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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BON APETITE -1




                                          BON APPETIT- 1
   I have been trying to write this blog for a month. I tried first to use the idea of a Poem, then a rhyme. It seemed I could make some of the ideas work in each case, but I could not make it flow smoothly, as I wanted it to. So I decided to just sit down and write and see what the end product might be?
   First it is obvious that I am not an English Major, and it is also obvious I am not a connoisseur of fine food. However just being old does give me some experience in both.
   When my wife passed away in 2012 I started Blogging, but just for my family. As one of my daughters said ,”I hope you document a lot of the stories you have told us and even some that you did not want to tell. At this point I am not sure how well I have accomplished either one of these things.
   My Brother in Law passed away in 2015 and my Sister and I started going to lunch together once in a while. Then it became going more and more and we realized we were going A LOT. At that point we decided to go to different places, for an ulterior motive of seeing new places, instead of just to eat. Somewhere in that time frame I decided to do a Blog on our eating, traveling and fun times and places: BON APPETIT.
   (There we sat in our gourmet café,)
   (With the golden arches shining above.)
   (Her silver coiffed hair seemed her pride and joy.)
   (And mine was bald which I did not enjoy.)
   (I took off my hat and laid it aside, )
   (If I wore a hat at the table, My Mom would, tan my hide.)
   We made it a venture to try and go to different or new places. Really the trip to a new place was often an adventure in itself.
   One day my Sisters husband and I were reminiscing about the “good old days”, we do that a lot. We had both served in the USAF in Germany and we both learned to love German food. Of course one has to eat you know? We both had been told about a German restaurant in Spring City, Utah that served wonderful German food. We decided to drive down the next day and have some REAL GERMAN food. We both wanted Wienerschnitzel  as we had learned to love it. We thought if there was a German National food it must be Schnitzel. Imagine how “bummed Out” we were when it was not even on the menu? We both ordered something else and it was Ok, but we were disappointed. We talked about the food in Germany and laughed and agreed that perhaps we were much younger, and we were remembering the good times we had in Germany and not necessarily the food. It was quite a trip to Spring City, but I had never been there and it was an interesting little town. This whole little town is preserved as a National Historic place. The architecture on most of the houses is very interesting.   
   Lately I have been going to McDonalds for breakfast, more than a little! My Sis goes sometimes but I have found it is a lot easier to do breakfast there than at home. So I have coined a new name, perhaps to make the food more tasty. I call it the “McDonalds Gourmet Breakfast.” A lot of the family tease me about it, but that is OK. It sure is a lot easier than cooking for one, cleaning up for one and washing dishes for one. Perhaps on second thought the washing dishes for one is probably a Perk? I have eaten more Sausage Muffins with orange juice the past few months than I have in my whole life.
   A lot of times just getting somewhere to eat is a lot of fun. And some days, if it has been a bad one it is a joy just to go some place just for a change of scenery. Many times I have picked up my Sis or she has picked up me and we have no idea where we are going. In the cold winter we usually picked a place close to home, but now it has warmed up we prefer a place a little farther from home. EXAMPLE: One day she picked me up (She always wants to drive—does that mean she does not trust my driving?) and we decided to just head north. We thought we would just go to North Salt Lake and grab a sandwich and come back home. However we ended up going to the north end of the Legacy Highway, or Byway or Parkway—whatever it is called? We were talking when we passed the first place to get off and we missed it. So we decided we might as well go to the end of it where it joins I-15. I had not been on that Highway since they first built it and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes there are a lot of swamps and slews out there, but they are filled with hundreds of birds of all kinds and colors. I have never been a bird-watcher but I imagine a lot go out to Legacy to do their thing. There is also a biking and hiking trail that would seem to call a younger person to come and take a look. At my age we have to enjoy the perks while sitting or riding on a car. We stopped at a Mexican Café in North Salt Lake on the way back home. I cannot recall the name of it but the food was plentiful and it was good.
   (While we eat we reminisce about things of our youth,)
   (We have eaten Snails, snakes and crocodile and they are so very uncouth.)
   One morning my Sis called me and suggested we go a diner in Oakley, Utah for lunch. It is an old R/R car that had been brought to Oakley and converted into a diner. Of course all it takes for me to go is an invitation and we are gone. Just going up Parleys Summit was worth the drive. We have had a couple of days of rain and then warm weather for a couple of days and “Spring has sprung,” as the old saying goes.  The ride was beautiful. The trees had leafed out, the flowers had bloomed and the wild grass was green. Of course I love the mountain vista’s we have in Utah but I especially noticed it today. I guess I was just ready for Spring and it was one of those days. The only distraction, was having to dodge the Orange UDOT cones that seem to grow in the road. We pulled into the parking lot in Oakley about 11:30 and we knew immediately we had a problem. The parking lot was EMPTY. There was a little white sign on the door—Closed Mon-Wed. So what to do? So what to do? Of course I knew exactly what to do. We went to the Hi-Mountain ice cream shop and got a dish of Pralines & Cream ice cream to hold us until we found a place to eat lunch. We are both crippled up with “old age” problems so we went to the local Cemetery and ate our “goodie” while we sat in the car and decided what to do about lunch. Of course we knew the ice cream would not hold us all afternoon so we decided to go to Heber City, then past Deer Creek and down Provo Canyon and have lunch in Provo. (As I said earlier I enjoy the traveling and seeing different or old places more than the eating lunch.) I told my Sis I remembered a place that I used to eat at in Pleasant Grove called the “Purple Turtle” way back in the late 60’s and we decided to find it. It is a little strange, because almost as soon as I told her that, the place came in view. We ate there- the food was still good and of course it brought back memories. I guess finding it like that might be called spontaneous inspiration or serendipity. Ha Ha.
   (They were always looking for a new place to eat.)
   (They want to drive in a car, not walk on their feet.)\
   (They are old and aching, crippled and lame)
   (They know old age is the thing to blame.)
   It sounds like we go to McDonalds a lot, but actually we try to venture to other places. A lot of them we know nothing about and a lot of them turn into an interesting Lunner (lunch/dinner.)
   One morning my Sis showed up and asked if I wanted to go to a new place. She had heard of it and said it was probably a little pricy but she would like to go and try it. Of course I would! All I need is an invitation and I am ready to go. It was only a short drive from my home, so off we went! --- A LITTLE PRICY  YES I WOULD SAY SO! It was Tuccis Cucina Italiana. Yes the food was marvelous, but $50.00 for two of us for lunch? I told my Sis we needed to splurge once in a while, just to see how the other half lives, but let’s not make it a habit.
   There is a definite disadvantage to eating in the Valley, close to home. There is no new scenery to see, just going and coming and we have a tendency to just order on the menu what we did the last time we were there. This does not leave much room for either sightseeing or trying out new foods and eventually it also gets boring.

