Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thoughts on Watching the MTC Chorus at LDS General Conference

For me, the most memorable and moving part of watching LDS General Conference today came as I watched the MTC men's and women's chorus sing in the afternoon session.  Acres of bright and shiny Elders.  Hair trimmed down to a fare-thee-well.  Faces shining with expectations and commitment to their calling.  Rows and rows of beautiful pastel-clad young women, earnest and innocent and committed to their decision to be a missionary.  All of them singing with a passion that spoke of their love and commitment to their forthcoming assignments around the world.  And parents, Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, watching, looking carefully, searching for their son or daughter or brother or sister or grandchild.  And then that surge of pride, realizing that those years of messy rooms and drinking out of the milk carton from the fridge and surviving first loves and piano lessons and soccer games and report cards had all come down to this moment of joy in seeing the results of all of those hours and days and years of nurturing and hoping and praying.

I realized with more than a small pang of remorse how much I miss the generations of young people I taught over decades of labors in classrooms around the country.  For over 40 years, I lived in an adolescent and young adult world.  How many were there?  Maybe somewhere in excess of 20,000 students, give or take.  What good did I do them?  Did I make any lasting impression?  There were always a few problem cases, of course, that were not so enjoyable.  But almost all of them were like an extended family that I cared about and did my best to honor my job as a teacher and leave them with something more at the end of a class than they started out with.  Where are they now?  What have they done with their lives?I

 I can still smell the nervous perspiration in a warm room of 400 students taking a two hour final exam, tension and exasperation filling the air.  I watch their expectations on the first day of school as some of them have heard I am a hard teacher, and most of them know ahead of time that they hate economics.  They wonder what I am going to be like, if they are going to make it.  I try to sort out those with learning disabilities like dyslexia to make sure their learning possibilities are not thwarted.  I watch the pregnant girls bravely go through the class, one barely making it through the final exam, and one, at Colorado State, breaking her water in class.  I ordered all males to leave the room quickly, for the young women to gather around her, and sent someone to call the ambulance immediately.  I always wondered if this baby was a boy and thought he should have been named after me.

When I first started teaching school, the young wives worked while they "put their husbands through school."  In my last years, the husbands and/or wives switched the baby carrier in the hallway after class so both of them could continue their education, many of them bringing their babies and young children through the commencement ceremonies at the end of their college careers.

And so watching the MTC chorus was sort of like a reunion.  Here were the kinds of young people I worked with and loved for decades.  Now they are gone and I still miss them.  Each fall a new crop arrived, anxious moms and dads hoping for the best, young men and young women anxious to get on with their lives.  By Thanksgiving, most of them were veterans, they knew the campus inside out, they knew what they could get by with and what they could not.  One young lady came in just before Thanksgiving weekend and told me "I'm so thankful I won't have to take the final exam now.  I just got engaged and I'm getting married at Christmas."  I wanted to scold her but instead wished her well.

I still miss them all.


Another Epistle from Ole Judy

Garland , Wyo.
May 9, 1950

Der Dwight,

Well this is the first time this quarter I've written.  Last Friday I was in a May Fete.  I was in the chourse and I was a May Pole Dancer.  Mary Kranz and I sang a sole.  I got to wear a blue formal.

Now! About Louise's love affairs!  She is still going with H.L.()  I guess it's pretty thick.  School lets out on the 19th this year so I won't have to suffer from my ole' teacher very much longer.  For my birthday Leona B stayed with me.  I got 36 cents, two pr. barrettes, and a comb.  No more junk so I'll close.

An ole' buddie,

Note from DMB:  In the era of texting and cell phones, we no longer have treasures like these.  More is the pity.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sunday Afternoon in Raymond

I was so happy to see Louise! And that includes Diana's family and Cheryl. There is sorrow for the reason for them to come, but reassuring to watch their family bond together.

