The Shooting of Len Nielson

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If you’ve been reading Wanderingkeri for a while you may remember Chills, a Nudge, and Footsteps when I talked about starting an unknown journey to learn the stories of my great-grandparents and by extension their family. That nudge has become an obsession to learn and tell their stories because we need to see how much their trials and experiences may teach us, lead us, and guide us in the days of our lives.  The following story is about my grandfather Tom Murdoch Nicol.  What stories are hiding in your family?

 

(Tom, Upper Right)Written on the back of the this picture is the following: “This is the Children’s play tent they have a good time. Tom is always making something. I wish you could see it. The boy standing by Tom with his hat on one side, the little girl and the boy by her are neighbor’s children also the one just back of John with the paper in his hand. The rest are mine. Can you tell them by their looks? All well hope you are. Don’t think that house is ours. Ours is a little bigger than that. I wish I could see you all but don’t know when that will be.” Love to all Tressa

The Shooting of Len Nielson

Heat mirages wafted across the desert ahead of them, dust softly puffed from beneath their horse’s hoofs as the boys rode south and back north, east then west looking for cattle strayed from their ranch. The air carried the occasional morning meadow lark song and the two boys kept an eye out for rattlesnakes that may stretch out or worse coil up beneath the sagebrush or in the rock filled outcrops throughout the ranch.

Tom, the oldest, had his pistol holstered at his side. He prized his pistol and was proud of it and proud of his ability to hit what he aimed at almost all the time. Hyrum, his father, had taught him to shoot at an early age as he had taught each of his boys to use weapons for protection, especially riding the ranch; rattlesnakes weren’t the only varmints that would and could injure a man or animal.  When his parent’s first came to the desert country to homestead, Tom was only two and Chase, riding next to him now, was just an infant. They’d moved onto the “Rez” when it was first opened to white settlement in 1906, and though Duchesne had grown the Nicol’s ranch was about 15 miles from town and was as desolate an area as when the Indians were first confined to the newly designated Uintah Valley Reservation in 1863.

Stopping on the top of a hard packed sandy hill searching for tell-tale signs of the wandering cattle, Tom lifted his hat and wiped his forehead wet from the persistent sun pounding down. He pulled his pistol out and shot at a rock a fair piece away; the dust popping just below the target, his steady black mare not twitching when the pistol fired. We haven’t seen a track of those cows Chase. Let’s take a break, why don’t we ride over to Len’s and see if he’s seen any strays out his way. It’s been a while since we’ve been over. Besides, the horses could use some rest and water before we move on.

Spotting Len out in his yard, Tom and Chase hallo’d as they trotted their horses next to the barn, and climbed down from their thirsty mounts. Might we water our horses Len, Chase asked? Sure boys, help yourselves.  What are you doing this far out in this heat? Searching for some cattle that wandered away from the herd. You haven’t seen any strays up this way have you Len?  Not up here, but I haven’t been out in the back acres for a while, they could be up there, but it’s pretty dried out, not much water over that way.

While the horses drank, the boys and Len leaned against the barn in the shade. That’s a nice pistol you’ve got there Tom, can I see it? Tom reached down and pulled the pistol from its holster, flipping it over to hand the butt of the gun to Len when the pistol fired mid-flip and it was pointed right at Len! As if in slow motion Tom saw where the bullet entered in the front and exited the back of Len’s neck and then watched as Len dropped to the ground.

What should they do? They were just boys, he didn’t want to go to jail, it was an accident; all these thoughts raced through Tom’s mind as he  grabbed his horse, flew into the saddle and galloped away leaving Chase staring down at Len. Pushing his horse as fast as she could run through the miles between Len’s cabin and theirs Tom was certain Len was dying or even dead and what was he to do?

His litttle black horse was lathered and on her knees when Tom jumped from her back and ran to his mother,  he blurted out “I by accident shot Len Nielson”! Being the mother of seven boys Isabella had developed nerves of steel where the actions of her boys were concerned, but at this pronouncement she collapsed to the ground.  Tom was breathing hard and tears dry on his face, the twins Alva and Alma were yelling Tom’s going to jail, pandemonium had broken loose for a minute and just as suddenly stopped when Isabella said, Stop yelling.  Let’s kneel down here and say a prayer. Isabella turned to one of the youngest boys, John Murray and said, John you say the prayer please.  As they knelt there in the yard, John prayed harder than he had ever said a prayer before. Please bless Len to be alright. Please bless that Tom won’t go to jail. Amen.

