• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, December 2, 2011


I loved my mother-in-law.
I had great respect for her.
Katherine May Shelton Ames
Today would have been her 91st birthday.
She passed away 1 January 1990.
We miss her often.

Katherine May Shelton

Thanksgiving finished and Christmas coming marks the start of December. Her birthday marked the month's beginning even more.  Summer is past, Fall leaves are on the ground and harvest completed as Winter arrives, but the wonder and beauty of the earth and all of creation never ends. Her awareness of that beauty and love of God's creatures and creations stands significantly as part of my remembrances of her.

My husband accepted another invitation to share memories. I post his e-mail here for all that loved her or may want to know more about her.  He is a great story teller - enjoy!

"One night, on top of the world’s largest flat top mountain [Grand Mesa, Colorado], with 21 Cub Scouts watching a meteor shower instead of sleeping, my mother expounded the constellations of the heavens.  I’m not sure we slept at all that night but I have never seen so many falling stars in one night since.

"They say you’re supposed to make a wish when you see a falling star.  For each one of those stars I want to wish my mother a happy birthday.

"Since you may not have known my mother as I did I will introduce her to you.  She had very many very useful skills.  She could pack.  Often when we were hunting mom stayed in camp with the younger children.  Of course camp was where-ever she was.  On one occasion we were driving around and found an old pot bellied stove.  Mom decided to take it home and put all of us to work unloading the van and reloading it with the stove inside.  Pot bellied stoves are not small and are very hard to hide but when we were through the stove was in the van and no one could even tell it was there.

"There was a place where we went hunting every year.  Somehow it seemed that no one else ever went there.  One year we used pine needles to form the foundation of an imaginary house.  It was complete with a bedroom for everyone.  There was a kitchen and living room.  I believe we even had a guest room.  Every year we would go back and add more pine needles to the walls of our house.  When we weren't building the house we would make mom crowns and jewelry from pine needles and wild flowers.  (The green pine needles grow in bunches of 3.  By removing two needles the third can be bent around and slipped back into the sleeve which holds them all together making a link for a chain.  When the chain is made flowers are slipped into the links making a crown.)

"In the forest there were always trees that had died.  They were easy to find because the top half would be broken off and there would be no living green.  Whenever we found one of these mom would stop driving and let us out to push the tree over.   She taught us to keep our “eyes peeled” when we were in the forest and commented on how much was missed by those who sped through the forest without glancing at a tree.

"Another useful talent she had was sewing.  When I was a teenage boy she made me a purple denim suit and a shirt with tiny purple flowers.  The shirt glowed under blacklight.  It was cool.  Then she made me a bronze pin striped suit with bell bottomed pants, a vest with magic pockets (I could put things in the outside pocket and take them out of the inside pocket), a golden shirt and a pink tie.  It was awesome.  Everyone at school wanted one.  In the district seminary I was chosen to be on a panel to answer questions about how to dress – because the adult leaders also thought my suit was awesome.  What they didn't know was that my mom was awesome.

"After I took 5th place in the Utah Amateur Ballroom Dance Competition I went to a church dance and learned that my mom was also a dancer.  In fact she danced as well as my partner and better than anyone else I had ever danced with.

Katherine May Shelton and Wallace Will Ames
26 March 1942 wedding day
"So in memory of my mother’s birthday today – find a star to wish on, push over a [dead] tree, and as the lady says in the song 'get up and dance'.”