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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Millard County Chronicles

I've had a week to ruminate over the experience Cami and I had last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Delta and Hinckley.

We had an enjoyable trip down to Millard County with Cami entertaining me the whole way. That girl has her Dad's sense of humor and makes me laugh so hard which scares her when I'm driving, which makes me laugh harder.

We arrived in Delta about 10:30 p.m. and I thought we'd have no problem finding a hotel room, boy was I in for a shock. We stopped by the two 'nicer' hotels in town and found no vacancies. We were told at the Day's Inn that there were some "local" places on the main drag. We pulled into the parking lot of the Rancher and both Cami and I shouted out loud, "No Way!" It was frightening! We drove to the Deltan and even though it was only slightly less scary, decided we didn't have much choice and checked in. The first thing we noticed when we unlocked our door with an old key (not a card), was the room was buzzing with flies. Cami became the mighty huntress armed with a magazine and a hatred for flying bugs. She was squishing flies on walls and furniture while I tried to figure out if the beds had bugs too. It was not the best night's rest we've ever had, but we were able to get up and out of there quickly in the morning.

Friday, July 24th we were driving to Hinckley munching on Pop Tarts excited for the events of the day. We found a great parade-viewing spot near the end of the route on Main Street and pulled the Jeep in and opened up the back where we sat on a blanket to view the spectacle. The Hinckley parade is known for many horses and loads of candy. We were pelted with more salt water taffy than you can imagine. Cami wouldn't even get out of the Jeep except for Laffy Taffy. When we left, I noticed that there were piles of Tootsie Rolls and other candies where the Jeep had been parked.

We spent a couple of hours visiting with people at the park and walking around town reminiscing about being a child in this town. How is it that everything seems so much closer together and smaller than I remember? I always thought the walk from my house to my friend, Julie's house was miles, yet Cami and I made the walk in about 10 minutes and we dawdled. The house I grew up always seemed so far back from the road and so large. Could this tiny little place sitting right next to the road be the same one? Our house used to be the only home on the road, now there are four others on the same side of the street AND the road is paved. It was a gravel road forever. I wonder when that happened?

The saddest part of the day was walking past Hinckley Elementary School. My happiest childhood memories took place within the walls of that building and now it is just falling down. I cried a few tears as we stood looking at it, which embarrassed Cami, but she indulged me and even took a couple of photos for me. This once magnificent building was the home of the Millard Academy and has a rich history. It was declared a historical site so it cannot be torn down, but time is doing it anyway. (Notice the 'For Sale' sign) When we got home, I told Rob that I'd like to buy it and renovate it and he promised if he wins the lottery, he'll purchase it for me and go to work.

Cami and I went back to Delta with hopes of finding a room in a nicer motel for the night. We stopped by Day's Inn and were able to reserve one of the two remaining rooms for that evening. Feeling assured of a better night's rest, we were able to enjoy our afternoon of walking around town and even doing a little shopping. The warped floors of the old 'D' Stevens store and my stories about things I remembered buying and other events in these places kept Cami entertained. She even found a skirt she liked so we bought it as a reminder of our shopping excursion in Delta.

We drove out to the Gunnison Bend Reservoir and I was able to show my daughter where I learned to water ski in the summer and ice skate in the winter. Many memories and stories were found out there on the sand as we stood watching the waves.

Back in Hinckley that evening we enjoyed a full rodeo complete with pre-rodeo events like Junior Barrel Racing and Mutton Bustin'. Cami wore her cowboy hat so she would fit in with the locals and we enjoyed a rodeo burger and soda for dinner. The hamburgers tasted the very same as they did 40 years ago when I first started attending that rodeo every 24th of July. We were able to visit with more old friends and acquaintances as we thrilled at bucking broncs and bull riders. I'm very happy to report that the Hinckley Lions Club has completely replaced all of the old wooden stands with new aluminum ones and that every seat was filled that night. It was quite the show.

We were happy to drive past the Deltan on our way back through town and check in to our much nicer and fly-free room. We rested well that night and had an uneventful drive back home. Of course we had to return the 'Eureka way' so I could show Cami the house that caved into the mine shaft (one of the most thrilling memories of my young life!)

