Tag Archives: Grandpa

Riced Potatoes

Riced Potatoes

I like my potatoes riced.  Riced potatoes involves pushing it through a grid.  It comes out looking like rice.

The first time I had them was in Sweden.  While it’s just a texture thing, I sure like them better than mashed or baked.  So, as you may have guessed, I made riced potatoes to go along with our salmon today.

History Continued

The Thunderbird Drive-In provided much entertainment.  We didn’t have VCRs or DVDs in those days.  If you wanted to see a movie, you went to the theatre or the drive-in.  In our case, the drive-in was across Quinn Road.

I’d go out into the barley field with my dad’s binoculars and watch the cartoons.  I couldn’t hear them, and often wished I could somehow pipe the sound over to the field.

As a family, we’d go to the drive-in every so often.  There was a playground there and I would spend my time at the playground until the ads started.

Dinners at Grandma’s

Sunday dinners were often at grandma’s.  Most of the time it was pork or beef roast.  While grandpa had his background in butchering, the roasts were usually well done.  It wasn’t until later that I discovered a medium cooked roast was much more tasty… and tender.

They had a garden and snap peas, rhubarb, apricots, gooseberries, chokecherries, carrots and onions were the main crops I remember.  Grandpa loved his apricot tree and it grew HUGE apricots.

Most of the fruit ended up as preserves.  Grandma was the best jam and jelly maker ever.  She was also an excellent bread maker and the combination of her bread with her homemade jams and jellies was superb.

Neighbors

I didn’t have many friends out where we lived.  There were two girls who lived next door — Karen and Lisa, but no boys in the area.  That’s probably another reason I liked going to Grandma’s.  There were a couple of boys in the neighborhood that were my age.

Even then, it was hit-n-miss at Grandma’s.  When I couldn’t find a boy may age to play with, I was of on an adventure.

Once, I was at the park and a bus pulled up.  I got on the bus and spent a day with a bunch of older kids at a park near the mountains.  When I came home that night, I was greeted by some very upset grandparents and my mom.  At the time, I didn’t see what the big deal was, but as an adult, I can see where that would have been one scary day for them.

Oral Histories

Oral Histories

Oral histories can often be incorrect.  I recall my dad saying we were descendants from George Walton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Wrong.  Genealogy research has proven that one not only false, but impossible.

A cousin called last night, and during our conversation I asked if he knew how his grandparents met.  I was very curious because of the oral histories I’ve been told and I was trying to fit the pieces together.

It turns out some of the stuff I had been told was not true.

If you’re an empty nester, one of the best things you can do for your posterity is to write your history.  Oral histories will change over time and get distorted, so write it down.

My Blog

My blog is one of the ways I hope my posterity will learn about me.  I’m sure there will be things I miss along the way, but at least there will be no disputations about things I am clear about in my blog.

That Got Me Thinking

That got me thinking about what I want my posterity to know.  So, why procrastinate?

Early History

My earliest memories were of living near the university in Pocatello, Idaho.  Our neighbors were the Bowsers and they had a son named Ricky.  While I thought of Ricky as my best friend, he was pretty mean to me.  At least on two occasions, Ricky bloodied my nose.  He said it was part of being in Kinder Guarding (as he called it).

Ricky had a baby brother named Mark.  I wanted a baby brother named Mark.  Ricky was really good at throwing a ball.  I worked hard to learn how to throw a ball.  It seemed it was all about keeping up with Ricky.

During that time, it seemed I only saw my dad on occasions.  I knew he worked for Consolidated Freightways, he had been in the Air Force, and went to college.  Aside from that, it seems I’d see him infrequently.  My mom worked, and so I spent most of my days at my grandparents’ house on South Johnson.

At Grandma’s

At grandma’s I had a friend a few doors down.  I can’t remember his name, but I remember he looked like a child version of Oliver Hardy.  Across the street were the “twins”.  Grandma watched them too.  One of them played trumpet and that’s what got me interested in playing trumpet.

