Archive for December, 2008

A Christ-mas story.

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

In 2002 I got a permit to run the Grand Canyon for a month. We launched on December 13 planning to be at Phantom Ranch on Christmas day so we could call our daughters Zina and Louisa in Ithaca, New York. Zina was there serving a LDS mission and happened to be stationed in the same town where Louisa lived.
Our river trip was small, four boats and nine people. As we traveled down the river I gaged our trajectory to get us to P.R. on the 25th of December.
On December 24th We scouted Hance Rapids in the early afternoon and ran it. As I floated free of the tail waves I began setting up to miss “son of Hance” by working my way right as the current was taking me toward those rapids. My then 15 year old daughter Adah asked me if I was watching the large flat and almost submerged rock we were drifting into. As I
looked to where she was pointing we ran up on it and stopped. We were not wrapped, just beached on this gently sloping rock. I was running lead so the other three boats pulled off above as we began planning strategy to get off. Luckily we had a hand held radio set and were able to converse with the rest of the party on shore. They got a long rope out to us and tried a couple of different Z-drags with no success. We worked on this for a couple of hours as my wife and the two teen aged girls on my boat got progressively colder and the sun worked it’s way behind the rocks. It was decided to try a different type of leverage. We ran the long line from my bow through a pulley on shore to the bow of another 18 foot boat that was rowed out into the current. This worked much better and with some jumping around on our part we edged
off the rock and back into the water.
By now it was 3 p.m. and we should have made camp at Grapevine or
Zoroaster, but being determined to get to the camp at Cremation Creek just above Phantom Ranch for a Christmas layover we pushed on and ran 85 mile rapids in near darkness. Ron Smith was running last and was a bit behind us as he was thrown from his boat. He had no passengers and it was a little tense as we tried to get back to him and gain control of his boat. The real hero was Shawn Dalrimple who got him in out of the water and rescued his boat. We
pulled into the lower Cremation camp in total darkness and set up camp. My wife was pretty shook up by Ron’s swim and went right to bed while we all got dinner on and decorated a tamarisk with tinsel and hung stockings from it’s branches. The day’s work was a big lesson to me in safety before all other concerns. Having a swimmer in the dark on winter trip
is a scary as it gets.
The next day Lee was feeling better. And we rowed over to Roy’s Beach and hiked down stream to P.R. for some fun at the Phantom Ranch cantina and phone calls to our girls in New York. On the way up to the Canteen I ran onto Bob and
his wife. Pam. It turns out they had heard that we were going to be at P.R. on Christmas and had called in and gotten a cancellation for a cabin there. Being the good Jew that he is Bob had brought gifts and a Christmas cake just for us. The best of all was when he offered the girls a shot at a hot shower. This was day 12 and when the
women emerged from the bath house they fairly glowed. I being a tough
old river rat had just bathed in the river every few days when I could no longer stand myself.
We invited our friends over to Cremation Creek and shared a totally Kosher dutch oven ham dinner that couldn’t be beat. Gifts were exchanged all around and it was as good a holiday as I have ever had. Later at school when Adah was asked by friends what her best gift was this year she said “A hot shower”.

Let’s buy some gas and oil leases.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

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Photo credit: Steve Griffen Salt Lake Tribune
I’m sure you have all heard about Tim DeChistopher the University of Utah student who is accused of sabotaging the Bush administration’s last minute effort to hand off sensitive BLM lands in Utah for oil and gas drilling. It will be hard to prosecute him for fraud if the money to pay for those leases is raised. Please join me and Lee in donating the money which will keep Tim out of jail and will prevent those leases from ever being drilled. That is democratic, eh?

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

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Over at the Ward House a while back they had an “Evening in Bethlehem” in which all of the ward members showed up in quasi biblical garb to pretend we were all going to Bethlehem to be enumerated and taxed. The census was easy. We just had to sign out names to a roster. For taxes we all brought canned goods for the local food bank. It was a funny evening. I enjoyed looking at various members in our community dressed as they thought first century palestinians would have.
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The Fryer family of Judea.
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Pancho Arafat?
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The happy shepherd.
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A real Jewish family
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Little angel girls.
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A little shepherd in camo bathrobe.
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Everyone brought blankets and sat on the floor to eat and watch the Christmas program.
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Men of Bethlehem.
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A Roman Centurion
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Bible Land fast food?
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Traveling peddlers of some sort.
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Angels announce the Holy Birth.
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Last but not least the Holy Family.

Howard’s Tribute to Owen C. Bennion

Thursday, December 18th, 2008


This is probably somewhat self indulgent, but then what are blogs for? My brother Howard put this slide show together that follows my father’s life.
I helped bury Dad not quite a year ago and miss him a great deal. When I look in the mirror or view video of myself I am struck with the physical similarities. I hope that this apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Playing For Change.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Just a little teaser for the forth coming film. Just right for this season of growing light and peace.

Little Joy is a joy.

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

The Big Night

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

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Lee and I were invited up to the governor’s mansion for a small dinner with Mr and Mrs Huntsman and some donors tot eh Governor’s Mansion Fund. Lee sat next the guv and pretty much had his ear for the evening. We were there to receive the Governor’s Mansion Arts Award. The dinner was over the top. I have never eaten such thing before nor have I ever eaten off of silver plates. Lucky for me they brought in new flat wear for each course so I didn’t have to wonder which for to pick up first.
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After the dinner another 200 or so invited guests showed up for the awards presentation. Notice the big medals we got. Take State! Louisa and Zina showed up for the doings.
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Louisa discussing the finer points of Irish punk music with the guv.
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Though Adah couldn’t be there she was represented in the painting Lee hung. This one will be purchased by the state for the Governor’s Mansion collection.

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The entry way to the mansion.
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In the study.
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One of my little oval dishes with a portrait of the Huntsmans with their youngest daughter.
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The stage where the awards were given. I had to make a 20 minute presentation about our work.
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The second floor landing.
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The governor’s mansion from the side.

The barista is back.

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

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Our first born is taking a break from her job at Jack’s Stir Brew and is here for a few days. The house smells different. What is up with that mug?