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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Do you remember climbing the big hill at my mom and dad's house and picking flowers?

You were small enough to ride on Papa-pa's shoulders. Your loved to wear his hat. (He has to wear it so that his head does not get a sunburn ... this year you have so much hair it would be impossible for your head to get a sunburn. You were 5 years old back then. Does that seem like a long time ago?

This year we are having another reunion. You can climb the hill again. It will not seem quite as big as it did when you were little. It has stayed the same size but you are twice as big as you were then. I think we love you twice as much. In 5 more years you will be 15. Will you be twice as tall as you are now? Will you be twice as kind? Being twice as kind would make you twice as smart too! I don't know, however,  how I could love you twice as much as now.

We are excited to see you all at the reunion. AND we hope you have a very Happy Birthday!!

Love Grandma and Papa-pa

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Journal Junction in June suggests writing about my father.
See the Friend magazine June 2012

One of the first things that comes to mind is Dad singing, "I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences, gaze at the moon until I lose my senses, ..." We did a lot of riding at the Community Pasture where he managed the cattle, horses and 7 sections of grasslands from May to October each year. A picture gallery, on the web, from the nearby McIntyre Ranch showcases the scenery, and creatures of the land and sky that we saw and heard regularly.

Dad usually took a bunch of kids with him. We often stayed at the two room 'shack' near the main gate for several days at a time. There was a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen, no electricity, an outdoor privy, lots of corrals nearby and the only 'running' water was from a spring a mile or two away. There was a well and if you primed it, usually with water you got by jumping on a horse and riding down to the spring, you could pump out some usable water - eventually.

Basic staple food supplies were brought with us, usually some canned non perishable goods and pancake mix (supplemented by a few berries in season). By the time I was 8ish I knew how to lay and light a fire in the stove and how to adjust the dampers and bank the coals and even how to 'flip flapjacks' baked directly on the round lids of the firebox. One of the few times I remember getting in trouble was when several of us opened and ate most of the cans of fruit, and ALL of the cans of pork and beans - in one sitting. He had ridden out to check on a cow just before we left for the day and had taken longer than planned.

One of my most treasured feelings is the tranquility and peace I felt, no where else ever so greatly as when seated on one of those 'ridges' in the warm sun cooled by an occasional breeze or while astraddle a horse, headed 'to the ridge' where expanses of changeable sky and rolling hills formed a distant horizon. It was a great emptiness free of all other considerations and concerns.

We rode all day, most days, dawn to dusk - sometimes alone, sometimes in groups that dissolved and reformed casually. We all knew our way 'home' to the shack and main gate and if we didn't our horse did. We rode to see the land, grass, water, stock, wildlife, and fences.

That song is titled, 'Don't Fence Me In'. It is an old cowboy song that may epitomize many things about dad. He was a cowboy at heart. He said once that rather than walk a block he would catch a horse. He did many other jobs to support the family but he loved horses and cattle.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don't fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don't fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evening breeze
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don't fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the Western skies
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
Gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
Can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in

 He often sang in snatches and phrases. The lyrics and melodies from the last refrain were voiced or hummed often enough that they pop to mind whenever I stand on an expanse of prairie. I seldom saw him hobble a horse. He said a good horse would come when called and a hobbled horse couldn't protect itself or be useful in a hurry. Besides a 'good' horse would not run away when dismounted and didn't need hobbles. If reins were dropped good horses stood still. He rode and trained many horses for many people.

Once of my earliest memories is being scooped up under my arm and swung onto the saddle in front of my father. My head was at about the same level as his boot in the stirrup. We learned to adjust stirrups and girths, bridles and saddles as soon as we were tall enough to reach them.

Dad knew fences. One of his responsibilities was to ensure Pasture fences were in good repair. Stock management depended on it: horses in the horse pasture, bulls in the bull pasture (about the only place we were NOT allowed to ride - ever), cows and calves in the calf pastures and steers most everywhere else. And stock had to be moved to protect the range or if water was scarce. Cows with calves needed almost twice the water of other stock. We also placed salt blocks at the licks. Salt encourages the cattle to consume a variety of native grasses and is fortified with specific nutrients.

Fences kept order, and were kept in good order. We always kept a few multipurpose tools with us and fixed minor problems as we rode. Some days were devoted exclusively to fencing. Dad could drive a pickup load of posts and wire over the prairie hills to almost anywhere. When the summer sun blazed down we were grateful for the shade of the truck or even the dark line from a post.

We dug post holes into the rocky soil by hand, set the posts solidly plumb by returning and tamping in the gravely soil with all but the biggest rocks, ran the wires a strand at a time on foot between gates, corners or braces, half stapled each wire to the posts (by hand) and then snugged up the slack with a 'stretcher bar' before pounding the staples completely in. It was quite an assembly line when we all worked together.

