Monday, December 24, 2012
It was blue, and wonder of wonders, it was a 2-Speed bike, unheard of at the time. The lower speed was for going uphill and the higher one for picking up speed going downhill. It looked almost exactly like this one, but without the back carry-stuff-on-it bar:
That thing took me more miles than Alladin's magic carpet. It was used daily in the summer to go get the cows, pass them up to block off the McCullough's driveway, then pass them up again to ride them fast into the corral. It took me to the store, to Colleen's house, to softball games. It got crepe paper streamers weaved in it's spokes to ride in Clifton's summer parades.
I do not remember it ever having a flat tire, though it must have. I do remember crashing it once. I was on my way home from the store and on the downhill run past the canal where you pick up significant speed, so much so that it's almost impossible to slow down enough to be safe. All would have been well except that a danged snake was crawling across the road and my bike ran right over it! It traumatized me so much that I lost control and took a bad spill on the asphalt. My pants got ripped and my knee was dripping blood, but the worst part was that the handle bar turned completely sideways and there was an ugly scratch on the right handlebar. I limped home and thought for sure my dad would kill me, but he didn't. He just straightened out the handlebars and life went on.
Happy Christmas Eve!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Sunday I woke up with the flu Nik had last week so stayed home from church. About noon I heard Kyle in the kitchen saying "Sh**!" Kyle usually doesn't talk like that, for sure around me at least, but I was too sick to say anything and truth be known, I've said it myself from time to time, though I keep trying not to.
Shortly thereafter, he came running into the living room where I was resting and said, "FIRE! WHERE'S THE FIRE THINGEY?" I told him it should be in the broom closet and dragged slowly off the couch. By the time I reached the kitchen, he was spraying it inside the furnace closet in the vicinity of the breaker box. It did put out the fire.
I was too drained to get scared or angry; my main thought being, "Boy, this is going to be expensive"...sort of like the plumber we had to call in last week when the kitchen drain wore through and collapsed in on itself.
Kyle told me the power had gone off in his room so he was going to check the breaker. Before he slid open the door to the breaker/furnace area, he noticed a light and wondered why he hadn't seen that before. When he opened the door, there were flames shooting out from a plug. Now this plug had apparently been hanging from the ceiling in there for decades and none of us had ever noticed. I don't even want to know how it ties into the system.
Jason came right over and checked it out, ran to Lowe's for a plug end and repaired it. So far so good.
It dawned on me a while later that if I hadn't had the flu, I wouldn't have been home to respond to Kyle's question about the fire extinguisher and who knows what could have happened, especially since the flames were in the same area as the gas furnace.
When it comes to Guardian Angels, we must have several.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Remember when you got pushed so hard by somebody that you flew out of the swing entirely and landed on your back on the ground, knocking the air out of you so hard you thought you'd die for sure? I do.
Remember getting your fingers pinched in the chains so tightly you thought your fingers might come off? I do.
Remember twisting round and round until the chain/rope wouldn't turn one bit more, then letting go, unspinning so fast the world was a blur, then spinning back up and repeating the pendulum motion until the swing just stopped--but your equilibrium didn't? I do.
Remember standing on a wooden swing and moving your knees to pump you up faster, standing there with wiggly legs sure you were going to slip and fall on your back and knock the air out of you so hard you thought you'd die for sure? I do.
Remember swinging in those big farm tires that were so uncomfortable that no matter how you got situated, you were miserable...that and the smell of too much rubber next to your nose? I do.
Remember when your desire to swing, low or high, changed to a serious case of nausea just watching someone else swing? Maybe you're too young, but I do.
Remember holding onto a rope, sitting on a board, swinging from a tree out over water? I do not...nor have I ever regretted it. It ranks right up there with skydiving or bungee jumping.
Friday, October 12, 2012
When she got closer, I saw it was my good friend and neighbor, Belle. I've known her for a quarter of a century. She raised Kyle from when he was a baby until he was well into grade school. She was such a good babysitter that he (and many others) would stop in and visit with her on their way home from school years after. He still stops and gives her a hug now and then. Anyway, I explained my dilemma and she laughingly helped me find a little screwdriver.