After the prayer, Isabella turned and said, Kenneth, take care of Tom’s horse.  I hope you didn’t ride her to death Tom, she said, as she and Tom hitched the wagon and then whipped the horses into a cantor as they turned back up the road to Len’s cabin.

Stretched out on the ground Len closed his eyes and knew he was going to die. Chase, yelled Len! Len! What should I do? But Len was clutching at his neck blood oozing between his fingers, slowly dripping to puddles beneath his head. At once Chase knew what to do! He pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket; stuffed one end in the front bullet hole and the other end into the back bullet hole and held on tight. Slowly the blood stopped running out onto the dirt, but Chase was also afraid Len was going to die.

Looking toward home Chase saw a rolling cloud of dust and knew help was on the way.   Isabella and Tom were off the wagon seat hardly before the horses had stopped. Bending over Isabella said a prayer of thanks that Len was yet alive, and that Chase had known what to do to stop the bleeding.   It was a miracle that the track of the bullet missed all of Len’s major arteries, missed his larynx and missed his spine and major muscles.  If Chase hadn’t stuffed his handkerchief into the holes he would probably have died from blood loss.

Over the next weeks life on the ranch returned to normal; Tom’s horse didn’t die, John Murray at age five was certain that it was his prayer that saved Len’s life, and Tom and Chase found the stray cattle.  Stopping over to check on Len the boys were grateful that Len didn’t hold any hard feelings; him saying it was an accident, but he was glad he wasn’t dead and he supposed that with that kind of thing between them that they’d always be friends.[i]

 

[i] Author’s Note: This fictionalized story of the shooting of Len Nielson is based upon the true experiences of Thomas M. Nicol (age about 14) and H. Chase Nicol (age about 12) as told to Tom’s son Keith Nicol and recounted in the James and Mary Murray Murdoch Family History.  Additional facts of the prayer given by John Murray Nicol (age 85) given to author Keri Nicol Vest-Vergari (Tom’s oldest granddaughter). As to who actually went to Len’s aid is unknown from family lore, but taking author’s license, as a mother I could not imagine that Isabella would stay at home waiting, but rather go as quickly as possible to offer aid to what may have become a tragedy.

 

Portland Food Odyssey — Shut My Mouth!

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Durfur Oregon

There are thousands, if not hundred’s of thousands of millions of words written about food; how to grow it, buy it, cook it, eat it. Words written attempting to describe a flavor or smell, texture or color of food.  I have a friend who is not a foodie; she’s described food as fuel and can eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days and be satisfied.  My sweetie on the other hand loves food; meal planning, purchasing, preparing is a joy for him and partaking of the finished result is most often a joy for me. Though at one time I did ask that he cut down on garlic … everything, no matter how distinct the dish sort of tasted the same.

With the hundreds of thousands of millions of words written I will not attempt to describe the foods we’ve enjoyed these past two weeks, but I will share a few of the restaurants, joints, bakeries, and spots that when you find yourself wandering around Portland you really should try. These places are in no particular order, and are spread all over the place.

Though it did start with an impromptu decision on our drive through the Columbia River Gorge to stay 12 miles south of The Dalles, OR at the Balch Hotel in Dufur. No that’s not a misspelling.  The hotel was built in 1907. Restored beautifully and located in a small town farming community which isn’t tumbling down and nearly deserted. Our room was full of antiques and original light fixtures, the bed and pillows were totally comfortable, and the claw foot tub was the highlight of the renovated modern bath. The morning’s surprise, the included breakfast was fresh with homemade yogurt and granola, sun-dried tomato and spinach omelet, a blueberry muffin, and fresh squeezed orange juice.  I think that breakfast was an omen of our forthcoming culinary ‘joys’.

After Sweetie did some urban forestry, removing some poorly placed old trees in son’s backyard we were taken on a 20 minute ride to try our first ever Khao Man Gai at where else? Nong’s Khao Man Gai … Rice, Chicken with Asian spices and too-die-for chicken broth soup.