Dad sang that song and many other songs. He often sang: while he worked, drove the truck, pounded nails, rode a horse, milked a cow, baled hay, fed lambs or piglets or calves, cleaned the barn, carried water and when he was swimming or skating - really just about anytime and anywhere. He was, and is, a hard worker of good cheer and attitudes. He was seldom still for long. There was too much to do and he was busily engaged in getting it done as efficiently as possible.

One of the first songs I ever learned to sing was
                      'Home On the Range'.
             Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light from the glittering stars
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours

Dad had keen eyesight and could read cattle brands from a long ways off. He could discern deer from calves and horses from cows when I could only see specks and blobs. He taught me to look and really see things - it was mostly observation and comparison.

Dad showed us the moon and the stars and shared his love of such things with us. He loved the land and the sky, day or night, winter or summer. He loved most animals and birds, he loved us and he loved God. There were in fact few things he didn't love. And he made sure we knew about the things he loved.

When I see the sweep of foothills and prairie, herds of horse or cattle, and even sometimes the moon and stars at night emotion chokes me. I remember ...

Monday, July 16, 2012


This morning I picked up a children's magazine, 'The Friend', published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We still subscribe even though our own children are adults.

I am often lifted, enlightened and taught how to be a happier and kinder person when I read the Friend.  Today I learned the definition of being 'saved'.  

In a sidebar on page 14, June's magazine states, "Being saved means being resurrected ..." How simple. How profound. How wonderful!! The statement continues, "... and because of the Atonement not having to be punished for our sins." THAT is more than wonderful. It is humbling - and it came from a children's magazine.

A phrase from the Old Testament comes to mind,
'..and a little child shall lead them...'

To where I wondered? to what?
I couldn't remember so I looked it up.

Little children shall lead in peace and holiness.
In kindness and happiness ...

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

I love Isaiah.

We have always existed.
We will continue to exist - always.
We are God's children.
Our existence here is just part of a great whole -
A plan that He has for our happiness.

I have been born.
(My spirit enters a body of the elements of this earth.)

I live.
(Jesus Christ showed me an example of how.
He taught how to be happy, and live with God.
My spirit learns how to use my body.
I can act kindly, as Jesus taught, or not.)

I die.
(My spirit and body are separated.)

I am resurrected.
(The atonement of Jesus Christ gives me Eternal life.
My spirit and body are joined again.
My body lives again, never to die.)

I can be happy.
We all can.

I can have joy.
We all can.

That is God's plan.

How much happiness and joy can we have?
As much as we want.
As much as we choose.

God gave us instructions.
He explained how - in his commandments.
When I choose to obey, I choose more happiness.

Jesus Christ and prophets like Isaiah explain how.
They lived as examples to us.
They talked with God. 
He talked with them.

They tell me that I can talk to God too.
That is called prayer. 
They tell me God will hear me pray.
They tell me he will answer me.
I believe them.

Their words have been written for me to read.
Their words are called scripture.
I love reading scriptures.

I love how I feel when I read scriptures.
I feel happier.
Maybe I should do it every day ...

How much happiness is enough?
How much do we want?
How many ways can I follow the example of Jesus?
Can I obey more commandments?

Am I saved?

Do I follow the example of Christ?

Sunday, July 15, 2012


You have lived one year.

I remember when your dad had his first birthday.
We celebrated - we were so glad he was still alive.
He was VERY sick when he was a baby.

Daddy is the 2 month old baby with siblings and cousins February 1983

Every day he lived was another day of gratitude.
Every day he survived was a day of joy.

It still is.
We love him.
We want him to be well and happy.

Spring 1983 with cousin Faline and Papa

We love you too.
You are too little to read this letter now.
Someday you will be able to read.

You are learning to do many things.
We remember when your father learned how to climb.
There was no stopping him!
He did it over and over and over.

Grandpa would nap while your daddy and his cousin, Faline, practiced climbing
over him – around and around on a typical Sunday afternoon, spring 1983

It is very fun to watch you walk.
And hear you try to talk.
Someday you will know such joy.
Right now you do not understand such things.

We hope you will learn all good things.
We hope you learn every needful thing for happiness.
We hope someday you will understand.
We don't know what you will learn or when.
We want you to know now and always, that we love you.

We hope you bring joy to everyone around you.
We hope you have life and joy.

