Thank You, Murray

Inasmuch as I had nothing to do with the preparation of our Thanksgiving meal, I had time to think, and once I start thinking I never know where I’ll end up. So as I watched the busy people, each doing something quite different, but still a vital part of the whole, I saw that there was one unchanging necessity to all, and I smiled to know that, of all things, without my hometown, Murray City, there would have been no meal.

To begin with, the kitchen sink was in constant use, the bathrooms never idle, and those two areas had two basic needs. First: bringing water IN, and secondly, getting rid of it. Yeah, whether kitchen or bath, we pulled the plug for one and flipped the flusher for the other and the used water was gone.  I grinned and thanked Superintendent Danny Astill of Murray Water and Sewer Departments for his part in my day .

See where I’m going?? Stay with me, for it’s a daily happening and not just for a holiday.  The thermostat was adjusted once or twice. and I recalled how coal stoves were once the only place to cook, (or get warm), only one water faucet in the home, and the bathroom was a small one-room house in the backyard.

And, so I send thanks to Doug Hill, Director of Public Services, and his many crews. I could pass the Director on the street and not know him, but just one moment without his men and their work, would cause our hometown to completely shut down.

So, as I can’t thank each man by name, I can give thanks to Lynn Potter, Stormwater Supervisor, and Russ Kakala, Street Supervisor.  When Murray re-made My Road a few years ago, I could, and did, say Hi to them as they walked back and forth almost on my front lawn, closely keeping track of the progress being made at the different points where men were either wrecking the old or remaking the new.  It was a fascinating summer and, surprisingly, though at first I felt them to be an intrusion,  when their work was finished, and they no longer a part of my day, I loved the road ‘they’ had made, but missed them.

And as I watched the many actions of last week’s Holiday, I was surprised to see that another dozen or more vital services were made possible by  General Manager, Blaine Haacke of Murray City’s Power Company. And by golly, I’ll  fight for the right to use my fireplace, but for day to day use, although I love the look and beauty of my own hearth,  I’ll never, never want to carry out ashes as a daily chore.

Stay with me. Murray City, my hometown, activates those ON and OFF switches to give us Light, Heat, Air Conditioning, hair appliances, blenders and on and on, and without Blaine Haacke’s crews. that Power, not only our kitchens but our entire home. garage. etc. would simply be spaces filled with useless stuff.

And, please God, never let me have to call Fire Chief Gil Rodriguez for help, but I know his men are there, night and day, for I see  (hear) them going by my home often enough to know, that at any hour, day or night,  they’re up and doing. Thanks, guys and gals, nothing personal, but I also hope  to never get to know you on a business basis.

No one in our family gathering had come more than 100 or so miles but still it would have been difficult for them without today’s freeways, roads, streets, Stop & Go lights, speed limits, Police Safety patrols and so much more we take for granted. Yet, around the clock, Holiday or not, Murray’s street department sees to it that our streets are wisely patrolled, and cared for. And more thanks go to Police Chief Craig Burnett. We don’t  want to see any of them at our doors (car or home) but when necessity arrives we can’t get to the phone fast enough.

Yes, we’re all alike, for, again, we rarely think of our local government, except when it’s time to vote, to either keep the IN’S in, or vote to get them OUT, and, yes we quickly think of them when some kind of trouble comes. but as I watched through that day’s busy-ness, there wouldn’t have been much happening in any Murray home, except for the large. and oh, so silent assistance of Murray City.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but, again, we  think of the local government when we need help. Like when the heavy rain a few weeks ago fell upon wind-blown autumn leaves, and together were creating a gutter dam, and as I watched the dammed (spell it either way. it’ll fit ) leaves, caused the water to overflow into my driveway, And before it had a chance to back up more, and cause Real Trouble (as it has been known to do), I ran for the phone, made my call, and bless them, bless them, bless them, Hill’s men  came and in a short time all was well.

And did I hurry just as quickly to CALL and give thanks?  Dang it, no, I didn’t. And I apologize, but that’s exactly how casually  we accept Murray City and its many departments. They, day by day, week by week, season by season, do such a great job, that the Big Problems seldom arrive.  So double Thanks, and apologies to Doug, Lynn, Russ as well as the fellows who came and did the actual work. I’m ashamed of myself and this column is my half-way apology to you.

And a great big Thank You to Your Honor Mayor Ted Eyre. You are the leader of one of the most admired and envied Cities in the State of Utah. and your many employees in all departments, by doing their jobs so well, made not only our Thanksgiving Dinner, but our day to day lives, perfect ones.

And I send my special thanks to Rondi Knowlton, Mayor Eyre’s Administrative Assistant, who helped me so much with names and titles.  Rondi, you are priceless.