Grandma and Grandpa gave me lots of freedom.  I explored the hills near their home, visited the parks in the area, the river and the corner store we called “Del Monte’s”.  (We called it that because of a large Del Monte logo painted on the side of the building.)  I was free to roam wherever I wanted as long as I told Grandma where I was going.

My favorite thing was to go looking for loose changes on the sidewalks.  A penny would actually buy some candy at Del Monte’s.

Back Home

When we lived in town, I didn’t have much freedom back home.  It was the Bowser’s house our our house.  I wasn’t allowed to wonder any further.

A beatnik lived downstairs.  His name was something like Hodge Podge.  I would visit him when he was home and he’d let me pound on his bongo drums.

When dad was home, they’d have other grown-ups over to play board games.  I’d have to stay in my room.  I learned that ‘children were to be seen, and not heard.’  In the case of game night, it was ‘children were to be invisible.’

The Move

Mom got pregnant and we moved in to a new house around the same time.  There was a lot of change going on.  They sold the MG, bought a 1953 Chevy DeLux and an old station wagon, and mom was sick all of the time.

In the new house the two upstairs bedrooms were my parent’s and the baby’s.  My basement was in the basement under the baby’s nursery.  In some ways, I liked having a room in the basement.  It was an escape.  In other ways, I hated it.  It was lonely.

The Fall

It was just me and mom at home.  She was taking the laundry to the basement when she stumbled and fell the full flight of stairs.  She was about 7 or 8 months pregnant.  I was never so scared in my life.  Mom was crying because she was afraid she was going to lose the baby, and I was crying afraid I was going to lose my mom.

Home More

My brother was born, and in spite of my parent’s hopes for a girl, whom they planned to name Stephanie, it was a boy.  And, my lobbying paid off.  They named him Mark, just like Ricky’s little brother.

The new house kept dad home more.  When he was home, he was mostly working on the house.  Otherwise, he’d head off to the school where he taught.  (He was a teacher at Highlands High School when it first opened, and worked the year prior to its opening on helping get it ready.)

In the mornings, dad would be gone before I got up.  Mom would kiss me and Mark goodbye and leave us in the hands of Mrs. Hansen.  She was an old lady who smelled of coffee and cigarettes.  While she never did anything to me, she always scared me.  She wasn’t a pleasant lady.  She’d feed me breakfast, and send me out the door to school.

Because my mom taught at my school, I wouldn’t see her at school.  She got home before I did, and so I’d walk home from school where she was always there after school tending to Mark.

Summers

Summers would come, and dad would take off to Moscow, Idaho, where he was working on his PhD in entomology.   During the sumers Mark and I spent about 80% of our time at Grandma’s.  Actually, I probably spent more like 90-95% of the time there.  I recall many times when mom would take Mark and go home, and I’d stay with Grandma and Grandpa.

And, prior to my starting school, I spent about 90-95% of my time at my grandparents’ house.  To me, it was a safe place where I loved to be.

Once summer, before Mark was born, I was sneaking matches out of the house and trying to lite them.  My dad’s dad, my Grandpa Walton, came to Pocatello once.  My dad took me to meet him, and they got in an argument.  While they argued, my grandpa’s gambling buddy taught me how to lite a paper match.  This led to me “practicing” and catching a shed on fire.

I thought I was going to jail for sure.  The police gave me a good talking, but my biggest fear was when dad came home from Moscow, Idaho, that I was going to get beat to a bloody pulp.

Church in Pocatello

Weekends at Grandma’s house meant going to church with her in the Pocatello 1st Ward.  It was full of people with white (and blue) hair.  They all knew my grandparents.  There weren’t many children in their ward.

When we lived near the university, we attended church in the new Institute Building.  I only remember going to church a couple of times there.  It was always stake conference.  I don’t ever remember attending primary there, or at grandma’s.