Daddy and Uncle Clarence with their Grandpa Forsyth
We love to watch you grow and learn.
Love Papa and Grandma Ames

Friday, July 13, 2012


Died:  13 July 1990 Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Buried: 17 July 1990 Hill Spring, Alberta, Canada

Before my maternal grandfather passed away a few circumstances that were a bit unusual occurred. My grandmother had an appointment with a heart specialist. Grandpa, was to all appearances a very healthy 89 year old.  One of my first cousins had driven them to that appointment. Grandpa had a massive heart attack there at the hospital in the waiting room and was quickly attended to and eventually resuscitated.

Grandpa was not expected to live and visitors were limited to his wife and 10 living children. They were permitted to visit with him for a very short minutes each, one or two at a time, for those first few days. He was a man of strong mind and body. He continued to live for several weeks despite minute by minute medical predictions of demise. 

I paraphrase here an interesting story from shortly after he awoke, as I heard it from several sources. It seems that he was ascending a long stairway and at the top of it were his mother and father with their arms reaching out to him. He said that Parley Merlin and Pearl, his deceased brother and sister, were also there and so was Uncle Ted, a brother he was very close to, and many others he knew and loved. I heard several family members say that he kept saying how good Uncle Ted looked, and that he was still wearing 'that same brown suit'. They were all crowding forward in excitement to see him and greet him but he realized the Grandma Elna was not at his side. He wanted her to share that reunion with him but she was not with him. Finally he noticed her at the foot of the stair and motioned repeatedly for her to come and join him. He was very cross with her, and kept asking her why she would not come, because he felt he could not go without her by his side. 

Elna and Bill [William David] Campell

What a wonderful thing to know how deeply he loved and cherished his wife. How wonderful to know loved ones wait there for us with longing and excitement at the prospect of our coming. I think of excitement in our family at the arrival of a new baby. We bring and send gifts and greetings and are delighted to see pictures or hold them in our arms. Our family, that we miss so much now they are gone, surely watch for us to join them there.

During those last few weeks of life his many, many grandchildren were permitted to begin to visit him in ones and twos, oldest to youngest. I am somewhere in the middle. My turn never came and I never felt like I got to say good bye. At his funeral, I lingered at the chapel after the family left the viewing to go next door to Uncle Allen's for supper. Eventually I was alone with him and the potted plants and other flower arrangements. I needed that time there. 

My grandfather was a big man. Years in the timber, and of hard physical labor, made him rugged and strong but he looked slim. He was so tall that you never noticed how broad he was. He filled his coffin end to end and side to side; his white hair touched the top of the casket and his shoulders grazed each side. Someone later told me that a larger custom build casket would have taken weeks to order and been very expensive. I was glad his last moments showed what a big man he was. 

William David Campbell in camp at Westcastle

Grandpa Campbell, to me, was big in every way: he was kind and gentle and soft spoken, except when he threw back his head and laughed. His laugh just boomed out of that man as grand as he was. His sister Elsie told me once that their father laughed the same exact way. 

He had a wonderful sense of humor. As I stood there by his casket, at a loss of how to say good bye, I suddenly heard a sound like water running. Startled I looked around trying to see what I was hearing. It sounded very near. Just then my cousin, Barry, came in. We espied a single stream of yellow water shooting out from the bottom of a potted plant, onto the floor from about waist high. It looked like the plant was relieving itself. We laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was the kind of joke Grandpa might have thrown back his head and laughed about. I felt like we had said good bye but were still connected by the threads of family that can never be broken. 

Funeral Program of William David Campbell
- I came to know because of these things that happened at the time of my grandfather's passing, of the reality of life beyond here and now. I look forward to the day when I leave behind the pains and cares of this world to be greeted by loved ones there. Maybe he will greet me. I can just imagine that: his eyes would light up and a smile would tug the corners of his lips wide. As I think on it I can almost feel his strong arm pulling me close to his side as he sometimes did - and I would need to reach up and up to put my arm around his waist. 

I know, because of Grandpa Campbell, that we do not cease to exist when we meet death and we will live in happiness in that place, 'at the top of the stairway' with those that we love. They wait there for me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


We are so proud that you graduated (not to mention some of your courageous choices and actions). 

We are even more proud of your kindness to your siblings and parents and all of us oldsters. 

You are gorgeous!

Inside and out!!


Love Papa and Grandma FarFarAway

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


 My youngest sister arrived soon after this picture was taken.
This picture was taken not long after I had my 7th birthday. 

I have 6 brothers -
well 7 actually if you count my foster brother.
He came to live at our house when I was 11.
He was 10.

Four brothers are older than me.
The others are younger.

I also have 3 sisters.
They are all younger than I am.

I like having lots of brothers and sisters.
They are my very best friends -
even if we get mad sometimes.
We still love each other.
We still help each other.
We still watch out for our siblings.

