Sunday, April 30, 2017


During the early years of my mortality, when my father was trying to establish himself in some kind of a stable career situation, we made several moves mostly in the northern Utah, southern Idaho regions of the United States of America. Although it was during my preschool/beginning school days, which was a very long time in the past at the time of this writing, some of my clearest and most vivid memories come when I think of those few years our family was residing in Roy, Utah.

Although I have changed my conclusions 180° about it, there are some nightmarish memories which, at the time, left me with the feeling that my father had extreme tendencies of cruelty.

We lived on a small acreage which I thought was vast. Our home was a small wood framed and wood sided house which was painted white with no contrasting trim color. My father planted a vast garden of many of my favorite foods. We had peas, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe and I suspect several other food plants which I have probably chosen to wipe from my memory.

I would say my father also raised some chickens for eggs and Sunday dinners, but in reality it was mainly my mother who raised the chickens along with a little help from two of my older sisters and me.

Anyway, back to why I have the memory of thinking my father had extreme tendencies of cruelty.

We had two animals with habits which were dangerous and in some cases destructive.

One was of a beautiful dog with long red hair. Today we would probably say he was an Irish setter, but since all the dogs we had while I was growing up were mongrels of unknown parentage, we will just say it had long red hair. The dangerous habit this lovely creature had was chasing cars which drove along Roy Road. Luckily, the traffic was very light on Roy Road, in the mid 1940’s, and so it was rare when two cars might be passing on the narrow lane when the dog went bounding out into the street.

In order to change the dog’s dangerous and destructive habit, my father tethered the dog in the front yard with a semi-choke collar around his neck. For several days I sat at the large front window, shielded by the lace curtains and watched as every time a car passed the red haired dog would leap to his feet and dart to the end of the rope and then suddenly his hind legs would fly past his head and then he would dazedly limp back closer to the house. During that training period, I seldom left my window perch without having to wipe the moisture which had accumulated at the base of my eye lids. I was absolutely forbidden by my father, who was cursed with these extreme tendencies of cruelty, to remove the collar or the rope which tethered the dog with the long red hair.

The other animal was a horse which my father used to plow the area for his great garden and my sister Lou Ann used to race the other horses in the area. The horse was named Chubb. I have no idea why that was the horse’s name. Since my father came from a family of 11 siblings and my mother from a family of 13 siblings, I have often wondered if that was the only name they could come up with which was not shared by a family member. Anyway, Chubb had a spectacular roan colored coat and to me seemed to be the most powerful and beautiful animal which was ever created. The problem was that this stallion had an overpowering wanderlust for the neighborhood mares. After the umpteenth time my father had to get up in the middle of the night to retrieve Chubb from a neighbor’s corral, he lined our small farm with an electric wire which Chubb quickly discovered delivered a very shocking jolt when touched. The problem which added to my feelings of my father having extreme tendencies of cruelty, was that for several days after being harshly jolted, Chubb not only shied away for the electric wire surrounding our property, but also all other objects which seemed to have a barrier around them. I really thought his end would come soon, since his feed box and water troughs looked as if they were surrounded by barriers.

To my shame, I clearly remember telling my father, during both of these events, what a terrible person he was to inflict such hurt upon these animals. I was tremendously surprised at how few days it took before our dog lazily confined himself to the limits of our yard and Chubb ventured outside of his fences only when being led by my sister or my father. Things quickly returned to normal on our little farm in Roy, Utah.

The incident was pretty much forgotten until one day our family was taking a day trip to the big city of Ogden, Utah. Besides the scene of the beautiful mountains, another scene vividly comes to view as I remember that particular drive. There was a beautiful horse lying dead by the side of the highway. My sister Geraldene cried and sobbed what a horrible thing it was that that horse had been let out of its protective pasture. My father very quietly said, ‘That horse might have jumped a fence.’ Although, Chubb eventually allowed his wanderlust to overcome his fear of being shocked and he ended up with the same fate as that horse on the highway between Roy and Ogden, he definitely had a longer productive life because of the electric wire my father put around our small farm.

I don't exactly know when it was, but I know I finally started the long process of becoming aware of the difference between cruelty and life preserving lessons.

Not only in the classroom, but also in very personal ways, the dramatic lesson I learned in this way from my very kind and loving father, is that although there are events which we pass through in our lives which may at the time seem unfair, restrictive or overwhelming, the probability is that they will eventually be revered as lessons of love which allowed our lives to be filled with greater freedom, safety and preparedness.

All of us have probably been blessed with the 100% clarity hind sight gives us or the absolute wisdom we have as Monday morning quarterbacks. Likewise, few of us were capable before the actuation of events of foreseeing or foreshadowing what was about to happen or the lessons we were about to learn.

Hopefully, we will be quick learners and come to realize that many of those ‘hard’ lessons were administered by a loving Father whose main concern is the Eternal preservation of His children.


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