Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a fun week with the visit of some of our children and grandchildren, Chris, Leanna and Connor, Garrett, Olivia, and Wyatt. In addition, Sandy Marshall, Leanna's mother accompanied them and we really appreciated the opportunity to spend time with her. We also had a visit from their friends Lee and Stacey Atkins and their 8 kids who are now living in Craig, Colorado. We had a great time showing them around the area as well as taking them on a trek up to Martin's Cove. We were a little concerned about going up into the Cove with a large group of sometimes rowdy kids, the oldest two being 12 and the youngest being 3 months, but I was so proud of how they recognized the spiritual nature of the trek up into the Cove and that they were all very reverent and respectful. Even the missionaries stationed up at the top of the Cove commented on how reverent they acted. Of course, the rest of their time here it was like herding cats. But, when you love the cats it's a loving and fulfilling experience.
While they were here one of their goals was to see Oscar the trail dog. We were a little concerned he wouldn't be around as it's the end of the trek season, but to our amazement, when they arrived at the apartment there was Oscar laying on our porch. That "amazing dog" always seems to know where he's wanted or needed.
Well, the kids all left today and it's going to be a big let down, but, we'll get back to work and try to stay busy to keep from missing them too much. It was so much fun getting all the hugs and attention -- even the Atkins kids were hugging us and calling us grandpa and grandma. One of my highlights of their visit was getting all dressed up in my leathers and doing my impression of the frontiersman and pioneer Ephraim Hanks and watching their wide eyes as I got into the part. After my performance, they all made me feel like I was a folk hero. Ephraim has such an interesting and colorful story that it's hard not to pay attention. We also got the opportunity to see Connor pass the sacrament for our first time since he became a Deacon and we were really impressed at how seriously he took his participation in this sacred ordinance.
This week the 12 week missionaries leave for home as things start winding down for the season and we have only another month and a half before finishing our mission here. It will certainly be a time of mixed feelings as we have had such a great experience and such wonderful associations with the other missionaries. We have truly made some life-long friends. But, we will be excited to spend more time with our family and friends at home; i.e., canasta & golf with the Johnsons, golf with Al and Jo, lunch with Mark at the Cup, and reuniting with the ward members. Something tells me we won't be bored. I will probably be estranged from Sister Leavitt for a while as she catches up on all her lunches, dinners and shopping with her family and friends, But from time to time I'll meet her for a tee time or at bedtime. I try to warn people not to make friends with her because they will never get rid of her. I guess I shouldn't complain because that outgoing personality is the reason I was able to stay friends and keep dating her until the time she thought she was going to lose me as a friend so she married me. All kidding aside, what a great companion!
We love you all,
Hi everyone -- As Elder Leavitt said, we had a wonderful visit with our family. We were blessed w/ gorgeous weather so we were able to do all that we had planned. The kids enjoyed the Interpretive Center in Casper, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and, I think, were blown away by how beautiful Wyoming is. We actually explored part of the country that Elder Leavitt and I hadn't seen before near Lander. It required going over some dirt roads but we saw some high mountain lakes and breath-taking scenery. But the highlight of the visit was our trek to the Cove. The kids loved the experience and as Charlie said, despite their young ages, appreciated the significance of what happened here. It was also so special for me to have Wyatt, Olivia and Garrett in Primary. They were so cute and smart and gave such good answers that some of the other teachers thought I had been coaching them :) Grandma was so proud !
I know all of you identify with us when we tell you what a incredible experience it was for us to be able to share Martin's Cove with our family. We had many "tender mercies" while they were here -- one of them being able to visit with Jolene Allphin -- the author of "Tell My Story, Too". We had the unexpected honor of hearing her tell her experience of attending the Testimony meeting of the Ward whose bus burned down on their way here to trek. She related one miraculous story after another. I told Leanna, that it's hard to believe, but these spiritual moments happen all the time up here.
The kids were just great -- they had so much fun playing in the campground behind their trailer and exploring the prairie. They also got to see Grandpa Leavitt kill a rattlesnake. Just before we started our trek, Lee Atkins spotted a rattlesnake in the parking lot. Charlie ran and got a snake-catcher and soon the snake was disposed of. I didn't get any pictures of it as my camera was by the handcart and I didn't want to leave and miss the action so I'm counting on getting copies of the pictures Olivia took. It was quite an exciting start of our trek.
The Monday after our family left, Charlie started feeling a little punk and had a severe headache. We were worried about it as he just recently has developed high blood pressure. His asthma was also acting up and he was very congested. We had had a dr. appointment set up for him because of his blood pressure so when he went in the dr. gave his a thorough exam and sent him for a bunch of tests. To make a long story short -- he had pneumonia, again. He had it last year at this same time. We have decided that something is in bloom at this time of year that he is highly allergic to. After giving him some strong antibiotics, he is feeling much better.
All of us here are anticipating the call of our new Director and of the Polar Bears for this next year. Elder Freeman told us that Elder Estes will be here on Monday to make the announcement so we're all excited about that. We'll have the news in our next email.
This weekend we are having a "grill-off" with one of the Casper Wards and next week Glen, Becky and girls will be here. We can't wait to see them and hope the weather continues to cooperate so they can see Wyoming at its finest.
We had our annual talent show as a send-off to the 10-week missionaries. In a word -- it was fabulous. We have so many missionaries w/ so much talent -- much of it being comedic talent. We laughed our heads off. Sister McAtee wrote a little ditty that several of us sang at the conclusion of the program -- the lyrics were really clever and funny but I also think everyone was touched. We saw many tears after our performance. It's very hard to say good-bye to our friends whom we have come to love so much.
The attached picture was taken by the Red Butte area in Lander -- one of my favorite spots in Wyoming.
Happy Trails for now.....