Monday, February 22, 2010

My Dad

I can’t call this a history because I do not have all facts and dates. But, I do have loving memories of my father, Meldo Francis Dixon.

Dad came to this earth December 29, 1905 in Manti, Utah; the first of three children born to William Dixon and Elizabeth Braithwaite. The family moved to Tooele when Dad was still very young. He loved his mother very much and wanted to be with her. He accompanied her frequently as she went visiting teaching and caring for the sick. After grandpa died he would make weekly trips to Tooele to care for her needs and make sure all was well. I remember going with him to clean house, pick raspberries, take care of the yard, and descend the dark stairs of the root cellar to get honey and homemade jam. Grandma came to live with us for awhile but missed her home and friends so returned to Tooele. The story I remember about that visit was the mistake she made of fixing a sandwich for herself using the cat food that was in the refrigerator. She thought it was potted meat.

Grandpa was a stern man. I don't remember him smiling at all. I do remember handsome white hair and candy mints in his pockets--pink mints. I would sit on his lap and search his jacket pockets until I found one.

Dad and Grandpa didn't see eye to eye so Dad left home at 15 or 16 to work in the silver mines. He roamed from Utah to Nevada and Wyoming for work during the 1920's and 30's. He sent money home that helped Reba complete school and receive a teaching certificate. He would continue to help Reba and her family until he died. He was like a father to her children and they loved him very much.

When Dad went to Tooele he would always visit his mother's family.  They loved to sing. Dad would take his guitar and concertina (a small accordion), Mary or Martha (Dad's twin aunts) would play the piano, and everyone would sing. "Bye, bye, Blackbird", "My Buddy", "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree", "Paper Doll", wonderful old songs I still love. Dad had a very mellow tenor voice. I can still hear it in my mind. Very soft. I particularly remember Dad singing "Always" to my Mom. "I'll be loving you, always. With a love that's true, always. . . Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always." He loved her very much.

Dad and Mom met in 1937 or 38 at a dance. As the story goes Mom's date became very disruptive and drunk. He even passed out and Dad drove first the date home and then Mom. From what I understand it was love at first sight and they married in February of 1939 at a friend's home in Salt Lake. They lived in a small rental home on Quale Avenue just off Main Street. Dad worked for the City Water Department and hung wallpaper on the side. He continued working for the Water Department for many years until he retired in 1970. When he retired he was an Inspector Forman. He boasted that he knew every water line and main in Salt Lake and beyond.

Our family moved to Rose Park in about 1947 or 48. How we loved our new home. This is where I came to appreciate my Dad for who he was: devoted, hardworking, honest. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." "Do your best, that's all we can ask." With mom's help they turned the dessert clay of 974 Prosperity Drive to a fertile rose covered cottage. Dad built a trailer that hitched to the back of the car and spent every weekend hauling mountain top soil and spreading it around the yard. They planted grass seed, roses, bulbs of every kind. In later years they won first prize for roses and mums at the county fair. They really loved that house and so did I.

Dad was a fisherman and loved every minute of it. Trout fishing was his first choice. He loved being in the mountains and fishing the large streams of Utah. He usually went alone. Sometimes Duane or I would go with him. But when mom retired they went together always together. They bought a little camper and roamed Utah. . . together.

When I was 21 I decided I wanted to go on a mission. Dad wanted no part of it. "Over my dead body", he said. I had never gone against his wishes. This time out of my mouth came, "If that's how it has to be, that's how it has to be." I talked to the bishop and submitted the papers. The week before my farewell I asked Dad if he would come and speak at the meeting. He didn't say a word. He hadn't spoken to me for quite awhile. He was really upset. At the meeting he did speak and I think that was the beginning of the mighty change that took place in his life. While on my mission he and mom were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple and he began serving a mission at Desseret Industries. He talked about that mission for the rest of his earth life. He loved it. He loved the Church and loved attending meetings. Like his father he carried mints in his pocket--pink mints--and the children of the ward loved him and would run to him after meeting. "Were you reverent at church today?" If the answer was yes hands reached in his pocket for a mint.

My dad was a wonderful man. A devoted son, a loving husband, and a caring and protecting father. There are many stores to tell. Driving to seminary in a jeep, Sledding on the Golf Course, Skating on Decker Lake. They will have to wait for another time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baking Bread

I love to make bread.  I love the feel of the dough.  I love the smell as it bakes in the oven.  I especially love the memories and associations.

When I was growing up Mom didn't bake bread but she made rolls.  The best rolls on earth.  Ask any of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and sister-in-law.  Hands down THE best rolls on earth.  I remember her saying one time, "I wish I were back on the farm.  Then I could put as many eggs in these rolls as I wanted to."  Wish I knew her secret but no one does.  Sometimes I wish she were here so we could make rolls again.

