Monday, June 26, 2023

2023 Sunset Court HOA Picnic Extravaganza!

We attended the HOA Summer picnic on Saturday! What a treat! I guess when you combine more than a thousand years of cooking experience and potluck specials, and you put that all on two table, you have a gourmet meal served up for a glorious dining experience and worth going back for seconds! 

From several types of pasta salads to homemade macaroni and cheese to meatballs, to baked beans to rhubarb/strawberry crisp to cinnamon rolls to corn salad—all deliciously divine. 

It was a challenge to choose which dishes to try, so I started at one end and had a spoonful of each. 

By the time I arrived at the end of the table, my plate was more than full. 

For dessert, I had to use another plate to grab a cinnamon roll before they all fled to someone else’s plate. 

It was a delightful afternoon for all 29 of us! 

A special welcome to Dick and Barbara Veatch and Pauline Crump!

Thanks to all of you for the delicious food, wonderful conversation, enjoyable and happy atmosphere, and a beautiful overcast afternoon.

See you all in September for our annual meeting and picnic!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Essentials of Fatherhood: What My Father Taught Me!

"Essentials of Fatherhood: What My Father Taught Me"

My father: Dean Hammon and eight children

Becoming and being a father can be both a scary and wonderful thing. Unfortunately, there is no undergraduate or graduate program in fatherhood. Fatherhood is a learned art — often on the job after the children come. Some of us have had exceptional fathers. Others do not care to talk about theirs. Still others say their fathers taught them a few things, not necessarily through what they said but by their actions.

My father was one of those whose grounding emerged from being the youngest of 12 siblings. When my father was 11-years-old, his father passed away. Thankfully, he had plenty of grown-up brothers and sisters to help him toe the line although the line sometimes blurred. He entered the military at an early age and learned hard things on ships and being stationed in Japan.

My father was not the type for sit-down conversations and flowery dissertations. Rather, he taught us through a variety of methods, probably gleaned from several sources, including his older brothers and my mother. But taught he did.

Here are five fatherhood essentials my father taught me through his example:

Fatherhood is being a leader through example. My father spent time in the Army as a drill sergeant and often we felt we were part of his platoon. He liked to see things accomplished and done correctly. Consequently, he often showed us once how something was supposed to be done and expected us to learn quickly and carry on after he was gone. Granted, he did check up on us periodically to make sure we had completed the task. Often, he had to re-show us how it was to be done, but he did not hover over us.

Fatherhood is helping others and teaching your children to do the same. Some time ago, my wife and I were reminiscing about our fathers. Both of our fathers have passed away. What impressed us both about each of our fathers was the fact that they would help anyone with anything.

Joanne's father would be the first one out on a snowy day and shovel all the walks and driveways down the street. Although he had to drive almost 40 miles to work each morning, he always took time to get up early and do what the neighbors needed done.

My dad and my sisters
My father taught me the same thing. I remember getting up early and going with him to shovel the walks of the widows and older people in our neighborhood or working in their yards and pulling weeds. On his days off, my father would go and help others with their roofs and fences. He did not ever expect to be paid, and he taught us that helping others was just part of the service we performed as good neighbors.

Fatherhood means spending time with your children. What a revelation this is! Whatever event that happened in my life, my father tried to attend even though he worked shift work most of his life. I suspect there were times when he did not have much sleep before he left to go to work. The former drill sergeant who I thought was the tough guy was really a marshmallow underneath. He teared easily when he talked about the achievements of his family. I remember when I received my doctorate from the University of Idaho, my mother and father journeyed almost 600 miles so they could be with me and share in my success.

Fatherhood means teaching children how to work. One of the challenges I have heard numerous leaders lament is the lack of work ethic in recent college graduates and young people. My father would probably cringe if he heard that. He believed in a strong work ethic — true hard work. His favorite line was "No one is going to give you anything on a silver platter!"