   I picked my Sis up one day and we were going to a copy-cat pasta place for lunch. On the way we were on 4800 South and we saw a small restaurant with a sign that said, ”Best Hamburgers in Salt Lake City” or something like that. WE stopped, We ate and yes they were good. We were our own waiters. When the food was ready she called and we went to the back and got our food and took it to the table. We also got our own drinks. When we were finished I talked to the gal who owned the place and she was a one woman whirlwind. (she cooked, if she could- she served, she answered the phone and kept the food coming from the freezer to the grill.) I am not sure it was the Best Burger in Salt Lake but it was very good. We were not in a hurry so we were the last ones to leave. That left time to talk with her and she has an interesting story. And yes we have been back a few times.
   I decided to drive to Saratoga Springs or Eagle Mountain for lunch one day. I traveled down the old highway past Camp Williams. I had not been there for a long time and I wanted to see how it had changed and if they had any interesting new, or old, eating places. I did not find any except what I have started calling “celluloid palaces.” Also known as fast food places. They were not interesting so I decided to go up through Stockton and Tooele to go home.
I did not expect to find an interesting place to eat on the way. However at the junction for Tooele/Dugway there was a small roadside store, gas station and Café. There also were about 20 Motorcycles parked in front. I went in and got a diet-coke, mainly just to (checkout the place). It looked OK so I sat down and had a burger. I also talked to some of the bikers. They were all from the Salt Lake area. They were on a week end outing and planned on stopping in the Beaver City or Cedar City area for the night. I actually had a good time visiting with some of them. (It reminded me that I think we should take a chance, smile and talk with strangers. If nothing else we may find a friend.
   So with not knowing where to start this Blog and not knowing how I am going to end it, I guess there are at least two things I end up with. First and most prominent is that the real reason my Sis and I, and at times my Daughters go out to eat is not really the eating, but the traveling, the reminiscing and enjoying the beauty of this place we live. I guess the “Ute” Indians really knew what they were doing, as Ute means ”people of the mountains”. Of course I grew up at the foot of the mountains and they are still my favorite place to go for solitude. The second thing I do, when we go out to eat or whenever we go anyplace, is to try to meet and talk to people. I have a very strong feeling that most people are friendly. At least I have found that so in my travels.
   This was written primarily for my family. It tends to jump from one place to another—as my train of thought changes. If anyone who reads it can bond with any of the thoughts, please let me know if I have company out there in Cyber-Space.