Later that night we Google Mapped our way to downtown Portland located on Mississippi to taste oyster nectar at the Olympia Oyster Bar , just so you all know, I don’t eat raw oysters … they creep me out. I did have the seafood bucket overloaded with clams & mussels. Their bread was thick and rustic, just perfect for soaking up the liquid gold at the bottom of the tin. Sweetie’s son runs the kitchen and cooks (you don’t cook oysters) and sitting at the bar we watched him in action.

Remember that was just our first afternoon in town …

Breakfast was en’joy’ing perfectly cooked eggs, while sitting next to a lovely fireplace, on an enclosed patio at the Tin Shed Cafe, which is dog-friendly in case you wanted to know. They have a Fido Menu, served along with a dish of water for your furry friends.

Truly mouthwatering vegan, gluten-free lemon bars

Wandering through the Alberta District where the Tin Shed is located, we were introduced to what I think  is the first time I’ve eaten vegan, gluten-free baked goods where the sweets taste like desserts. Shut my mouth! Yep! On a scrumptious lemon bar. I heartily recommend the Back to Eden bakery … it’ll be worth the hunt for a parking space, I promise. And I don’t make promises lightly …

Mid-afternoon found the gaggle of us meeting at Cathedral Park and then a cross-town jaunt again downtown (where we found an actual parking garage) and later a very large bowl of fresh raman from at an eatery called ???? that’s right I don’t remember, but it was tasty and I can’t even tell you where it was. I nearly forgot brioche donuts from Blue Star Donuts … they were sold out of my favorite lemon poppyseed so I settled for spicy mexican hot chocolate (and a few other varieties that disappeared just as quickly)!

Can you believe I didn’t take any photos of dinner? No family snaps, snaps of food, or the building. you’ll just have to take my word that the Authentica Mexican restaurant was worth the hike after finding a parking spot a few blocks down the street. Opps! I almost tried to describe the food… I’ll just say “try it ” we loved the Chili Relleno.

Come Saturday and topping off our food odyssey the daughter of my heart  had us over for brunch before we headed home … my mouth is watering thinking of it and I think I may have to try to recreate the potato, egg, and asparagus dish, and hope I don’t forget the fresh mango on the side.

After our tantalizing odyssey I’ve decided that we’re in a food rut .. a stuck-in-a-rut make the same easy favorite recipes when it’s time for a meal kind of rut; or when we head out for dinner we go the the same 3 or 4 places and it takes a road-trip and time with family and friends who really are foodies with a capital F to shake things up and get us thinking on another plane. My other local food plane will include trying that small, place down the street that’s tucked into the little shopping mall, stop at a new food truck … or that Bosnian sandwich shop whose parking lot is always full … I’m thinking of looking for a Khao Man Gai somewhere in Boise … well a girl can hope, can’t she?

Life is soooo good and tonight’s dinner is quail with mushrooms, asparagus and basmati rice.  See ya later friends … quoting Julia C. “bon appetite”!

“It’s Simple, but it’s Not Easy”

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I have a friend who is an internationally known body builder and health trainer. I once told him I was ready to get in shape, I was ready to lose some weight, and I asked him for some advice.  He said I can tell you what to do, “it’s simple, but it’s not easy”.

Simple: Eat less, exercise correctly.  Easy? No. It was tough to eat less, it was hard to do exercises that worked my body correctly. Though I tried to stay strong and focused I sabotaged myself. I made cookies, one cookie wouldn’t make a difference.  Then, one cookie became 3 and then it was even harder to go back to simple and finally I lost sight of my goals, and then just stopped following his advice, because it wasn’t easy.

I’ve thought about what he said quite often “It’s simple, but it’s not easy”. Many important and life changing things are simple. But not very easy. Why?  Because Easy doesn’t strengthen us, easy doesn’t encourage us, easy doesn’t build character … expecting something great while the way to get it is easy is one of Satan’s more well used and popular tools of deception.

God gives us straight-forward, seemingly simple, commandments; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength and the other is like unto it, Love your neighbor as yourself.

In our most fundamental doctrine we’ve been given the knowledge that we are children of a living God. The scriptures teach us this in many ways:

So, I asked myself some questions … Do I believe I am a child of God? Do I act like I am a child of God? Do I treat everyone with kindness and compassion knowing they are children of God? Do I reach out to my neighbors without a goal to convert them? Am I afraid to reach out to my neighbor because I think they might try and convert me? Am I welcoming and loving to everyone I meet?