My Aunt Ruby made bread.  Smelled like heaven in her house.  When I returned from my mission I wanted to learn her secrets.  "Honey," she said,  "Don't tell anyone but it's Rhode's Frozen Bread.  I haven't made bread from scratch for years."  That didn't matter.  There was something about that smell and seeing the fresh loaves on her kitchen table.  I wanted that in my home.

I started baking bread when we moved into the Carrollton Ward of the Silver Spring Maryland Stake.  That must have been in 1968 or 69.  What a great ward that was.  Lots of young married couples with small children.  (The Lemke's were in that ward.  Gosh I've known them a long time.)  There were two older sisters that knew how to do everything and loved to share.  We made wheat bread, white bread, sour dough bread, oatmeal bread, and potato bread.  You name it we tried it and we made it by hand.  If I was angry I'd pound it and the anger would go away.  If I was sad I'd spread butter and honey on it and the sadness would go away.  If it was raining outside I'd give each of the kids some dough to shape and like magic the sun would shine inside.

I love to think about the scriptures when I'm making bread: feeding the multitude; mana from heaven; the leaven in the loaf; the bread of life; all beautiful images and calming thoughts. 

I guess the best thing about home made bread is the sharing.  It's just plan silly to make one loaf.  Most recipes make three or four.  There's always one or two for the family and the extra loaves for a neighbor, a friend, someone who needs cheering up, or the guy who comes to fix the dish washer. 

I love to bake bread.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Walking Away

I read the Book of Mormon every night before I go to bed.  This year I started from the back of the book.  It's giving me a different perspective as to why the Nephites were destroyed.  Here is one example from the Book of Helaman.

Nephi has returned from preaching the gospel in the north.  He is about to enter the city of Zarahemla and is overcome by the wickedness of the people.  He climbs a garden tower and begins pouring out his heart to God.  People gather and wonder what on earth is going on.  The story continues with Nephi announcing the murder of the judge, five men being sent to verify this fact and put in prison, and finally discovering the truth with the judges blood on the hem of his brother's garment.

Something different held my thoughts this time.  The people who gathered at the wall to watch and listen were divided.  Some thought Nephi was a prophet, some thought he was a god, others knew he was able to discern the truth.  They talked among themselves very openly about what had happened and their particular take on the situation.  Then a strange thing happened; at least strange to me.  And this is what I have been pondering about.  They walked away.  They simply walked away.  They didn't do anything about it.  Their lives didn't change in the least.  They just continued as usual doing the same old things, making the same old mistakes, living the same old way. 

So, here am I with scriptures in hand, living prophets to guide me, and what am I doing?  Do I just walk away?  Am I any better today than I was yesterday?  I have reread these same passages over and over.  I really don't want to be like the people of Zarahemla.  I think they were playing at the righteous game instead of living righteously.  What changes will I make.  Will I just walk away?  Talking and knowing is one thing.  Doing and living is completely different.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I'm sitting here this morning trying to figure out how to move the pictures from the right to the left so they stay with the blog. I feel so dumb and useless. I know it can be done but I can't figure it out. Maybe there is a phanton blogger who can enter my computer and with a red arrow point the way. There has also got to be a way to check spelling or I'm (I was going to say screwed.) I'm in deep (nope! Can't say that either) Oh! dear, can someone help me.

On the "I can do this side", I did figure out how to leave a post on someone elses blog. Life is good

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blizzard of 2010

I knew it was going to be a big snow, but I had no idea what BIG meant until I looked out the bedroom window. By the end of the second day the accumulation had reached 29 inches in our back yard.

Bill was called into work to keep the parking lot at the temple plowed. He was unable to get home until Saturday evening. The snow was so heavy I couldn't even begin to shovel it. It just lay there on the ground laughing at me.

By Monday morning we had only managed to clear a swipe from the back door to about 15feet down the driveway. On Tuesday morning six Snow Angles appeared at our door and we gladly paid them to finish the driveway. Before we caught our breath another 10 inches fell.

Luckily our power did not go out and so far we still have our roof and the ice dams have not caused water to come into the house via windows, walls, or floors. These are great blessings and believe me, I thank Heavenly Father continuously for them.

Bill raked snow from the roof to allow the sun to get to the ice. He had to dig a path as he made his way to the front and back of the house. The snow is stacked 4 to 6 feet in some places.

One of the pictures that keeps returning to my mind is the Martin Handcart Company trapped by the early snows near Rock Springs Wyoming. How incredibly brave, strong, faithful, and couragous these saints were. I look at my surrounding--warmth, clothing, food, and shelter and cry for their cold hands and feet; for their dead spouses and children; and for the living that had to go on without loved ones. I pray I might have that same courage to go where the Lord calls no matter the trials that may follow.