Echoes from the Past: January 27 1950

Garland, Wyo.
Jan 27, 1950

Dear ole Dwight,

Guess what!  Well Louise never did go skating with Lover Boy.  I guess he got mad and they haven't gone out yet.  That I know of.  I don't have very much to tease Louise about now.  Well what redhead have you ran into?

Ann was out of school for about a week with tonisle ides.  Well not much dirt has come up yet.

Your ole sister,

P.S. Well it's Feb. and I don't have it mailed yet.  Oh!  Guess What!  You could guess a hundred times and still would be unable to guess so I'll have to tell you.  Well Mon. night we were waiting for Ma and Pa to come home because we were going to the concert.  Finally a car drove up.  We wonder who it could be.  Well it was Ma and Pa.  Well, Well, Well.  Guess What!  It was a new car.  It's a '50 Ford and tan.  Oh boy it's nice.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mother's Grocery List

Mother with Carolyn, left, and Dorothy, right

This morning I could see we were out of brown sugar as I liberally doused my bowl of chewy Zoom with the good stuff, so I intuitively and habitually wrote "br. sug." on the grocery list.  Mother was the soul of efficiency and was not one to suffer fools or waste time on spelling things out.  We all knew what "br sug" was.  All my life, whenever we have run out of corn flakes, shredded wheat, or brown sugar, I think of Mother's grocery list and "br sug, c flakes, and sh wheat."  Shredded wheat still goes by the name "sh wheat."  I'm sure that she had other abbreviations that I don't recall.  We bought precious few "town groceries" because there wasn't much money for buying them.  Besides, we had most everything we needed from Mother's bounteous garden in summer, the canned goods in the cellar in winter, the chicken house, the pig pen, and the cowbarn.  But we did need sh wheat, c flakes, and br sug.  And this morning I had a fond memory of Mother's grocery list as I wrote on my own grocery list the same abbreviation I have used ever since leaving home.

Grandpa Wasden's Original Blue Cart

To complete the cart story, here is a picture of our son Ron with the original blue cart Grandpa and Grandma Wasden used for many, many years.  The white cart is a manifestation of how the younger and less mature children were also more favored, as the older and more mature children never had such fine opportunities.


Ann asked me if I would post this months ago, so here I am right on time.  Grandpa made this for us and Grandma called Mom and told her to send Ann and me up the house.  We had no idea what the surprise was until we got there.  I do remember how delighted Grandpa was when he gave it to us.  We pushed it out of the yard and started down the hill when the wheels wouldn't turn anymore.  We tried dragging it but it was just too much work. We were afraid to take it back to Grandpa so one of us high tailed home and told Dad, he brought the old Ford truck up and loaded on to take home.  He got the wheels loosened up for us and the history begins.  I'm going to jump to when Ann and Paul brought it east with them and later brought it to Boston. (NY for those of you that don't know.)  I used it for years in my office to hold rolls of blue prints until it just took up too much room.  It's still solid except for the back leg needs to be welded which I will get around to this summer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Matlock Gathers the Eggs

Today in an immortal episode of Matlock, Matlock was in a chicken house gathering the eggs.  I don't know where this chicken house was because the location was not explained and I know he does not have a chicken house in his home in Atlanta where he is the most outstanding criminal defense lawyer in the city if not in the USA, despite the fact that he was the sheriff of Mayberry until middle age and I don't know how he managed to graduate from Harvard Law School and still collect a minimum retainer for all his clients for $100,000 a clip but of course all his clients are innocent so $100,000 is pretty cheap.  Anyway, back to the chicken house.  The chicken house was exactly like the chicken house I had to clean.  There was stuff all over the roosts and Matlock had to lean down in the straw in order to gather the eggs.  He had a basket of at least 3 dozen eggs which I don't know why he needed with his $100,000 retainer fees.  But I thought of Ann as I watched this episode.  I did not like being reminded of our chicken house at home.  I like my eggs in a cardboard carton in Albertson's grocery.  But the rural nostalgia is powerful and I may move back to Penrose yet and raise some chickens.  By then Ann will have fried her chickens and go two blocks to Costco to get 2 dozen super large nice white clean eggs for $2 or so.

