Friday, December 10, 2010

My thanks go to Tyra Hill Andrews for typing up and sending me the remainder of the talks given at my Dad's (Deb) funeral.  We hope that the family will find value in reviewing again these heartfelt thoughts (see posts below).

Talks given at Delbert William Alvey's funeral services:

Larry Wiser: Friend and Home Teacher

October 28, 2010

I hope you people realize, this is not easy for me. I use to talk Mary and Deb to death when I would go to their house home teaching. They endured, and I was right proud of them. It mentions on the program that I am a friend. That is a great title for me. I am proud to have that distinction. They have always been a good friend to me. I remember the first time I ever saw Mary and Deb. I was sent up the ditch by my father to turn the water in. As I came back down the ditch to see that the water got back home, there was Mary and Deb bent over a couple of beet rows going right after it. The dust flew and the weeds were gone. They really struggled together. They were a great team. Both of them. The tugs were tight and the collar was close on their necks. They did a job that had to be done and it was not easy, but they accomplished that job. I can remember many incidences in my life that I had the honor of going home teaching in their home. I took a companion, a young man, and they welcomed us at the door...both of them. With a smile on their face and a hearty hand grip. We were always made welcome when ever we showed up. We tried to go faithfully and they put up with us. I am grateful for the friendship they gave to us as home teachers. I took on a new companion, an x-Bishop. I wore out that companion, Brother Hall, he put up with me a long time. I then put my wife into service. She was really good to keep me in line and keep me going to do my job. I really appreciated that. My friendship to them has been really valuable to me in my life.

I ran across this poem I would like to share with you.

New friends I cherish and treasure their worth
but old friends to me are the salt of the earth.
Friends are like garments that everyone wears.
New ones are needed for dress up affairs,
but when we are at leisure we are more apt to choose
the clothes we have purchased with laces and shoes.
The things we grow used to are the things we love best
the ones we are certain have weathered the test.
And isn’t it true since we are talking of friends
that new ones bring pleasure when everything blends?
But when we want someone who thinks as we do
and fits, as I said, like last summer shoe.
We turn to the friends who have stuck through the years
who echo our laughter and dry up our tears.
They know every weakness and fault we possess,
but they somehow forget them when friendships caress.
The story is old, but fragrant and sweet
and I’ve said it before but let me repeat:
New friends I cherish and treasure their worth
but old friends to me are the salt of the earth.

Now there are a few thing that Bobbie left out about her father and mother. She almost told everything. We appreciate her effort and the wonderful story she told. I remember going to their home to home teach one evening. With great pride they bought out a letter from the President of the United States of America. It congratulated them on a marriage of 70 years. They were proud of that and I think that was a wonderful mark that they made.

My friend he passed away one day. His sweet wife gave me a call and then gave me another call to give this talk. I have had a hard time giving it. He has been a good friend to me, both of them have. I appreciate the effort Mary has made in raising her family.

I ran across this story that says this...
The clock of life is wound but once. And no man has the power to know just when the hands will stop, whether at a late or early hour. Now is the only time we own to live and love and work our will. Don’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow the clock may be still.

Well, his clock finally wound down. He did not know when and I’m sure it was a surprise. And those were probably the words that he used...WOW WHAT A RIDE!!

Bishop Kent ButtarsLewiston Second Ward
October 28, 2010

Thank you Bishop Hill. That was a beautiful talk and message, beautiful music and the words that Bobbie has shared and the talk from Brother Wiser were wonderful.

I was out of town when Deb passed away. I called and talked to my counselor, Clyde Smith, and he was already on his way there. I was glad for that. He and I went the next day which was Sunday and spoke with Mary and Billie and had a good talk. I think I learned more in that hour then I knew in my whole life about Deb and Mary. It was such a sweet experience. I wish all of you could have been there and heard the beautiful things Mary said about Deb, their relationship and their 70 plus years together. I spoke to Mary at that time, if you think of all humanity, all the couples that were ever married, how many of them had the opportunity to be together that long and to live independently, and to love and cherish one another, support one another and to live such a wonderful life...very very few...such a great blessing for them. Certainly death is never timely, but what a blessing that Deb was able to pass away when he did with family around him and loved ones there to help and support Mary at that time. Such a blessing as you think back and think about how all of that takes place. I testify to you that Gods hand is in our life. Sometimes we have a hard time seeing it and sometimes we feel we are all alone. God lives and he loves each of us and wants the best for us. That is why he sent his son to bridge the gap of death that was caused by the fall of Adam. From 1st Corinthians chapter 15 one of the missionary scriptures I learned a long time ago “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” This is such a blessing that we here in mortality can look into the eternities and know that we will be able to see loved ones and be able to live together and to be able to continue on in life on the other side of the veil.

