Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dedicated to THEA

Today is Thea's 18th birthday so today's blog is dedicated to her. As the youngest of four children Thea was always the last of an era. The last bottle to feed, the last diaper to change, the last one to attend elementary, middle and high school. The last one to be driven to seminay and the last one to teach how to drive. I have a tendancy when I know that something is the last time to not want it to end. When Thea was a baby Marla and I would just hold her and rock her until she fell asleep. We knew that it would be better for her to learn how to go to sleep on her own, but we didn't care. We knew she would be the last of our babies we could hold. She wasn't potty trained until she was three because there would never be diapers again after that. ( That actually wasn't so bad.) We moved to Gardnerville when Thea was three. She had been very sickly and only wieghed 39 pounds which is underwieght for a three year old. We took her to a lot a different doctors who wanted to do a bunch of different tests that we did not feel good about. It turns out that she was just anemic and needed some iron that was easily handled with a multi vitamin. Thea was the tag along child. Marla was very involved with the high school band as were the older kids. So Thea spent most of her pre-school years in the band room with lots of teen agers. I think she thought she was just a half sized teenager herself. The high light of her pre-school band career was when she had her own pint sized band uniform and let the band in the Nevada Day parade. Her picture made it on the front page of the Record Courier Newspaper the next day. (Much to the dismay of her older sister Jesse, who was the actualy drum major and leader of the band.
In grade school all of Thea's teachers loved her. We got tired of going to parent teacher conferences and just hearing how wonderful she was. What more could we do? She was very involved in theatics and acted in school plays and even community children's Shakespeare group. Junior High brought new friends and challenges and horses. She finally convinced me to made good on a ten year promise and get some horses at our place. I rode Zana and Thea rode GS (short for the Golden Snicth) That horse loved that girl and would do anything for her. We rode every Wednesday afternoon with our friend Sharon Blanks, a great cowgirl and horse lady. We learned a lot from her about horses and horsemanship. I mostly enjoyed the time together with Thea.
High school brought puberty, homones, teenagerhood and all of the accompaning challenges of the same. Thea sang, debated, skied, had lots of friends, dated, studied, fed horses, and found Tobie. Tobie is a great dane / labrador black mix mut. I have never before seen a dog so attached to a girl and a girl so attached to a dog. High school also brought driving. I spent lots of time in the car with Thea behind the wheel. It only took a few months for her to stop asking me which was the go pedal and which was the stop pedal. Driving did not come a naturally as riding a horse. She did get her drivers license and is a very good driver now.
I have enjoyed my time with Thea. From the rocking chair, to the band trips, to the fishing derbies, to the horse back rides and driving lessons. We have spent time singing at the piano. (Thea has perfect pitch) We have skied together for 7 years on the ski club. She is a good girl, never in trouble. She is loving and smart, beautiful and talented.
Next year she'll be at the Academy of Art University in San Franciso studying Photography. We will miss her terribly but treasure the time and memories spent together.
Love Dad

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A boy and his horn make good

When we first moved to Gardnerville one of the first families we began friends with were the Barretts. They have three children, James, Dan and Rose. James played the cornet, Dan the Trombone and Rose the Violin. I think they all played the piano and sang as well. With the musical inclination of our kids our families became good friends. We would get together for General Conference every year. We would share a meal and have a little music fest in between conference sessions. (The Barretts provided most of the talent.) At Christmas time we would go caroling together with a brass choir. (Sara added her trumpet to the Barretts brass section.) Dan played his trombone with Jesse and Sara in the Douglas High School marching band and concert band. Dan and Jesse sang in the Madrigals together.

Over time kids have a way of living their lives and going their separate ways. James is in Japan, Rose is playing her violin in Italy and France and Dan is finishing a PHD in music performance on the Bass Trombone at Arizona State in Tempe Arizona. Dan was the featured soloist at the Carson Symphony in a concert tonight. He played a concerto written for the bass trombone. Not exactly a sing along type of song, but the piece is written as a competition piece for the Juliard School of Music. It featured a truely virtuoso performance on the horn. It was amazing. I think Dan is 30 by now. It was great to see him again and many of our friends who came out to see him.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Silver Beaver

Last night I was presented the Silver Beaver Award by the Nevada Area Council Boy Scouts of America. It is the highest award given to volunteers by the local Council for their service. We attended an awards dinner where seven individuals were presented the award for the year. My friend Don Dixon introduced me. I have given a little thought to my years of scouting and here is a summary.

I ave been an adult Boy Scout leader for 27 years. I have been a Scoutmaster, Committe Chairman, Explorer Leader (twice), Eleven year old Scout leader, District Varsity Scout Chairman, District Varsity Roundtable Chairman, Wood Badge Staff member (seven years), Wood Badge Course Director 2007, Assistant Course Director for the 2008 National Youth Leadership Training course, and at the moment I'm a merit badge counselor.

During my various assignments with the scouts I have worked with around 20 young men as they finished their Eagle Scouts.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time on activities with the boys. I've been to seven summer camps. I've helped to lead five 50 miler trips; three in the Sierras, one in the Moniter Range in Central Nevada and an 85 miler at Philmont Scout reservation in New Mexico. I've helped to lead two trips down the Colorado River in house boats and a week long trip aboard an 85 foot onvnverted 1929 Coast Guard cutter in the San Juan Islands. I've led three trips down the Virgin River Narrows and three Varsity/Explorer high adventure trips to Utah, Monterey, and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. There's been lots of hiking and camping in between the big trips. Right now most of my scouting time is limited to merit badge work and helping to present the Wood Badgers finish their tickets.

As a young man I wanted to be a forest ranger, but then I learned that they spent most of their time picking up trash, made very little money, and every other kid of the 70s want to be one. In college I changed my mind about being a forest ranger and thought that being a wildlife biologist would be more interesting. Unfortunately or maybe it is fortunate that I was no good at chemistry, physic, and biology. This did not boad well for an aspiring wildlife biologist. While on my mission I decided that people were actually OK and I liked leadership and organizations. On going into Finance and Business after my mission I decided I could satisfy my love for the outdoors through Scouting. Looking back the last 28 years, I feel that I have done many things out doors that I probably would not have done on my own. Some of my best friends as adults are those that have been on these scout outings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday Ski Club

For the last fourteen years I have been a chaperon with the Douglas County Ski Club. The club meets every Saturday morning for ten weeks starting in January. We load up between 70 and 130 kids on school buses and head up to Heavenly Valley Ski Resort. All four of the kids have grown up with the club on Saturday winter mornings. For the previous two years Sara was a Chaperon with me. All of the kids are very good skiers. Jared is a fairly amazing skier. I've gotten better over the years as well. This year I have no kids in the club, but I'm a chaperon anyway. I tell people it's for the "children" but it's really for me. Many of my good friends are chaperons on the club and I enjoy the day with them. Rob Pumphrey, Willie Macquellin, Bill Coverly, Clay Davis, Rob Maxwell and Tom Ingham. It's great excercize and after 14 years I never tire of the mountain, the views of Lake Tahoe, and the glories of winter. I'm sure if it weren't for the ski club I'd find other responsible things to do on my saturdays. I have great memories with the kids and hopefully they do too, a fair proficiency in skiing and love for winter and the mountains. (I probably had that before).