Living on Teal Avenue, we attended church down the road on the corner of Hawthorne Road and Quinn Road.  I remember going to Primary there.  Mom was called as the Primary chorister.  The things I remember about that time were these three incidents…

  • Trying to figure out with the rest of the boys how to get up to the widows walk around the top of the steeple.   It was a place I wanted to go.  As a result, we would open doors and look for passageways that might lead us to the top.
  • Getting caught in the middle of a snowball fight and getting hit by a rock packed in a snowball.  I went running in to the primary room crying.  My mom about passed out when she saw me heading towards her with a bloody face.
  • Deciding to fake being sick and having one of the girls at church bring me homemade chocolate chip cookies because she heard I was sick.  Wow, did I feel guilty.  I never faked sick after that, and I have always cherished the thought of this girl’s act of kindness and concern.

Visits to Highlands

I think mom was overwhelmed working and taking care of two boys.  So, on weekends, she started to insist dad take me to school with him.  (While there wasn’t school on weekends, my dad spent most of his weekends at the school “prepping” for the upcoming week.)

While there I’d play with the big bull snake, the lab rats, look through microscopes, and books.  Dad was usually down the hall talking to a particular home ec teacher, or in the teacher’s lounge talking to a fellow teacher.

I recall one day wrapping the bull snake around my neck, and going off to search for my dad.  When I found him in the home ec room, the lady teacher about screamed when she saw the snake around my neck.

Learning to Ride

Dad bought me an oversized girl’s bike.  His thinking was it would be easier for me to learn and I could grow in to it because it didn’t have a top-tube.

I hated that bike.

I learned to ride it, but not after a serious accident where I seriously injured myself.

After that, I was very insistent I get a new BOYS bike.  I was told if I could buy it, I could have it.  I started saving my money.

The bike was $42.  I remember that.  About the time I had earned $21 my dad broke down and took me to get the bike.  I was in tears.  I cried that I didn’t have the money and I wasn’t in the mood to look at the bike of my dreams when I got there because I knew I didn’t have the full amount.  It was a Schwinn Typhoon in Flamboyant Red with 26″ wheels.

It wasn’t until after going through all that agony my dad told me he was going to pay half the amount.  I was so happy I told my parent I was going to ride my bike home.  My mom wasn’t having anything to do with my riding my bike home along US Highway 30.  Finally, they agreed but they were going to follow me in the car.

I made it home without any problems.  From then on, it was me and my bike.

Enough for Today

Well, that’s enough for today.

Horse Sense

Horse Sense

Grandpa Knowles called it “horse sense”.  If anyone knew horses, he did.  He spent a portion of his young adulthood catching and breaking wild horses, and then donating them to the Rough Riders.  (His mom forbad him to go off with Teddy to fight in the Spanish American War, so this was his service to his country.)  To do that, you come to know what horse sense means.

Horse Sense

Grandpa Knowles as I Remember Him

I spent my first 10 years close to my grandfather’s side.  We’d go on walks together.  He’d tell me stories and sing me songs while bouncing me on his knee.  And, when I would do something unwise he’d say, “Brent, use your horse sense.”  Over time I came to know that expression as another way to follow your conscience and listen to those warning voices.

He was a wise man, and not someone to be trifled with.  He was well versed in politics (a stanch Republican), the scriptures (many of which were memorized), gardening and butchering (not to forget his career with the railroad too.)

Skipping Ahead 50 Years

If Grandpa were alive today he’d be disgusted with politics in general.  Uncategorically, I think I am safe to say, he’d be disgusted with the politics of every president since Ike (with the exception of Reagan, perhaps)… until now.  The same can be said about many of the presidential candidates over the past 50 years.  Grandpa, undoubtedly, would not support them.

I wasn’t for Donald Trump.  I didn’t vote for him, and in fact, tried to persuade friends to vote for someone else.  While I am impressed with Trump’s business prowess, too many people I trusted and believed led me down a path where I began to distrust Donald Trump.

Acceptance

I accept the election results.  Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.  I am glad we didn’t end up with Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson, John Kasich, or heaven forbid, Hillary Clinton.  Like with Barack Obama, I said, ‘Let’s see what he does.’

Tweets vs Speeches

Donald Trump’s Tweets have brought much controversy.  I told my dad it is as though President Trump has a mild case of Turrett’s Syndrom when it comes to his Tweets.  It is also difficult to tell the tone of a Tweet.  Face to face, one can read someone’s expressions.  You cannot do that with a Tweet.  For that reason, I take Tweets with a large grain of salt.