I was in a PEC meeting several weeks ago and Sister Smith spoke about how Brother Alvey was not doing very well. I thought I need to get down there and see them. Between the corn harvest and traveling I did not get there and I have felt very bad for that. As I was out in the corn field one day chopping corn, up the road comes this old white dodge pickup and there were Brother Alvey and Mary, and he was driving her to see Dr. Hurst. I thought now wait a minute... was that right what I heard about Deb or was it not right? Then a few days later I was in front of my house and that white pickup drove by again and this was only two weeks ago.

If Deb could have had a choice when to leave mortality I’m sure he would not have left until Mary did. He was there for her and she was there for him. The song “The Wind Beneath My Wings” was Mary’s request and she spoke Sunday about how Deb loved that song and how she felt that she was the wind beneath his wings. I’m sure that is true.

It was such a sweet blessing to know Deb. There have been such sweet memories that have been shared and if each of you would take the time to write down your feelings and memories of today. Make note of it so you can look back at the wonderful life of Deb and remember this day and the beautiful things that were said. He was such a great man. He was proud of his family his children and great grandchildren. He was proud of the garden he grew. I’m sure he was proud of his life and how he provided for his family. He was proud of his life together with Mary.

Let me share with you my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t think Deb would like this to be really preachy. He was not here at the church a lot, but I know he had a testimony of Jesus Christ and of the power of prayer. I enjoyed the visits that we had in their home. We can all learn much from this great man. I hope we can all look into his life and find those things that can benefit, sustain, and help our life so that we can be better and love and live closer to one another. And I share that with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Talk given by Delbert Alvey’s grandson: Ted Lee Hill
at Delbert William Alvey's funeral services
October 28, 2010

I am very grateful to be here today to be able to share some of my thoughts and feelings about my Grandfather. First before I get started I would like to thank those who have shared music today, Dara and Lisa. Music brings a great spirit to these kinds of meetings. And I know Grandpa loved those songs very much. I’d like to thank Bobbie for sharing stories. It is fun to hear stories you have never heard before.

I have to confess to each of you that I have been a little unsettled the past few days as I have thought about giving this talk and what to share with each of you. When I got here today and came into the building and greeted some of you, I had this peaceful feeling that came over me that this will go ok and we will make it through.

I wanted to share some of my memories about Grandpa. I’ve struggled a little bit and I’m grateful for a theme I’ve heard in this meeting. All of my memories of Grandpa include Grandma. It just seemed like they were so inseperateable. So as I talk about Grandpa it also includes Grandma in these memories.

One of my 1st memories of Grandpa is at Christmas time. We have a home movie of this particular Christmas. It’s of Grandpa dancing with Santa Clause. Santa Clause had come to visit and they are dancing back and forth in the front room of Grandpa and Grandma’s house. They were having so much fun and as I have watched this movie it has brought back this wonderful memory. Can you imagine what it is like when you as a young boy and you know your Grandpa it that tight with Santa Clause. It brought a lot of hope to Christmas!

I remember a Shetland pony that Grandpa had. He would put us on it and ride us around his yard. This one time...maybe I just fell off...but I would like to think I got bucked off!... Anyway, Grandpa just picked me up and put me right back on. I had the experience of falling off the horse and Grandpa taught me to always just get back on.

I remember going to their home and playing in the back yard around the willow tree and playing around the barn. I was surprised as I got older that the barn had shrunk and they had moved it closer to the house. It just seemed so much bigger and further away as a small boy.

When we were little boys and would visit, Grandma and Grandpa had a sectional couch in the front room that they would slide together. Poor Billie would get kicked out of her bed and have to sleep with Chuck and I so mom and dad could have a place to sleep. That is just another wonderful memory.

I remember breakfast and the cheese Grandma would melt in the oven. Grandpa loves SHARP cheddar cheese. His saying was “I like it sharp enough that when I bite into it that it bites me back.!”
My memories of Grandpa were of a active man. I remember him fishing. I remember him having his boat and going boating. I remember when they bought their snowmobiles and as a teen-ager we brought our snowmobiles down to Utah and would snowmobile around their farm. Again just another wonderful memory.

I don’t ever remember Grandpa Alvey being impatient with me. I don’t ever remember him getting cross or getting mad at me. As I remember mom telling stories of Grandpa I don’t ever remember her saying he ever got cross or impatient or mad at her. I’m sure part of that was because she was such a good child and part of that was because of Grandpa general good nature. He is a fun, loving, kind person.

