Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Memories – Dear family

(Most Sunday evenings I send a lengthy e-mail to all the kids.  Last night I was reading this aloud to Calvin before I sent it and he said, "Wait.  Is this a blog or an e-mail?"  I said it was the weekly e-mail and he said, "You might as well use it for a blog, too."  I have taken his suggestion and edited the family e-mail for today's blog.)
Dear Family,

We’ve had one fine week.  It had all kinds of things in it.  And you know how I like stew because it has so many things in it.  Hey, while I’m thinking about it:  just today while I was sitting at the table waiting for your dad to finish eating, I asked him if he minded what I did with the roast.  He said he didn’t, so I put it in the gravy.  Then I asked if he minded if I added the green beans.  He raised his eyebrows a little bit and I said, “Stew.”  I didn’t even ask permission to add the little bit of rice that was left over, I just added it when he wasn’t looking.  While I was stirring everything together thinking about what a convenient supper this would be in a night or two, your dad said, “You're just like my dad.  Just add a few sunflowers seeds.”  That was a fine compliment indeed.
On Monday your dad called on his way home from work and said he was bringing home meat.  SoilTest bought two steers at the fair this year and they were cut and wrapped and given to the employees.  I went out to the garage and cleaned out the freezer to get ready for the meat.  I emptied it, defrosted it (it wasn’t bad for eight years worth of ice), washed it out, and organized it . . . and found a bottle of black raspberry jam in the bottom for a bonus.  It felt so good to have it clean and organized.  When we'd finished adding the new meat we felt grateful and humble that we have so much.  (Actually “bring on the zombies” went through my head.)
While I was defrosting the freezer, your dad was putting a switch out at the irrigation pump.  No longer do you have to plug it into the post.  Your dad said, “We should have done this years ago.  We could have killed the kids.”  I said, “Yeah.  Like that time it knocked Ty on the ground when he tried to plug it in in his bare feet?”  So, should you help us do sprinklers now when you come visit, you will see a post right by the pump with a SWITCH.  It is really nice.  We ended up calling the post and the freezer family night because your dad helped me and I went out and admired the switch . . . and it was all about family preparedness.  

While I was organizing the meat I kept thinking of my time working at BYU’s meat lab the summer after your dad and I got married and of Laura and Mary Ingalls in Little House in the Big Woods when they butchered the pigs and made a balloon from the pig’s bladder.  Remember?

 I also thought of all of those butchering days in Idaho – the rabbits, the pigs, the year your dad got seven deer, cutting up the steers over in Aunt Lynn’s garage, the moose, the chickens, etc. etc. etc.  And . . . of course, the family night your dad planned where we butchered quail a few years ago since Ande wasn’t too much help in the Idaho butchering days. 

 Tuesday we were sad, sad, sad.  We lost Dan.  Your dad looked and whistled and walked around, but Dan didn’t come running.  I’d been canning tomatoes and I hadn’t seen him for a few hours, but assumed he was lying in the shade in his favorite spots.  Your dad drove around the whole mile honking and calling to him.  His voice carries.  I could hear him clear back through the kitchen window.  The neighbors had been combining beans and they had several new people down in the French bean patch.  Your dad figured someone stole him from there.  I went on ahead and fixed supper.  I called your dad in to eat and he said, “I’m not hungry.  I just don’t feel like eating.”  I didn’t either.  It was just too sad.  (I swore I’d never be this attached to a pet.  Nita [my childhood buddy that I was attached to for twelve years] couldn’t even go to school for two weeks after butchering her 4-h steer because she got so sick for sadness . . . I thought that was pretty unnecessary and wasn’t about to miss school for a pet dying.  But suddenly, on Tuesday, I had new found empathy for Nita and felt badly I hadn’t been more understanding in 2nd grade.)  I looked out the kitchen window to tell your dad I didn’t feel like eating either when there was Dan sitting with him on the picnic table.  Your dad started laughing and said, “I found him!”  And you know what?  Suddenly we were both hungry.  Your dad had accidentally locked him in the shop.  He had come home in the middle of the day to to do some stuff for work out in the shop and after an hour or two when he was finished he forgot that Dan had followed him into the shop and shut the door on Dan.  It was one happy evening.

