Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Joys of Eternal Friends

On Labor Day, we experienced great joy—personal, geographical, cultural, and spiritual. First of all, Joanne and I were able to trundle to St. George on Sunday afternoon to meet up with some of our compadres with whom we served in the Caribbean Area, specifically the Dominican Republic. It was pure joy in meeting them again after several months of not seeing most of them. We met some additional new friends and enjoyed the company of those who served with us. 

Joanne and Sandra Glazier
The joy that comes from reuniting with eternal friends is difficult to explain. For most of us, the extended time we served with each other was always less than 18 months, primarily because people come and go. While the time we spent together in the Dominican Republic was relatively short, the friendships we established have become eternal. 

Elder Snow and President Glazier
We love them, and they love us, no matter who we are. It is a complete delight!

A panoramic view of it all!
The geographical component emerged as we whizzed through the Parunuweap Wilderness Study Area in southern Utah. We all rose early, ate a hearty breakfast, and then motored to this area. Joanne and I had never take a four wheeler ride in our lives. Lots of motorcycles but no four wheelers. 

Some of the group looking at the incredible views from up on top....
The ride was delightful yet dusty. We probably rode 50 miles or so at a pretty fast clip. Unfortunately, we didn’t have all day because we needed to be back to St. George prior to going to Tuacahn. But the sights we saw were incredible. 

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Peter Pan at Tuacahn
The cultural component came on Monday night. We all crowded into a few vehicles and headed to the Tuacahn Center for the Arts (Tuacahn) where we ate a delicious meal prior to the production of Peter Pan. The meal was good. All of us took up almost four picnic tables. It was a buffet of BBQ chicken and pulled pork with all of the trimmings. Plus, we topped it off with….ice cream, a crowd and personal favorite. Peter Pan was great! Peter came flying from the mountain side and looked like he was running through the air, so elegant, so Peter Pan. The singing and acting were all extraordinary. The weather was absolutely beautiful  and delightful. Tuacahn puts out an incredible show.

The spiritual component was going to the St. George Temple with our friends early Tuesday morning before leaving to come home. Arriving around 8:30 a.m., we dressed and then headed up to the waiting room for sealings. We were so many that they had to divide us up into three groups. Most of us had names of spouses to be sealed to spouses or children needing to be sealed to parents. It was delightful to hear the names of people you knew. Joanne had brought three to the temple, one of them a cousin who Joanne knew who needed to be sealed to his parents. After we finished with the sealings, we entered the sacred Celestial Room. Beautiful! Glorious! The stillness enveloped us immediately. I thought of all of the people who have entered this sacred room since its dedication—from prophets to people like us, all dressed in white, all feeling a sense of peace and understanding of the truthfulness of it all.

A view from the top

We had just an enjoyable time, even though it was just for a few days. Unfortunately, we had to leave because we needed to be home early on Tuesday. Before going, however, we walked around the temple and basked in its beauty. What a great way to spend a few days.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Moms are everywhere--Happy Mother's Day

Joanne, May 2016

Moms are made of lovely things.
They see everything, know everything,
are everywhere, and do everything for us.
It is no wonder children have moms.

Joanne and the girls in Idaho Falls
Children need mothers!

Joanne and the girls in Miles City
When we come in the door from school
or from anywhere, we shout out for them,
wait to hear their voices, and when hearing it,
we know we are safe and all is well.

Joanne and the girls in Miles City
 When we are older and out of home,
we write, phone, and text, Facebook her,
just to say hello, just to know
she is there for us—once again.

The Hammon Family, Christmas 2015

When they take their last breath,
we sometimes do the same,
revert to when we were children,
calling for our mothers, crying for them, 

Darrel, Joanne, and their beautiful and intelligent grandchildren
wondering whether they are hearing.
What comforts me is the knowledge
 that she is still there, watching over me,
understanding everything I am going through,
smiling as I continue to grow and develop,
crying with me when troubles arise,
and applauding the good that I do.

Each and every day I remember her,
feel her presence, and then on Mother’s Day,
we raise our voices and praise her,
our mothers, no matter where they live,
here or there beyond the veil.
She is our mother, alive or living. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Last time home

Last time home

Last time home was dismal although a bit therapeutic.
We went to see my parents’ graves and others’,
decided we should drive by the old house in Menan.
We drove slowly, noticed the sheds had been torn down.
The raspberries were gone too, same with the garden
and the old cement mixer that had mixed
more yards of cement than I can remember.
Mrs. Butterworth and Mrs. Beyeler were gone
too, gone long before. I do remember shoveling snow
at both their houses, watering their lawns,
and even hunting night crawlers, all entangled
after a good water and a full moon, waiting nonchalantly
before we grabbed and tossed them into bait cans.

I wondered whether the new people have ever heard a cow,
bellering to be milked or about my horse, three-years-old
and green broke, that died. We dragged her out to the field
with the Massey Ferguson tractor, both legs tied tight
 with a chain from the barn. We had dug a deep, deep hole
over a few days, beneath a giant cottonwood.
We had said a few prayers and then shoveled the dirt on top of her.

