Memories, friends and home

Posted Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 12:00am

In an earlier article, I mentioned what an impression my third grade teacher made on my life, I think of sweet, old Mrs. McMahan, my little Dutch lady very often, and her kindness she showed me for the few years that I knew her. She wasn't only the best teacher that I ever had, but she was also one of my best friends.

I was an industrious little soul back then. I always had a jingle in my pockets. After school I would deliver the evening paper to the neighborhood and in the summers I would mow the neighbors' lawns, sell seeds for the gardens and trim the flower beds and sell "All Occasion Cards" to whoever would buy.

Mrs. Mc Mahon was always one of my best customers. Many a night as the sun went down, I would sit with her on her porch and drink lemonade and eat her famous Dutch cookies and talk about whatever little boys and old ladies talk about. I flunked third grade back then, no, not Mrs. McMahan's class, but the one before her. I still chuckle when I remember her asking me why my brother and I were in the same class. I told her in my innocent and most naive voice that Lance and I were twins, yes, just three months apart, you see, I was too embarrassed to tell her that I had flunked third grade, so I concocted this little story to save me some embarrassment. In the end she relented and in her kindness she allowed me my dignity. I couldn't understand why she didn't believe me, it all made too much sense to me.

How or why this old lady adopted me as such a friend, I'll never really understand. Maybe it's just that mothering instinct that made her take me under her wing, but I sure loved that lady and always will.

I lived in Montana during some of those early years. I loved Montana. I can close my eyes today and still smell the scent of those beautiful tall Montana pines. I can hear the rushing of the water from the streams that I used to fish in with my brother and feel the elation and joy shared when one of us caught a fish, the countless hours Lance and I shared wading through the streams turning over rock after rock searching for the rock rollers we used to bait our hooks.

I was a lucky kid in so many ways, even as poor as we were. My mother always told me we were rich because we had each other, wealth was in family, not in the money. I saw the wisdom in her words even then, as I always have. I loved my family and they were all I had. I remember how my life evolved around them. You see; I came from an interesting family and background. Back then there were only five of us, but over the years we grew into a family of 17. Today I have ten brothers and seven sisters. We are all very close, even today.

Good people have always meant a lot to me, I do not have many friends but the ones that I do have leave a lasting impression on me. I've always said: I've got such a big family that I don't have a lot of time for friends, but you can't help but make a few along the way.

CEU has been good to me and I've managed to meet a few very special people while I've been here. Before I came to CEU, I was living in Trout Creek, a little desert community in Western Utah 50 miles up a dirt road along the Nevada border. I was searching for a college in a quiet little town when I found Kelly Curtis and Jan Young working in the admissions office upstairs in the JLSC. I had never met these women, but they certainly went out of their way in helping me register for school. Had it not been for Kelly and Jan and all of their help, I probably would have gone to a different school, they made the transition easy for me.

Then there is Brenda Rawson in the English Department. I picked up on her likable spirit right away. She, too, has been a good friend and teacher and I'm not likely to forget her any time soon. Of course, there is the crew in Student Support Services; they just don't come any better. Then another one of my favorites is Susan Polster in the news room, she's forever trying to inspire me, and she does. I just wish I could take her with me when I leave but I can't. Last but not least there are the ever smiling faces I love so much of Darlene Severeid and Shanny Wilson in the academic advisory office. Those girls have made many days for me.

The semester is almost over and I'm packing my bags. I'm moving back home to the ranch. I want to raise me a cow and a couple of pigs, build a chicken coop and fill it with chicks. I'm going to sit on my porch in the morning and drink hot coffee and watch the sun rise, listen to the coyotes howl off in the distance and finish my studies by mail. In the evening, I'll return to my porch and watch the sun set and remember all the good times that I've had. So have a good summer and have lots of fun and you'll hear from me again in the fall.

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