The Picnic Saga of 1961 Continues

Another photo saved from extinction.  As per Ann's suggestion? instruction? mandate? I am reposting the picture for permanent status.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Taco Soup Recipe from Preston

This past week, I attended a wonderful two-day quilting retreat up Cub River (south and east of Preston, up in the mountains). This year, instead of having food cooked for us, we opted to cook our own. This is one of the recipes used - very good!
Taco Soup
1-2 lbs hamburger, browned with 1/4 cup chopped onion
16-oz. can kidney beans with juice
17-oz. can corn with juice
1 pkg taco flavoring (or however much you like) I found a recipe online, and made my own.

Place a few taco chips at the bottom of the bowl, ladle in the soup. Top with grated cheese, a dollop or two of sour cream, and some chopped-up avacado.
Good with rolls and butter, etc.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Just to entice you a little more, as I was glancing through this magazine, my attention was immediately drawn to one of the major topics that is discussed inside. You can't tell me that something titled "Hot Chicks" doesn't get your attention and make you think a little more positively towards potential spring projects.

Tips for the Day

With medical issues becoming more of a concern because Drs. aren't going to be able to help us as we get too old, I feel it is important we become self educated and be prepared to take care of ourselves. Therefore, I wanted to share this wonderful recipe for a cure for anything that ails us - in particular, colds, sore throats, breathing issues, etc.
You will need one very clean quart jar. In that quart jar place equal parts of garlic cloves, chopped; hot white onion, chopped; fresh ginger, chopped;, horseradish root cut into small chunks; very hot peppers, including seeds. Fill the quart jar to 2/3 line with Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. This should cover all of the chunky stuff. Close jar with plastic lid (metal would not be a good idea). Put in a dark place for the next two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, strain, throw away the chunky stuff and keep the liquid. When you are feeling ill, gargle with 2 tablespoons of this wonderful elixir and then swallow quickly.

And since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, this is an important tip. "According to legend, peas and sweet peas planted on St. Patrick's Day will grow abundantly and healthily." (Quoted from Planting by the Moon, a Rodale publication.)

Aren't you glad you checked the blog today?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Own the Smallest Town in Wyoming

Check out the link below. Who wants to move?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dad and Ron Blood on the Beartooths about 1961

This photo is another one that for 50 years remained coal black and useless.  It's still not a very good photo, except that I was away from my parents most of the last decades of their lives and this photo is one of those rare images of Dad and worth saving.

Three Chickens? What good are 3 chickens?

The alarming news has reached me by the grapevine.  Since this blog has a whole batch of slackers who are shirking their duties to say stuff like good morning, good night, how are you, and stuff like that, anything at all, I am having to bear the harsh burden of carrying the water from the pump to the wash day tubs all by myself.  First of all, Ann never told me she had cut her chicken allocation down to 3.  Why 3?  With 3 chickens you might get one or two eggs a day but not enough for potato salad, omelets, cakes, pies, cookies, etc., etc.  We are supposed to be spending more money, creating economic stimulus, not spending less.  We must do our patriotic duty.  Consider these factors:  With 3 chickens, you still get voluminous quantities of you know what which you have to dump over your neighbor's fence.  You might as well have five or even ten.  There are economies of scale, which means for Econ 110 know nothings that the more you have and do the cheaper the having and doing.  I am told these will be gorgeous chickens.  Are chickens for showing off or are they for eggs, feather beds, fried chicken for Sunday dinner, and eggs for omelets?  Ordinarily I wouldn't take time on the Sabbath day, but I was so shocked to learn of the reallocation of chicken resources down to 3 without having been consulted to begin with that I felt it was my duty to discuss this urgent matter.  Have a nice day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Family Outing

Believe it or not, this is the first time I have ever seen this photo.  It was terribly underexposed and mostly black until I learned how to zap dark pictures and make them presentable.  As per Ann's directions (orders?), when I change the picture in the heading I am supposed to post it in the posts so she can copy it.  Now all that remains is for the three more favored Blood children to tell their story of this outing.  I believe our son Russell is in the left corner, so I would have taken this photo on a summer trip to Penrose, probably early 1960s.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ann Wants Chickens in her Back Yard

This post also appears in the Curmudgeonly Professor blog, due to the widespread universal interest among educated urban people of experiencing the joys and delights of having chickens clucking, etc., in their back yards.

