Monday, August 30, 2010

A story about the "Good Old Boys"

S.O.S. featured in national magazine
If you turn to the back of the June edition of Country Living Magazine you will see a familiar sight. A half-page photo of S.O.S. Drugstore with eight lines of print encourages readers to perch on a stool and enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream cone. The caption begins: “This Main Street pharmacy has been serving its loyal customers since 1909.” It quotes current owner Garrett Crane and labels the past owner Kendal Oldroyd (who is in the picture) a “part-time soda jerk”.

Kendal laughs at his new national moniker, since he is actually a pharmacist who now works part-time at S.O.S. but is happy to serve ice cream – or coffee to the store’s “loyal customers”. What the magazine didn’t take a picture of was the 9:30 a.m. coffee crew. These gentlemen have been putting down a dollar for cup at the counter and some good conversation for more than 50 years. “We come down here to decide who to hang every morning!” said one of the members (who wanted to remain anonymous) with a chuckle.

The senior member of the group is 88 year old Floyd Stewart a WWII veteran who comes with his younger brother Jay Stewart. Floyd build Springville Floral on the corner of 4th East and 4th South in the early 1950’s and sold the business in 1984. He’s been dropping by for good conversation almost every morning for more than 50 years. Jay, age 79 was born in Springville but lived in Omaha Nebraska where he worked as an engineer for AT&T. “I retired and moved back to Springville in 1991 and I’ve been joining these guys down here ever since,” said Jay.

Maury Thomas, age 80 was the owner of Quality Cleaners in Springville for about 45 years but has turned the business over to his son. “I’ve got a little more time now to come here to meet my friends in the morning,” he said. Don Horton is one of the younger gents at age 74. He used to bring his kids down for ice cream when they were young and now enjoys taking his turn to visit the soda counter. He’s retired from Geneva Steele and enjoys the political discussions. “Don’t put this in the paper, but our political view is don’t vote for the incumbents,” said Don.

Glen Ruff age 80 was wearing a “Beat the Pro” shirt from his son Wesley Ruff the popular Channel 4 Sports Director. “I don’t know if he’d want that to be mentioned in the paper after he reads what I’m about to say,” said Glen. Glen cherishes his special hot-seat on this coffee council. “I’m the only Democrat, the only union man and the only environmentalist allowed,” said Glen. “It makes for some (darn) good conversation since these other guys sure aren’t any of those things!” There was a unanimous chorus of “You got that right!”

Country Living Magazine sent two professional photographers with expensive gear and spent five hours shooting pictures with the two adorable twin grandnieces Kate and Ginny Peterson. After some editing for printable language and a couple of clicks with a digital camera, the slightly older crowd are now just as famous – at least in their own hometown of Springville.

Friday, August 27, 2010


In our family we embrace all stylish hand me downs from Alyssa.Although she is the youngest and has never worn hand me downs in her life since she was the only girl. These sofa pillows arrived via brother carrier service and although not yet properly place match my area rug perfectly. I still enjoy several great shoes she has cast my way and except for the dog, will take any hand-me-downs offered.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

“Half Broke Horses”

Since this book is so popular I had to go on a personal quest to obtain it from the library. With 12 people ahead of me in line, and absolutely no space on my bookshelf to put another purchased novel, I approached the desk of the Reference Librarian Sheri. “Um, I see that there is a copy of “Half Broke Horses” on CD that is being repaired. And, uh, I wonder how soon it will be available,” I asked quietly (I was in the library). She didn’t know but she kindly escorted me into the mysterious, hidden, repair shop which was formerly the place to pay my city bills. “I remember I repaired it last week and it should be shelved,” said the highly skilled disk polisher Sherry (one of 3 or 4 Sherries working at the library). But no, it was not to be found on any shelf! “Let’s write a note to Ann. She will locate it or die trying. She can’t stand to have a mysterious disappearance of a library item.” She did locate the hidden treasure the next day and lent it to me while they await the arrival of a new disc #2 which just has a little skipping at the end. Hurray for the mighty librarians!

“Half Broke Horses” is a true-life novel written by Jeanette Walls. It is best read as a companion to “The Glass Castle” which is Walls’ best-selling memoir. The mostly non-fiction novel tells the story of the author’s grandmother Lilly Casey Smith born in a west Texas dugout in 1901. The narrative is most interesting to women readers who are fascinated by stories of tough western gals who roped and rode and raised their children to be resilient through flash floods and The Great Depression. Grandma Lilly had a survival philosophy of learning how to take a fall and get right back up. She suffered a broken arm while breaking horses as a little girl, started teaching during WWI at age 15, married and divorced a bigamist, put herself through college to get certified as a teacher, sold bootleg whiskey from under her baby’s crib to survive the depression, and endured the suicide of her only sister and tragic accidental death of her best friend.

