Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Heber and Park City: Paradise, Delicious Food, and Lots of Blue Things

Heber and Park City: Paradise, Delicious Food, and Lots of Blue Things

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States, a day we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. Thus, both Joanne and I had the day off; so we spent it doing a bit of traveling through Midway, Heber City, and Park City. What an incredible day to travel to places where cultures are so different, even though they are within a dozen or two miles apart.

First, Midway. Joanne and I had a gift certificate for a full breakfast at the Blue Boar Inn that I had received during a Heber City Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Utah Valley University (UVU)-Wasatch Campus. I was excited to go and take Joanne.

Blue Boar
We trundled to Blue Boar Inn early in the a.m. The weather was crisp, but the sun shined brightly when we arrived at the Inn. What an incredible bed and breakfast! The Swiss settled in Midway; so, many of the buildings, including the various resorts, had been designed in the Swiss look. The Blue Boar Inn is no different.

Blue Boar Inn in Midway, Utah
Joanne and I had a delicious omelet breakfast. Then, we had our picture take in front of the fireplace. Jay, the Inn Keeper, took the picture. He introduced himself as a “long-time peddler and photographer.”

Darrel and Joanne at Blue Boar Inn
After pictures, he took us on a tour of the Inn, stopping at his incredible collection of Olympic pins. The set included 1,165. According to Jay, he had another 600 at home. Impressive!

Two displays and 1,165 Olympic pins
We walked outside and took a few picture of the door and the front of the building, which is inviting to all those who come to the Inn.

Entry door to the Blue Boar Inn
We also drove up the Canyon and just looked over the valley. What is incredible view! There is something about the quietness of mountains in the middle of the winter.

Midway, Utah
Then, we were off to Park City where Joanne wanted to walk around the Tangier Mall, which is located just off Kimball Junction. We did have a good walk, which, we hoped, could be counted as part of our walking exercise. If not, we’re still counting it. The good part was we didn’t spend a lot of money. I think Joanne just bought a few socks, but we did have a good time just walking.

Blue Iguana
 We drove back through Park City and stopped on Main Street. Joanne had previously purchased a GroupOn at the Blue Iguana, a Mexican restaurant. After parking on Main, we walked up the stairs to the Blue Iguana. The food was pleasantly delicious. Neither Joanne nor I could finish our dishes. We decided we probably could have ordered just one dish and shared. Apparently, our Blue Boar Inn breakfast was still upon us even though it was four hours later. Our table overlooked the Sundance Film Festival TV headquarters. The Sundance Film Festival will begin next week, and the entire city was preparing for it.

Main Street in Park City
On the way home, we drove through Heber City and then on to home. We did stop along the way to bask in the beauty of the reservoir and Mt. Timpanogas at the end. Incredible view from our angle, one that one could bask in for a long time.

Reservoir and Mt. Timpanagas
We loved our trip to the Heber Valley and Park City. 

Still in love after 35 years!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Grandparenting: It’s what we were born to do!

Grandparenting: It’s what we were born to do!

I love being a father! Of course, being a father to two delightful children—Anna Rose and Hailey—was a fairly easy task. 
Hailey, Joanne, and Anna Rose
They were exceptional young women who grew up and became even more incredible adults, each with her own skill sets and abilities. Joanne and I still just sit back and wonder how they turned out so well.

Now, they each have two children, one girl and one boy for each of them. This past year, we have been able to spend a bit of time with our four grandchildren and have enjoyed ourselves immensely. We discovered anew that being grandparents is what we were born to do.

Emiline and William helped me plant the garden at Anna Rose’s house. We had a great harvest, too.
Emiline and William at Easter time
We had a delightful Easter with all of them, excluding our newest who wasn’t born yet. We BBQ’ed at Anna Rose’s house and had some pictures taken.
The Hammon Family sans Avonlea
We went to Rigby, Idaho, to attend Mother Boltz's funeral. We stayed with Delaina and walked up the road. Both Emiline and William saw things they had never seen before.
Emiline with a baby mule
Clark and I went to the BYU museum and looked at some of the exhibits.
Grandpa Hammon and Clark
Emiline, William, and I went on a few hikes up the road and back. Of course, we stopped every now and then to look at the birds, a twig on the side of the road, a pine cone that had fallen from one of the trees, grapes that grew on some vines along one of the neighbor’s fence line, and a variety of other things.
Anna Rose, Clark, Emiline, William, and Joanne on a walk down the Clark Highway
When we moved to our new house, the three of them have been over to swing on the swings and slide down the slide. One day, Emiline came over and said, “Did the swings miss me?” My answer was swift, “They miss you every day.”
We were able to have Thanksgiving dinner with Anna Rose and her family.
Anna Rose, Christiaan, Emiline, and William
Then we flew on Friday to Hailey’s house and spent the weekend with them. 