Differences Between Sexes Revealed

Nursery Rhyme Test

It’s been a long time since children learned Nursery Rhymes at their mother’s knee, but we still think we know most of them. And maybe you do, so here’s a chance to see if you do. I’m going to give you clues in today’s vernacular, and then also give you (and me) what they really said. Okay, here we go, and you’ll know most of them . . . . that is, after you read the answers.

1. Mother spanks her daughter for sitting in cinders.
2. Boy kisses girls, then flees.
3. Curly haired girl with split personality.
4. Farmer’s wife attacked by sightless rodents.
5. Boy goes to bed wearing stockings.

6. Girl is frightened by spider.
7. Men and animals fail to revive crash victim.
8. Married couple prove to be hearty eaters.
9. Wool supply assured, inquiry reveals.
10. Mother encouraged nudity.

11. Bovine specie orbits in space.
12. Pig thief punished.
13. Game postponed by bad weather.
14. Elderly woman needs Planned Parenthood advice.
15. Pupil questioned about his tardiness to school.

16. Woman lacks food, and dog starves.
17. Differences between sexes revealed.
18. Cripple finds bent coin.

Well, those headlines don’t sound to me like lead-ins for Pre-kindergarten students, but I figured out a couple of them anyway. Cheat if you want, it’s all clean fun.

1. Little Molly Flinders sat among the cinders, warming her pretty toes. Along came her mother, and spanked her pretty daughter for soiling her nice clean clothes.

2. Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Pie, kissed the girls and made them cry, and when the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.

3. There was a pretty girl, who had a pretty curl, right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad, she was horrid.

4. Three Blind Mice, Three Blind Mice, see how they run, see how they run, They all ran after the Farmer’s wife, who cut off their tales with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life, as three blind mice?

5. Diddle, diddle Johnson, my son John, went to bed with his stocking on, one shoe on and one shoe off, Diddle, diddle Johnson, my son John.

6. Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Down came a spider, and sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffett away.

7. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and all the King’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.

8. Jack Spratt could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, but all together, they licked the platter clean.

9. Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. One for my master, one for his dame, and one for the little girl who lives down the lane.

10. Mother, may I go out to swim? Yes, my darling daughter. Hang your clothes on a Hickory Limb, but don’t go near the water.

11. Hi, diddle, diddle, the Cat and the fiddle and the cow jumped over the moon.  The little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.

12. Tom, Tom the Piper’s son, stole a pig and away he run, The pig got eat, Tom got beat, and then went bellowing down the street.

13. Rain, rain, go away, little Johnnie wants to play, so come again some other day.

14. There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children,  she didn’t know what to do.

15. A diller a dollar, a ten o’clock scholar, what makes you come so soon.   You used to come at ten o’clock and now you come at noon.

16. Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. but when she got there, the cupboard was bare and so the poor dog got none.

17. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice, and what are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

18. There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile, and found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked style.

Well, these were all before ‘our time’, but I betcha a few ‘rang a bell with you’ and anyway, it was a nice stroll down Memory Lane, and glad you came along.

Veteran’s Day

First class  . . .

I swore to myself that this Veteran’s Day, I would not write of War or of our men and women, flung around the world, but here at the last moment, I sit at my screen and do just that. And it is right.  And good that I do so.

I grew up with Mom and Dad making references to WW 1, but as a child, those words meant nothing to me. But then there was one serene Sunday morning, when I was in Gram’s upstairs east bedroom, that I remember. And recall so vividly that it’s part of what I write today.

I was a young woman, no children, and lazily reading and listening to the Tabernacle Choir and then, a program came on about war and of planes bombing ships and it all became an unwanted program so I turned it OFF and wandered downstairs.

There I found Gram working on the day’s dinner, but I saw she was crying. I was too young and shy to ask why she cried, but then Jake came through the doorway, lightly rapped my shoulders and said, “Well, Ole, (his nickname for me), looks like this time it’s for me.”

I didn’t know what he meant, either. Of course, I soon found out that I had been listening to the reports of Japan bombing Pearl Harbor and destroying almost all our Battleships and Air Force, which had been nestled there in the Pacific, to be safe from Hitler’s attacks in the Atlantic..

The world saw our Flag that day, ragged and floating in bloody waters, amid our sunken warships and planes, and we never knew how badly we had been battered until years later when the tables had been turned and we had driven the Japanese from all those eastern islands, skies and seas.

And then . . . my memory leaps forward and urges me to tell of General Douglas MacArthur, dressed in casual fatigues, while sitting on the open, sun-splashed deck of our Battleship Missouri. No tie, wearing no citations or medals, just everyday work clothes for doing ordinary, every day tasks.