As in all families, there are characters with a story to write. The Walls family had Grandma Lilly and she surely lived an interesting life of adventure. Lilly gives birth to her “half-broke” daughter Rosemary who will become the neglectful mother of the author. I wished sometimes that there was a little less hard-life philosophy and little more love and affection expressed by these generations of women, but it certainly did explain the flawed characters in “The Glass Castle”.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Look Review "The Beekeeper's Apprentice"

“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”
My niece Heather who is the mother of four young children recently posted this on her blog. So perfectly worded, I stole it (with her permission). “My husband's books are pristine. He leaves a very small carbon footprint on his books - in fact he leaves not a single clue that he was ever there. The spines of his books are barely bent much less broken and you won't find any chocolate crumbs between any of his pages. His books are universally hardbound and stored by category and height. They are beautiful. But they are not mine. My books are messy. I am not afraid to wield a pen when reading and I have been known to attack some very interesting books with said pen. If I am going on a flight and I want a light, cheap book for the plane - I will buy (gasp, shame) paperback.”
I not only agree with this shameless behavior I support it wholeheartedly. In fact when I travel, I sink even lower by buying a paperback at the Friends of the Library bookstore which means it is (louder gasp, greater shame) a used paperback! And I often leave it behind on the shelf of the lake house or condo as a tattered hostess gift plainly stamped by the library as a “discard”.

One of my recent library purchases included the paperback novel titled “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King. I had actually read it about 10 years ago and knew it was a great one. Someone had been cleaning out their bookcase and donated it to be sold to help the library. I came along looking for a cheap mystery book to read on the plane and voila! A match made in heaven.

The book begins in 1915 out on the wind-swept moors. Fifteen-year-old Mary Russell meets the retired Sherlock Holmes who is now studying the behavior of the honeybee. Combining these two delightful characters was a stroke of brilliance by King. We have the well-known eccentricities of Mr.Holmes set against the fresh new precocious viewpoint of Miss Russell. Their friendship blossoms despite the difference in their age, sex and background. As Holmes tutors the young girl she soon matches him in the skills of deduction and disguise. Together they solve the case of a landowner’s mysterious fever, the kidnapping of an American senator’s daughter and finally face a deadly villain who wants their partnership to be terminated, permanently. It is a superb historical detective novel and one of my favorites in this genre.

I also agree with Heather that books were made for me; I was not made for books. They were created to serve me, and I will do as I choose with them. I love buying books at the Friends of the Library book store. I feel free to dog-ear, add crumbs between the pages and discard or leave behind my purchase without feeling guilty since it was purchased to support two worthy causes – the library and my need to read a paperback.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ridin' the Range for End of Summer Sleepover

Before school starts up in August we do "End of Summer Sleepover" at grandma and grandpa's house. We missed Gabe this year since they have moved to Iowa.We went horseback riding thanks to Aunt Marie, got our ice cream cones (Haydon reminded me that we always have ice cream cones for this event), then went to the outdoor movie in the park.It was short and sweet this year due to busy calendars and swim lessons every morning but we made it happen!
Roman has his first ride with Aunt Marie and mommy. He soon refuses to have them there and Marie leads him around her sister's horse pasture as he grins.
Haydon trotting up the hill led by Aunt Marie

Dawson takes a turn riding but he will soon need a bigger mount!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Look Review "T is for Trespass"

“T is for Trespass”

You can probably guess that “T is for Trespass” is part of a series that started with “A”. This is the…wait let me sing the ABC song and count on my fingers and toes at the same time. Good thing I am wearing flip-flops because this is Sue Grafton’s number 20 in her Kinsey Millhone series. “U is for Undertow” was published in 2009 and I read and reviewed it promptly – but I accidentally read #21 before #20. Counting backwards, here is the review of number #20.

Kinsey is one of my favorite detective characters. She is smart, friendly, has interesting neighbors and likes to clean and organize when she is stressed. Her ability to solve mysteries combines methodical analysis and old-fashioned intuition. Unfortunately Grafton has let Kinsey develop the habit of swearing a little more than she used to which makes it a bad choice for a book on tape if that bothers you.

The issues of elder abuse and identity theft combine in a suspenseful story about grumpy old Gus down the street from Kinsey. After a fall, the elderly man cannot return home without someone to care for him. With no family except a busy niece who lives across the country, a home care nurse needs to found immediately. After Solana Rojas answers her advertisement, the relieved niece hires her immediately and flies back to New York. Kinsey is hired to do a brief check on the new nurse and finds everything seems to be in order. Solana we know is a clever sociopath who changes her identity as often as her hair color. She plans to steal everything from Gus and may even resort to murder as she has in the past to cover her theft. Can Kinsey discover the truth about Solana in time and save grumpy old Gus?