Making it a habit to listen to presidential speeches, I see the Donald Trump I studied years ago.  The man is brilliant.  Anyone who says he isn’t, is either being ignorant or malicious.  His speeches I’ve listened to have proven his brilliance, as well as his courage.

Example of Courage and Brilliance

Today our president is in Utah.  He gave a speech announcing the return of Federal land to the State of Utah.  His justification – Federal Overreach.  Horse sense.  Absolute horse sense.

He then has the courage to declare that we will recognize Jerusalem the capital of Jerusalem.   “This is nothing less than a recognition of reality,” he said.  Horse sense.  Absolute horse sense.

I don’t recall hearing any of his presidential speeches where he hasn’t been talking horse sense.

The Trolls

Bring out the trolls.  I’m watching the Internet as he’s giving his speech.  Inflammatory remarks like, “Thanks for starting World War III,” were being posted.  But, the one I got the biggest chuckle out of was, “What gives him the right to move Israel’s capital?”

If he said the sky was blue, there would be trolls to counteract his statement.

Myself

For myself, Trump has impressed me every step of his presidency.  Putting aside the subjectiveness of the Tweets, he obviously loves God, our country and family.

Dinner

Because my wife is having surgery on my birthday, we celebrated today by going to Longhorn.  Our favorite waitress was there.  As she saw us she said, “HI!  I was just thinking the other day it is about time I see you.”

That made us feel very welcomed.  She treated us very well and it was a wonderful birthday dinner.

San Jose

San Jose

My Aunt Vicky lived in San Jose.  My daughter Rebecca served her mission in San Jose, and our daughter Tobreth and her family live in San Jose.  Today was our day to visit San Jose.

I showed my tablet and Corel Painter to the granddaughters and the younger two got pretty excited.  They spent hours drawing on the tablet.

Elizabethe also had them doing a craft project she brought with her.

copyright 2017 db walton

Elizabethe and Granddaughters Doing Crafts

The Park

Then, the younger two wanted me to go to the park with them.  We walked to the neighborhood park where they proceeded to play on the swings and playground equipment.

It’s music to my ears to hear them yell, “Grandpa, come here and look. … Grandpa, look what I can do.”

We had fun at the park.

After returning to their house, a bunch of people began to show up for “game night”.

One young man came in, and later Elizabethe came out from the other room and said, “Look who it is!”

I didn’t recognize them, but it was her son Lane.

copyright 2017 db walton

Lane and Elizabethe

As the evening progressed, my allergies started to flare up.  (They have a cat.)  When it got difficult to breath, we headed back to the ranch.

Studio LED Lights

Studio LED Lights

The other day, Spencer helped me rewire and install new studio LED lights in my studio.  He did the ladder work, and I did the minutia sitting at the table.

Today, I walked out there, and turned them on just to bask in the light.  I’m very pleased with out they turned out.  It is all made from parts bought in the electrical department a Lowe’s.  Each light strip has 4 sockets with pull-chains and a 3-prong outlet.  I can actually get the wiring OFF the floor in the studio and suspend the power cords from the ceiling.

copyright 2015 db walton

House Lighting in the Studio

(Please note:  While my studio fully endorses BayPhoto (the bags in the picture), we do not endorse or recommend SmugMug.)

Haha… in the photo you can see the soon-to-be-replaced florescent fixture.

My grandson came out in the studio and I showed him what his dad and I accomplished.  He looked at the old lights and said, “But, Grandpa, those old lights are cool.”

“Fine, you can have them… if your parents say it is okay,”  I said in response.

The new lights are brighter and make the place look so much better.  Plus, the old ones hung down so much I was always hitting them and that worried me I would break one of those 48″ florescent tubes.

While the 2nd fixture is up, it still needs to be wired in to the sockets.  In the mean time, the next time Spencer gets some time we’ll at least pull the old fixture down.  And, in spite of my offer, I think they are going to end up at ALPCO Recycling.