Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday, Tim?

While in Utah in February at the Home Show, Carol Anne and Tim joined Scott's family, Grandpa Olsen and Edna for a birthday party for Tim. Through Amy's efforts, the family stayed for the week of the home show at a place called World Mart, a condo association for vacation members. Carol Anne brought Tim and cake and we celebrated his 52nd birthday, not his 25th birthday. He's such a funny guy!
Amy and Carol Anne enjoy Lyndsay's new baby girl.
Chris, Carson, Judy, Mark and Dora enjoyed the evening's festivities. (Although, they looked pretty wiped from the days festivities.)

Gracie and Riley and Ryan enjoy the anticipation of delicious chocolate cake.
Ryan, Shelly, Judy, Scott and Jon seem contented after a good dinner and delicious cake. So much of the home show is walking and climbing stairs and riding around the entire valley of St. George, Ivans, Bloomington and Washington. It's a big area to cover, but they're undaunted.
We already in the planning stages of next years home show parade in St. George. If you want to get away from the winter's cold and snow, make plans to come to St. George and enjoy the warmth and spectacular homes. A good time is usually had by all.

Family Trip to St. George

Once a year some of the Olsen family make a pilgrimage to St. George to scope out the very expensive homes on the annual home show tour. February 2009 was no exception. Reed and Jeannie, Dale and Sharon, Scott and Judy and some of their children make this a special event. Jon and Shelley, Lyndsay, Ryan and their kids, Mark and Dora and their kids, Amy and Matt and their kids, Mandy and Jim and their kids, Chris and Stacy and Carson.

Tim and Carol joined them this year and spent time visiting with Grandpa Olsen and Edna.The weather in St. George was ideal for the home show. On occasion there was overcast clouds, but unfortunately, no rain. Once again the houses chosen for the tour inspired jealousy and envy. Swimming pools, home movie theaters, magnificent furnishings, elaborate kitchens and pots. Yes, that's right pots!A lady stopped and blocked traffic while entering a house in Sand Hallow. She moved back and forth and spied closely the above pot as if it were a rare treasure and a very unusual find. Carol studied the pot and could find no tell tale signs of antiquity or rarity. However, this woman's unusual behavior was intriguing. So Carol did a study of pots. Here's a few of these fascinating pots:

There were lots of favorites during the tour. Homes with more square feet than sense, houses with unnecessary rooms and irrational use of space. One house had a basement that looked more like a sports complex: basketball court, climbing wall, handball court, weight room, and gold putting green. Who needs all that? Yikes!

Carol Anne had favorites. Bathrooms seemed to be one her list: Isn't that something? Neat huh?
Swimming pools were also a source of great fascination and admiration. This is really special. This house butts up against Snow Canyon and Tuachan's area. Spectacular:
Any's favorite was a house in Bloomington that featured a private pedicure foot bath. No expense was spared: I think we should all run out and have a foot bath installed in your homes. It's what the rich, discerning individual would have.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Death--The Final Frontier!

No, it's not a bad thing to think about death. I was just thinking the other day and wondering exactly what mom might be up to right now. As I said in a previous post she loved her extended family, and believe me, she had an extended family. Her dad was one of eighteen children. That's right, EIGHTEEN. (It took two wives to produce all those kids, but it's a fact!)

The first major funeral I attended that of my grandfather Edward Price Oldham.I was one year old. The picture at the heading of this blog is our family in 1956 at Grandpa's funeral. If I could recall that time, it was probably the first and last time I ever saw Max's wife, Kay and her oldest children. Funerals are a time when families gather--probably the only time in some cases.

It was said that grandpa had about one thousand first and second cousins. I don't doubt that for a moment. So you see, mom is probably having the time of her "death" enjoying the family once more. They were a tight knit group, one that was highly interested in each other and in the comings and goings of each.

The next funeral that I remember with a lot of pain, is Grandma Annie Obray Oldham's funeral in 1968. I was thirteen. She'd had a stroke and spent the remainder of her days slipping away because she loved life too much to remain inactive. I loved my Grandma Oldham veraciously.

Dad's mother, Geneva Lund Olsen, died in 1972.She had suffered from what they lovingly referred to as "hardening of the arteries". We might call it something all together different these days. But she passed peacefully away on her couch. She was a marvelous lady and a great cook. I gotta tell you that was the last time I've seen some of those cousins pictured on the left. Like I said before, funerals bring families together.

