Sunday, November 30, 2008


It is late November, the last day of the month. The clock ticks on, and in a little less than an hour and 15 minutes it will be December. Outside, the Gambel Oak trees are naked, devoid of all of their leaves and acorns, and they rest in the calm winter night. I sit here at my computer in my own room, surrounded by the accoutrements of my life: my computer, my high-speed scanner, my high-speed printer --- a duplex Dell color laser printer. There's my TV, VCR, and DVD player. A telephone. No, two telephones: the landline services the house and my cell phone. Why do I need two telephones? Too much to catalog, just in this one room.

At one time this was Brent's room, but after he had left it and ended up downstairs, I claimed it for my own. Over time, I made bookshelves wherever I could to hold more and more books than I should ever have bought. In the more recent history of the room, I have begun scanning those books so that I can search them and utilize them electronically to read and manipulate. I have a perfect binding machine, purchased, but never used. I have a guillotine paper cutter that I use all the time to cut the spines off of my books.

It is amazing, the blessing of things that I enjoy. It is odd to contemplate them and to think about cataloging them. I don't have the energy for that, at least I don't think I do. More probably, I don't want to. Not now anyway.

It is warm and comfortable even as I sit here too late for the furnace to still keep things at the normal daytime temperature. That is because the computer gives off heat, as do the lights

I think about visiting Grandma Eddy. She lived on Lincoln Avenue, I think between 20th and 21st Street, in Ogden. She had a wood oven in her kitchen. I remember that, when we visited, we passed through a porch at the back of the house on into the kitchen where the wood stove was located and then into the dining room.

The dining room was the functional living area of the home. It is there that we always sat when we visited Grandma and the other relatives that assembled there, around a massive table. The dining room area was heated by that wood stove in the kitchen, and now that I think about it, we were always invited to sit closest to the door to the kitchen, I assume, because it was warmer there on cold days.

It is not cold here. We have forced the central heating and cooling (central cooling for the first time this year; before that, we had cooling from a swamp cooler centrally located).

Here in my room I have a comfortable chair I bought. It has wheels and is adjustable in various modes, made to make you comfortable and for convenience in moving around. Yet, often times I find myself complaining to myself about it. What do I have to complain about? I do plenty of it --- at least, to myself. I have nothing to complain about. Well, not in the total perspective of my life and what is happening in the world today.

a child who excels at being a parent

My older daughter, Amy, did better in school than I did. She got higher grades. Early on, she planned to be a pharmacist. I thought that was a great plan. However, when she got to university she found school harder than it had been in high school I guess. I don't know what her grades were at the university, but apparently they weren't good enough to get her into pharmacy school or she otherwise gave up that plan. She ended up getting her Bachelor of Science degree, but I forget right off in what discipline it is. She is much brighter than I am. However, it hasn't translated into a high-paying job or career. What she seems to excel at is being a great mother to her two daughters, Hannah and Piper. I don't know what more you could ask for than to have a child who excels at being a parent.

Friday, November 28, 2008


"Time is out." The guy said time was out. During the football game, they said that, as if it had no significance whatsoever. And for everybody listening, perhaps but me, it had no significance. It occurred to me at the time, however, how we layer time. And it stuck with me until now.

We have the time that passes throughout the period of the game that includes all time and then the time during which the game actually stops because somebody calls timeout. You see, it is kind of layered, one thing on top of another, or one thing below another. Time marches on whether we layer it or not though. If we call time out, time isn't out; it goes on as it always does. It doesn't stop. It marches on as though it has no limitations. It isn't limited by lack of energy or lack of spirit. It just goes on and on and on. It is the proverbial perpetual motion machine of perpetual motion machines. I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me like that before. Time is never out. Call timeout, and technically it has no effect whatsoever.

Well, what a silly little thing to contemplate or to fuss about. There's nothing to be done about it. You just can't stop it. Yet, we try to utilize our time to the best effect. As I said, we try to layer it. We have several things measured in time going on simultaneously. That is, things that we particularly focus on as opposed to those that we don't. For in truth, everything that goes on is encapsulated in the selfsame time. What I do; what you do; what somebody else does.