WR Baldwin--- 2 June 2017  


































Saturday, June 17, 2017

McDonalds afternoon break.

                 McDonald's Afternoon Break


They sat in McDonalds---- His wife and he?
At least that is what it seemed to be??
They argued over who should pay the bill,
The clerk just laughed as he put money in the till.

The young man, still laughing said,”it seems to me
The money comes from the same pot, eventually?
The old man said, “yes if we were married,---- but we are not,”
The clerks face went red and he stammered a lot.

The old man smiled, and the clerk said, “sorry mister,”
And the old man said. “it’s OK she is my Sister.”
She was all “dolled-up” in pants and a shirt.
He, in wrinkled pants and a “ragged” sweat shirt.

They commented how loud the “loud speaker” was,
And they both adjusted “aids” so their ears would not buzz.
They commented about kids, their clothes and loud speaking,
Then reminisced about the past, that perhaps they were seeking.

As they left a small boy stopped and held open the door,
As the two old folks hobbled across the floor.
The old man gave the boy $1.00,-- he said for being polite.
Just keep it up and we will all win the fight.

The boy had a smile, a full face wide,
As he waved the $1.00 to his Dad still inside.
The Dad gave us a smile, and a great big old wave.
Perhaps these small acts will cause us all to behave?

WR Baldwin     17 June 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

HAPPINESS


              



                               HAPPINESS


A friend and I were talking a while back and I made the comment, “What is happiness?” Of course I know it is the opposite of sadness.---- Aw yes,-- and sadness is what?

Well I suppose with those two questions you could chase them around like a dog chasing his tail, all day long. However there are a whole lot of side questions that could be asked, that do not have answers that are that simple.

Example: Are you happier as an infant, youth, middle age or old age?—And do we have true happiness during all those times of our life? Then I guess the trick question OR the answer is that no one can really answer that question except you.

I used to think that infants did not have those kinds of emotions. I thought as long as they were fed, changed, calmed when crying and had a good night sleep they were happy. However now that I have become a great-grandpa five and one-half times, I know when I have one of them on my lap and they are goo-gooing. They are doing it just for me, and we are both enjoying it. At least I have convinced myself that is the case.

Then there are the youth. I think as a youth I was very happy. Of course there were “some of THOSE days” that I definitely knew I was unhappy, but they were not the things I remembered as I grew from youth, to middle age and then OLD AGE.


Then it seems all at once I was middle aged. Of course I can only speak for myself, but I think that middle age was the happiest time and also the most trying time of my life.


        
                                 










It is important to have friends in your youth, but I think it is just as important, and perhaps even more so when you have reached middle age. At that time we struggle with a lot of life’s problems, trying to raise a family, I always had a thought going around in my head---I wonder if all my kids are REALLY doing OK? We seem to make and lose a lot of friends during our middle age years.

Then at least in my case, (somewhere along the line) I realized I had got old! It creates a lot of unhappy things, to help you remember you have got old, but in my case I have had a lot of happiness come along with old age. I call them my old age “perks.” I don’t have to account for any of my time. I can go and do whatever I want. I can eat if and when I want. I can sleep (sometimes) day or night. In fact I can do anything I want, if it is legal, and my kids say when I am driving I may do a few things that are illegal?  

