We had a wonderful trip to Utah and Idaho. We left Wednesday morning, Dec.14th around 7:30 am. We arrived in Bountiful, Utah at about 6:30 pm, in time to attend a Christmas concert at the high school there. Kirk Lindstrom (old friend) had invited us. His daughter Anne was playing in the band and orchestra. Tammy (Kirk's wife) was also there. We spent the night at their beautiful, recently remodeled home. I met Kirk shortly after joining the church in 1979. He was best man at my first wedding and is my longest-lasting friend, although we haven't communicated a lot over the years – kind of sad to realize how much of each other's lives we've missed. Nevertheless it's always great to see him.
In the morning (Thursday) we visited Emily who's in the Holladay area of Salt Lake. We took her to lunch and to Walmart to pick out a microwave oven – her choice for a Christmas present. We saw her apartment, which she shares with a co-worker. She seems to be doing very well and is still planning to move to Ohio when she's finished paying off her student loan and has a better car.
Emily had to work in the afternoon which cut our visit a bit short. Plus she was leaving for Ohio the following Monday morning to spend Christmas there so we couldn't see her again. After dropping her off, we did a bit of shopping/sight-seeing and then headed to Rigby, Idaho where we spent the night in the basement of a family's home that we found on AirBnB. We actually spent 3 nights there while we traveled back and forth to Rexburg.
On Friday, we visited Derek (Susan's youngest son) and Katrina in Rexburg, along with their newborn son Gentry. It was snowing badly and the temperature was dropping. I had hoped to see Michael (my son) in the afternoon, but the weather and his schedule prevented it.
In the evening, we went to Michael's Commencement ceremony, followed by the Convocation where he received his diploma. He graduated with a BA degree in Psychology and Business. It was still snowing and the wind-chill temperature was reportedly -30F – quite a change from Albuquerque. After that, we took Michael and his friend Shane to Wendy's (his choice) for a late meal. He was leaving the following morning so didn't have any more opportunities to visit with him either.
On Saturday morning, we returned to Rexburg for Gentry's baby blessing held in Derek and Katrina's tiny apartment. It was scheduled for 9am, but the Bishop was late. Derek's dad and step-mom were unable to make it due to extreme weather conditions (their flight was forced to return without landing), and Katrina's parent's weren't there because of a prior commitment. So it was a small crowd for the blessing, although it would have been very tight if everyone had made it. It was a blessing for Susan because she got to spend a lot more time with them than expected.
The temperature on Saturday started out at about -15F (without the wind chill) and made it all the way to 5F or so, which meant we avoided doing anything outside, but we did do some shopping with Derek and Katrina, and then took them to lunch. We returned to Rigby for a nap and to give Katrina a break and then returned for dinner.
On Sunday, we returned to Rexburg one last time for a short visit before heading back south. We stopped briefly in Logan, Utah to visit David and Lisa Olson and 2 of their sons. They moved from Canton in 1998. We continued on to Salt Lake where we visited Ron and Debbie Shatto and members of their family. They moved from Canton in 1996, I believe. It was great seeing all of these old friends.
Sunday evening we returned to the Lindstrom's home, at their insistence, and spent the night there. They would have let us stay more, but we hated to intrude. They gave us Anne's room, although she didn't seem to mind. On Monday morning, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with them in their home.
We tried, unsuccessfully, to hook up with Ladd and Sue Kopp, also former Canton ward members and friends, but their schedule wouldn't permit it.
I had a cold and wasn't feeling too well so after a bit of shopping, we headed to our next AirBnB place where we had reservations for Monday and Tuesday evening. It was a very comfortable basement apartment just NW of Salt Lake with a large family room and large-screen TV. We spent a couple hours there just relaxing and then met Susan's neice Ariel and her husband Tommy at the Joseph Smith building in downtown Salt Lake City. After a meal in a cafeteria there, we walked around the nearby grounds enjoying the lights. The building is adjacent to Temple Square and church office buildings. After that we took them to our apartment for hot chocolate and then to their car which they had parked at at train stop in the Farmington area that morning.
On Tuesday morning, we slept in and then met up with Bob Hatch and his son, Robert, in Layton, Utah in the afternoon. Bob befriended me when I moved to Springville, UT in late 1978 and was instrumental in my conversion, baptizing me in 1979. I have always greatly admired him. He's 87 now and not in the best of health, but still living mostly on his own, and renting a portion of his home to LDS missionaries and a male friend. Bob gave us a copy of a book he wrote after his wife's (Beverly) death in 2010 about Joan of Arc He also told a couple of stories about me and him – some of which I'd forgotten.
After that meeting, we went to Jason Christiansen's home in Bountiful to meet with him, his wife Stefanie, and their son, Jesse. I was a volunteer Big Brother for Jason from 1977 until we moved to Ohio in 1984. It was wonderful to see how well he is doing. He told us about his mom's death a couple of years ago and the strange circumstances surrounding it, which was sad. He also told of his strained relationships with his 2 older brothers which is also sad. But Jason has become a skilled construction contractor and runs a very successful business with his son. He's also a skilled auto mechanic. His family narrowly got of a home in North Salt Lake a few years ago that was built on a landslide. That was quite an experience, but they were eventually able to find a nice home in Bountiful which they've done extensive remodeling on.
After spending one more night in the basement apartment, we drove back home to Albuquerque on Wednesday the 21st, arriving at 9:30pm. It was with mixed feelings that we returned, but all-in-all was a very pleasant trip.