We finally met our newest granddaughter—little sweet Avonlea—and spent some time with her big brother Clark. We even blessed little Avonlea in their branch—first baby to be blessed there in eight years. So, you know who’s the hit of the parade every Sunday morning.

Avonlea in her blessing dress.
Emiline and I were able to spend a sick day together earlier this fall. It touched my heart that Emiline said to me, “I love you so much, Grandpa.” Of course, this softy had tears in his eyes.

We’ve been to Emiline’s Christmas program at her school.
Emiline with Santa at her Christmas program
Plus, we have many, many experiences with these four little grandchildren. We love them very much.
Clark and Grandpa: the Dudes
I have always loved children, and children seem to like me. Perhaps, it’s because I look like some big oaf to them. There is something about grandchildren, though, something that is almost inexplicable. It seems there is an instant bond. When I met each of our grandchildren for the first time, I instantly felt they were a part of me and had been from the pre-existence. 
Clark and William at the sand dunes in Delta, Utah.
Just recently, when I took Avonlea in my arms for the first time, I literally felt the connection—a zing! We were one.
Grandpa and Avonlea, blessing day
Grandchildren are truly gifts from our Heavenly Father to enjoy and feel comfort and peace from them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

4th Grade Art: A Tribute to My Mother

4th Grade Art: A Tribute to My Mother
Darrel L. Hammon

Yesterday, when I was going through a box of things we kept, I found a stapled group of drawings, most of them colored, that I must have given to my mother in 1967 when I was in fourth grade. I loved fourth grade. My teacher was Mrs. Jeppsen. She was tough and expected a ton from her students. For me, it sparked a light inside of me to do the best I could. Denece Miller and I used to vie for the top multiplication tables class champ. Some time in 4th grade, I must have done some drawings and art because, lo and behold, there were, all stapled together in a bundle with a big yellow tulip on the front. I suspect I didn’t draw it; it’s too perfect, but it looks like it did color it and even tried do a bit of shading.

Next came a poem titled, “Mother’s Ways.” I didn’t know where it actually came from. I did Google it and found it in a digitized copy of The Judge, Vol. 63 (http://books.google.com/books?id=-UEgAQAAMAAJ&pg=PT484&dq=%22Let+mother+have+her+old-time+ways....%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JaRyVK65KMa2yATb7IGQDA&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Let%20mother%20have%20her%20old-time%20ways....%22&f=false). The sad part to this point is its direct references to death: “Don’t wait till after while…” and “Before she goes away."
A little sheet was stuck inside. It was a bunch of swirly lines in a snake-like method. I used various colors to make the lines.
Swirly lines

My girls have always wondered why I like to draw flowers in pots or in vases on every letter or card I sent to them. Well, here is origin to my fetish with flowers in pots or vases. Here is a very big pot with little tulips, red, orange, white, yellow, and purple. I remember learning that by writing a W and then drawing a half circle from the top of the first line in W around to the last point on the W, I could make a tulip, and poof: tulips. 
Blue pot with five tulips

I am sure if a psychologist had come to our class to analyze our pictures of the following, they probably would have diagnosed us with something serious. I titled this one "Two woman showing off their babies." I suspect it was our ink blot test.
Two women showing off their babies.

The Candle. In actuality, it is a cut-out version of a candle that I must have cut out from a drawing Mrs. Jeppsen gave us. I just colored it. When I saw the candle itself, I was pretty impressed. I had used a heavy dose of white with streaks of pink, purple, and gray.
The candle with black base

I had no idea what this one was until my cousin Colleen Hammon Poole from my Uncle Glen and Uncle Ethel's family clued me in when she saw it on Facebook. It appears that the spine is actually my name with its mirror image written in cursive. Go figure! I then took the cut-out piece of my name and placed it on a red piece of construction paper.

Does anyone remember doing this design? You took the paper with squares on it and then began coloring to create some sort of design. I loved doing type of thing.