I thought, yes? That Yes has an attached question mark. Then I thought about the word all. We are all God’s children. Well, then I thought … What about the people around the corner with 27 old cars out front that I criticize every time I drive by? What about that screaming child kicking the back of my seat in the airplane? What about people who have different political opinions? How about those people that just rub me the wrong way? How about people that … well you get the idea.  I didn’t like my answers … they weren’t a solid yes! My answers were  ‘well’, ‘kinda’, ‘sorta I do’, ‘maybe’, ‘sometimes’ …

How do we forget this fundamental doctrine? Because it’s a simple truth. We know we are children of God, but it’s not easy to remember and act upon when we aren’t focused on it, because the natural man sees with the eyes not the heart.

Satan works very hard to keep us separate. He works to keep us focused inward on ME and to forget WE.  Looking around on social media, listening to the news, even conversations within our own families we can see he’s been very successful in creating an environment of Us versus Them.

I want to focus on 3 ways or ‘weapons’ that Satan is using to blind us and stop us from seeing & treating God’s children as our brothers and sisters.  Then I will share with you the Secret, Not-so-Secret weapon God has given us to defeat Satan in this on-going war.

The first weapon Satan is using is Contention.  This is so blatant that the Lord gave us specific scriptural warning to beware:

“He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me [saith the Lord], but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another”.[v]

Contention stops us from seeing everyone as a child of God by separating us into groups so we comfortably live our life in our own bubbles; contention breaks our personal peace and causes us to harden our hearts and blind our eyes to everyone not like us. Who look differently, live differently, believe differently.

President Russel M. Nelson taught us how to combat contention[vi]

He says, “…show compassionate concern for others. Control the tongue, the pen, and the keyboard. Whenever tempted to dispute, remember this proverb: “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” (Prov. 11:12; see also Prov. 17:28.)

He goes on to say: Bridle the passion to speak or write contentiously for personal gain or glory. The Apostle Paul counseled the Philippians, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philip. 2:3.)

But the ultimate step lies beyond beginning control of expression. Personal peace is reached when one, in humble submissiveness, truly loves God.”

He then directed us to Heed carefully this scripture:

“There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.”

A second tool Satan is using is Pride

I never thought of myself as prideful. But I was so excited when I bought the next best car to my dream car which is a 1963 corvette … my new car was a nice little silver blue Z3 … it looked like the old ‘vette. So, one day I’m driving down the road, feeling all, this is cool, when I realized I wasn’t feeling this is cool, it was I’m cool. I was comparing my car with those around me. It was like a punch in the stomach.  I was like the Nephites!

Most of The Book of Mormon is seeing the rise of pride in the Nephites. We read about their Pride in their wealth, pride in their clothing, pride in their homes, and pride in their own strength… The pride which was their downfall.

First I tried to talk myself out of that thought, I’m not prideful! But after that day almost every time I got in my little car I remembered that feeling and those thoughts. Finally, the ultimate reason I sold my car was because of those feelings.  I’m not saying driving a nice car makes a person prideful, but I was prideful when I drove that car. After that moment of knowing; I saw many other places I had let pride in; like being at work and thinking I can do this better, more efficiently than anyone here in this meeting … why do I have to listen to what they have to say?

The Guide to the Scriptures describes this hurtful Pride as:

A lack or absence of humility or teachableness.

It goes on to say: Pride sets people in opposition to each other and to God. A proud person sets himself above those around him and follows his own will rather than God’s will.  Conceit, envy, hardheartedness, and haughtiness are also typical of a proud person.

In the New Testament, James (2:2) teaches us how pride separates us from one another and how to combat that pride within ourselves.

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Mormon also teaches us to combat pride through yielding our hearts unto God:

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God”.[vii]

And another tool Satan is using to blind us from seeing and treating one another as brothers and sisters is Unrighteous Judgement.

President Thomas S. Monson in his 2010 General Conference talk Charity Never Faileth, told this story:

 “A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“‘That laundry’s not clean!’ Lisa exclaimed. ‘Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!’

“John looked on but remained silent.

“Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

“A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, ‘Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.’

“John replied, ‘Well, dear, I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

Although we are warned about judging un-righteously we do need to judge daily about many things and people.

From True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference we learn:

“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments…

Judgement is an important use of your agency and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards”.

