This weekend we took Thea to college. She is attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. It is an interesting school in that the campus is downtown San Francisco. The University owns about 30 buildings downtown. They have their own bus system that connects the properties. Thea's dorm is the old Commodore Hotel. It was built in 1928 to house merchant marines in between sea trips. The University has converted it into a dorm. Thea's room is on the sixth floor. Her room mate is Ashy Johnson a Fashion Design major from Fresno. They both are the youngest and last to leave home in their families. Fortunately we were able to move her in on Friday because the elevator broke on Saturday. The AAU seems very business like and things were well organized for all the new students arriving. AAU has about 8,000 full time enrollment.
Yesterday Jesus Lopez and Cristal Mendoza from the Eagle Valley Spanish Branch got married. Jesus is a convert of five years and he brought Cristal to church and introduced her to the gospel. She was baptized last February. It is a great example of how the branch has blessed the lives of the Hispanics in the area. Next February they will be able to go to the Reno Temple and be sealed. President Ogles performed the ceremony to be followed by a six hour ( short by branch standards) reception with great food and dancing. We could potentially three families sealed in the temple next year.
When I was Young Mens' President about two years ago, I had two young men that I wanted to see get their Eagle Scout award. Blaine Frogget got his Eagle two weeks ago. I was not able to attend because of a work commitment. Then last tuesday Scott Maxwell received his Eagle. He asked me to present his award. That would be eagle number 21 and 22 in my scouting career. Both Scott and Blaine gave me their Eagle mentor pin. It is my third. ( Adam Campbell was the first). No one in the Ward seemed to know what to do to get Eagle papers submitted so I offered to help Blaine and Scott with theirs. Blaine works in my office so I gave him the added incentive of no paycheck until his papers were in. He went about eight weeks with no pay but it worked. Even though I was released two years ago, I feel my work is now done in the Ward YM program. Scott Maxwell's Dad was one of the participants on the 2007 Wood Badge course. (Antelope patrol) He received his beads that night as well. It was a special night for the Maxwell family and I was very happy to be a part of it.
Fifteen years ago when we moved to Gardnerville, one of the first families we met was the Bowmans. I was assigned to be Dan and Bertha's home teacher. They both love to talk. Our home teaching visits would usually end with Dan saying, "you sure don't talk very much" and then Bertha would say "you never gave the poor boy a chance to open his mouth." This wa after about two hours. As it turned out we lived on the same block in Springfield Virginia. I was three years old at the time and Dan and my dad both worked at the Pentagone in Washington DC. They were not members of the church at the time and I'm not sure if my parents knew them but casually.
When I was called as Bishop of the CVII Ward, I had a very strong impression to call Dan as the executive secretary. I fought the feeling thinking we would never get anything done with Dan talking so much. I called him anyway and he was the best executive secretary I have every seen. He was remarkably quite during our meetings and only chimed in when asked for his input on something. He had dogged determination in lining up my appointments. One time he called me at work and said "Bishop I've been calling this person all day and they don't answer" This was around 10 in the morning and he was calling for a youth interview. I suggested he wait until they got home from school. Dan served in that capacity for five years and was my only executive secretary.
He and Bertha are both 88 years old now and they are moving to Monterey to an assisted living center close to their son Danny. We will miss them dearly. It feels like a chapter ending. I hate chapter ending. Best success to you Dan and Bertha!
So we plant a garden and an orchard. We dig, water, weed, prune, spray for weeds, spray for bugs, scare off the birds and finally get something worth eating. Today was canning day. Marla, her mom and me ( I was mostly the go pick and clean guy) put up 20 quarts of peaches and 20 pints of jams and jellys. (peach jam, plum jelly, and plum/apple jelly)
It's amazing how much work goes into getting a bottle of peaches. We could buy a number ten can at the store for $2.39, but there is something gratifying in going from dirt to finished product. There is a good lesson for life in the Law of the Harvest. One has to work before enjoying the fruits.
As the newly appointed Nevada Area Wood Badge Coordinator, and not sure exactly what my new job entails; I thought I would drive out to Ely and Camp Success to see how this year's Eastern Wood Badge Course was going and maybe help them break down the camp. This would entail driving across the state on Highway 50, something I have always wanted to experience. Highway 50 is described as the loneliest highway in America. This name has actually acted as a tourist draw and many people want to drive the road. Just past Fallon (home of many Whitaker relatives) is a real honest to goodness sand dune mountain, aptly named Sand Mountain. The dunes rise 600 feet off the valley floor and are built by constant winds off the Carson Sink where the Carson River disappears into the desert floor in one of the driest parts of the driest states. Of course it was raining when I drove through. Past Sand Mountain is the Middle Gate Pony express station. The old station is in ruins but there is a bar and sometimes a gas station. Just past the station is the famous (for these parts) hanging shoe tree. This is giant cottonwood tree, probably the only one for 50 miles. It has hundreds and hundreds of shoes hanging from it's branches. I don't know why, perhaps the proximity to the bar has something to do with it. The miles roll by and several 6000 and 7000+ foot passes go by and we ( me and Pepper) go through Austin and the town of Eureka. Austin has about 300 people has a higher elevation than Lake Tahoe and is part ghost town and part Landers County Seat. Eureka is an hour down the road and has about 1000 people. We are in high country now. The country is very scenic.
After 340 miles we arrive in Ely. Ely has 4,000 people and a few smaller towns in the surrounding area. It supports three wards of the LDS church and is about 25% LDS. It is closer to Salt Lake than to Vegas or Reno. Certainly the biggest town since leaving Fallon and 259 miles. From Ely we headed up into the Schnell Range of Mountains reaching almost 12,000. The Scout camp was at about 8,000 feet. We passed through typical high desert chaperal, then aspens, then pine and fir forests. The vegetation was very lush at the camp. The grass in some places was four feet tall.
The Wood Badge course appeared to be a great success. The Council had 65 participants and 43 staffers at the two courses this year. That is probably a record. At the closing assembly I introduced Liz Finley as the Course Director for 2010. Then is was repeat the drive in reverse. We got home about 10:30 PM. I was very tired but enjoyed the chance to see the state almost from the west to east borders. I saw a band of wild horses, poney express ruins, along with pioneer ruins, ghost towns that were once thriving mining towns with populations bigger than today's Gardnerville or Minden. We passed through valleys completely unpopulated for a hundred miles and some of the last open range in the country. Lots of time to think, sing to Pepper, ( so to stay awake) and listen to numerous recorded blogs and a new Clive Custler book.
Hello, all of Jeff's readers. This is his girl- Jesse. He asked me to send him some pictures from our recent adventure in Nauvoo and the quickest way for me to cyberspace them was to hijack his blog. Enjoy!
At the Lands and Records Office
In the Seventies Hall
Joseph Smith's clerical office in the Red Brick Store
The Mansion House
Lucy Mack Smith Homestead
The Nauvoo House
Lucy Mack Smith homestead, from behind
The Temple from Parley Street
Statue at the end of Parley Street
Room where RS was organized
Pioneer Memorial at the end of Parley Street
Sunset on the Mississippi
Demonstrations at the Family Living Center
Parley Street looking out onto the Mississippi River