One thing I learned early was never complain because my dad would always find more work for us to do. He specifically built a home in the country so we could have animals — cows, chickens, horses, pigs, and sometimes bum lambs. Plus, we had a big garden, which became one of my responsibilities in the summer. From these many projects and chores, I learned to rise early, work hard, and be responsible. I still rise early, even though I do not have outside chores to do. I love rising early, reading and studying, and exercising. 

Fatherhood is being happy. My father loved to tell jokes, and his laugh was contagious. I remember going to one of the Call Me Trinity movies with him and some of my friends, and I thought my friends and I were going to die laughing not at the funny scenes in the movie, but at my dad laughing at the funny scenes.

One of things my dad loved to do was yodel. He said he learned to yodel while tending sheep in the high mountain meadows. One of the treasures we have as a family is a short recording of Dad yodeling. My siblings and I have compiled “Deanisms,” and our children now often pan when we use one, “Sounds like he is turning into Grandpa Hammon.” So be it!

Fathers are natural leaders and examples. Mine was no different. Often, though, his teachings never came from a direct conversation. Rather, they came through working with him and watching him help others as if it were just part of his normal, everyday life. I can only hope I can continue teaching my children and grandchildren by being a good example.

My father with my two daughters in 2004 in Quartzsite, Arizona.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Women as influencers: Those who have and are influencing me!

Women as influencers: Those who have and are influencing me!

Throughout my life, I have been blessed and influenced by so many incredible, wonderful women. Today on Mother's Day, I honor all of them, especially my wife Joanne and daughters, Anna Rose and Hailey!

Joanne Boltz Hammon—Joanne has influenced me in so many wonderful ways over the past 44 years! I am truly who I am because of her. In every aspect of my life, Joanne has been there with counsel, support, influence, critique, kindness, comfort, and an extra push or two to propel me forward. She is the mother of our two daughters, Anna Rose and Hailey. She is the best example of an elect daughter of God that I know.

Joanne with Anna Rose (R) and Hailey (L)

Barbara Hammon—My mother was a tough, sensitive, caring, independent, and courageous woman. She had eight children and watched us grow up in so many different ways. She taught me to work and to be respectful. She expected me to be a good student and do my homework.

Wilma Andersen Boltz—My mother-in-law loved and treated me like her own son. She created so many memories for our daughters. Her humor and her way of doing and saying things were always funny, surprising, intriguing, and delightful.

Anna Rose and Hailey—Our two daughters are incredible, independent, creative, professional, intuitive, hard-working, and courageous. They remind me so much of their mother and are marvelous mothers themselves.

Telecia, Shawna, Delaina, and Jaralyn—My four sisters have been very kind to me. Amazingly, they still love me despite me being me growing up. I just hope they have realized I have grown up and become better.

Emiline and Avonlea—My granddaughters are definitely gifts to us. While they are creative, bright, intelligent, beautiful, independent, and funny, they are still growing up and becoming who they need to be. We love watching them grow and develop.

Velma Dinsdale, Shirley Poole, and Illa Hunting—These two were my Cub Scout leaders. They pushed me to do so many projects that seemed beyond my capacity. Plus, they were mostly patient with eight- to ten-year old rambunctious boys.

Renae O. Merri R., and Sindy R.—These three were some of my best friends growing up in Menan, Idaho. They counseled me, patched my coat, helped me through challenging times, played a medley of hymns at my mission farewell, and have been exceptional examples of womanhood throughout my life.

Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Poole, Miss Bowman, Mrs. Jeppson, Mrs. Park, and Mrs. Eames—Everyone can remember their elementary school teachers. These were mine—stoic, tough, kind, influential, encouraging, and willing to put up with my antics.

Dr. Marge Peek—My advisor at Boise State University. She was the associate dean of the English Department and pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits. I still remember my first “C” on an essay and my last essay from her in a Shakespeare class that had these words: “A worthy work!” I still have that essay somewhere.

All sister missionaries (including the senior missionaries) in the California Riverside Mission and the Caribbean Area—These young and mature women are incredible, yes, even spectacular. They are courageous, resilient, diligent, adventurous, creative, talented, and gifted daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.