Elder Lynn Robbins in his Oct 2016 General Conference talk The Righteous Judge taught us to follow Christ’s example of righteous judgement.

“In His mortal life, Jesus Christ was a loving judge, uncommonly wise and patient. He is known in the scriptures as “the righteous judge”, and His counsel to us is to also “judge righteous judgment” and to “put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good … [and] to judge righteously”.[viii]

Heavenly Father commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He has given us the best tool or weapon to combat Contention, combat Pride, and combat Unrighteous Judgement. Really, it’s the tool to combat all that Satan throws at us.

It is God’s love. This is the Secret, not-Secret weapon God has given us to defeat Satan.

  • We see he told us the weapon to use against contention is to “Fill our heart with God’s love”,
  • the weapon against pride is to “pray and fast and yield our heart to God”, and
  • then, to combat unrighteous judgement rely upon Him and “trust in the spirit”.

My family is a microcosm of the world … as its grown it has become truly diverse in every way. Even though they are adults with children of their own I have struggled, and do struggle with their choices; I struggle as to how to reconcile my beliefs and theirs, my lifestyle with theirs, my viewpoints and theirs.

At one point I gave in to anger, judgement, & frustration. I was angry with them, I was fearful for them, I often was ashamed of them.  I would feel guilt, shame & more frustration. It was overwhelming and heart-breaking. I could hardly be with some of them, or even talk to them. There was little or no love in my heart or between us in our family.

On my knees praying for help, praying for forgiveness, asking for guidance … begging for God to help me understand them, and begging to know what I could do, what I should do … The Lord answered my prayer so profoundly that I am not the same.

He told me that it is not my job to judge them. He told me that he knows them, He knows their paths, he knows their plan, and He knows what they need.  They are His, as am I. My job is only to Love them.

That answer to my prayers taught me and helps me remember to treat and love each one in my family circle as a precious son or daughter of God. I don’t always succeed, but God’s love helped me separate their actions from who they are, his children … and love has returned.

Over time, I’ve come to understand that His words apply to everyone I encounter. Heavenly Father wants us to remember that He knows everyone. He knows everyone’s paths, He knows everyone’s plan. We all are His. Our only job is to love one another. Everyone. Not just in church, not just those who like what we like, or do what we do, but everyone.

How has he taught us to love one another? How has he taught us to love our families? Love our neighbors?  The stranger? The refugee? The prisoner? The homeless? The sick?  Those of different religions, colors, creeds, tongues, lands and people?

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

And he also taught us

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; …

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?[ix]

God’s not so secret weapon is that we are to love and serve one another. We are to love with God’s love, and we know that God’s love is the pure love of Christ, which pure love is Charity. And we know that God’s Charity Never Faileth.

In the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni gave direction as to how to be filled with Charity …

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; [x]

President John Taylor, the third president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught the importance of not only believing, but practicing the Savior’s plea to love our neighbor.

Love one another, and work the works of righteousness, and look after the welfare of all, and seek to promote the happiness of all. That is what God is doing.”   

“When you get the Spirit of God, you feel full of kindness, charity, long-suffering, and you are willing all the day long to accord to every man that which you want yourself. You feel disposed all the day long to do unto all men as you would wish them to do unto you.”[xi]

Going back to what my friend told me, “It’s simple, but it’s not easy” … Simple: treat everyone as a son or daughter of God.  Love thy neighbor as thyself. But to remember and do that is often not easy because we are only men and women and are not perfect.  I believe that as we follow Moroni’s guidance to pray with all the energy of [our] heart for the gift of Charity and the guidance of the Holy Ghost and if we follow Nephi’s counsel to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men  we will see everyone as they truly are, we will treat them and serve them as our brothers and sisters; as children of our Father in Heaven  … As God knows and sees us.

May we always remember we are all our Father’s children. May we all desire and pray for the gift of Charity, and may God’s love enable us to overcome Satan whose only desire is to stop us from returning home to live in Celestial glory with our Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ.

I testify that we are, all of us, the sons and daughters of God; our Father in Heaven knows each of our names, each of our needs, and knows our heart’s greatest desires. He loves every one of us with His infinite love, no matter our circumstances, where we were born or live, our trials, our opportunities, or our choices. For the Father offered even his son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life as an example to us.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, died and atoned for our sins, the sins of everyone, in every place, in every time, in every circumstance.

