where each parking lot is located.  Just let them know which lot you need.  
Information from Heather about the wedding:

We are excited to see you all!! Thank you ahead of time for all your willingness to help!  I will reach out to you individually for specifics for those that let John know your family is available (Nora, Vanessa, Donna, Tom).  If others want to help, let me know and you’ll get an assignment;).  Remember family photos start at 6:30.  Thank you! 


1.Extended family staying through clean up - park behind house in the lower barn lot and on the driveway behind the house. The driveway can fill all the way up, but we cannot leave until every one parked in this area leaves because it is to narrow.
2. Older extended family not staying through clean up - park in upper barn lot and take shuttle car
3. Younger extended family not staying through clean up, but leaving around 7:30 - park in the field lot (need to be leaving around 7:30)
4. Extended family staying past 7:30 but not through clean up - park on the road.  Take the shuttle if you would like.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

 Dear Kids,

It was wonderful seeing so many of you at Bear Lake yesterday.  We missed Bentley and the ones in John’s family who were sick, but it was still a great crowd.  Dad and I had a nice drive up there in the morning, but we left again for home while most of you were still at Minnetonka Cave.  Still, we enjoyed all the fun we could get in on. Thanks to Al for his great planning, and to everyone who fixed such good food.  Too bad we couldn’t get in on the whole thing!  I had just come off my second infusion of chemo, so we weren’t up for camping, but we enjoyed it while we were there. 

Julie and Spencer seemed pretty excited for their wedding this coming Saturday.  When I asked them about it, they just looked at each other and grinned.  Make sure you plan on our famiy dinner at the cabin that afternoon at 3:00.  We’ll have Bam Bam barbeque and Costco chocolate cake, plus other menu items!  Be there or be square!  There will still be plenty of time for us all to drive to Heber to get in the family pictures, starting at 6:30.  The address for the pictures and the reception is 250 South 3600 East in Heber.  It will be a great evening!

On Monday, my pen pal Chandra Graham Garcia and her family came by for a visit.  They’re from Phoenix, and they were here visiting family in Salt Lake.  They were enchanted by our cats, especially Scout, who let them brush him while he stretched out and smiled.  We went to lunch at the Food Town deli, and then we drove them over to the cabin, and then played in the river while Dad and Jon Garcia changed a flat tire we got on the Sienna.   The two Garcia kids, Carson and Natalie, are my honorary grandkids, and Chandra played with John and Nora when she was 4.  How life changes!  Oh, by the way, Natalie has read The Ackerson Kids Grow Up at least twice, and she can recite the names of you original nine kids in order. 

Adelaide is expecting her mission call this coming Wednesday, while their family is at Lagoon.  Will she announce it at their pavilion?  We’re all taking bets as to where she’ll go. 

So much fun!  Lots of love, Mom