YSA and Single Adult Women—I have had leadership positions in young single adult and single adult wards throughout my life. These women are stalwarts, clever, professional, kind, willing to do what needs to be done, and seekers of truth.

All other women in my life
—There have been so many other incredible and remarkable women in my growing up and professional years—Church leaders, teachers, and neighbors who have been exceptional examples of women of God, women of the covenant, women of the community, women in government, women who have work with me in public and higher education. Your willingness to do what is right, even when challenges emerge, has been refreshing and powerful.

Many thanks to all these women in my life who have helped me become who I am and guided me to be better than I thought I was. For all that you have done and will continue to do, many, many thanks!

Monday, April 3, 2023

April 2023 California Riverside Mission Reunion--A Delightful Reminiscence!

Mission reunions can be enlightening, magnificent, wonderful, delightful, heartwarming, happy, spectacular, and nostalgic. Our California Riverside Mission reunion on Friday, March 31 was all that and much, much more!

 Several RMs from the mission—Olivia Longshore, Maxlin Chase, Shaunté (Harris) Guymon, Britney (Shunn) Peterson, Hannah Morgan, Sadie (Giles) Hallsted, Cassidy (Kaiser) Esquea, Spencer Royce, and Haden Loveridge—began planning at the end of January 2023. They wanted a simple yet marvelous reunion.

 So, they got right to it. Britney began the social media blitz while Shaunté gathered up people who wanted to bring something to eat. Olivia, Maxlin, and Cassidy began working on the program and photo presentation, Spencer and Haden decided to work on set up and clean up while Hannah Morgan and Meg Glancy worked on decorations and a photo spot for photos.

Soon, the mission reunion was in full planning mode with bi-weekly Sunday evening meetings via Zoom to follow up, share ideas, and create a memorable event for everyone.

 Finally, the time arrived. Everyone came together to set up, decorate, arrange, and clean! By 5:30 p.m., everything was in place, and people began to trickle in.


The trickle turned into a gush, and the gym began to fill up, and the chatting and reminiscing and laughing and greetings emerged with a heavy dose of hugs (abrazos) and greetings.

 It was just a delight to see everyone!

 Joanne and I were asked to say a few words, which turned into more than a few words. How can you just surface feed when you have some of the greatest missionaries/RMs on the planet earth gather in the chapel for—hopefully—some words of wisdom?

 Joanne spoke about the importance of keeping covenants. I shared thoughts about “defining moments” in our lives, and that those defining moments can be such pivotal points in our lives.

Some people classified the program as “a return to zone conferences,” “a spiritual uplift,” “just what I needed to hear,” “opportunity to be with my best friends in the mission,” “fun and delightful evening.” For us, it was truly uplifting and heartwarming to look in the eyes of those who were there and see growth and development.

 We were treated by incredible musical numbers from Kylie Linton and Nick Rowe. We could have listened to even more since we have a mega-talented mission—from juggling to singing to playing to dancing to painting, and to a host of other wonderful talents.

Once we said “Amen,” we all trundled back to the cultural hall with a bit of lingering longer in the chapel and the foyer to catch up with those wonderful young men and women who served so faithfully in the California Riverside Mission.

We went well beyond our scheduled time, but everyone wanted to say one last thing to one last person and then another “last person.” Soon, though, it was over, all cleaned, and everyone leaving in cars to all parts and home.

 As Joanne and I traveled our 1.4 miles home, we were somber, humbled by the wonderful evening that we had with our mission family. We loved being there. We loved talking to people although we did not get to talk to everyone. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening! It was such an incredible reminiscence of times past, present happenings, and things to come!

We hope you know that we love each and every one of you and pray for you daily. We look forward to seeing soon. Please stay in touch!

* Note: If you want to see more pictures, please go to Sister Shirley's Facebook page! Thanks to Sister Shirley for taking most of these pictures.