Hands Across America 1986 — Philadelphia

Hands Across America 1986 – Midwest, USA

 

 

[i] Moses Chapter 1:13

[ii] Psalms 82:6

[iii] Acts 17:29

[iv] Doctrine and Covenants 76:34

[v] 3 Nephi 11:29

[vi] The Canker of Contention, by Elder Russell M. Nelson

[viii] The Righteous Judge, by Elder Lynn G. Robbins

[ix] Matthew 25:35-47

[x] Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ  Moroni 7:48

[xi] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), President John Taylor, Chpt 3 Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Charlie the Dog goes Walk-About

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Last Friday I went skiing … the snow was so-so and after a few runs in the fog I headed home. Well, that’s not too unusual in my world, but that day would turn out to be nothing like the chill bucolic day I was planning.

When I headed out that morning I took my mother’s dog Charlie (the little white house dog we’ve been fostering) down into the Sweetie’s shop so he

“Aren’t I Special”? thinks Charlie the Dog

could hang out with Mala our Pudelpointer. After about half an hour of his scratching on the door Sweetie let him out to wander in the front drive area … which he’s done for the past 7 weeks.  Nothing unusual there either … except … Charlie decided to “go walk-about’.

When I walked in the door Sweetie said, “I lost Charlie”.  Oh no! I thought, my mom is going to have a stroke or something. So off go the ski boots and I went into I’ve got to find Charlie mode.  You should know though that Charlie is his own dog (read SPOILED) … when you call he goes the other way … like catch me if you can ….   You also may remember that here in Council the shop is in the middle of 97 acres of burnt dirt, rocks, and sage brush and rolling hills.  At this time of year, with unusually warm weather the ground is swampy from snow melt.  I climbed hills, took the binoculars out and scanned the hills for movement of any kind, I called, I walked looking at snow patches trying to see if there were Charlie prints anywhere.  Nope.  Quail prints, horse prints, man prints … big dog prints … no Charlie prints.

Then I drove up and down Highway 95 … well, if the little guy could make it that far (1/2 mile) to the main road, maybe someone picked him up. I drove up and down the highway a LOT .. sloooowly with my emergency flashers blinking while I was on look out for  “a body” … Nope! No body. Wheww! Home I went and made up lost dog posters and plastered them at all the gathering spots around Council. I put info on Facebook, I called veterinarians in a 60 mile radius (like Council is in the middle of nowhere so 60 miles is a good circle).  I messaged found animal services.  The result? Nothing, notta, nope, no sign of the little white house dog that doesn’t listen. And I prayed. I called my mom, I called my sister I said, pray .. and they prayed, and friends prayed and sent good thoughts.  I prayed every time I thought of that “stupid” dog.

Saturday I was all in a twist about him … it had rained the night before. I was sad, I was worried because my mother was heart broken. As I was praying, driving again down the road, I had a sense of peace calm me down and I felt that Charlie was okay.  Thinking he had been found and that someone would see one of the adverts and contact us. Talking to my mom she said she felt the same way.  No news Saturday, or Saturday night, or Sunday … someone called and said he may have been at a vet in Weiser.

… that’s 3 days of praying and watching for a gathering of crows (the body thing again), but no news is good news? I continued to feel that peacefulness and figured, well, he’s okay.  He’s either with God and he’s okay or with someone and he’s okay. Fast forward to Sunday evening (3 days after the little white dog took a powder) and 2 minutes before the end of the Superbowl.

I thought i heard a scratch at the door … we were screaming for the Eagles in those final minutes and I wasn’t certain I’d really heard anything. I went downstairs, but didn’t hear any scratching or noise. But, a thought came to mind to just open the door.

After 3 days walk-about … “Kibble! I’ll eat kibble”!!

I opened the door and that little white dog dragged himself though and stood there, head down and shaking. Some how, where ever he had been he found his way back. I yelled upstairs, “Charlie’s back”! Total shock echoed throughout the group … I picked him up, carried him upstairs and had Sweetie take a picture of him to send to my mother. He was shaking and sighing (yes, a dog can sigh). I put him down and the dog who doesn’t eat kibble unless bribed ate 2 plates of kibble, some chicken jerky, and some philly cheesesteak and probably drank a quart of water.