Cami has decided that the 24th of July in Hinckley will be a new family tradition and she said she'll even let Rob come next year.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Me with baby brother, Mark on the sheltlan pony, Twighlight in the back yard in Hinckley.
Bird-leg me with the family mutt, Rex, in front of our adobe brick home in Hinckley.

Very few people I meet have ever heard of the town where I spent my growing up years...Hinckley, Utah is in Millard County somewhere near the N-S middle of the state and on the western boarder, in fact the next town you come to heading west after Hinckley is Ely, Nevada.

Hinckley really was a nice place to grow up and it has certainly shaped who I am in more ways that I'd like to admit. It is such a remote and isolated community, it always seems like time stood still in the 30's or maybe the 40's and never quite entered the modern age. The fact that I haven't been back to Hinckley in 10 years probably adds to the sense of 'frozen-in-timeness' I feel about about the place.

So...this next week I'm going back! Cami has been begging for me to take her to my ol' hometown and the 24th of July (Pioneer Day) is the perfect time to visit Hinckley. Just the two of us are going to head down the highway of long-ago memories and open up the floodgates of remembrances.

I will blog about the experience when we return next weekend, so watch this space to see if we survived the trip, escaped the land of 'lost-in-time' and are able to talk (write) about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Check out this Web Site:

For a fun little diversion, check out and take a look at Dani's and Kelly's wedding photos shot by Rebecca White of Star Valley Portraits.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aluminum Tumblers and Random Childhood Memories

The honeysuckle episode a couple of weeks ago has led me down the path of many childhood memories. Lately, I've had a great number of remembrances of the time my mother was hospitalized when I was six years old. My little brother, Jim, would have been three that summer and the two of us endured those months with only one another to rely on during lonely days and sad nights of missing Mom.

One of the families our Dad left us with for a few weeks was the Taylors. There was the old farmer, who used two canes to walk; his wife, with the funny, old-lady name I can't remember; and their 30-something son who had been blinded in one eye as a teenager. The story around Hinckley was that years before another teenage boy had put acid in a snowball and thrown it and hit this guy in the face. If that story wasn't enough to freak out a couple of little kids, seeing his poor scarred face up close was. Anyway, the Taylors were good enough to allow a couple of little snot-nosed, cry-baby kids to stay at their home during the day while their Dad went to work and their Mom was in the hospital fighting for her life.

Mrs. Taylor would make us sandwiches for lunch each day. She used crumbly, homemade wheat bread which wasn't anything like Mom made. The Taylors didn't have any toys at their house since their youngest child was an adult. Mrs. Taylor was anti-sugar, anti-white bread, and anti-noise. The Taylors didn't even own a television set. Needless to say, those few weeks were less than thrilling for Jim and me. Jim showed his displeasure at being there by running away at least once a day. A three-year-old on the run was big sister's responsibility so I would have to track him down. He was usually hiding in a haystack or old shed somewhere between the Taylor's house on Main Street and our place.

One day as we ate our crumbly sandwiches, Mrs. Taylor decided to treat us to some Kool Aid. We thought that sounded tasty on a hot afternoon. Mrs. Taylor chose the silver-aluminum tumblers for our drinks. (Does anyone who lived in the 50's & 60's remember those aluminum tumblers? They made everything taste awful and are most likely the cause of Alzheimer's Disease in that generation. For some reason they are a hot retro item now...go figure?) Mrs. Taylor filled two of those tall, metal tumblers to the top with orange Kool Aid. We each took a big, thirsty gulp only to be shocked into nearly spewing it all over the formica table. Mrs. Taylor hadn't added the cup of sugar to the water and little packet of orange powder. It was nearly the nastiest-tasting stuff I'd ever had in my mouth (second only to sage juice--and that's another memory for another time), but our parents had insisted we be gracious and say 'thank you' and eat/drink all we were given so as not to be wasteful, so I dutifully and miserably swallowed every drop of sour Kool Aid. I was never so relieved to see the bottom of one of those ugly cups. Just as I coaxed Jim into finishing his drink, Mrs. Taylor walked back into the kitchen and refilled our tall tumblers with more of the yucky stuff. Without even a pause for breath, Jim burst into tears, jumped from his stool, ran out the door and down the road...again.