I wonder what Sue Grafton will do when she completes her ABC mystery series. What will happen to Kinsey Millhone after “Z”? She has been quoted as saying she doesn’t even know yet what will happen in the last book. Until then, we have five more books, or one more handful of digits to count until the end of the alphabet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chris recieves his Masters of Environmental Science from BYU

Chris has been accepted to do a PHD at the University of Utah so he won't have much of a break after completing his Masters of Environmental Science at BYU. He has spent the summer as a stay-at-home dad with Finn but that life of ease (ha ha) is about to end in a few weeks.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Sarah's Key - - ALYSSA'S REVIEW

Thanks to our Mommy and Me bookclub (still working on that name) my mom and I have been furiously working through our books on either end of the country ... its been fun and I'm usually only a week or two behind the speed reader.

This book was my pick because we share a love for historical fiction books and this one had a good cover (thats right, I am guilty of choosing books by their cover sometimes) my cover is a smidge different than the one shown here - -mine has 2 children running through the Luxembourg Gardens which remind me of my trip to Paris so I grabbed it (its fun reading a book where you can recall places you have seen).

I literally had to walk away from this book a few times because of how disturbing it is, the parts where they talk about the camps and the roundup are emotionally hard to read. The moral issues that you are forced to confront really make you stop and think and I spent a lot of time wondering about the flip side. I wondered about the French police that were ordered to round up the Jews, how they felt and how they dealt with it after, I wondered about the neighbors who watched those few mornings as the families were rounded up by those sworn to protect them. I was glad the author, Tatiana de Rosnay provided us a small glimpse of how the family of one of the characters, Julia, felt about their small part in the roundup - and I thought that was refreshing compared to many books. I think the most fascinating part about this book, and something that sent me straight to Google because of my own ignorance, was France's 'hush hush' about it all - even to this day. It also made me ponder about the things that we as Americans are 'hush hush' about. It reminded me of the book When the Emperor Was Divine by Julia Otsuka about Japanese interment camps during WWII (another great read!)

This book was fascinating, and forced me to some interesting moral areas while reading it, I will admit I liked Sarah's story more than Julia's but I thought Tatiana de Rosnay did a great job of weaving the two together to make a great read for anyone! Just be sure to have some tissues next to you as you read.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Look Review "Sarah's Key"

“Sarah’s Key”
Parlez -vous francais? I used to parlez a little since I grew up in the bilingual country of Canada. Although the French Canadians known as Quebecois do not actually speak the Parisian version I learned in school and off the back of the cereal box every morning. It’s a handy language to speak -especially living here in Utah. “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana De Rosnay is a French novel translated for the rest of you who cannot read it in French. Actually I wouldn’t be able to read it either except for cereal box words like sucre Pop and cereals de mais.

It’s a bestseller here in America and an award winning choice for book clubs. The novel begins in Paris July 1942 with the tragic story of ten-year-old Sarah who is taken in the middle of the night by the French police. Her Jewish family is betrayed by their apartment concierge. Sarah quickly hides her little brother by locking him in a cupboard believing they will return for him in just a few hours.

That’s when I started to cry the first time. I didn’t know very much about this infamous round up of 10,000 French citizens by the French police labeled Vel’d’Hiv. Captive families were kept in a locked stadium for days without food or water and then children and parents were literally torn apart as the parents were sent to Auschwitz. Little Sarah’s story is similar to many holocaust survivors and unique to others. The author notes: “This is not a historical work and has no intention of being one. It is my tribute to the children of the Vel’d’Hiv’. The children who never came back. And the ones who survived to tell.”

After a few chapters we are introduced to the American journalist Julia married to a Parisian whose family secrets lead her to search for Sarah. De Rosnay is skillful in weaving the story between the two characters. I did wish for more of heartbreaking Sarah’s story and a little less of Julia with her modern day family problems which pale by comparison.

I read this very good book in two days while on vacation in Canada. I’m sure people wondered why I had red-rimmed eyes sitting on the shores of Lake Erie in my mom’s retro orange webbed lawn chair. Je n’aime pas. I don’t care. It was worth adding a little salt water to the sand at the lake.

And Alyssa will be soon adding her review here on the blog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mark takes a picture of all our grandchildren

While Tyfani was taking a picture of all the grandsons on Sunday in our backyard, Mark took a couple also - but at the end of lots of picture taking. Finn was not happy about the photo session at this point and was letting everyone know. Roman was concerned about his little cousin and the rest of the boys were done.When Tyfani gets the real portrait to me I will happily post it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why you should take more than one picture

I only took one picture at the folkfest this year and of course Jonathan had his eyes closed! I didn't want to stand in front of the whole audience and take pictures. All the grandsons were there and loved it.

Here is one of the dances from Paraguay - the Bottle Dance of course.