I wonder if the new people know about the asparagus
that grows wild along the ditch bank that waters Hunting’s property.
Still, I wonder whether anyone remembered the woods
between Hunting’s property and Spring Creek, the pheasants
and magpies and the skunks and the little boys who roamed
those woods, thinking they were Daniel Boone and other fur trappers.

I wonder if the new people have ever hunted green heads
down along Spring Creek in the dead of winter
when your breath cracked every time you blew it out
and the incredible snow drifts that filled the ditches
and the swamp that allowed us to make snow forts and caves.
I wonder if the new people know how many raspberries,
potatoes, chickens, pigs, tomatoes, and rhubarb we grew there.

By that time the wondering waned—actually it never wanes—
we had crawled past the old place, the fence now leaning
closer to the ground than I remember. Much to my chagrin,
it’s not the same as we aren’t the same—changed
so subtly by our environment and life gnawing at us
from the outside and from within, slowly, deliberately.

Our memories now gnaw on us, growing
ever more grandeur than they ever were—
or should have been. But they are our memories,
fed by lazy clouds, fishing in Spring Creek,

and tag out back under the weeping willow.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

All Creatures of Our God and King

Today in Sacrament meeting, we sang All Creatures of Our God and King. I know I have sung this hymn before in a variety of places, but today the hymn touched me differently than it ever has, especially the last verse, particularly when I think about all of my blessings that Heavenly Father and, as the hymn states, “Mother Earth” have given me. 

The verse that goes: 

“Dear Mother Earth, who day by day

The Hammon Family
Unfoldest blessings on our way,

Grape Hyacinths and spring snow
Alleluia! Alleluia!

The flow’rs and fruit that in thee grow, 

Flowering bush in front of our home
Let His glory also show,

Capitol Reef in Utah
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia

Flowers at the new Provo City Center Temple
Oh, praise Him! Alleluia! 

The glory and the magnificence of it all truly hit me today. 

Joanne's designs. Truly, Families can be forever....

May we always sing hymns to Him and to Mother Earth who continually give us enormous blessings:

The Keller Family

Spring daffodils


Our grandchildren

The Utah Valley University Board of Trustees has announced that UVU plans to offer five new master’s degree programs, potentially bringing the total offered at the institution to eight.
Utah Valley University


Darrel, Joanne, Hailey, and Anna Rose
Truly, we sing hymns of thanks each and every day for all that we have.

Mt. Timpanogas from Deer Creek 
Thank you!

The Johnson Family

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Darrel L. and Joanne Hammon 2015 Christmas Letter

The Darrel L. and Joanne Hammon 2015 Christmas Letter

Another year has fled, and we don’t know where it has gone. But what a year we and our family have had.
Anna Rose and Christiaan, Emiline, and William
Anna Rose and Christiaan—The Johnson family still lives in Sandy, Utah. Anna Rose was promoted at Cricut and is enjoying her new position. Emiline began first grade, and William continues to attend the pre-school at the Dancing Mouse, a Montessori School where they both attend. Emiline is reading chapter books, and William can count both in Spanish and English. Plus, he knows several Spanish words that he is learning from his bilingual class. It is wonderful to listen to him speak in his shy voice. Emiline and William have spent several weekends with us this year.

Grandpa and Grandma with Emiline and Willliam at Thanksgiving 2015
We have had a ton of fun with them. Anna Rose, Christiaan, and family try to have dinner or lunch here with us or us with them at their home or our home at least once per week. Sometimes, it has stretched a couple of weeks. While they live just 45 minutes away, it is still a challenge sometimes to see them once per week. We did spend Thanksgiving in Sandy with them and the Johnson family.

Hailey and Joseph with Avonlea and Clark
Hailey and Joseph—This little family continues to grow and develop. In October, Hailey became a reporter for the Concordia newspaper, The Concordia Blade. As you all know, Hailey knows how to put words on a page and has become an instant hit in Concordia for her no-nonsense incredible writing. Some people have stopped her on the streets and have said “how refreshing” her writing is.  
Clark, first day of pre-school
 Clark turned three and is now going to pre-school a couple of times a week. He can count to twenty, say his ABCs (in singing fashion), and loves to watch movies with his dad. Little Avonlea crawls, stands by herself, dances, loves attention, and will be walking by Christmas, maybe even before. Her resplendent blue eyes captivate all of us. Her hair has decided it can grow and is now a beautiful strawberry blonde. She reminds us a lot of Hailey….
Grandma with William and Emiline