This picture is an eclectic combination of what appears to palm trees, with a huge table, trying to hold up the sky full of stars. The little stick people and that cool looking dog—maybe my Mother’s dog named Trixie—are interesting. I have attempted to analyze this drawing, but it stumps me. I suspect that my 4th grade brain knew what it was--or at least I hope so.
Palms and stars

Ah….the ubiquitous bowl of fruit and vegetables. I think I got the colors right. I can recognize an apple (or is that a tomato?), a lemon, an orange, and a yellow squash. Dad loved to slice them and then dip them in egg batter, dip them again in flower, and then fry them. Who knows what the green thing is!? Perhaps, it is a pepper.
Bowl of fruit and vegetables

The big red flower is a poinsettia, I’m sure. I don’t think I drew this. As I look closer, I think someone else drew it, and I just colored it with big strokes of red. I have actually seen these in real life when Joanne and I were serving in the Dominican Republic and went on an excursion to the mountains of Jarabacoa.

I love playing army men, and this looks like one of our forts, replete with a big house where we had lunch and played games, our individual brown huts, and a huge fence that circle the fort with one gate. Note the army guys walking the yellow brick road. (I just hoped the flying monkeys didn't come.)
The Fort

I was intrigue by my underwater scene with lots of different seal life. The orange shark is definitely something drawn in. Who has ever seen an orange shark? Don’t you love all of those red jellyfish and their cousin who is orange and blue, the precursor to a Boise State fan, I suspect.

Then, there’s the black boat. If you look really close, I have named her “The Whaler.” I don’t remember reading Moby Dick in 4th grade. Check out the birds in the sky. I learned probably in 2nd grade that if you just made a cool-looking V, with one side of the V, shorter than the other, you instantly had a little bird.

I love the big black kettle and the 4th grade try at shading. Its handles are not uniform either, but I like that it has a top with a little spout of some sort.

The last colored drawing in my repertoire of 4th art is a large purple sack although it could be a fat vase with some drawings on it. I think, though, when I look close on this one, it must be a sack of some sort. Note the horizontal lines with slanted vertical lines drawn. I think those two marks depict oldness where someone had to sew the sack together. Also, note the draw string around the top. I placed the purple sack on a piece of black construction paper to capture the overwhelming purpleness of it all.
The sack!

All these eclectic pieces were stapled together with five stables in a non-uniform way, but they have held their prized possessions since 1967. A bit of knot rises in my throat to think my mother had saved this as one of her cherished possessions. I am glad she did. If I really squint and furrow my brow, I remember bits and pieces of doing the coloring. But I definitely remember Mrs. Jeppsen, and her pushing us to do better. 
Note the staples

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hanging Out with a Sick Kindergartener, Coloring, and Counting in Spanish: A Grandfather’s Way of Spending a Day

Hanging Out with a Sick Kindergartener, Coloring, and Counting in Spanish: A Grandfather’s Way of Spending a Day

There are times when you get a taste of potential retirement and incredible remembrances from the past. Today was one of those days.
Anna Rose, our daughter, called last night and said her daughter Emiline was not feeling well and wondered if one of us could stay with her the next day. Joanne talked to her first and said she couldn’t do it. Once I arrived home from my pottery class (more on that in a different blog), I decided I could take a day and stay with my little sweetheart Emiline.

Emiline this summer
I arrived around 8:00 a.m. Anna Rose hadn’t left, primarily because William was still in his PJs and eating breakfast. I asked him if he wanted to stay with Grandpa and Emiline. He said he wanted to go to school, but he wanted me to take him in my car. Anna Rose just laughed. Soon, they were off.

That left just Emiline and me. Once she finished her bath and dressed, we began her homework. Because her illness, she has missed a bunch of school. We completed five assignments. I was so impressed with what Emiline did, I thought I would pen a few words about her homework and how much she loves doing it.

Beginning the assignments
First of all, Emiline goes to kindergarten at a place called the Dancing Moose in the Draper area. It is a private school that is very close to Cricut, where Anna Rose works. From what Anna Rose tells me, her teachers are amazing and teach the children a great deal.

The first assignment we did was about weights. We had to choose two objects and determine which one was the heaviest. Emiline hefted a couple pieces of pottery. She knew instantly which one was the heaviest. Then, we tried a couple of other objects. We closed the assignment with me giving Emiline one of her shoes and one of her dad’s shoes. Before giving them to her, I asked, “So, which one do you think will be the heaviest?” She just looked at me with those “You-realize-I’m-in-kindergarten-already-right?” looks.