One of my students told me he’d read a really good book that he thought I ought to read.  I asked him if I could borrow it and he brought it one day this week.  Your dad and I spent the week leap-frog reading it.  I’d read it in the evening and then when we went to bed, he’d read it until he caught up to where I was.  Except Thursday night.  He read past where I was until he finished it.  It was a fun book to read.  Really fun.  I’ve been trying to decide whether to tell you the name of it or hold it for a possibility as one of our favorite things for Christmas.
Wednesday I went down to a training meeting and brought home two softening boxes of apples for $5 each.  They rode around in the trunk of the car with me for a few days.  It smelled so good every time I opened it.  I finally made them into applesauce on Friday afternoon.  It reminded me of living in the trailer.  Why?  Because the trailer had the best counter for attaching the victorio strainer (the applesauce machine) – I’ve never had such a great place to make applesauce as that trailer counter.  Which just goes to show that biggest isn’t always best . . . or for that matter, quality isn’t always best.  Your dad and I were talking about the trailer a while ago and your dad shuddered all over again thinking about it.  For those of you new to the family, we used to live in a double wide trailer in Idaho.  Calvin and my brother-in-law Fred moved it themselves from the farm where it was.  They pulled it with a tractor about fourteen miles on the back roads.  When they parked it, they couldn’t get the two halves to line up properly so they did the best they could and then just ran a sheet of tin down the center of the house to cover the gap.  Yes.  Yes.  You’re right.  Tin pops when you walk on it so whenever you walked on the tin underneath the carpet you could hear it pop.  Sometimes on windy nights, as there are lots of windy nights in Idaho, Calvin would wake me up and we'd just lie there in bed worrying we would blow away.  One windy night he was sitting out in the living room in a chair in the dark.  I asked him what was wrong and he said he was just waiting for the roof to blow off and for me to go back to bed and he’d keep watch and let me know when it happened.  Calvin hated that trailer, but it was one of my favorite houses we’ve lived in . . . AND it had a perfect applesauce making counter for a bonus.
The best part of Wednesday however was getting a text from Ty and Michelle saying that their little baby was the size of a cinnamon bear with a heartbeat of 169.  Now that I can visualize!  A kumquat not so much, but a cinnamon bear, yes.  (The baby websites compare the baby to the size of a fruit for the week.)  Exciting news that baby Payne is growing.
On Thursday night I went with a friend to a jewelry party at another friend's house.  I thought I wanted a bracelet.  Turns out I wanted earrings.

Ray and Cali gave me President Monson’s book on tape for my birthday a few months ago.  I listen to it in the car.  (Wait.  This is sounding like déjà vu.  Have I already told you this?  Well, if I did, I’m sorry, but I know I didn’t tell you this story because I hadn’t heard it yet . . .)  President Monson LOVES chickens.  Still has some in his son’s back yard.  Anybody that wants to borrow the cd’s when I’m done is welcome to them.  I have really enjoyed them.  I only have about 500 – 600 more miles worth of listening.
Friday night and all day Saturday your dad and I went to a class on the constitution.  This time it was on how to restore the constitution so that it is used as the Founders wrote it.  We have really, really enjoyed the classes and have learned much . . . and it's been cheaper than my BYU credits.  Even when I read the constitution, I don’t understand it, but this class has helped us to see what the wording means and also the effects of the different amendments and the purposes behind the different articles.  The classes start again in November and we’re considering taking them again.  You have to know they’re good for your dad to keep giving up Saturdays to attend them.  I would have never guessed when we got married that this is one of the joint interests we would share.  I knew we would always share our love for our kids and for the Gospel, but I didn’t know our love for America would be one of those great joint interests.  It’s been fun to learn and discuss these things together.  Because we often went riding (horses) when we were dating, I assumed we'd do that our whole lives.  We haven't gone riding since we left the ranch.  Funny how the things you expect aren't always your reality . . . but usually it is better than you hoped.
Levi, the 17 year old son of a fellow constitution student, has Down’s Syndrome.  Saturday he came to our class.  During the break I was visiting with him.  I asked him a few questions and then told him I was so glad I had a new friend now.  He smiled huge and said, “Me?”  I said, “Yes!  You!”  He gave me a great big hug and said, “I love you.”  I told him I loved him, too, and then told him he smelled so good.  He smiled and whispered to me, “It’s ‘cause I showered today.”  His family lives lives on a farm and raises cattle and he was in his long-sleeved collared shirt and wranglers.
It sounds like the Our Favorite Things Christmas idea is a go from your e-mails.  Dad says to tell you we have some good ideas so get excited.  It'll be fun. 
I love you all and appreciate the good you do in the world.  I’m grateful, too, for your testimonies and lives of faith.  Thank you, thank you.



michelle said...

"Bring on the zombies." Oh, that's a good one!

I deep-cleaned my fridge yesterday and it was a thoroughly satisfying job. The freezer's on the docket for today.

I am uncomfortable with butchering in any form.

At first when you said you lost Dan, I thought you meant that he died! I'm glad you found him again. I have thought about the time, sometime in the future, when Jack dies. Will I mourn him? I honestly don't know.

So interesting that your trailer was one of your favorites homes. It sounds liberating in a way because you wouldn't have had as much to clean and you wouldn't have had room for too much clutter (I would imagine).

I am loving the idea of a favorite things Christmas! You'll have to keep us updated on that.

How is a cinnamon bear larger than a kumquat? When I was pregnant with Max, we used to call him "rice baby," "potato baby," etc. until we saw him on the ultrasound.

hennchix said...

I love this post!! I wish I had gone to the class, and I love Levi too!! I helped him with his reading today- so much fun to read Green Eggs and Ham with him!! When you said that Dan was gone, I almost started to cry - what a relief to read on that he was found! Thanks so much for your wonderful spirit! I miss your posts when you go a few days without blogging- and I want to call you up and tell you to get on the stick; then i realize I haven't blogged since April, and who am I to complain?? But seriously, your blogs always uplift's that for no pressure? :)

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...


Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

Great post! What a great idea to combine your work load!

My parents did Favorite Things last year for Christmas. It was so fun. This year all of the kids are doing it also. Should be a lot of fun!

Rachel said...

First of all, I'm glad Dan is alive and kicking. I thought he was a gonner. Second of all, I saw the sonogram pictures, and Baby Payne truly LOOKS like a cinnamon bear. Thanks for sharing your letter! I enjoyed it.

Jill said...

I just know you're going to be a published author some day!