Traditionally in Utah, the fourth Monday in May was referred to as "Decoration Day". It was set aside to honor those dearly departed with flowers--real or plastic. We never missed a decoration day even after moving to California. Our first stop was Mantua, Utah where dad grew up.The next stop was Paradise where mom was raised.
For the life of me I don't recall going to Grandpa Abner Scott Olsen's funeral and that's just tragic. But lastly I shall never forget my own mother's funeral. It took place on Christmas Eve 2005. Isn't that a wonderful day to hold a funeral? Not! What can I say. It was my mother who died. Sometimes in your mind you think they'll live forever and always be there for you. Her impending death wasn't suspected, however she was ninety years old and had been sick and needed a lot of care, but she was mentally as sharp as a tack and just as prickly. In fact I was ticked at her the very day she passed away because I selfishly wanted her to come to California and spend Christmas with my family. She died that night. Boy! Try to get over that heartache quickly. But being with my not-too-serious family helped immensely. We had a celebration instead of a wake, although it was sad and buckets and buckets of tears were shed; we partied. She wouldn't have wanted anything other than a big Olsen family party.

Which brings me back to my thought. Death! Is it something to be feared or welcomed? Someone in their testimony today said how wonderful a plan it is of the Lord's to provide for a passing from this mortal existence when this mortal body is incapable of living past a certain age or physical ability. To some it is a blessed release. Others think it is a terrible shame that some people are taken much too early. Yet who are we to say they really were too young or taken too soon? We just don't know the plan of our Heavenly Father and we certainly don't know what their mission in life or in death was. For an excellent discourse on death, the ramifications and the blessings see Tim's blog. This is part of a talk he has given at many funeral services.

Death--such a pleasant New Year's topic, don't you think? 'Cause we never know what the new year will bring. Are you ready?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Helen Oldham Olsen

Dale called me this morning but I missed his call since I was in church. He wanted to talk about motherwho passed away three years ago yesterday. Sometimes I get so busy with my life, working a good chuck of the time, and filling the rest of my days with writing, so at times I forget to remember mom. I had to stop and think about her yesterday because a man who commented on Tim's blog wanted to talk to him. Before Tim talks to people he likes to check them out to make sure they're not kooks. He found this guy's ancestral blog wherein he mentioned having some relatives from Paradise, Utah. I was intrigued because his ancestor's last name was Bishop. My great-great grandmother was a Bishop. I went through my PAF program and found his great great grandfather. They were brother and sister. Small world, isn't it?

Anyway, I was thinking that mom would probably know this man. It seemed like she knew everyone that lived in or around Paradise and their children and children's children.She was just that linked in to the community of people there. There was a lot of intermarrying between groups that came from England and settled in Paradise. Anyway, that started me thinking about mom. There wasn't anything that I liked better than to sit in the dining room of the old Paradise home and listen to the stories of ancestors. Mom and Grandma Oldham knew everybody in Paradise and was probably related to about 80% of them. There was always an Uncle Ez or Aunt James or Cousin Lydia that would come around and talk for hours. I just wish I would have been smart enough to write down some of those conversations. Gosh, I miss mom if for no other reason than she knew so much.

After talking with Dale and commiserating about missing our mother, I hung up the phone and cried for quite a while. Sometimes I feel like I'm not being loyal and feel guilty because I don't think about her enough or mourn for her enough. But isn't that the beauty of the gospel? We don't have to sit around in sorrow and anguish because we know where our beloved has gone to and we know that with any luck and a lot of hard work, we'll see them again.

So at this time of Christmas when we remember mom and the Savior and that He was resurrected and made it possible for ALL of us to have that same privilege, let us remember mom, even though her body may rest in the groundshe will once again walk upon the earth, hug each of her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren that she didn't have the privilege of meeting while she was here on earth. Isn't that the true meaning of Christmas--the blessings of immortality and eternal life? The blessings of being forgiven, renewed and cleansed from sin? Isn't that the beauty of the gospel? It is, my dear family. I loved my mother very much. She taught me the gospel and expected all of us to live it. Her legacy to us was her capacity to love and her testimony of the truth. When I remember mother, I don't want to sit around and weep and wail, I want to get up and work. I want her to be proud and pleased with my behavior and the things that I accomplish. There is no greater tribute to a mother than to have faithful, righteous children and grandchildren.

Merry Christmas to the Olsen's!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Labor Day Pilgrimage!