But then some important looking ship approached carrying the Japanese Flag at half mast, and soon leaving that ship, to board The Missouri, was Hirohito, The Emperor of Japan, in his full brightly colored regalia of Emperor, and accompanied by men, whose every stitch of clothing told that they, too were dressed for an important occasion.

And what met Hirohito and his men?

Hirohito was met by a commonplace, work-a-day scene with men  swabbing the deck, others laughing and talking as they strolled back and forth or leaned against the railing, enjoying the calm sea. Just an ordinary work day aboard a Battleship. And Old Glory, our Flag was high in the sky, billowing beautifully for all to see, and  MacArthur, had his desk and everyday work,  taken to the sunny deck to accomplish..

 Before Hirohito and his men, was America’s Commanding Officer General Douglas MacArthur in ‘work clothes’ with not even a tie,  and offering not a single formality. There was no music, no drum roll, and no one stood in  greeting.  Unescorted and alone,  the Emperor approached the General and MacArthur raised his eyes, nodded and (I don’t remember the details), but there were NO formalities on our side..

And MacArthur, still sitting at his  work-cluttered desk, casually pushed some Papers and pen, toward the gorgeously dressed Emperor, and  Hirohito, treated as a casual messenger, signed those papers that stated his country was giving Unconditional Surrender, with no if’s, and’s. or but’s.  And MacArthur nodded his thanks, still not rising, and that was that. Over. Done with, and utterly humiliating to Hirohito, but that’s what Japan should have thought of before they started the war, and finally  learned what Unconditional Surrender meant.

There was no ceremony, no handshakes, no ceremonial wines or such to exchange. It was absolute surrender and that was all. We, and the world watched every Japanese there, in full uniform bow in humility before our Banner. Nothing more was needed, and Hirohito turned and, with no American escort,  his men took him to his ship and back to Japan.

MacArthur was ostensibly busy with his day’s work and that Surrender we had fought for, and men had died for, was signed, sealed, right there on the deck of the Missouri. I never cared much for MacArthur with his seemingly egotistical manner, but this was once I applauded him.  After our horror of Pearl Harbor, he had won The War in the Pacific, brought Japan to its knees, and had them begging  us to stop. They, who began the big mess, now wanted no more of it.

Yes, for about two years Japan thought they had conquered us, but they learned to know the strength, bravery and power of the United States of America. Our flag, had been shot from the skies into muddy, bloody waters, but we did not ask for that war, as we also did not ask for Okinawa, Midway, and on the other side of the world, the Battle of the Bulge, and Normandy Beach, but we finished every one of them, and those enemies all bowed in Unconditional Surrender. That was class. Real First Class.

The Melting Pot

We are them . . .

A month ago there was a News story that could have been written (and been true) any time during the past century and a half.   What it said was that over 20% of the people in our area speak some language, other than English, in their homes. And I shrugged and thought ‘what else is new’?

The next paragraph told me what’s new, and it was an 180% away from what I expected or has ever gone before. This time we were told of the ten languages most spoken, (not counting English) and then listed the words that we had better learn to speak and understand.

Anyway the top ten languages listed as needed (wanted?) today, and world wide, are: besides English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tongan, Chinese, Samoan, German, Serbo/Croatian, French, Portuguese and Russian.

Never before have we been advised to change our basic language. People come here for many reasons, they want to become part of us, and it’s been taken for granted that those who come would begin learning how to speak English.

My Dad came as a child with all his three R’s training in Sweden. And his Dad, was busy making a place for that family, and so ten or eleven year old Dad, knew it was up to him to learn to understand and speak English. And he did and, being both wily and smart, he found a book that had been dropped, and pushed around on the sidewalk, so he rescued it and made it his own.

It was the Book of ‘SHE’ , by Rider Haggard and was an Egyptian love story, (sexy for its day) but that book with the help of a slightly older American friend, Dad learned to read and speak English. Bet that was far from what Haggard had in mind when he wrote the tale, although the book is still published and read.  Dad would be amused.

If your family has been here for a long time, you know how it worked. Perhaps the grandparents clung to their original language, but the younger ones turned to English, and often the children were chastised if they reverted to their childhood lingo, rather than the new English words.

At one time the Catholic church ran the world which was then those countries around the Mediterranean Sea, and so Latin was the then-known world’s most used language, and remains so in categories, such as legal, medical, and Spiritual writings.  Music loved and still clings to the Romance languagaes, of Italian and French.

But then as the known world grew, the World Power gradually shifted from the Pope to Merchants, the business people of the world, who bought and sold cloth, food, jewels, seeds and such in all countries.