However at family get-togethers I can sit in the corner in my rocker, and snicker or giggle and watch the “middle agers” try and keep their kids under control. And I love it when the “little ones”, as my wife used to call them, come over and want to sit on my lap and have me read a story about a “family of fish” or a Pretty deer” or a little boy lost in the woods. Of course I can open any book to any page and read any story, as I have been making them up for years. That all changes, when they get old enough to read themselves.  
Here are a couple of questions only an individual can answer for themselves. (1) Would you rather visit with a person on a phone, in person, by reading a blog, or write a letter to a friend and get a real written answer back. (2) How about the same question about an acquaintance instead of a friend—would your answer be the same

So I have talked about family, friends and acquaintances and if they make us happy. Can we also obtain happiness from other sources? As for me the beauties of the earth give me more happiness than a lot of people do!
                                                                  

                 







I once read in a book by President James E. Faust, this comment , ”Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last. “see” Our Search for Happiness” by President James E. Faust”

I love the idea he puts forth that probably no one is happy 24 hours a day. I don’t mean that I am happy that no one is happy 24 hours a day. I just sometimes wonder if we perhaps set our goals so high that we cannot reach them and we get discouraged?

If you are unhappy or down in a rut- so to speak, who do you turn to? Is it a friend, family member or an acquaintance – again only we can answer a question like that.

A lot of times we 80+ people just need a change, to change our attitude. Mine is to get out of the house and go for a ride. I think I have headed to Park City twenty or more times since April and most of the time I get to Parley’s Canyon. By then I have calmed down and I end up at Sugar  House  Park, The Duck Pond or Murray Park, where I feed the ducks, read the newspaper for a while and then just go home, feeling a lot happier than I did when I left.

Sometimes my Sister and I just go for a drive up one of the canyons near our homes just for as change of scenery. Sometimes we go to have a different lunch. I recall one of our “drives” we traveled over 100 miles and ended up going in a big circle and eating at McDonalds! We ate our same old lunch, but we sure saw a lot of beautiful mountain country. And of course that was not a onetime thing. It seems our family has “itchy feet” and we have to go for a ride to calm down. I guess it is good therapy because we always come happier and in a better mood than we were when we left.

There was a song going around several years ago talking about Happiness. I do not recall exactly how long ago it was written, but it was very popular. It was written by Bobby McFerrin. The title was “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. There were several things in the first verse that ring true to me.
Here’s a little song I wrote
          You might want to sing it note for note
          Don’t worry, be happy
          In every life we have some trouble
          But when you worry you make it double
          Don’t worry, be happy
          Don’t worry, be happy now.

I do believe everyone has things that make them happy, and for me most of them are small in the large picture of my life. Most of them seem to be family oriented and inexpensive. However they make my life much happier without having to really work at it. That comment itself bodes the question, ‘do we have to work at being happy or is it a natural part of our personality?

A lot of things that make me feel happy are simple things that just seem to show up in my life, some a lot and some just occasionally.
My happy list:
-Earths beautiful scenery, forests, mountains, Blue sky/white clouds and a     mountain stream.
-Family gatherings, sometimes the people get a little loquacious, but I can just turn my hearing aid off. (Is that an advantage?)
-Soothing music, especially stringed instruments and the piano.
-Old things----including people.
-Spending time with a good friend. (Reminiscing)
-The smells, in the house at Thanksgiving time.
-A walk with Max. (an old K-9) acquaintance.

I think happiness is always there, just waiting for us to grab it. Sometimes we have to work at it and sometimes it just jumps up and grabs us. At that point we have to decide to keep it , let it go or throw it away.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Great Depression & WW II

                THE GREAT DEPRESSION
                                 AND
                     WORLD WAR II

 
I was musing with an acquaintance a few days ago about some of the serious problems of OUR day. The comment was made that right now was probably the most devastating time for decades. The great depression began in 1929 and was still a serious problem in 1930, when I was born. At that minute it was like a light came on. Neither of us had thought, and certainly did not know anything about the first few years of the Great Depression as we were infants when the bad days started. However we were both born into that time frame and perhaps that was the most serious time in our lives.