The Olsen clan has taken camping trips on Labor Day weekend for many, many years. 2008 was no exception. For those of us in the family that couldn't attend, we missed out. We missed the bugs, the animals, the blackened camp food, the incessant smoke, the freezing temperatures at night and the fun-ending torrential downpour. But we also missed the camaraderie, the family craziness, the laughter, the Rummy, (the cheating), and the family bond that's strengthened from just being together in a shared experience.

This year, as in year's passed the group at large decided on Strawberry Dam in Eastern Utah.(It's on the map under Soldier Creek.)According to my niece, Amy Pretl, they camped on Current Creek a few miles away from the actual dam and lake. For the most part, a good time was had by all. However, the last two days they were drenched by a rain storm. Too bad, sorry I missed it. (Not!)

Here's some pictures of their activities:

One thing the Olsen's do well is talk--and I'm sure they had a lot of time to do just that. Looks like everyone's having a great time.We're always eager to pass the love of camping onto the next generation. Babies are included.We're not always sure what kids pick up to eat. We just hope it isn't bugs or animal left overs or ashes from the fire. Carter simply looks like he's having fun, regardless of what he just ate.
One of the main disadvantages of Strawberry dam is the bears. Look out Judy, you've got an old grizzly behind you! Quick Judy, get the Raid!Reed's been attacked by a vicious animal, luckily he was able to subdue it before anyone else was harmed. (That's just Maggy! She wouldn't hurt anybody.)Old traditions are passed along to the new generation. Looks like Grandpa Olsen's rummy's still going strong. Where's Dale? Is he cheating?Did somebody mention smoke? You could always use it to send signals all the way to California if you're lucky.Anyone ever see "Passage to Zarahemla". Too cute! Gotta love those children. They're the ones that remember these camping trips the most.Nobody could be happier that when surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, even if he can't remember their names. That's what we have computers for. Right?

Must have been a blast--right up the part when the rain fell. However, I doubt the Olsen Family Camping Spirit was dampened even if the weather was nasty. That's just gives us something to talk about at the next family camp out, like the folding chair incident and the rubber raft incident and the hurricane incident, and, many more that I can't name.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Celebrating 90 years of life!

On October 25, 2008, the Paul Olsen clan celebrated Paul's 90 years of life. It was a great party for Paul surrounded by his loving HUGE family. All of his five children, (Pictured at the top of the blog as youngsters), were in attendance. (Just one apology up front. My pictures did not turn out even with a digital camera. They looked like I took them under water. So thanks to Hillary King, my beloved niece, the following pictures are what we have of the event. It my family has more pictures, please advise.)

The Head of the Paul Olsen Clan:
Paul Olsen and his wife, Edna

Paul Olsen's children: David, Reed, Paul(father), Dale, Carol Anne & Scott
Twenty of his thirty four grandchildren were there and numbers concourses of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren were there. As well as dear friends and close relatives. We enjoyed browsing the numerous photos of family, looking at picture books, and reminiscing. We ate a delicious meal of baked potatoes and a varying variety of homemade salads. Laura, Joe's wife made a fantastic cake. With pictures of Paul's life actually made in frosting as the decoration. Isn't it remarkable. Congratulations to Laura, great job!
Scott and Judy Olsen's Family
Scott & Judy (Paul's oldest son and his wife, the former Judy Jorgenson)
Allen and DiAnne, (Scott's third son [twin] and his wife the former DiAnne Ranjael)
Mark and Dora, (Scott's fourth son [twin] and his wife Dora Ranjael) Joe and Laura Olsen & family (Scott's son Joe and his wife, the former Laura Findlay) Chris & Stacy Olsen (Scott's son Chris and the former Stacy Hanson) Amy and Matt Pretl (Scott's daughter Amy)Mandy and Jim Landon (Scott's daughter Mandy)

Reed & Jeannie Olsen's family

Reed & Jeannie, 5 children, spouses and grandchildren
Dale & Sharon Olsen and Megan
David & Shari Olsen's family:
Sharon & Shay Stott & family (David's daughter)
Sarah & Jeff Brighton & Family (David's daughter)Rebecca Olsen (David's daughter)Paul and Jennifer Olsen & family (David's son)Jeremiah Olsen (David's son)

(Saving the best for last) Carol & Tim Malone (Paul's only daughter)
Of course there were some family members that couldn't be there and some who are camera shy or were among the blurry photos. But when we consider the day as a whole, I'm sure the rest of my family would agree with me--family is precious. Being with family a joy, and belonging to such a large, multi-generational family a blessing from God.