I served a mission in Korea. And before I left I came to spend a few days with Grandpa. At the time he was the field agent for the dairy and he took me with him on his route visiting various farmers who were milk producers for the dairy. Because I was an old teenager/young adult, I did not get a lot of sleep. I would stay up late at night and get up early in the morning. While we were driving around on occasion I would doze off to sleep. I kept thinking...was Grandpa going to get mad at me? He never did. He seemed to be very happy to spend the time with me. It was a very special time for me and one that I will always remember. It was fun to see him working in a different environment as a worker and an employee and I was always impressed with the work he did.

Grandma and Grandpa were always happy to see us. Every time we have been to their home or see them at mom and dads home or been to a family reunion they are always so friendly and outgoing. As Bobbie mentioned, he was so proud of his grandchildren and his great grandchildren. As our children came, Grandma and Grandpa always seemed so proud of them and very happy for them to be part of our family.

Bobbie mentioned that Grandpa cheats a little at pinocle. I have a daughter that does the same, and I wondered where this characteristic came from. Perhaps this is something genetic. Maybe in a few generations this will dilute a little. We will see.

I asked my children to share some thought and qualities about Grandpa Alvey that they remembered. They said he was fun, funny, gentle and nice. That’s the way I remember Grandpa also.

I have enjoyed bragging to my friends over the years that I still have living grandparents. Many of my friends have parents the same age as my grandparents. It has been fun to have them in my life and to be able to share significant moments. I think it is a wonderful gift for my children to know their great grandparents.

A few years ago Grandpa was in the hospital in Ogden and my daughter Megan and I went to visit with him. Grandma had left for the night. Grandpa began to tell us some stories of his early life. I did not ever remember the story about Grandma and Grandpa meeting so I asked him about it. Grandpa was not a mushy kind of guy, but that night as he spoke, he talked very tenderly and lovingly about seeing Grandma for the first time. And though I knew how he always loved Grandma it became very clear to me that night just how deeply he feels for Grandma and just how much he loves her. It was one of the great lessons he taught me and I will talk about it in a few minutes.

Grandpa has a great sense of humor. For the past several years for birthdays, Christmas etc. he has received money for gifts. Being the frugal and modest person that he is, he saved most of that money. I asked Grandma about this story and she said she never really knew how much he had because she never looked into his wallet. I thought to myself..Becky needs to hear this... she is always getting into my wallet. So Grandma, Thank you for teaching that. Anyway, Grandpa had all of this money. He kept some in the bank and some in his wallet and hid some around the house. One day he and Grandma had gone to town and Grandpa was admiring a golf cart that he could use to ride around the house and go down to his garden. Grandma suggest he should take some of this gift money he had been saving and purchase the golf cart. Grandpa declined saying “No, his kids are going to bury him with that money!” This is a great story about Grandpa.

As I have got a little older and have looked at the lives that have led. I have tried to understand some of the lessons that have tried to teach us. I want to share with you some of the lessons I have learned from them. As Bobbie has said, Grandma and Grandpa are uncomplicated modest people. I don’t know how much money they have made. They have had a boat, snowmobiles and some things that have been fun. But material possessions have not been a big part of their life and what they have needed. Their life has been fun and joyful with out those things. That is a great lesson I have learned.

I learned from my grandfather to be engaged in life. He has always been active. He has loved his horses throughout the years. Some on my fondest memories are going to the race track and watching his horses run. He loved to do that. He loved his garden. Every year we would get some of the garden production. I don’t know what we are going to do with out some of his pickles. We have enjoyed them through the years. We will miss his production very much.

I want to tell a story to illustrate a point and we have talked about already. A few years ago when my brother Chucks son, Chase, was getting married, Becky and I drove from our home in Salt Lake City and picked up Grandma and Grandpa Alvey up in Cache Valley to go to the wedding in Rexburg. When we got to the place where the luncheon was going to be held, I jumped out of the car and ran around the door where Grandma was sitting and my intention was to help Grandma get out of the car and help her get into the building. Grandma said “No, I will just wait for your Grandpa.” Grandpa got our of the car and I said, “Can I help you?” Grandpa said, “No, as long as Grandma and I hold on to each other we will be just fine!” For 70+ years they have held on to each other and they have been just fine.