What if we were on different time. Our universe was on one time and there was a parallel one on a different time. Is that possible? Perhaps these things are fundamental and I am just unaware of them.

Another thing, time seems to go at the same rate. What if time varied in its rate of passage? Slow it down, speed it up.

Weird thoughts that indicate how ignorant I am of time. I usually don't have time to think about it. Ha ha!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everybody has a BIRTHDAY

Everybody has a birthday. Eventually, everybody does. Today Aljehandro's father turned 34. He is 22 years older than Aljehandro is. So Aljehandro's Mama decided to bake to celebrate the anniversary. She baked a cake, from scratch, the old-fashioned way, the way that doesn't cost as much as Pillsbury or Duncan Heinz or Betty Crocker. Money is tight and they don't have enough for a present for Papa --- any present, even though Aljehandro urged his mother to at least buy Papa a new handsaw and some blades. She declined, saying that he needs all the extra money they have for his school and his activities. Aljehandro hates taking precedence in the family over everything and everybody else. It drives him crazy.

Anyway, Mama sent him to the store, and he rode his bike to pick up some items she needed to cook with: some imitation vanilla and some powdered sugar. He peddled off down the road on past the convenience store at the gas station to the nearest market about three miles off.

"Don't go to the store at the gas station," his Mama said, "go on down the road." She gave him some coins to pay for the items --- no bills, just coins. Everything is cheaper at the market than it is at the convenience store. And a few pennies can make a big difference.

It is always about money and cost. At least, it seems like it.

Each time Aljehandro pedaled, the coins within his pocket jingled and jangled. It was a steady rhythm, upbeat, and Aljehandro composed a tune and sang it to himself as he went along.

The trip home would be harder. It was all uphill. And his pockets would be empty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


It doesn't usually occur to people that somebody draws a detailed picture of a fly, but they do.

In fact, somebody might draw a whole series of flies to illustrate subtle differences in them, mutations that might occur naturally.

We usually, as human beings, don't take the time to get to know our flies. Normally, they simply irritate us, and we swat at them and shoo them sufficiently away, or we look for something to swat them dead with. In other words, we don't find them useful or at all worthy of depicting in detailed drawings. The truth of the matter, though, is that somebody thought to look closely enough at flies and to see that some were distinguishable from others and studied them enough to know that there were mutations among them.

All of life is like that. We hardly take notice and we take things for granted that we know that we don't. I am as guilty as the next.

Utah 48, BYU 24.

Weber State came up a touchdown short today. It makes me sad.

Tomorrow I will try to look little closer, hear a little finer, taste more deeply, and feel more love.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I had a bad cold, one that felt more like the flu than a cold. That's my excuse; take it or leave it.

Tomorrow I guess you could say is the biggest Saturday in football in Utah for a long time. At least, that's my humble observation. First of all, the Weber State Wildcats play Eastern Washington at noon for the outright championship of the Big Sky Conference --- to complete the season undefeated in the conference. (Weber State lost to Utah and University of Hawaii.) After that they will play in the postseason playoffs. It is perhaps the best they have ever done. Ron McBride is their coach, an old gentleman who defines the word. The game starts at noon and we plan to be there.

Then, after Weber State plays, we will return home and tune in to watch the University of Utah play Brigham Young University. University of Utah is undefeated this year and ranked seventh in the nation on the BCS rankings. If it wins, it is assured to have a bid to play in a BCS bowl. That means big bucks and greater recognition. Plus, there is the indescribable rivalry between the two schools. BYU has lost, I believe, just one game -- to TCU, a team Utah beat. Barely. And as I recall TCU rather clobbered BYU. That game starts at 4 PM. So you can see, most of my day tomorrow will be consumed in football. So that will be my excuse tomorrow.