Friday, October 5, 2012
My dad named his cows (and their names just might have been the same as some of the women in town whose personalities and traits may have had some semblance to certain said women). It seemed perfectly normal to me and I thought my friend's dad must have been a little strange, as their cows were all named "Cow". I questioned almost nothing my dad ever did or said...other than that one time when I learned my lesson.
There was one cow that was a bit high strung. I'm sure she far surpassed her namesake, especially as time went on. She always made me very nervous, staring me down on a regular basis. Dad knew about this and told me to stay away from her the best I could, advice I took quite seriously. One day, however, I was stuck in the middle of the corral, boots on, mucking in the manure, when I found myself unavoidably in the same general area as this bovine. I was trying to hurry as fast as bow-leggedly possible when she gave me a look that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. All I seemed to lack at the moment was a red cape.
Pure adrenaline shot through my entire body. In one second, I learned cow language and the words she screamed were: "I hate you and I am going to kill you...right now!" I was a good ten paces from the fence but covered them all in about five seconds flat, even leaving one of my boots right where it got stuck, finishing in stockinged foot. (At times like these, you don't care about such details.) I hit that fence at full speed, second rung from the top. If I had had five more seconds to build up speed, I could have cleared the thing like an Olympic high jumper. At almost exactly the same moment my foot hit that rung, she smashed into the fence right below me, THUD!
I don't remember going back for the boot, but my dad took her to the auction the very next day.
I REMEMBER A HOLSTEIN NAMED ANNIE
WHOSE “HOMING DEVICE” WAS UNCANNY;
SHE WAS CRAZY AND MEAN,
A WILD MILKING MACHINE
AND WAS ALWAYS CHASING MY FANNY!
Friday, September 28, 2012
That lead to a discussion about the farm. I told them how we used to stand at the top of a field and make a long whistling yoohoo noise. The cows would look up and saunter on over, head up the road and turn into our yard. In retrospect, it's probably more remarkable that an entire herd of pea-brained cows were so well-trained that they even responded at all, let alone monitored themselves and automatically turned into the right yard than that it is that Swirl responds to Kyle's whistling.
I hadn't whistled that call for years, but as soon as I did, both Teelay and Kyle immediately groaned. Apparently, I used it a time or two when they were younger.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Shaving soap in a dish, with the bristle brush
The smell of Old Spice aftershave
Suspenders (though Nik wears some now)
Oxblood shoe paste, probably going by a different name now. Sometimes he would "let" one of us polish and shines his shoes, and we considered it an honor.
Bolo ties...my grandson, Carver, wore one of his great-grandpa's bolo ties to Western Day in Cardston last month.
Sleeveless open-mesh t shirts, known now as "wife-beater shirts", an awful moniker.
Hats. Dad had one for every occasion and the dressy ones usually had a feather of some kind.
Leather gloves. If my dad had one splurge (besides malts in Downey), it was leather gloves.
Denim. After he passed away, there was a shirt hanging on a hook in the hallway at the top of the stairs. I buried my face into it to see if I could smell him, but he had washed it. It has since disappeared. My dad wore a lot of denim.
Haircuts. Even when he didn't have much hair left, he still drove to Preston to have it trimmed regularly.
Flippers and whip-cracking. The whip cracking was usually used as a noise-maker to get the cows rounded up. He didn't use it nearly as often as he used his flipper. If they had an Olympic event in flipper-flippering, my dad would have lead the team. He could shoot a fly off a cow at 30 yards. My dad's cows were pretty well-behaved, as cows go, and it's quite likely that's because they knew his aim with a flipper was deadly. He used to make his own flipper out of wood and medical tubing, but after he didn't have to spend all his money on us kids, he bought himself a real manufactured flipper. He was like Chuck Norris with that thing.
Thistles. Dad hated thistles almost as much as he hated Utah fishermen. Well do I remember the many times we would all grab our shovels and make human swaths through the fields to take out the thistles. Now and then one would have the audacity to show up in our yard, but it never lasted long enough to grow up. I was grown up myself before I realized that weeds could actually grow in gravel. Dad was always hauling gravel from his gravel pit into the yard, so it was everywhere. I thought he did it to prohibit weed-growing, not realizing his ongoing every-day battle to extinguish weeds. He got a good laugh when I told him that.