My sister Ann called me yesterday to inform me that she is about to raise chickens in her back yard, which apparently is allowed in rural Orem UT pop 80K or so.  She and her husband even attended a chickens class with about 35 other excited chicken enthusiasts.  She opines that she would have a mere five chickens which, if my arithmetic is correct, and if the biddies would perform optimally, would produce 35 eggs per week, 140 eggs per month, and 1,680 eggs per year.  After subtracting down days for biddy headaches, egg no-shows, and tired chickens, one might get 26 eggs per week if one can find where the clever old birds have laid them.  

I'm not sure Ann asked me what I thought, but I told her anyway.  I told her I can buy 2 doz. eggs at Albertson's for less than $3.  I don't have to clean up chicken you-know-what, buy feed for $20 a bag, and shoo them out of the kitchen door.  As an economist, I figure each egg would cost more than the 2 doz. carton I could buy at the store.

The Curmudgeonly Professor is not an amateur at this chicken business.  As the Wyoming State President of the Future Farmers of America and the editor of the school paper, one of my most egregious jobs was to clean off the chicken roosts in our chicken house each Saturday.  I do not want to go into detail.  Numerous red mites were in evidence and I was worried that they would give me some infectious disease and that I would die before the State FFA convention.  I became adept at chopping the heads off chicken bodies and watch them flop around until they realized they were deceased, at which point Mom would de-feather them and we would have wonderful fried chicken for Sunday dinner.

Moreover, I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Wyoming.  This major was sort of by default because it was the fastest way I could graduate and I was sick of scrubbing every toilet on the UW campus a plethora of times and cleaning the ash trays on the President's desk.  One of the requirements for this degree was to take a course in Poultry Production.  So the summer of my last year, I took the required course in chickens by correspondence.  I remember drawing spectacular lab exercises of an egg, a chick within an egg, and a few other anatomical and scientific depictions of chickens in their various states of life and death.  I may or may not recall being required to write an essay on the topic, "Which came first?  The Chicken or the egg?"

Thus, I am an expert chicken expert, not to be confused with being a coward, which I can also be one. of.   As I offered these scenarios to my sister Ann, I think she became more and more excited about the bucolic and idyllic experience of having five old biddies follow her around the back yard, clucking and doing their business at random, and laying their $5 apiece eggs.  At least, I told her, the eggs would be fresh; the whites would stand high, and the yolk would be perched at the summit.

I will keep you posted on how this drama plays out.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Thought for This Thursday

On the post dated January 21, 2012, there is a comment from our first cousin once removed(David Wasden/Tom Wasden/ Anonymous), that might give all of us an incentive to keep going. Check it out! To any family who is checking in, please let us know you are there. It is nice to hear from anyone interested and to make family connections.

Sometimes, what we have written has reminded me of a wonderful TV series called Lark Rise to Candleford. There is a conversation in the very last episode (it had a three year run on PBS/KUED and I can still find it in reruns, or just buy the DVD. You won't be sorry.) when Laura is writing for the newspaper, but Daniel has to tell her that what she has written isn't very good. He is struggling to tell her that she needs to write about something she is really familiar with, and then goes on to tell her to write about the life in Candleford and Lark Rise because one day it will have all changed. That is true about our lives in Penrose. Our memories of long ago make so many connections to how we live our lives today. So, I'm just saying, there are still things to share, whether it is today things, or a memory of something from another day.