I think one of the greatest lessons Grandma and Grandpa have taught us it to love each other. In 1938 I don’t know if they could have imagined this group here today to be the product of that marriage. As a family we are diverse. We all lived in a lot of different places and we have a lot of different lives that we live. Grandma and Grandpa’s children range of ages are about 20 years. They have been scattered all over the country in various places. Among their grandchildren our ages range about 35 years. I am the oldest grandchild. I am in my very very late 40s and my youngest cousin Gage in 13. We are diverse, we are different. But I felt it today and I feel it every time I am with this family. I feel this bond with cousins. I have always felt a bond with my aunts and uncles, they have always been a part of my life. But as cousins we have not spent a lot of time together and we don’t know each other very well, but when we are together I feel this strong family bond and tie with each of you. I believe it is because of Grandma and Grandpa and the way they love each of us for who we are and what we are. That is the greatest lesson they have taught us and I’m very grateful for that.

I would like to share a brief message that brings me some comfort and I hope it can give you some measure of comfort. There is a common question that each of us surely ask ourselves through out our life. It’s a question that I’m sure billions have asked through out the ages and I’m sure Grandpa thought about it quite a bit. I actually did not expect this day to come now. As all of you know, Grandpa wanted to live to be 100 and I was certain he was going to do that. So I’m sure he thought to himself and maybe he asked this question. It is a questions that Job asked in the new testament . The question is...If a man die - shall he live again? This is an important question to ask. Where do we find an answer to this question? Where do we all find the peace that we all so deeply hope for and need at times like this when we face the passing of someone we love? No person escapes this question by the virtue of us being here. We have all been born and we will all face passing from this mortal live. As part of his great plan of happiness, God has prepared a way for each of us to be redeemed from the bonds of death. Through Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, the chains of death have been broken and the promise of the resurrection has been fulfilled. Through our faith we look forward to that promised day when each of us will rise again from the grave. Jesus has declared to us that “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me thou he were dead yet shall live.” The reality of the resurrection is difficult for many of us to understand and I don’t pretend to completely understand it. Yet thru the eye of faith each of us can look forward with hope for the fulfillment of all of Gods promises. Including the promise of the resurrection. Remember Paul’s teaching of the Corinthians. “If Christ is not risen then is our preaching in vain and our faith also vain?” So with the many witnesses of the scriptures I also testify to each of you of the reality of the resurrection. In later words of Job, “I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in this flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold.” I look forward to that day when I will rise from the grave and be able to great my Grandfather and enjoy happy times with him again.

Now finally Grandma this message is primarily to you, and to each of us as his children and Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren. There is a story in the new testament of Jesus’ night time crossing of a body of water. He and his disciples entered into a small ship and he went to the back of the ship to lay down to get some rest. During the night as they were crossing this body of water the scriptures say that there arose this great storm of wind and the waves beat into the ship and filled the ship with water. His disciples being frightened awoke him and they say unto him “Master carest not that we parish?” Jesus arose and he rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, “Peace be still”. The winds ceased and there was a great calm. Now at times like this - we are not in the ship and the wind is not blowing against us and the waves are not beating us, but it feels that way emotionally. In days to come there will be times when you will be alone and you may even wonder to yourself “Master carest thou not for me?” But I promise you Grandma that as you call upon the lord and ask for his peace to come, it will come, and you will feel it. Just as he brought peace to the water and the waves he can bring peace to each of us in our hearts. I want you to know how much I love you Grandma. I want you to know how much I love Grandpa and how much I miss him already. It is very hard to realize that he is gone from us for a period. I do want you to know the reality of God and the plan he has for us. I again promise you that as you seek him out, and ask for his spirit to be with you, that it will come to provide you with that peace that you need in the days, weeks and months ahead. I share this with you today Grandma and do so in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cy Napper and the Indians

If you have wondered about the story behind the picture, here is what I know or have been able to find out:

Arimo, Chief of a band of Shoshone Indians who made their home in Marsh Valley, Idaho and in Cache Valley in the 1870's and 1880's, is shown here---pipe of peace in his hand.

With him are his sons and sons-in-law along with Cyrus E. Napper who is standing in about the center of the group. Mr. Napper did considerable doctoring among the Indians and was named by them "The Great Medicine Man."

Old Arimo, as he was known to the whites, was a splendid type of Western American Indian, a man of high character as his features indicate. He died in 1896.

It is believed that the station of Arimo, Idaho was named after this old chief.