It was probably strange, but as we talked about it a little, one of the first thoughts I had was, “wasn’t that a daunting time to get married and start a family?” I suppose my Mom & Dad and a lot of other people did not realize just how bad it was, and how much worse it would be before the turmoil was over.

They were married in June of 1930 and they brought me into the world in 1931 and my Sister was born in 1937. It was not a good time to begin a family. But when I listen to young kids today getting married and starting families, I wonder, when is a good time? Today is a different type of turmoil, but perhaps the same old problems just wrapped up in a different package?

The Great Depression started to recover in the mid to late 1930’s. Of course I was only 10 years old in 1941 so I do not recall a lot of things that happened in those early years. However it is interesting to recall what I can, and then recall what I can remember. Then of course there are the things that the older people talked about around the dinner table, or when friends came to visit. However I think we, as kids, either did not think them important or else we just did not recall them.

My parents lived in a small mining town when they got married. My Dad was a school teacher. They quickly found out they could not support a family on his income, so he got a job working for the mining company. In 1937/38 the company closed the mine and moved the town and the people about 10 miles away. It was just around the mountain from Mohrland.

In the years from 1938 to 1941 the depression slowly got better, until 1941 which was the beginning of WW II, and that is another subject.

Some things I recall either from memory or from hearing them from other people were:
FOOD SHORTAGES—I do not recall ever being really hungry, but we did eat a lot of home grown “veggies” and fruit. We always seemed to get some meat from one of the farmers in the Valley.
WORK SIGN--   The Company would post a sign on the mine office door if there was going to be any work that week. (No work—Mon ,Tue, Wed-- Check back on Thursday) The men would walk to town each week to see if there was going to be any work., always hoping they would get at least three days or so.. I think almost all of them were happy just to have a job.
FARMING & FOOD-- There were several small farm towns below (in the Valley) the mines and quite a few of the men worked in the mine and also took care of the family farm in the valley. Then when there was no work in the mines some of the miners would go to the valley and work for the farmers. The miners were paid with food a lot of the time. I recall my Dad coming home from a day’s work on the farm with, a sack of potatoes, a chicken, eggs, or a leg of lamb. Sometimes he also had fresh peaches or apples. It was always enjoyable to have a change of food on the table.

The refrigerator we used to keep milk, eggs & meat cold consisted of an old powder box nailed to the side of the house by a window, It was made so you could open the window in the kitchen and reach out and get food from the box. A powder box could be used for many things, but for a refrigerator we just nailed it up, covered it with burlap and a attached a hose so a little water could constantly drip on the box---and Wallah, we had a very serviceable  “swamp cooler.” Mom kept bugging Dad that they needed a real refrigerator now that they had a baby. My sister was born in Mar 1937. To make a long story a little shorter, they finally went to the Company Store and bought one. They only kept it for a short time. The work slowed down more than they thought it would so my Dad went to the Store Manager and told him to come and get it, as they could not make the payments. Perhaps that is where the saying in my family came from—Use it up, make it do-wear it out ,or do without?

Some people could not pay the rent during the depression. If I recall correctly the rent was only $25 per month and that included, your water, power and all the coal you could haul to your house. Still some people moved their families back to the farm, and they stayed at the boarding house during the week, if there was work. Then they would go back to the farm for the weekend.

Clothing was not fashionable during those hard times. It was made to cover you up and keep you warm. I suppose I was like most others. My everyday cloths were expected to last me a year. We usually had one “nice” pair of shoes and a pair of boots. Of course the ever present bib overalls were the everyday dress. Sox were usually “darned” several times before they were thrown away. I don’t know about others but I could not wait to get my first pair if “Levi’s .

I think that during the depression we were fairly well off compared to many people in the big cities. The newsreels made everything look bleak, and it probably was. I do not recall many News Reels  in the 1930’s, but there was one every week when I started going to a movie every week after our move to Hiawatha.
                                                       WW II
And then on December 7 1941 (While I was having a B-Day Party) the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and it turned our country upside-down.

I was still quite young and did not realize how serious of a thing this was? Yes, I had friends who had family members there and yes, they were very concerned. One guy at my B-Day party was my age and when our neighbor ran over to our house to tell us of the attack, this guy run out the door and across the street as fast as he could go, because he thought his brother was at Pearl Harbor.