Now we are grown up we live far apart.
I miss them a lot.

Giggles! I think my Uncle Duane had trouble getting a nice picture of all of us.
But I like this one. I am almost 10 years old in this picture. 

My brother Tim is one year older than me.
I am 1 year and 3 days younger than he is.
Sometimes we got to celebrate our birthday together.

When we were little he was very sick.
When he got better it was very hard for him to do lots of things.
He had to work harder than everybody else.
Sometimes it took him a long time to do things.
We were in the same grade at school.
He is very special to me. I love him very much.
He is a good example to me.
He is always very kind to others.

I hope you love sharing your birthday with each other.
I hope you are always kind too.
Having a brother to share things with is very nice.

I miss you too.
Love Grandma

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy 4th.

Outside in the neighborhood there are fireworks everywhere. 


If these were denied, could you still be?

David has been searching for a movie, he saw in the past, titled 'The Man Without A Country'. He would like to watch it again. I haven't seen it.  He found an audio recording of the book of the same title by Edward Everett Hale.

This complete and unabridged version from Hale's 1868 story collection includes many incidents cut from textbooks, as well as an illuminating introduction by the author which reveals unknown facts about the tale. 

We listened to it Monday night for Family Home Evening. 
It is less than an hour and a half long, and riveting.

I recommend it highly.

An American Army officer curses his country during a court martial and wishes to never hear of it again. That becomes his punishment. He spends the rest of his life on board a ship at sea. He is basically a 'free' prisoner but in that one way - all references to the United States are kept from him.

Some streets here have a flag at every house! 


What would it be like to have no home?
No Country?

Monday, July 2, 2012


Having been born in Canada,
and having lived there much of my life,
I notice Canadian 'trivia'.

Near the end of May while hiking in Washington state with my husband and son we came across these. Unless you are Canadian you may not even know these screws are common there.

They were screwed into a 'stretching bar' about half way up a steep trail. We had a good laugh - how does a Canadian screw find its way into this simple project a mile up a mountain? Perhaps sensible people everywhere are learning what a good thing they can be (see details below).

My son NEEDED that stretching bar - he hiked that hill backwards!

Robertson screws are common in Canada. Screwdrivers there with interchangeable bits ALWAYS have a selection of Robertson's in various common sizes.
Silly I know, but such things often make me somewhat homesick. I suppose Canada, even in little 'bits' will always be 'home'.

A Robertson, also known as a square, or Scrulox screw drive has a square-shaped socket in the screw head and a square protrusion on the tool. Both the tool and the socket have a taper, which makes inserting the tool easier, and also tends to help keep the screw on the tool tip without the user needing to hold it there. (The taper's earliest reason for being was to make the manufacture of the screws practical using cold forming of the heads, but its other advantages helped popularize the drive.) Robertson screws are commonplace in Canada, though they have been used elsewhere and have become much more common in other countries in recent decades.

Robertson screwdrivers are easy to use one-handed, because the tapered socket tends to retain the screw, even if it is shaken. They also allow for the use of angled screw drivers and trim head screws. The socket-headed Robertson screws are self-centering, reduce cam out, stop a power tool when set, and can be removed if painted-over or old and rusty. In industry, they speed up production and reduce product damage.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Signs are posted in multiple languages - 
all announcements are in French and English

We visited Canada last week.

We flew 'Air Canada' Jazz/Express. 
The planes have a large maple leaf on the tail.
There are several styles and colors.
Some are red, some orange, some green. 
We flew on a red and a green. 
Much better than driving 27 hours north. 
Special thanks to our daughter for sharing her air miles!

We had the privilege of hearing 'O Canada' sung by Chris Baumeister at our granddaughter's high school graduation ceremony. He has a superb voice and is bilingual English/French.  He was also graduating. He sang parts of the anthem in both languages. Congratulations to all the grads and especially to Erin. 

Canada is unique in many ways. 
It is always a pleasure to visit.

Mountie and me 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police escorted graduates attending prom into the hotel used for the party. It is easier to screen out alcohol, drugs and weapons that way. I love RCMP formal 'dress' uniforms. I requested a picture with one of the officers flanking the entrance. (My daughter was one of the super mom's that helped arrange Prom, decorate and supervise (with her husband).  

On our way home we happened upon another fun RCMP officer in the Vancouver airport. A kind 'Canadian' offered to take a picture of us together. 

Surprisingly similar ... carved, painted Mountie figure

Happy Canada Day to my native land. 
Set off lots of fireworks for us this week.
We got to sing the anthem but now we are 'home'. 
You will have to celebrate without us!