Friday, June 1, 2018

Sometimes your childhood BFF's mom turns 90

And then you drive down to Provo with Gigi Ballif and attend a tea party in her mother's honor.  Which we did today.

It's always interesting to revisit the places and people you knew when you were a kid.  Ruth is a woman I admire endlessly.  She's intelligent, forthright, and practical with a social conscience--like a certain kind of Yankee woman, although she actually grew up on Long Island.  (Gigi told me stories about New York when we were kids and how there were these magic places there called "automats" where you just got your food out of machines.  The East!  So advanced!  Probably the food was even made by robots just like in The Jetsons!)

I will say, however, when I was a kid I was a little bit afraid of Ruth, even though she always made us Danish pancakes for breakfast when I slept over at Gigi's house.  I was trying to figure out today exactly why I was afraid,  and  then I realized then I was afraid of everybody's mother in those days. That was me.  A MOTHER-FEARING WEENIE.

Anyway.  I've been wondering if I ever scared anybody.  I doubt it.

But I hope I did.  At least a little bit.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

I'll Tell You What . . .

. . . is something the Coach always said.  It's something Johnny Cash always said in his live recordings, too, but that's not the point.

The point is that TKE has published a collection of my Tribune columns and the book is called I'll Tell You What . . . in honor of my dad.  We're doing a launch tonight at the bookstore, and I am looking forward to it because you never know.  This might be the last time I'll publish a book.  So I plan to put on my party hat and enjoy every last minute of the evening.

(The party hat, of course, is figurative.  But if it weren't, I'd go with that yellow headgear Amal Clooney wore to the Royal Wedding.)

That's the thing about being this age.  I don't take much for granted now.  My mobility.  A gorgeous morning.  Birds gossiping in the alley trees behind our house.  That watermelon-colored poppy that blooms spring after spring in my neighbor's yard.  A good night's sleep.



I'll tell you what.  I'm lucky.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

From D.C. to S.L.C, yo

So Son #4 and I just drove ourselves and a lot of boxes (also, plenty of random clothing tossed in the backseat in a last minute act of moving desperation) across the country.  By the time we hit Wyoming, I was exhausted and also tired of eating lots of potato chips, which may explain the bittersweet melancholy that settled on me as we drove that long last stretch of I-80.

My mom grew up in Wyoming, and when we were young, we went there and hung out in my grandpa's garage where the locals gathered to gossip and buy me and my younger brother bottles of Squirt.  So I thought about my grandparents and the people they knew who all fished those glittering rivers together, and then I started thinking about my life and how many things have changed--how many things will still change.  Which caused me to shed a tear or two when Son #4 wasn't looking.

Would I like for Time to stop?  No.  Because then I would never have had the pleasure of knowing family and friends and even myself in different stages of our (New Age Word Alert!) journeys.

Still.  I wouldn't mind sitting one more time on the edge of the conversations I used to hear my grandparents and parents having when we visited them in the summer as the long green grasses grew.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Memorial Day

I don't know exactly when Memorial Day became a holiday I own for myself, but it did.  I'm sure the fact that I watched my parents and grandparents decorate family graves with coffee cans (wrapped in tin foil) (also, where did all those coffee cans come from) full of snowball blossoms, peonies, and irises trained me up in the way I should go.

Anyway.  I spent time in Provo today, visiting East Lawn Memorial Cemetery where some of the people I loved best in this life are buried.  Dad.  Skinny and Louise.  Kenneth.  Becky.  While I was there I remembered something my granddaughter said when she was about four after her parents took her to the cemetery on Memorial Day.

"Hey!  Remember that garden we went to with the dead people?"

Yup.  Her parents are training her up in the way she should go, too.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tink and Zora: a Tale (Tail?) of Two Newfs

So we've had two Newfs now.  There've certainly been similarities--lolling tongues, splendid natures, drool.  SO. MUCH. DROOL.

But in many ways they're very different dogs.  Zora was all "please just let me lie in the middle of this floor and pass myself off as a rug all day long."  Tink, on the other hand, is Tigger.  Which, when you think about it, a dog that weighs 130 pounds going all Tigger on you is pretty scary.

Anyway, the only way we could get Zora to move at times was to show her the vacuum cleaner.  She was terrified of it.  We didn't even have to turn it on.  As soon as I'd drag it into view, she'd shimmy her way up onto her thick brown legs and scram.  If you can call "lumbering," which is what she did, "scramming."  Tink, who fears nothing, has always had the opposite reaction.  Vacuum cleaner?  Whatever.  I could eat that old thing for a snack if I felt like it!

But then one day when I was vacuuming I got just a little too close to Tink and accidentally sucked her tail up.  SAD!  Ever since then she's kept a respectful distance between me and the sucking machine.

So there it is.  Another similarity after all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Coach's Creed

First thing this morning my brother Jimmy sent me and my other brother (not Darryl) John a paragraph from a talk our father gave at a BYU Devotional the year after he retired.  It moved me because I saw him in these words.  I share it with you here.

"A friend shared with me this anonymous but profound creed that says it well.  I quote:

Remember to be gentle with yourself and others.  We are all children of chance, and none can say why some fields blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.  Care for those around you.  Look past your differences.  Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices in life no more easily made.  And give.  Give in any way you can, of whatever you possess.  To give is to love.  To withhold is to wither.  Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared, and your life will having meaning and your heart will have peace."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Yanny vs. Laurel

Like Americans everywhere my family did the Yanny/Laurel thing today.  Some of us heard Yanny (including me).  Some of us heard Laurel (including not me).  So then some of us got scientific and explained via a family text thread that people who hear at a high frequency hear "Yanny."

"Oh," I said.  "I'm glad I hear at a higher frequency.  You know.  Like a dog."

Which got me thinking about all the ways that I'm like a dog.  To wit:

1.  I'm not picky when it comes to food choices.

2.  "Smell" is my most highly developed sense.

3.  I like to hang my head out the window when I drive a car.

4.  Sometimes I sit on Ken Cannon's lap.

I rest my case.