I was so young that I really had no idea as to what the consequences of this act would bring. It truly was the beginning of a WORLD WAR. Almost every country in the world was somehow involved before it was over. The war really started in 1929. The USA entered it, after Pearl Harbor, in 1941 and it did not end until 1945.

I recall a lot more about WW II than I do about the Great Depression. Of course I was older at the time the war started and  I also was enamored with all things connected to Flying and Airplanes. I also could not believe how quickly America turned its manufacturing toward War Equipment. I have been told several times that the War broke the hold that the Depression had on the country. Right or wrong! We were also fed the propaganda via newspapers, Radio and Newsreels at the movies—that this all be over in a short time. The USA is invincible and nothing could match our manufacturing machine.

BUT AT WHAT A PRICE?

One thing I recall very vividly was when a notification of a death was passed around town. It could have been a son, a daughter, father, cousin or friend. And yes our little town seemed to have more than our share or Gold Star Mothers, with their flags flying in their windows.
A few of the things I recall about the war were easy to see as we saw them constantly.
            Rationing and shortages—Silk, sugar, gas, tires, cigarettes, butter coffee.
            Things to help the War effort---War Bonds, used tin foil rolled into balls,
            Reusable glass pop bottles,
            Walked More.—To save gas.
A lot of times I had a hard time talking to my friends and others about their siblings or parents. Some were killed, some were wounded quite bad. Many just did not want to talk about any of it when they got home. All were older than I was and I guess I looked up to them as heroes.

There were a lot of things that changed when the young guys started leaving for the Service. One was that they went from hardly any work during the depression, to working two or three shifts a day to keep the coal flowing 24 hours a day during the war.

The other thing was when the guys left some of the women in town went to work in the mine and on the Tipple. I had never heard of women working in the mine or on the Tipple until then.


The other thing the ladies did when the guys left for the service was to form a ladies  Ball Team. I really do not know how long it lasted after the war ended?
Life went on during the war but I think it changed a lot of things, at least in the small towns of America. One noticeable thing of course was the younger people who left home to serve in the armed services, or to get a job, or to marry someone from a completely different part of the country. This trend continued even after the war was over.

People found things to do at home during the war. Some to help the war effort and some just to keep moral up. A lot of the men started gathering each day at some spot in town and they each changed opinions on how the war was going and when it was likely to end. They also talked a lot about the mistakes “our leaders” were making.

The women seemed to always be getting together, either as a sewing club, a coffee club or a quilting club. I recall them also talking about doing things for the war effort, but I will be darned if I can remember what they were.

One thing that is hard to imagine in our day and age was buying a car. You could not take your check-book or money and go to the dealer and buy a car. You had to get your name on a waiting list, and when the car came to the dealer, you could go and pick it up, or not? Sometimes the car was not exactly what you wanted and you could take it or put your name back on the list until the one you wanted came in.

Here is a list of common items and their costs during the depression and up until WW II ended”
Milk-------------------$.10 a quart
Bread                           .05 a loaf
Bananas                      .05 a pound (most people made their own)
Silk stockings             .69 a pair     (later only nylons were available)
Gas                              .25 gallon
Men/Boys shoes        3.98 pair
Coats                          5.25
1950 Chev. Bel Aire $1750.00 (my first brand new car.)











We ordered most of our clothing from a mail order house. Usually Sears or Montgomery Ward. Typically we would measure ourselves as they told us to in the catalog , and then send off  the order. If it had not come in about 10 days we would become anxious and go to the Post Office every day to see if it was there.

We did not usually go to the store for clothing or shoes during the War or the Depression, but we did start going to a town about 20 miles away after the war, for most everything except for food products.  
One other thing I recall was the first V-Mail I ever saw. When my friend showed it to me there were several parts that had been cut out of the letter and I thought he was just kidding me. Nope. (Loose lips sink ships.)