None of this is particularly profound although it is insightful of my interests. One of my major flaws, if you look at it in a certain way, and who doesn't, is that I have interests that go off in so many different directions I never seem to find my focus and hone in on it. Or is that just an excuse? See, you can always question it and wonder, and so often I do. See what I mean? Off in every different direction.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I opposed the proposition. I cannot deny twinges of conscience or whisperings of the spirit to me in the matter that led me there. How to reconcile that experience over against the leadership? Truth is a matter of the imagination.

For a considerable period of time I have believed that truth is a matter of the imagination. That idea gained traction when I first read Ursula Le Guin's
novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, wherein the opening sentences of Genly Ai read as follows:

I'LL MAKE my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination. The soundest fact may fail or prevail in the style of its telling: like that singular organic jewel of our seas, which grows brighter as one woman wears it and, worn by another, dulls and goes to dust. Facts are no more solid, coherent, round, and real than pearls are. But both are sensitive.

A favorite fictional character of mine is Pi Patel, the protagonist of The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Pi openly urges those who listen to his story to choose an interpretation that serves the listener the best. The primary theme of the novel pits imagination over against factuality. Chapter 22 from the book reads as follows:

I can well imagine an atheist's last words: "White, White! L-L-Love! My God!" --- and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, useless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, "Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.

If the Book of Mormon is, as has been posited, Joseph Smith's expansion of an ancient work which built upon the works of earlier prophets to answer nagging contemporary problems, I do not feel at all constrained to apply some expansion of my own, intended just for me, especially when it comports with my inner feelings of spirit and conscience.

So after reading the official pronouncements of the church, various court cases and opinions, newspapers and magazines, and blogs and webpages galore, and after approaching my God, I selected the version that said no. What's more, my version of the story has me sticking with the culture I know best and among the people I love most, despite the fact that I understand there are other versions out there that do not comport with mine. Some of these are held by others with greater power and position. But in my imagination they are not as good a story as mine is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Piper turned five years old today. We went to celebrate with her and her family and other grandparents this evening. She was anxious to open up her gifts, not too anxious to have received clothes, and anxious to eat her cake and ice cream. She blew out all five candles in one breath of air.

It is hard to imagine how she got to be five years old already. Why, that means I'm five years older than I was when she was born. Kindergarten next summer. Holy cow!

I don't remember much about being five years old. I do remember vaguely an experience that happened either in kindergarten or in first grade. My teacher's name was Mrs. Draper --- I had her for kindergarten and first grade both. I suppose because Mrs. Draper wrote a nice note home to my parents lauding my behavior, she was exalted above all other teachers I ever had. The note remained a family heirloom. So I have always remembered Mrs. Draper fondly and I don't know how much the mythology of the situation fog's my memory.

Whatever the case may be, the way I recall it the boy who sat behind me, Kent was his name, liked to talk when he should have been paying attention. So Mrs. Draper --- probably joking --- told me if Kent tapped me on the shoulder to talk, I should poke him in the nose. Well, it didn't take long for the realization of that eventuality. Pretty soon Kent wanted to talk and tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and socked him in the nose. Problem is, the other kids in the classroom didn't like my obedience and castigated me. However, I don't remember ever receiving anything but praise from Mrs. Draper.

Odd thing is I turned out to be a pacifist. But that probably had more to do with Steven, who beat me up after I picked a fight with him on the bus. That was much later though, early in high school.

I hope Piper has a Mrs. Draper-type as a teacher: one that will laud her and that Piper will want to obey no matter what. I'd also like to see her receive a nice note home praising Piper that can become a myth of excellence to her family. Go Piper!

Love, grandpa.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I ran into Tom Davenport at the neighborhood Wal-Mart store late this afternoon. I hadn't seen him since Shelley and I were invited to a surprise birthday party for him early this year --- his 60th.