China was ahead in being aware of the need of a universal language, and knowing it could not be Chinese, they began requiring English classes for all higher education majors, no matter what the subject and they sent their young men to the U.S. to learn our ways. They were way ahead in their awareness and thinking.

Today, if one wants to do business around the world, people must know English and Business classes in schools in all major countries, teach our language. It was and is a Business necessity.

But is all the above foretelling another period of change???? The recent article even told us which words we should make part of our every day language. What a shift in emphasis, for in other times, right here, it was the aim of THEM to learn English, as their future language. One of the first thoughts of Mormon immigrants, and our learning theirs never considered.

What a difference and also what a different news story. We well know that the dominant world language has changed before, so what’s going on??? What language do those in-the-know  think the next world language will be? Spanish???

Worth thinking about, and considering how the people who speak that language are becoming part of our very neighborhoods, developing their own shopping malls, churches and schools. Yeah, it’s happened before, and are our Daily Newspapers now  alerting us of changes already in the making?  Worth thinking about.

The Autumns Of Our Lives

The Seasons of the year usually come so quietly that we’re far into  the next one  before we sense its coming.  But this year I can almost name the hour when Autumn arrived for me, and, it was so meaningful,  that I cling to it.

It happened on a very ordinary day as I sat at my computer, busy writing, when suddenly I was aware of a silence, so deep and soft that I could ‘hear’ it. Seemed as though my world were standing still.

It startled me and I pushed back my chair and stood, acutely aware and wondering if something had happened that I hadn’t heard, or if something were going to happen. You see, it was more than just a lack of noise, for I was in the midst of some velvety-soft unfamiliar experience.

Then I heard a dog bark that seemed to come from across the pasture that is now a golf course, and as I pondered the sound. I also wondered why, my mind had reverted to the old time name of cow pasture. Then there came the muffled sound of a car-door slamming shut. and I heard two kids (Whose kids? Mine?) calling out to each other.

I don’t live in a secluded area, but trees, bushes and a golf course surround three sides of my home and as most sounds from the busy street are muffled,  I, and the wildlife, give it the boundaries it demands, and otherwise ignore it. But this was different.

It was an other-worldly silence, as if the daily routine noises had been suddenly switched OFF so that something important could happen. I stepped to a window and found I was not alone, for there at the lawn’s edge, a usually super-shy quail was part of my moment, for even with me at the window, a movement which always sends him running, he stepped confidently to a dry spot for a dust bath.

It was obviously familiar territory to him and as a cloud of dust rose, he fluffed his wings and noisily clucked to his mate to come and join him. She finally came out of the bushes, and as he stepped aside for her, she took a few bored scratches, but was obviously unimpressed and walked, not scampered, back into her cover. He watched her for a moment, and then took over the fun and never repeated his invitation. I almost laughed aloud.

It was an enchanted time, and I decided that if this is how God chose to open Autumn’s door for me, I would show my appreciation and pulled my chair to a window that overlooks many trees, and within a moment saw two deer and rejoiced, for they have not ‘visited’ as often as they once did. Or just maybe I haven’t taken time to be silent, to look, and to see. I don’t know why, but the silence of Autumn that day had given them the bravery to step out into the open.  In the daylight. And it was good.

Autumn.  Yes, and as I watched today’s life in my yard, I was suddenly a child again, walking home from school, and aware of different aromas coming from the homes I passed. The Woolseys, Dickeys, Hills, Parks, one by one, and knew those wonderful smells came from what was being ‘canned’ in each home, in preparation for their winter meals.

I recognized the wonderful aromas of tomatoes, peaches, pears, pickles, and a feeling of Home, Security, and the Promise of Plenty throughout the winter, engulfed that child so securely that, years later, the entire incident was recalled.

The velvet silence remained and I knew that the deer, quail, and the memories, as well as the aromas, sights and sounds were all omens of Autumn. And, I also recalled that when I was a child, you needn’t have asked any family what they were doing at this time of the year, for you knew that everyone, in some way, was ‘getting ready for winter’.

The men with their animals, butchering, reaping, storing, and the women ‘putting up fruit’,  and  with no difference from home to home. Getting ready for winter, was what Autumn was then for.   And today I wonder at how quickly our lives have changed.

Yes, I can almost name the hour when Autumn arrived for me this year, and with it the memories of Autumns of yesterday, yesteryear, and of another world, as well as today. Time stood still for me as the world quietly turned a corner, changing from summer to autumn and I was lucky enough to be aware of its wonder.

Hope ‘turning the corner’ was as poignant and memory filled for you as it was for me. That just maybe, some of your thoughts or memories, are the same as mine, for they were good, filled with comfort, and a knowing that, no matter what the media says, All Is Well and Good With This World.  TYG.