When Dad was waiting to go do chores or milk the cows, he would often sit with his head in his right hand, elbow to thigh. He wouldn't go out one minute early or one minute late, so this was his waiting posture. I always thought it was that he was dreading having to keep up the routine, and thinking back, it makes me a little sad.
Eye twitching. When Dad was really tired or really nervous, or somebody was visiting and he wanted them to leave but didn't quite say it, his eye twitched.
Handkerchiefs. Since Dad never needed a tie for Christmas or Father's Day, we defaulted to those big red or blue paisley-patterned handkerchiefs he always kept in his back pocket. Another default-gift was those flat carpenter pencils that he sharpened with his Schrade pocket knife. He must have had more of both than anyone could ever use, but he always acted delighted with our gift.
If it's true that necessity is the mother of invention, Dad was the father. He was so creative that he could have taken out a few patents...if he hadn't been so busy farming. He was also very very organized, as exemplified by the little cabinet behind his shed door. It had probably 20 cubbie holes, each filled with a different type nail, nut, or bolt, all labeled. They NEVER got intermixed.
Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dad!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I live on a corner lot and often sit out front on my park bench in the summer, watching the world go by...one car at a time. In the evenings, and occasionally in the mornings, there are people walking by, sometimes in twos, sometimes in the accompaniment of dogs on leashes. There's an older couple who pass by in the mornings before it gets hot. We say "hello" and wave. He has a longer stride, so I'm guessing she actually gets more exercise. One neighbor down the street a bit has a big Rin-Tin-Tin kind of dog, not sure if it's male or female. We exchange waves. Another neighbor down the street had two grey dogs that looked like a mix between a poodle and a schnauzer, sort of like Pete and RePete. We either wave or have the same small conversation every time. A couple of years ago, there was just one grey dog, and this week when she walked by, she was not accompanied by a dog at all.
There is one amazing woman who mesmerizes me. A few years ago, before my knee issues, I would go to the nearby high school track and walk a few rounds. This one woman, who is probably my age or older, would appear and move about with Olympic-type speed. She is bronzed and has not one obvious ounce of fat on her body. There was an old movie called "Walk, Don't Run" that included an Olympic speed-walking competition. This woman could have won that contest hands down. I read where a regular walking pace is 3-3.5 mph, 4 mph being a brisk walk. This lady goes about 4.2 mph, I'd guess. She speeds by the house, speeds 'round the track several times, then speeds up and down the bleacher stairs for a while. (I believe coaches have football team members do these "ladders" as punishment.) Then she heads home, still at the same pace. There is always a bottle of water in her hand, and it's not unusual to see her pulling a couple of her grandkids in a little wagon behind her. None of it slows her down one bit. When I can catch her eye, I wave. Once she even slowed down just enough for me to have time to tell her she's amazing. I'm jealous of her knees mostly.
I like the wave you get (and give) after someone stops to let someone else into busy traffic. It's like you suddenly have a best friend.
In the countryside, waving is not unusual. I remember riding in the truck and watching Dad wave. If you were someone he knew but weren't particularly his forte, he would do the only-forefinger wave, keeping hands on the steering wheel. This is also the wave used for complete strangers, sort of a reserved greeting. A little more familiar-person wave would be the keeping-hands-on-the-steering-wheel-but-lifting-all-but-the-thumb-up wave. If it were someone he really liked or hadn't seen in a while, he would do a type of salute, even tipping his hat occasionally. That's when I knew we had passed someone really special!
This was back before the middle-finger salute was invented.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
In the summer of 1985, having been married for 15 years and never having taken a vacation, we planned a trip with our five children (ages 4-14) from Vernal, Utah to Lake Louise, Canada. We rented a 32-foot camper to pull with our dual-tank Chevy truck which already had a regular camper in the truck bed. This was when gas was about $1.20 a gallon. If you’ve ever seen that old Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz movie “The Long Long Trailer”, you can just call me Lucy.