W.R. Baldwin 7 June 2017




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

HAVE I DONE ANY GOOD

                  HAVE I DONE ANY GOOD

                                                         (Picture from Deseret News)
   We have a song in our Church which poses the question, “Have I done any good in the World today.” Then it goes on to ask some specific questions as to how we might have done some good, perhaps every day, and not even have thought about it.
   I am also pretty sure all of us do some good almost every day. Many times it may have been something you have planned on, perhaps even with a group of people. However I know a lot of good things are done spontaneously by one individual to another, and perhaps not even thought about by the doer or the receiver. It may have been thought provoking by one of the parties when it is over.
   I have been blessed, or cursed, as you can look at it both ways---- with the desire and ability to talk to friends or strangers and at least one of us (Me) always enjoys it.
   I talk to strangers in the grocery store, people at a gas station, people who I open or close a door for, and yes, almost anyone who looks my way and smiles will usually get at least a comment.
   I once heard a story about Bishop Niederhauser, who was the Roman Catholic Bishop in Utah. He had been asked to speak to a group of prestigious people. He indicated he wanted to tell a short story before his speech. It seems he had at one time been asked to talk to a similar group at another time. At that time he saw a lady he thought he knew. He stepped up and tapped her on the shoulder and when she turned around he said, “I think I know you from a long time ago, you look like Helen Brown.” She turned and took a couple of steps, then turned around and said, “No I do not know you, and by the way you do not look that terrific in all black either!” Needless to say he got more than a few laughs from the group that were waiting for him to speak. I am sure that as the old movie cliché says’ He made their day.”
   I do my blogs as they come to mind. They are not pre-planned but just seem to pop into my head at various times and in various places. Because of this I have to grab them quickly or I miss them. Also my memory is not as good as it used to be. Sometimes I ramble and some time they are short and to the point. I love to hear from the people who enjoy them as that encourages me to keep it up? That also is why my blogs are about MANY DIFFERENT things.
  On one occasion I was in downtown Salt Lake and trying to cross the street where there was a cross walk but no traffic light. Just after I had got there an older lady with a walker hobbled up and stopped at the cross walk. We stood there for a few minutes waiting for the cars to stop, but they didn’t. After a few minutes the lady looked at me with smile and said,” if you will stop the first car I will break a trail for us.” Well I stepped off the curb and put up both hands and lo and behold the car stopped. The lady on the walker went passed me and all the cars stopped. I walked beside her until we got to the other side of the road. Then with a grin on her face she said, “We make a good team don’t we,” as she went on down the sidewalk. Well I do not know how she felt but I felt great because I had helped. Then on second thought, did I help her or did she help me?
   In addition to the physical things we can do I (and some people cannot do many physical things) we can all do many small acts of kindness. Even though we give these things to others we actually still have them. You can give” hugs” away all day and still have not given yours away. I know this is true because I grew up in a “hugging” family. You can give away handshakes all day and still have not lost yours at the end of the day. A short visit that you have been putting off, to an old friend for a loooong time would only cost you a little time and give both of you a lot of pleasure. Even a passing comment to someone on the street, or in a Church, or store might brighten someone else’s day. If you make the comment, “I hope you have a great day,” they probably will.
   I am a collector of “stuff” and I found this by Ralph Waldo Emerson--- “You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” I like this idea.
   I had a friend when I was in the Air Force that had a favorite saying that usually helped me when I was having bad day. He would say, “Remember, no matter how handsome or how beautiful you are, or how plain you are you will ALWAYS look a lot better if you smile.”
   There are not many things that you can give away, and still keep them, but there are a lot of small acts of kindness that you can.
   In a talk by President Thomas S. Monson (April 2014) He said,—“There are many attributes which are manifestations of love, such as kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding and forgiveness. In all our associations these and other such attributes will help make evident the love in our hearts.  
   Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another. All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then respond.”

W.R. Baldwin 24 May 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

ANCESTORS




                                                          ANCESTORS
   I have been “doing genealogy”. As people say, for many years now, but now that I am not as mobile as I used to be I have been spending more time looking at old pictures and reading more old writings, such as Journals, photo albums, journals and City and State histories.
  
   It is strange how things happen but last week I was looking at some old picture albums and the thought raced through my mind, “these places were real, however much different than they are now.” Also the people were real, they were real live people. They were here 100 years ago, however in complete different circumstances than today! They were alive, flesh and blood and suffered from cold, heat and fatigue just like we do. I am sure it was more often than we do as well as much more severe.
   I have a picture of my mother and my grandfather when they lived in what they called their “tent house.” I am sure it left a lot to be desired but never the less it provided protection from the elements. I have pioneers who crossed the plains in covered wagons who may have thought of as place like this being a BIG improvement that pitching a tent for overnight and then taking it down in the morning, for months while they traveled. 















