Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We're Off!


Switzerland, Austria, Germany and England,
here we come!

I'm going to Instagram my way through Europe.
Since I don't know how to do it yet, I can't tell you how to follow me.
But somewhere in the vast webosphere there will be awesome pictures!

See you later!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pioneer Day

Photo by Holgen Leue

Great-great Grandpa John Bagley was only eighteen when he left his family in eastern Canada. He joined with the Mormon pioneers to prepare for a trek across the plains from Illinois to Utah.

John was extremely trusted and took the responsibility of caring for a widow and her children in the wagon train. He drove the lead team of nine yoke of oxen into the valley in 1856 when he was just twenty years old. Later, Brigham Young requested that John accompany him in many dangerous situations as a body guard. At the age of 58 he wrote his life story in his own hand, recalling his adventures with Indians, wild animals, cholera, and starvation.

John's Journal

But there is one particular feat John is remembered for.

John had worked in a lumber mill with his father from the time he was a little boy. Four days after his arrival in Salt Lake Valley he started work on what would become six lumber mills in Big Cottonwood Canyon. He helped build roads, haul logs and build silver mines in Alta, and became known quickly for his ability and agility.

Photo: Lake Mary, Brighton, UT Project 365:185/366 Flickr

On July 23, 1857, nine months after John's arrival, 2,600 people (with 500 vehicles and 1,500 animals) gathered at the bottom of Big Cottonwood Canyon for a giant anniversary party. The first pioneers had settled the valley ten years before, and there was a celebration planned ten miles up the canyon in Brighton. The group followed Brigham Young and a long line of dignitaries in carriages and wagons. A marching company of 50 kids between 10 and 12 years old led the way up the canyon, along with a brass band that furnished music for the celebration.

At sunset a bugle summoned the campers to a central elevated spot where Brigham Young addressed them. On the morning of July 24, the flag was unfurled from a giant pine tree, standing on a peak. Prayer was offered, then singing, and afterward cannons roared. The Big Cottonwood Lumber Company, for which John worked, had constructed the road as far as Lake Alice, near Silver Lake, expressly for this occasion. Today there is a small chapel at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, in Brighton, close to where the celebration took place.

Photo by Blozan's Tree Climb

This is how John recalled the day of Celebration:
Brigham Young's tent was near a towering pine tree 100 feet high. That tree was selected as a flag pole for the unfurling of the Stars and Stripes. I had been reared in the timber lands of eastern New Brunswick, America, and was experienced in handling timber and logging, so I was selected by President Young to trim the tree for a flagpole.

Carrying my axe, I climbed to the top of the tree, trimmed the branches and cut the tip so there was a smooth top. I unfurled the flag, and much to the amazement of those below, I stood on my head on the top of the tree!

As I descended, I trimmed the other branches, and when I was among the trees that were not so lofty, I seized the branch of another tree and ape-like, swung from the flag pole and disappeared. The people below thought I had perished and were quite concerned until I finally appeared having made my way through the branches.
John Bagley

He sounds like a great, great-great grandfather to me!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Grand Kid Day

Lucy, Jessi and Chloë make their Grand Entrance

Nothing is more fun than a day with grandkids! (I've had quite a few lately, and I know my stuff.) I took this trio to the Grand America in downtown Salt Lake City for the Grand Tour.

We started with brunch.
Pancakes with strawberries and cream cheese,
crepes with bananas and nutella ...

Hot chocolate with fluffy mounds of whipped cream ... "Can we go to La Bonne Vie after this?" they asked. The French bakery outside the Garden Cafe was filled with pastel macaroons and chocolate truffles and had caught their imaginations on the way in. "You don't have dessert after breakfast," I explained.

"But this is brunch!"

"Prepare for the bathroom of your life," Chloë told the others.
"We get our own little rooms, with chandeliers."
(It's a grand thing when toilets make such a splash.)

"Look at these old fashioned phones!" Jess exclaimed.
"Are they from the '90s?"
Cords, buttons, and even a dial—
"Where's the caller ID?"

The Grand Finale was a visit to Jou Jou,
a toy boutique in the hotel for grand kids.

"This is the ultimate doll house," Lucy said. It was standing next to a giant robot that told knock-knock jokes in a monotone robot voice, after it greeted us with:
"I-can't-give-a-high-five-but-I-can-say-hi-five-times ...