I remember that meeting with him because it was such an embarrassing event for me

Tom's sister, Mary Van Dyke, had called to invite us and told us the location and time of the surprise party. It was to be held at a restaurant in Bountiful on a Friday or Saturday afternoon. It was probably Saturday. Anyway, we got there a little early and saw friends, Brent and his wife Yvonne, in line, waiting for the restaurant to open its doors. We walked up and greeted them and visited a while and eventually Brent told me I had a hole in my pants. It ended up being not just a hole, but the entire rear seat of the Levi's I was wearing was split out. One wonders how that could have happened, because the britches were certainly big enough for me. I wasn't that fat, although I have put on considerable weight.

My son had given me the pants. He had grown too large for them. I guess!

Anyway, they were better looking than my best denims, so I had decided I would wear them. I had no clue they had been split out like they were.

In any event, something had to be done. By this time, the restaurant had opened its doors and we had moved on inside to wait until they could seat everyone in line. Brent went for me to the receptionist counter and borrowed a stapler, and I took it and went into the restroom. There, I removed my britches and stapled the seam back together. However, when I bent over to put my shoes on after I had the pants back on, the seam split right back out. The staples didn't hold. Nary a one held.

I didn't know what to do.

By that time we had been seated and the guest of honor had arrived. Everyone was there. Then I had an idea -- a breakthrough. I was pretty sure I had a sweater out in the trunk of my car. So I excused myself and went out and got sweater and tied its arms around my waist and let the body of the sweater and down over my butt.

Anyway, Tom Davenport.

We grew up in the same neighborhood. Well, at least until I moved away when I was twelve. We remained buddies after that, but were never quite as close as we had been in the neighborhood. The Davenports were an interesting family. They had this blackbird or raven --- I don't remember its name now -- and it knew how to talk. If you approached their place without the utmost diligence and wariness, it could scare the living daylights out of you. One day the raven ended up leaving. Nobody knew what had happened to it. The Davenports worried that it had been killed or died. I think it was gone a couple of years, but then it showed up again.


Tom had an aquarium. It was loaded with fish and plants and he knew just how to manipulate things so they looked perfectly. I was always so envious. He had beautiful dwarf gouramis that blew their bubble nests and spawned and had young ones. It was so exotic to me. I had nothing like that. They had a cat that roamed free and every winter they went fishing for whitefish in the Weber River and filled up a wheelbarrow with them for the cat to feed on. At least, that's what my theory is about it all.

It was in Tom's backyard that Brent Halls swung a bat before school one day that didn't have a grip at the end of it. The bat left Brent 's hands and flew into my nose and knocked it underneath my eye. I left a line of blood from Tom's house to my house, screaming bloody murder.

When Tom was a little older, eleven or twelve I guess, the younger kids in the neighborhood idolized him. They followed him around like he was Tarzan and they were his apes. He even had a conch shell to call them with. The rest of us boys --- Brent, Keene and Kelly, Jerry, Lyle, and I --- thought it was weird. But it wasn't weird for a Davenport.

It was good to see Tom. He said he had prostrate cancer, but it wasn't serious. I hope he's right.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I just let out a big yawn, indicative of the hour.

I am tired.

It has been a long day.

And it's been a long day with little accomplished of significance. I always defer making an entry until it's too late, or at least I make the excuse that it is too late. Not tonight. I will make this entry first and perhaps tomorrow I will have a greater resolve to make an earlier entry.

Barack Obama is the President-elect.

I found the announcement last night, which occurred at 10 PM local time, that he would be the next President of the United States quite emotional, and it was very touching to watch the reactions of the people gathered in the plaza there in Chicago and elsewhere around the nation and world.

The pundits say it was a historical event. More historical than usual, I guess, because the announcement of any new President of the United States is in and of its self a historical event. This one was special, they say, because Barack Obama is black -- at least half black.

But that doesn't matter to me. His election was special because Barak Obama is special.

Every person is special in some way or another.

Those who care about others besides just themselves and put other people's interests above their own are special in a special way. That is where I think Barack Obama falls. I think he is willing to sacrifice to make the world a better place for the regular citizens of the country. That is why I think today is a special day, a very special day.