The truck only had one long seat, so we traded off on who sat in the front with us and who got to enjoy family togetherness in the truck camper. Basically, it went like this: We drove until somebody was crying loudly enough for us to hear it, then we pulled over. For some reason, I was the main driver, except for when we had to back into a campground spot.
I was terrified that one of the kids would break something in the trailer, so I was like a camper Nazi, "Don't touch that! Don't do that! Keep that out of there!" When we stopped off in Idaho Falls to eat some fast food. Jason & Jared got horsing around and Jared chipped a front tooth on one of the propane tanks on the camper. We just kept going...VACATION BOUND OR BUST! We stopped in at a cute little store near West Yellowstone and bought ice cream cones, scooped with their patented rectangular ice cream scoop.
The original plan was to pull off the road the first night in Yellowstone and just enjoy the trailer. The problem was that the Rocky/Bullwinkle crowd had built curbs all along the roadside to prevent such camping. Keep in mind, this was the week of July 4th and we hadn't even conceived we would need a reservation to camp. We stopped in to see Old Faithful and get some more ice cream. Thankfully we were all too terrified of the walkways to get close to the hotpots. (We may have been crazy but we weren't stupid.) The most interesting thing about Old Faithful was that we spotted our next door neighbor's vehicle in the parking lot, though we didn't spot them.
We got the last parking place in some campground and took off for Canada the next morning, passing through Wyoming to buy fireworks. The reason that we didn't get to Canada the second day was that Montana was in the way; there is a reason it's called Big Sky Country. We decided to take a back road, thinking for some reason that the main highway might be too crowded. Jason kept holding up signs about needing to get out and go fishing. He also held up signs about needing to use the bathroom, wanting to eat, or that Sherry was crying. Occasionally he would light a ladyfinger firecracker and throw it out on the road, scaring us out of what was left of our minds. Every time he would swear it was the very last one and every time, he was flat out lying! We would swab the deck a couple of times a day to get rid of chips and red punch. (That was before scientists warned us about children and red punch.)
Both tanks were on fumes when we pulled into Buffalo. We stopped to eat, gas up and use the facilities. On the way out of town, one of the truck tires blew out, sounding like a musket shot. I still shudder to think of what could have happened had that occurred any other time that day; we had driven almost 6 hours without seeing one other vehicle. Somewhere south of the Continental Divide, we gave up and camped in the Montana wilderness for the evening. During the night, a spider bit poor little Nik on his cheek, resulting in swelling that closed his eye shut.
When we arrived at the Canadian border, a man came out and asked us where we were from and if we had any booze, rifles or fireworks. No, No, and Yes. He also commented on how some people from Vernal had just come through a few vehicles before. Turns out they were our neighbors. He didn't ask for our passports, because back then Canada was considered an extension of Idaho or Montana rather than another country, and regular people didn't carry passports anyway. He said we had to turn around or leave our fireworks with him, to be forfeit if we didn't return for them by nighttime. That put a real crimp in our travel plans, since we had invested a week's wages on them. What we did was leave them with him temporarily, but crossed the border just so we could say we had. I'll never forget pulling that long trailer up the road to St. Mary or Martha's Lake by Waterton Park, where coincidentally my son-in-law now works.
The gas pedal was to the floor and we were barely moving. Since it was straight uphill, the gas tank register sunk like a rock. For once, everybody was quiet; nothing like fear to silence the crowd.
We were happy to see a KFC and decided to get lunch and eat it by the beautiful lake. Since we weren't going to be able to make it to Lake Louise, this was a decent option. We went into KFC, but they didn't have any of the regular stuff. The only thing we recognized was chicken and rolls for $15, (roughly the equivalent of $150 today), so that's what we had for lunch. We walked through the little town of Waterton, had ice cream and purchased some souvenirs. I bought a wooden plaque with a gold deer on it labeled "Waterton Park". The kids got candy and some little plastic faces where, if you put your fingers inside them, they made all sorts of wacko expressions. Jason says he still has his somewhere. (Incidentally, when we got home, I noticed that all our souvenirs were stamped "Made in Japan.") We drove back across the border, got our fireworks and found a nice campground with laundry facilities. Do you know how nice it is to have laundry facilities?
