April 5-19: The Sycamores are cut down, but I walk Magnolia Lane

I’m playing catch-up again. No bueno. Here is a quick recap of the last two weeks, and then I’ll send out this week’s blog tomorrow.

First, I returned from Texas late Saturday night, April 4th. I stopped in Price, Utah on my way up the canyon and grabbed some groceries. I had sent a survey out and gathered some responses from ward members as I wanted to provide a little service, and we weren’t able to meet for anything. I decided to make pizza for anyone who wanted one between sessions of General Conference. More people were still in town than I imagined, and so David Kaiser and I made 21 pizzas in a little over 2 hours, running them out the door and delivering them and keeping the oven cranked to 500 degrees the whole time. They all turned out really good, i.e. none of them burned, we had enough ingredients. Everyone was very grateful, and David and I (joined by Porter towards the end) enjoyed the chance to serve and cook – both things we all like to do.

Until 1752, Great Britain – and by extension the American Colonies, celebrated the New Year on March 25th. Of course, this was with the Julian Calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, which we use today. So, for millenia, New Years was celebrated on April 7th. I think that April is a month of rebirth, the month that spring arrives, the world rejoices and blooms, and the promise of a brighter future is before us all. It is my favorite month.

Additionally, for me, April perhaps more than any other, is a month of tradition and history. For whatever reason, some major events are inscribed in my memory, and I think about them a lot in April. The start of the Civil War: April 12, 1861. The end: April 9th, 1865. Sinking of the titanic: April 15th, 1912. (Mom actually met a Titanic survivor as a child, who lived nearby them in Colorado). Also April 15th, (but in 1865) is when Lincoln was assassinated. And of course, April 19th  marks the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. Now, we celebrate Patriots Day on the 3rd Monday of April. (April 15th has marked many horrible events; besides the two listed above, it was April 15th, 2013 that the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. I can still remember where I was, it shocked and surprised me so bad. I left school and was just pulling up to play Sugarwood Golf Course in West Virginia when the news came over the radio. I immediately called Mom to see if she knew. Beware the ides of April).

That was a very long digression; the whole point of this is I want to say that there are two events I look forward to, that have become a tradition in my life.

The first weekend is of course General Conference. I look forward to two days of hearing the words of the prophets, and this is the first time while living in Utah I haven’t attended in person, as all sessions were closed to the public, and only broadcast. Even the Tabernacle Choir didn’t sing, but had recorded songs played to make sure they kept under the governments 10-person or less guideline. I loved the messages, and will be reviewing them again. There was released a new Proclamation, entitled, “The Restoration of the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World.” It’s a powerful message.

The second event I eagerly wait for, is the Masters Tournament, held the second weekend of every April. This year the tournament will be held in November. The final round television broadcasts from 1970-2019 are online though and free to view and if I could only watch one thing on tv for the rest of my life, I think I would choose these. Sometimes when I am painting or if I am cleaning the house, I will put one on and let it play in the background. So so good. One that I watched recently was the 2012 final round. This brought back a ton of memories. The Masters for me ends on Saturday (usually – 2019 excepted), but in 2012 I visited Bro. Parrish in the hospital and we spent a couple hours together watching the broadcast. He was interned as his diabetes had worsened and the doctors were cutting off the bad areas in his toes and feet. I will forever remember those hours there. Louis Oosthuizen (from South Africa) made an incredible double eagle from 260 yards on the second hole, the first time anyone had made a 2 on that hole. Most importantly, I sat and absorbed a lecture on mortality and living well. I sure miss Bro. Parrish.

Absent the actual playing of the tourney, I have been able to go out and play a few times at least. I went to Hobble Creek with Lawson and Kimball. Social distancing was in full effect there. No carts allowed, only walking, and the flagsticks couldn’t be removed, nor were there rakes to rake bunkers. The clubhouse was locked besides for the bathrooms and all tee times had to scheduled and paid for over the phone. We had a great time, and played the back nine on April 11th, and the front on April 18th. I also went with Kevin Ford and played at Sleepy Hollow. Pictured below is Hobble Creek, hole #9. This year I’ve been driving it so consistently its not fair. I put the ball on the tee, swing, and go find it 320 yards away, dead straight. I LOVE IT!

The weather has been beautiful and it has been perfect for golf and gardening. While I was in Texas, Utah had some unseasonably cold temps and even some snow fall and accumulate. While this might have prevented some seeds from sprouting, not all is lost. The carrots are struggling, the spinach doing ok, the beets even better, and we have a bumper crop of radishes on its way.

My garlic is still inside, and I have a bunch of cloves growing in separate jars, which allows to me conduct lots of experiments in terms of sunshine and watering and soil depth, etc. These two are the highest so far.

This is the start of a garlic empire!

Tuesday has traditionally been our EQP meeting, and even though we don’t have much going on in the ward, we still meet. Of the different presidencies I’ve been a part of, this with Dillon and Reigen has been my favorite. We really jell together, work hard to get stuff done, and always have a great time. Tuesday April 7th resulted in lots of laughs, culminating in a hilarious leg-wrestling competition in my front yard.

Here, Shandi is about to flip Dillon’s brother Dave.

On Tuesday the 14th, Carson came down from Bountiful and we made and ate pizza, then played pickleball. We strung Carson’s slackline between two cars in the church parking lot, and played with that as our net. It actually worked fantastically and we had a few good hours of play before the sun set.

I was hoping for a pic of the actual set-up, but some of me being a ham will have to suffice.

