Category Archives: The Women

Scatter the Sunshine

Apr

10

2013

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Grandma Brock passed away last night.

It was both expected and sudden. She has been struggling with Alzheimers for almost ten years. Three weeks ago when I was in Arizona I received an email from my parents about another thing entirely, but as a post script they mentioned that Grandma had been put on hospice. I planned to go down this very weekend to see her. I was too late.

 

How do you write about Grandma Brock? She was a woman of strong conviction with little patience for those who didn’t see the magnitude of our every day lives. I am too much like her in this way . . . my patience can run thin with the frailty of souls I’m afraid.

She was a woman of great adventure. The tales of her life as a spy for the FBI, her desire to serve in the peace core, and even her missionary service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the stuff of legends.

But she also lived a life that was so . . . ordinary. A school teacher in LA, she raised seven children and lived to see 45 grandchildren come into the world. She served in the Church, she served her family, she served her community.

She loved politics to a fault – I think she gave us all lifetime memberships to the NRA one year for Christmas. And in college I remember being asked to proof read letters intended for senators.

She loved books. I have an old leather bound book sitting on my dresser – “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” with an inscription on the coverpage, and a typed out note- faded now, with an admonishment to be a “reader” in my life. The book was set aside for me years . . . years before I was old enough to read it.

And Grandma loved sunflowers.

In her kitchen she had an old stool, painted green with a sunflower on the seat. And on the wall of the kitchen a painting of a sunflower field. It made my heart sigh when I saw the same painting above her bed at the nursing home. I remember sitting on the stool in her kitchen, munching on chips and home-made salsa, talking about family, our history. They were stories that balmed my soul and made me feel connected to something so much bigger than myself, at times when I felt so small. The sunflowers that I grow every year in my garden are more than just a colorful dash to my backyard, they are a gentle reminder of my past and a gift I give to my children to connect them to that which goes before.

I received word just twenty minutes after her passing. I sat on the couch, Oaklee in my arms, my own boys clamoring for my attention, and wondered at the eternal moments taking place beyond: my grandma reunited with her own loved ones, the ones I never knew. I wondered about the “paperwork” so to speak. The waiting at the gates for St. Peter to find your name in his Eternal Book. And I have no real suspicion that that is how it goes. But I wondered at the awe my grandmother must be feeling as all things are revealed to her.

And I had a very distinct feeling that she felt it was even more magnificent than she had supposed.

Read another post I wrote about Grandma and Grandpa Brock here.

My Sister, Leslee, on her 26th Birthday

Mar

20

2011

This is my sister Leslee.

She’s a lot like me, but in a lot of ways we are totally different.

Likes:

  • We both listen to Country Music.
  • We both love our sisters to the end of the universe and back.
  • We both like to eat yummy food.
  • We both do random art projects.

Differences:

  • Leslee will make you feel like the center of the universe. People are the most important to her, and she works super hard on relationships at every level.
  • She loves to take care of people. She takes care of me all the time. I love it.
  • She is really good at horses – like she trains them, teaches others how to ride them, competes on them, knows all about how to take care of them.
  • She is strong – she’s overcome so much in her life, and has led her life with grace and goodness.

You are my super-hero, sweet girl. I love you so much, and admire you even more. XOXO

One Time

Feb

15

2011

When I was about thirteen or fourteen, I decided to go on an evening ride with my cousin, Anna.

My mom dropped us off at the horses at about four – plenty of time for a little trail ride in mid summer.

But then there was some problem with the tack – a cinch was missing, and it took us longer than anticipated to get going.

So that by the time the horses were climbing Eagle Ridge in the canyon above Draper, the sun was just setting below the western horizon.

In the long after-sunset twilight of summer, we lazily cantered up and down the straight-aways of the trail. Finally, we decided to head home.

But then, suddenly it was dark. We sang camp songs and hymns at the top of our lungs to scare any meandering deer away – the only real threat to our safety was a horse being spooked and being thrown, or worse, run away with; which happened plenty of times in the daylight, but somehow in the dark seemed much more menacing.

We lost the trail and got stuck in the thick of the scrub oak. We had to turn around. We got stuck in a ravine, and had to make our way back out. By the time we reached the bottom of the canyon we were greeted to the voice of Wendy (the owner of the barn where the horses were kept), calling for us over a bullhorn. She, my mother, and a patrol car(the lone efforts of a call to search and rescue) were waiting for us at the trail head.

Boy were we in for it.

The cop car followed us, his lights flashing behind us, the entire two mile walk from the canyon to the barn.

This was followed by a stern lecture on common sense by an irate police officer. By the time the horses were put away it was closing in on midnight.

We climbed into the car, ready to head home, and my mom asked if we’d like to stop at a 24 hour McDonalds for an ice cream cone.



Anna and I had a nice little chat this morning. Oh, how I love dear friends.

Remember when Draper was nothing more than farm fields and railroad tracks?

The Visit

Dec

12

2010

I’m visiting Andi as I type this. Her house is an eclectic collection of art and memories. There’s the ceramic rhino bust she made, extruding from the top of the fireplace, an art project from a community ed course; the painting of children at play, accented with real butterfly wings, that hung for years above her mother’s dresser; and paper star lanterns suspended from the ceiling, souvenirs from months she spent living in Taiwan after college.

Froggie

A froggie I made for high school gradution

Of course, there are parts of my life here too: the picture of us and Lexi on Mistraff in front of her house in fifth grade, sits in an old oak frame on the credenza; a picture of me holding balloons outside a car lot in Denver from college taped to the glass in the hutch in the kitchen. In her art room, the crazy old frog I made for her as a high school graduation gift. And on the bookshelf in the living room is a scrapbook from the two weeks we spent at summer camp in junior high.

It’s nice to be around things so familiar.

Andi and I didn’t start out as great friends. In fact, we both found each other obstreperous (one of our favorite words in junior high). It wasn’t until a common love of horses was found that our friendship really ever had a chance. She shared books with me – Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind, and Black Gold; and I invited her to go riding on the weekends on my family’s horses.

Then it was other things – summer walks to the library, afternoons attempting to create incredible cuisine, camp outs, and tree forts, and bike rides and art . . .

But mostly art.

Andi

A picture I took circa 8th or 9th grade, painting on the floor.

Our teenage years were spent on the floor of her room, painting, creating, making things. And as we worked, we would talk about our hopes and dreams, our goals in life, the pronunciation of words, and the flight patterns of migratory birds.

There’s a song that makes my heart ache for those simple days of laughter, imagination and creation: “When we last talked, we were lying on our backs, looking up at the stars through the ceiling.” The first time I heard those words, I knew they were written by someone who understood – Andi and I used to do just that, lie on our backs after an afternoon of art projects, and talk, holding nothing back, and thinking about everything that could be.

I have known many people who have never had such friends, and that sadness weighs on me, though they, in their ignorance, are content. While friends of any degree are a precious witness to the goodness of God, the friends who help you along the way to become the person you ought to be . . . those are the rare jewels, deserving of sentimental blog posts, and weekend reunions.

Andi and I were laughing the first day I arrived, as we discussed “what kids do nowadays.” She lamented that her niece, at the ripe old age of nine, is getting too old, and too socially conscientious to do “little girl things.”

“I never worried about it around you, there was no pretense when we were growing up, we played with that dollhouse at least until we were twelve or thirteen.”

And that is the essence of friendship I suppose, being yourself, and aspiring to be better.