The next night we made it to Deer Lodge, Montana. It was packed and we ended up camping next to some mountain men in teepees. They were probably as unnerved by us as we were by them. Personal fireworks were not allowed, but the town had a small display of its own. By that time, I did not care either way. Two days later, we were pulling the camper up the hill between Heber and Duchesne when the truck overheated. Jason got out and fished in a stream til the motor cooled off, and we finally limped back into Vernal. Vacation accomplished!
The next day I tallied the trip and realized we had averaged six miles to the gallon. We could have driven the kids to Disneyland in our car, stayed in a motel and had enough left over for a trip for the two of us to Hawaii. I kid you not, but who wants to have fun on a vacation anyway, right?
Our neighbors returned a few days later and told us about their wonderful spontaneous trip to Lake Louise.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
Reminiscing about playground equipment today...
The local gradeschool has several swings, the rounded rubber-seated kind. Speaking of rubber, all the area under and around the swings is covered with ground-up tires. I'm all into recycling, and there is no doubt reasons why they use the stuff, but it's hot and prickly and you can twist your ankle walking through it. But then, I don't swing on swings anymore, so it's a moot point.
They do still have monkey bars and a slippery slide, but I don't think they have teeter totters. Teeter totters are a little like weapons; they are safe in the right hands, but not safe in the wrong ones. I could never understand why someone would get off one end of the teeter totter when somebody else was way up in the air, letting them crash to the ground. Maybe that's why they don't have them on playgrounds anymore, a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Monkey bars nowadays are basically like several hamster wheels tangled together. A kid could almost get lost inside one of them. The monkey bars "back when" were much more simple and included a bar amongst the swings where you could hang upside down from your knees. They were mostly used by boys, since girls were required to wear dresses to school every day. You could do it wearing a dress, but both hands had to be used to hold the skirt in place, so getting off and on the bar was a little tricky. (my daughter-in-law says farmer's wives used to do everything farmers did...only they had to do it wearing a dress!)
I remember the big old slippery slide we had for grade school. It would get so hot in the sun that it all but burned the skin off your legs...as you slide down it in your dress. After a while, the slides developed drag, stranding a kid halfway down, so somebody would get some waxed paper and smear it on the slide for more speed. We had a merry-go-round (not the up and down kind) that held a lot of kids at one time. Nobody really wanted to be the one stuck spinning it. We always tried to find a bigger kid to give it the first turn. Just thinking about it now makes me nauseous. (Plus, I'm still a little ticked that I lost tongue cells from that time I decided to rest the theory of whether or not tongues would really stick on cold metal...and, fyi, they really do.)
Another whirling dervish toy was called the giant stride, so named because you grabbed ahold of one of the hanging bars and ran with great strides to pick up speed. Then you simply ran a few more strides and repeated it til somebody either flew off and broke their arm or go the wind knocked out of the. Needless to say, they don't have those on the local playground anymore either. There is one at a park somewhere in northwestern Utah that we stopped at a time or two so the kids could play. They always wanted to come home by the "Pioneer Way". There was an old stagecoach/buggy on display, plus some wonderful carvings in short fence posts, and a genuinely wonderful country park...
...with a working giant stride. Wheeee!
Every kid worth their salt had a pair of roller skates, complete with tightening key. You just slapped them onto your shoes, tightened the strap, adjusted the top clips with your key and off you went. We got pretty good at it.
I had lunch with my cousin, Ruth Ann, a couple of weeks ago and we got talking about playing jump rope. She has a good memory about that stuff. I remember the sing-songy "Blue Bells, Cockle Shells, Evie, Ivie, Overhead. My mother, your mother, lived across the street. Every night they had a fight and this is what they said: Icka backa soda cracker, icka backa boo, icka backa soda cracker, out goes you!" It started out at a regular pace but after the rhyme, the jump rope holders would spin the rope as fast as they could til you messed up and got a whip burn. Ruth Ann reminded me that the fast-roping was called "pepper". There were probably more than a dozen little jumping rhymes, none of which made sense and some of which were no doubt politically incorrect, but we didn't notice. We were watching the rope and having fun. When you got really good at it, they could turn two ropes at the same time. We got pretty nimble.