A grand piano was on the floor in front of organ pipes filled with brightly colored bubble gums. When the girls stepped on the keys the music started and so did the dance moves.

Making memories in grand proportions

There's nobody quite like grandkids. They love completely with no expectation except receiving love back. It's a forgiving, tolerant, accepting kind of love. They aren't trying to improve us, or change us. We're good enough. Who else loves us that way? They aren't embarrassed by us, and actually expect us to be a little eccentric, which gives us confidence to just be ourselves. All in all, it's just grand!

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children,
and the heart of the children to their fathers . . ."
—Malachi 4:6

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mountain Oma

Two nights of this—

Was totally worth three days of this:

Arizona Cousins greeting Colorado Cousins,

Little cousins meeting big cousins.

Boy buddies,

Girl buddies,

Best buddies.



Knitting thirty-one hearts together.

A couple of nights on the ground was totally worth it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Music to My Ears

Me, Bryant and Carol in Salzburg, 1969.

If your Junior High had a hootenanny you're one of my peeps. I fell in love with Rich McClure, Keith Roark, Tom Carter, Bob Evans—any guy with a guitar. I sang "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore" at church to a strummed accompaniment. Back in the day "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" to the tune of a guitar was the expected closing song at a missionary farewell! Guitar was a love language for boomers.

Jess, Lucy, Chloë

Dee and I had our own baby boom,
and into the third generation they're still speaking our language!

Uncle Pete and his backup.

The Halverson Heroes just got back from a week in the woods, and the hills were alive with the sound. Under one tree or another there was a jam session going the whole time, and I loved it! "Starting on A, one, two three ..."

"Havin' fun at the campout, singin' a song,
Havin' fun with Oma all day long ..."

The little kids wrote lyrics and taught each other chords,

"Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da ..."

and the big kids remembered when they used to sing
"You, my brown-eyed girl."

"I was riding shotgun with my hair undone in the front seat of his car ..."

While Dee was singing a duet with Lucy at the campfire,

"Are you Eliza?"
"Guess again, Oma."

... one of our little twin granddaughters asked me,
"Has Opa ma-wied Tayloe Swift yet? I know he loves her."
Of course he loves her. She plays a guitar.

In my heaven angels won't play harps. They'll have guitars.
And it will be a hoot! (enanny.)

(If you want to know what I'm singing about today, click here.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oma Days

Oma Day

There are Pioneer Days, Strawberry Days and Onion Days up and down our state, but my favorite summer days are Oma Days. The kids are out of school, travelin-grands come from far away, and I get to hang out with my favorite people. For six weeks this summer grandkids are at the top of my to-do list. They pair off and treat me to the pleasure of their company for an Oma Day.

Chelsea and Ashley (both 7)

I took these guys to Walmart where we bought fishing poles,
and headed out to my neighborhood lake.

Chelsea at Oquirrh Lake

It's 65 acres, almost four miles around, with playgrounds and picnic spots scattered here and there. Sailboats, canoes and row boats are available to residents and there are 13 miles of walking trails. We just needed a few yards.

Ashley prepared for giant fish.

Since it's stocked with trout, bluegill and bass, I was certain we'd each catch our two fish limit. The girls were so worried they'd be pulled into the water by giant fish, they insisted on wearing life jackets. Unfortunately, I forgot about hooks and worms. The fishing lines floated aimlessly on top of the water until we got bored.

Ashley and Chelsea on Soda Row

Then we dashed across the street for a run through the splash pad ...

and gelato cones.

Scott, Pete, Brad and Dan

The guys went golfing one morning,
and biking the next.
The ladies had an outing at City Creek.

Gabi, Sam, Brad

Jordanelle was the scene for a boating adventure.
I watched in awe as the littlest kids rode the waves,

Chloe, Emmie, Jessi

... and the experts surfed the wake.

Eliza and Jill

The twinkies requested their favorite cupcake store.
Then we went to the Oma Clubhouse for dress-ups and a tea party.

Gabi watching fireworks

After a grand display of fireworks and a month of fiery weather, we woke up to rain and cool temperatures. Perfect for a weekend in the woods! The car is loaded, and the Oma tent pack-ups are ready to go; s'mores are waiting! I'll report next week!