Where he went, how far he walked or ran, how he avoided being a coyote appetizer, or giant barn owl dinner we’ll never know. What stories he could tell. His feet are still sore and he’s sticking pretty close to the front door when he has to go out.

His return is a miracle. Charlie’s safe return is a testament to sincere prayer and faith in a loving Father in Heaven who is always aware of each of his creatures, no matter how small.  God is Wonderful.

On a separate note: Charlie will be heading back to live with Mom in a few weeks, she’s decided to return home … she says the people at the independent/assisted living apartments are OLD and though she won’t say it out loud … I don’t think she trusts us to keep Charlie  close so he won’t go walk-about again.

Life is good, isn’t it?

“Milk Money” Art Collection on the Auction Block

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Heritage Up for Auction

Cache Valley Utah perches in the far northern end of the Wasatch Mountains. It’s roots were and are fairly rural and Logan, the county seat and largest metropolis is the home to Utah State University, once Utah State Agricultural College (Go Aggies!).  Cache Valley was named for the fur stashes hidden there by many Rocky Mountain Fur Company trappers.

It’s still a relatively quiet and very picturesque valley with small towns scattered in the high mountain valleys.  If you take the exit east through Brigham City, through narrow canyons you’d love to visit the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, or drop in to the Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Logan, or take a hike up to Naomi Peak. All things I’ve loved to do.

This quiet valley isn’t too quiet right now. In board meetings the Logan City School District has decided that it is in their financial interest to divest themselves of 11 of 42 paintings purchased by the children of Cache Valley for their education and edification, the proceeds to be used for “student travel”.  Many of these artists lived in or had roots in Cache Valley.

Alice Merrill Horne, was the Utah legislator who passed the 1899 “Art Bill” which created the Utah Art Institute and pushed for the “Milk Money for Art” program. Her idea was that, “as far as possible, children should be exposed to quality art without having to have rich parents”.

By James Harwood. One of the Cache Valley School District paintings up for auction.

Children all over Utah donated nickles and dimes (their milk money)  through the 1930’s to purchase fine art from local and regional artists. The art was displayed in public schools throughout Utah. I recall paintings in the hallways of my own elementary school in Utah County. Humm, I wonder if they’re still there?

Our history & heritage should not be for sale to the highest bidder. It disrespects the sacrifices made to procure these works of fine art by children and their families while in their poverty during the Great Depression.

Please sign this petition to stop the auction, which may allow local and state groups an opportunity to work to keep the collection together, protect and preserve it and keep it available to the public.   http://www.utahculturalalliance.org/lcsd-art-collection

Link to view Milk Money Paintings

For more complete information, both pro and con, please take some time to read these excellent articles.

Logan City School District’s Plan to Auction Paintings Meets with Concerns

Controversial Auction of Works from Logan City School District Collection

Logan School District Superintendent Commentary on School District Art Decision

 

One voice can start an avalanche … be heard.

Today’s Tribute is to Newton’s 1st Law of Motion

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Christmas holiday company left 45 minutes ago … though they’re out the door the ions, electrons, neutrons, atoms, & quarks are still spinning all around and bombarding me. There is definitely active energy excitement going on here.  Even the silence feels like it has weight.  My mind doesn’t want to generate thought, my body doesn’t want to do much but remain stopped. The past week(s) we’ve proven Newton’s 1st law of motion: that a body in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Well my body wants to work on the other half of Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia that an object at rest stays at rest until acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Charlie; our foster dog … he misses his real momma

Was I being mean or what?

The 4500 miles, a new dog member to our family, then our annual 5 course plus dessert Christmas Eve dinner (carb overload) and wonderful friends, Christmas dinner and more wonderful friends (less carbs), Sweetie’s daughter & husband spent a few days successfully getting us onto the X-C ski tracks around McCall for the first time this year (like we’ve had nooooo snow to speak of) and so now the biggest unbalanced force that will be acting upon me will be the combined efforts of the dogs at my feet for a walk … later … much later.

And with that statement I am closing up the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen with a sigh of contentment, a heart full of gratitude for uncountable blessings, and a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart for all the days of this year. All the days of love, days of friendship, days of pain, days of sorrow, days of hope, days of joy, days of tears, days of failure, days of success, days of shadow and days of sunshine.

Thank you for joining me on this year’s journey around the sun. I’ve loved every minute of it I hope you have too!

 

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalms 106