We are all trying to be safe, with plenty of handwashing and keeping group sizes small. Also, I do avoid visiting older people, and definitely won’t be going to the nursing home to sing anytime soon. Otherwise though, my life hasn’t changed much with all the government mandates going on. I am so, so glad that Utah is one of only a few states that don’t have a “stay at home” law in effect. Our book club still has walk-n-talks at a local park, and I am grateful I can be outside without any problems. One thing that has changed is going to the grocery store. It’s a pain. Rancho Markets has had a line going down the sidewalk every time I want to go, and I finally sucked it up and waited my turn to enter.

The benefit was after waiting for my turn, the store was super empty and I found some items I’ve never seen before. Some of the basics like flour, baking soda, yeast, and olive oil have been tough to find still in Utah, but I only get produce at Rancho Markets and they had everything stocked.

I’ve had some more culinary adventures. This is a a yellow lentil and rice recipe I tried out. And ate for lunch+dinner two days in a row. 0/10 would recommend. The smoothie however has been a repeat hit, with cranberries, limes, coconut flakes and evaporated milk combining into one delicious drink.

I was craving burgers, and made some, cut up a bunch of fries, made homemade bbq sauce, and some wheat bread for the bun. 10/10 on these.

Besides the lentils, another first was bruschetta and a lemon pasta that Porter and I had for a Sunday dinner. Sundays have been fun. I’ve been taking 3 mile walks and doing lots of studying of the scriptures. Kelson usually comes over for a few games of chess, and Porter always has supper with me which is a highlight every week. Dellan and David joined one week for giant burritos, and our discussion ended up lasting from 3:30-8 pm.

Monday nights are also great; we’ve settled into our family “Come Follow Me” discussion via zoom, comprising the Bach’s, Texas, and sometimes Porter+Tanmarie. I love seeing the fam and hearing their gospel insights.

I heard back from BYU Law School – they said that the class that applied has record high LSAT scores and a record number paid their deposits – so no one was admitted from the waitlist. There is a slight chance that I’d get in after the second deposit deadline in June. However, the dean of admissions basically guaranteed me a seat if I got a 166 on June’s LSAT. When I heard that, I figured UCONN is where I’ll be going. Then, the dean emailed again and let me know that if I got a 166, I’d get a 1/2 ride scholarship, and a 167-168 would most likely mean a full-ride. That was unexpected news, so I signed up for the June LSAT and will give it one more shot. UCONN did increase their offer, and I think it would be a great place to end up; the idea of a 3 year full-ride though makes me salivate, and I talked with my work manager the next day about quitting. Part of me thinks its crazy – in this job environment, and with no guarantee of getting a higher score. It was a night of tossing and turning weighing the options, and I talked with the manager, Ben Stokes, and asked to let him know of my final decision on Monday. The reasoning being, if I quit my job and studied full-time, I would have 5 weeks before the test to study and if I get a higher score, the scholarship increase would more than make up for anything I could earn while working.

Additionally, my stimulus check and tax refund both arrived and have helped me reach my May 1st savings goal, and I think I might even hit my June 1st savings goal before I quit, which helps give me some room to chase my goals.

I have a small-list of movies that I want to watch, and I crossed one of them off on Saturday the 11th, as I went to Casa Picante, and joined the ladies who live there, as we watched Casablanca. We had planned to watch it outdoors via a projector, but the sky looked ominous, so we moved inside. Sure enough the rain began to pour halfway through the movie. This movie is famously what Mom and Dad went to see for their first date. I’d heard it mentioned my entire life, and I’ve seen it on all the lists of best movies, and amazingly, it exceeded my expectations. I really, really enjoyed the film.

To close, here are a few important verses from the book of James, 4:1-4

From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence even of your lusts that war in your members?

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 




One thought on “April 5-19: The Sycamores are cut down, but I walk Magnolia Lane”

  1. Good Morning Hunter,

    Your letters are always newsy and full of adventure, especially with your cooking. Good for you for trying different things.

    Are you still practicing social distancing? How can you do that and play chess–not a good choice. This is the only way to prevent the virus. Also, wearing masks when you go to the grocery store should be a must. We wear masks when we are within our community and when we are outside and go to the store as well. I haven’t been to the store in a bit, but have to go today. I have to go to the bank and deposit my stimulus check and transfer some money from savings to checking to pay my monthly fee. I also have some items to get at the grocery store and at CVS. My girlfriend’s daughter has gone for me before, but she won’t stop to get my coupons, and I get a good percentage off as well as I have a $4.00 coupon. So, I will go myself. I also have to go to Staples an get some ink for my computer. My color is fine, but I’ve been doing a lot of printing with the black, and I am afraid I am going to use that up in no time. I have a $4.00 coupon for that as well. Coupons are great, that’s for sure.

    I went to a mini social gathering yesterday afternoon–four of us for a glass of wine and some nibbles. I brought cheese and crackers. This is the second time Leif has asked me to join them. Nothing going on, just four people enjoying some time together. I will meet him this afternoon in the Association Office to go through files and decide what we need to keep and what we need to toss that would be of no interest to the current or future residents of New Pond Village. However, it is interesting to find things in the files and read them. I brought some home last week and went through them. Found interesting information about the landscape and our Lake Woebegone which fills with heavy rains. The ducks love this as well. It is a drainage lake to prevent the parking lot/lots from flooding. I never did see it last week when we had heavy rains. I never ventured out.

    We’re supposed to get some sun today in the afternoon and then tomorrow. Then the rain sets in again and by the weekend, we should have sun. This is getting to be a little annoying, but it is what it is. It is the month of April and we should expect it but also with unusually cool temperatures. The tree outside my window has yet to open forth its blossoms. When it does, it is beautiful

    Well, I am going to end for now. I want to take a shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast. I’ve been lazy and sometimes not eat until after 10:00 in the morning, and I don’t want to do that.

    Take care, stay well an stay safe–6 ft social distancing and masks to the grocery store.

    Lots of love,

    Aunt Shirley

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