Which is heavier?

Next on the list was cutting out shapes: circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles. Then, we were supposed to created “things” from them. This looked fun enough that I decided to try cutting out the same shapes.

Making shapes
Once finished, Emiline and created a rocket car,

Rocket car
an ice cream cone,

ice cream cone

a house, 

Emiline's house
 and a hotel—Emiline’s creation. She colored all of the shapes and had a great time with this assignment. I did, too.


The third assignment was “Guess the Word.” I had to create a list of words so she could blend the sounds together and then read the word. I created a list with words like b/i/g….d/i/g…..p/a/n….m/a/n…b/e/t and so forth. She was able to blend all of them perfectly. Then, I challenged her with words like s/o/c/k, s/h/i/r/t, and r/o/c/k. Perfect again! Okay, I thought, all short vowels. Let’s see what she can do with long vowels. She didn’t know those yet. But once I showed how they sound, she got it. So, the words n/o/s/e, m/a/k/e, and c/a/k/e became no problems. She is sharp.

The word list

One of the most interesting assignments was called “Counting Pennies.” She had to find some pennies. Well, that was an easy task. She just went to her piggy bank and took out some money. She then sorted through and snagged all of the pennies. Her job was to place them in groups of ten and then count the groups of 10. She had no problem with that. On her third stack, she began in Spanish, “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve…diez.” She counted that stack in Spanish. Impressive!

Once she congregated six stacks with ten pennies in each stack, I asked her how many she had.  She looked at me puzzled. Then, I pointed to the first stack and said, “Ten.” Next stack, “twenty.” She caught on, and then counted the rest, “thirty, forty, fifty, sixty.” Once finished with English, I taught her how to do it in Spanish. She caught on.

Stacks of pennies--ten in a stack

On her last assignment that we did together, she had a writing assignment and was able to choose from a list of eight items, from writing/drawing about school events to creating a card to free writing. She chose to make” a special card for someone you care about.” Well, for her that was easy: She chose her mother. We walked downstairs and picked up the supplies. She worked diligently on her card, and it turned out beautifully. She asked me to help her with the words. She told me the word, and I spelled it out for her. There were some, she said, “I know how to spell that.” 

Thank you card to her Mom

 And she did—and off she went writing everything down.

Inside of the card

Five tasks tried and five tasks complete. But she wasn’t done. She said, “Now, I want to write a book.” So, we gathered up the supplies, including a glue stick—where were glue sticks when I was a kid? Then, by herself, she created a book, complete with six pages, including the inside jackets. 

Heartland--the book
The title of her book was Heartland. She asked me to how spell a variety of words, but she completed all of it, complete with stickers, a title on the outside, name of the author—Emiline—drawings, and narrative. She even asked for paper so she could make the insides, and she knew how to glue them together. I never helped her once on the construction of her Heartland book.

All this came from a first semester kindergartener. Now, at this point, I should interject and confess that I never went to kindergarten, but I did go to first grade and did extremely well. But here was a kindergartener blowing me away with what she was doing.

Emiline hard at work
My hats off to the Dancing Moose Montessori School and its teachers who are doing an incredible job. Amazingly, though, Emiline kinda came this way, packaged with the right learning skill sets. Her mother has spent an inordinate amount of time with her in teaching this and that.

Having said all that, I was still impressed, especially with the word blending and her writing her own book. Oh, yeah, counting in Spanish was spectacular, too!

After all this we had lunch: apples, grapes, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, chips, and salsa. Not healthy right? One we slurped down lunch, she had two choices: 1) have the eye drops in eyes, and then watch a movie or 2) no eye drops and immediately to a nap.  She chose the former….She wanted to watch How to Train Your Dragon II. Very cute movie!

Around 4:15 p.m., her dad came home from work. We gave each other a hug and off I went, much wiser than before.

It is important for grandfathers to spend time with their grandchildren, primarily to remember the mothers of these children and the great times we used to have writing, reading great books together, rocking in the old blue rocker, going on daddy daughter dates, working in the garden, coloring, etc. It seems so long ago when these things happened; yet, when you are with grandchildren, those thoughts and remembrances  seem to emerge from the mists of the past and become vivid in the brilliant rays of the current day. 

Overall, we had an incredible day together. She is such a sweet little girl, full of vibrancy and intelligence. Heavenly Father has definitely saved the best for last. And I believe they know that…..