Joanne—Joanne continues to work at the BYU Health Center. She works about 28 hours per week and loves being there. She also took three cooking classes—Breads, Spices, and Desserts—from the Utah Valley University (UVU) Professional Continuing Education Department. We all enjoy her final projects and her continuing homework. Yum! Joanne’s fun project this summer was planning for and directing the Young Women’s Camp for our Church. They took 34 young women plus their youth leaders. She had a great time although exhaustive.
Grandpa and Avonlea
Darrel—Darrel continues at UVU and writes for DeseretConnect, publishing several articles, including one that had 1.9 million hits! He also took two different classes from UVU: Pottery and Watercolor. Plus, he taught a creative writing seminar at UVU’s Capitol Reef Station in May. What a great experience that was! He accompanied a group of UVU students to the Dominican Republic where they constructed prosthetic legs for 25 patients in Santo Domingo and La Vega. They worked with the Asociación Dominicana de Rehabilitación (ADR) in completing this great work. We worked with the ADR while on our mission in the Caribbean Area Welfare Office.
Joanne and Darrel at Thanksgiving (Johnson's house in Sandy)
Joanne and Darrel—We continue to volunteer at the Volunteer Care Clinic, a free health clinic for those most in need and without insurance. The majority of the patients are Latinos; so, Darrel gets to practice Spanish. We have an excellent time volunteering there. We also were able to spend nine days with Hailey, Joseph, Clark, and Avonlea in August. We had a great time with them. We helped Hailey paint her entire kitchen and spent some quality time with Clark and Avonlea.
Darrel and Joanne at the Payson Temple open house
We had some firsts this year. We went through the Payson Temple Open House. What a gorgeous and glorious edifice! It is just beautiful. We have gone to several sessions there this year since it is just as close as the Provo Temple and not as busy—yet. empanadas! Bishop and Sister Davies attended and showed us renderings of the new Concepción Temple. What a blessing it was to be able to see and feel the spirit of what is to come in Concepción.
Chile Concepción and Osorno missions
We also attended the Chile Concepción and Osorno Mission reunion. It was the first time so many former Chilean missionaries had come to a reunion in the United States. It was good to see people we hadn’t seen since we all served together. It was fun to have them come from Chile to celebrate with us. What a wonderful time we had! And, yes, we had home-made
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May the Lord bless you and your families with health and happiness this coming year!
Keith and Delaina (Hammon) Scholes, Andrew Scholes (RM), Joanne and Darrel Hammon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Great Christmas Tree: Buttons, Earrings, and Anything Sparkly.

The Great Christmas Tree: Buttons, Earrings, and Anything Sparkly

My wife’s mother, Wilma Boltz, was never one for throwing much away. Much of her frugality came from her mother and father who raised three boys and Wilma through the Great Depression. Instead of throwing away a shirt or a pair of pants, the shirts were used for rags to clean around the house and out in the barn. Prior to the shirt becoming a rag, Grandma Andersen, Mother Boltz’s mother, would cut off the buttons and put them in a jar for safe keeping and for using later.

Mother Boltz at her 89th birthday
Earrings were no different. According to Joanne, her Grandmother Andersen always wore earrings even though she lived on a farm in Annis, Idaho. She dressed in the morning, dawned her apron, and put on a pair of earrings, many of them the clip on types so ubiquitous in that generation. Very few women ever had pierced ears back then. Rather, they lived with clip on, fancy in the day but not necessarily now.

John, Joanne, Mother Boltz, Lou Jean, and Kevin--The Boltz Family
Mother Boltz kept up with the tradition, cutting and clipping and saving. Buttons and earrings were kept in an old multi-colored can, with patterns on the outside with a sharp rimmed lip. Joanne doesn’t remember when her mother created the famous button/earring tree. “It was always a part of Christmas,” said Joanne. “In fact, I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t up during Christmas. There used to be two of them. This one and one that was lighted.” 

Lou Jean, Mother Boltz, and Joanne--the Boltz women
Apparently, the two button trees were the same, except one of them had Christmas lights. Mother Boltz poked a hole through the fabric and stuffed colored lights through, following the shape of the natural tree. When the lights came on, they literally caused the buttons and the earrings to just sparkle.
Tree with wood frame
If you look close at the button and earring tree, you can see a definite pattern. The tree is encased in an 18” x 22” wooden frame. The background is black velvet. Mother Boltz placed the sets of earrings and buttons on directly opposite sides, making up the tree’s perfectly shaped edge. In the middle, she glued on various buttons, beads, colored glass, and old earrings of various shapes, sizes, and colors, all sparkly. Pieces and parts of old gold chain weave in and out of the jewelry and make up the “garland” for the tree.

Whole tree on felt
The base of tree is an old sliver pin that she had collected from somewhere.
Bottom of the tree
The star at the top is a small piece, comprised of crystal stones.
Top of the tree
I suspect the button/earring tree will continue to be a part of our family for years to come and then be handed down, never thrown away, especially knowing that all of parts and pieces of this glorious tree were saved and squirreled away for some use in the future.

Anna Rose, our daughter, said, “Even when we lived far away from Grandma, the Christmas tree helped me remember the moments we shared.”
Joanne, Hailey, Anna Rose, Mother Boltz, Shawna--Anna Rose's high school graduation
Now, the tree will be remembered as it should be, not as old buttons, earrings, and pieces of glass. Rather, it will the memories of time past with Mother Boltz, a source of wisdom for saving odds and ends to be used at a later date to make beautiful things.