                     --This is the Tent House----
   
   My wife spent her adolescent years in a house very different than what most people want now. It had at least one addition added on after it was built, and maybe two? Her bedroom was upstairs. Upstairs in those days was not the same as what we call upstairs today. The stairs were built on the outside of the house and in the winter were covered with ice or snow. The heater for the upstairs room was also very interesting. Getting heat to her room was very interesting. They heated the upstairs bedroom by cutting a hole in the ceiling of the kitchen, which was the floor of the bedroom. Needless to say if there was a fire in the kitchen it was somewhat warm upstairs, and if there was no fire it was COLD.
   The preferred method of getting ready for bed in the winter was to put a brick in the oven of the kitchen stove (or a flat iron on the stove—which a lot of people now days have no clue what a flat iron is),
Then you would wrap it in a towel or quilt, run up the stairs on the outside of the house and toss it in your bed, and hope you went to sleep in a hurry.
















--- The old Wickman Home-----


   My Sister and I both used a system similar to my wife’s brick or flat iron, except she used a rubber hot water bottle. She would fill the hot water bottle with scalding hot water and wrap it in a homemade quilt. I just preferred a heavy quilt without the brick.

   It is interesting that still, to this day, when my Sis does not feel well she grabs her Hot water bottle and fills it up and heads for the recliner. As she sits in the reclining lounger she swears it makes her feel a lot better.

   Now back to my Picture albums. Most of the men in the old pictures wore beards and I wondered if it was just too hard to shave every day or if there was another reason? Also most of the men wore stripped or blue denim bib overalls. (If you do not know what bib overalls were, ask your parents or grandparents as I am sure they will remember.) I wondered if most of them wore them because that was all that was available? If course they did not have a Shopko, Macy’s or Walmart. They were lucky to have a country store with a few pair of overalls tossed on a table in between the long handled underwear.
   
   A lot of my ancestors were “Utah Pioneers” and they had a lot of stories and I have read most of them before, but for some reason this recent reading and looking at picture seemed to hit me and made me think that they were real people, not just pictures. They had to make tough decisions almost every day, almost always tougher than I have to make in my times.
   
   All at once it was strange to think of them having to plant seeds, or trees and then wait months or years, for some trees to produce any fruit from their labors.
   Now we just jump in the car, drive about five minutes or less, buy anything we want, and usually some you had not thought of, and then be hack home in half hour or so. Of course that also made me think how different our lives are today compared to our pioneer ancestors 150 years ago.
   I used to love and sit while my Mom and Dad and Aunts and Uncles sit and told stories about their lives in the “Olden Days.” Now I am the one who tells the stories and the olden days do not seem to be so old? I was part of my “Olden Days” just like each generation will be part of theirs when they sit and tell stories to their grandkids. It seems strange to think how each generation has interesting stories to tell the next generation as we all grow older.
   I think sometimes it is hard for the younger generations to actually believe that I grew up, at least for several years without us having a family car. Also no TV—how could they survive? We also had no telephone in our home, while I was a teen. No refrigerator for the first 10 years of my life. (For those who wonder how people survived without a refrigerator) ask your Grandpa?
   In the late 30’s and early 40’s most of the girls clothes were home made and most of the boys with the exception of the “bibbers.”
   Like most people in small towns almost everyone planted a small home garden. It was not like today where they are mostly planted as yard decorations. In the depression days they were planted for food. And of course they demanded constant care, which usually yas the kids job. At least it seemed that way to us!
   It may be where we lived and maybe the weather really has changed, but when I was growing up we did not talk about snow storms in the inches, We usually did not worry about then autil we were talking about them in feet!
   I often hear the comment,” I would not change growing up in a small town like I did for anything.” I often wonder if that is a “truism” or just a topic of conversation?   
   Well thank GOD for ancestors and I hope that our kids have some great ones??

WRBaldwin 11 Mat 2017