This photo was taken about 1895 and a few resources claim it was taken at Ft. Hall (Idaho), even claimed at the Fort Hall Drugstore. These sources name the men as follows: Standing back row (left to right): Canaker (canker) Johnson, Percy Edmo, Cye Napper/druggist, Chas. Deepwater, Tom Edmo and seated (left to right), Chief Arimo, Geo. Edmo, and Johnnie Gibson. The name "Edmo" is the anglicized form of "Arimo". This photo is part of the Abe Lillibridge collection, Eli Oboler Library, Idaho State University

NOTE:  So you can follow the family tree, Cyrus E. Napper is the father of Ruby Napper Price, the grandfather of Mary Price Alvey and the great-grandfather of Gary, Mary Lee, Lynn, Debi, Bobbie and Billie. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life Sketch
22 April 1919- October 23, 2010

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we have to go though. I had my dad in my life for fifty-something years and have not had him for just seven days so it is hard to put into words all I am feeling right now, but I hope to share with you enough of his life so that you can see some of why he had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren.

But first, let’s start with the facts
Delbert Alvey was the fifth child in a family of eleven children born to Bertha Roth and William Levert Alvey in St. Leon, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Delbert was the first born son of this family, so a lot of responsibility fell upon his shoulders.
When Deb was about five or six years old his family moved to Utah and his father ran the Smith Farm located between Smithfield and Richmond. The family was trying to make a living on this farm when the Big Depression of 1929 came along. Farmers couldn’t sell their crops and what they did sell brought in very little money.
Thus, the memories of his youth are ones filled with work and hardship. Even as a very little boy Deb had big responsibilities. He had to herd cows every day before and after school. The winters were very hard then, with lots of snow, and very cold. The road from the farm never got cleared with snowplows, so they had to haul the milk with a team of horses in order to deliver the milk cans to the highway. After completing this chore, Deb would then tie the horses up and either walk or hitchhike to school from there. It was about four miles each way.
One of his best memories of this time was when his dad bought a sorrel horse and brought it home for him. Its name was Flax. Deb loved this pony and was able to herd their cows on the city road using this most loved animal. Being the Depression years, as time went on it became hard to continue to feed Deb’s pony. The family needed all of the money coming in for food and necessities, there was none left for luxuries. So one fateful day his mother sold the pony and Deb was heartbroken.

Deb was in the ninth grade when they moved to Logan. During the era, due to the Depression, children worked. Only about one third enrolled in grade school and less than that graduated from high school. Deb was among this group and went to work on a farm in Smithfield for a man named Smith. At this time he would work all week for $2.00, a small wage for such hard work. Then on payday, he would hitchhike back to Logan and give his mother all the money he earned to help with the support of the family, keeping only 20 cents for himself, which was enough for two show tickets as a treat for himself and his brother Fred. Eventually, Smith lost his farm and Deb began working on a nearby farm for a man named Gunnell. Deb worked on this farm for a year when it was discovered that also due to the Depression, Gunnell was facing the possibility of losing his farm. Deb saw a perfect option for his family and he talked his father into renting this piece of land. Times were still really hard, but this was the start for the family to get something around them. Later when the farm came up for sale, they were able to acquire it by making the back payments and taking over the contract. Things got better for the family from then on.
It was at a community dance that Deb met his future wife, Mary Jane Price, and eventually they married. He was nineteen and she was seventeen years old. They actually eloped to Brigham City, Utah with two of his sisters as witnesses, and had to stretch the truth by a few years in order to obtain the marriage license. The funny part of this story was that they were afraid to tell Mary’s parents that they had made such a bold move at her young age, so Mary lived at home and attended high school as if nothing of the sort had happened. As I see it, that’s thinking like a 17 year old. Eventually the high school rumor mill caught up with them and it became evident that they would have to fess up and let their parents in on their secret. Their marriage was openly celebrated and they started married life together on the Alvey family farm in Richmond.
After a few years it became evident that there just wasn’t enough money coming in from the farm to support their young growing family. It was the spring of 1942 that this young family with two children moved into a tiny trailer house in the desert, a place called Dell, Utah. Here Deb worked on a government building project near the Nevada/Utah border. It wasn’t clear exactly what they were building, but it was a top security area. It was somewhat later that they found that they had been building an airstrip where the United States Government was testing the atomic bomb. With good wages and a tight budget, after only a matter of months they had scrimped and saved money enough for a down payment on a farm of their own.
Deb was just 24 years old and Mary was 22 when they bought their farm. They were very young and not very experienced as they looked at property with a real estate agent. At one point this man asked if they actually had enough for a down payment. Deb opened his wallet and showed the man the money. The realtor took the money and promptly wrote out a receipt. Almost before they were aware of it they had purchased their 80-acre farm in Lewiston, Utah. The property didn’t even have a home on it. They seller gave them a tiny house that had to be moved onto the land.
As is evident, Deb was a hard worker and it took a lot of work and cooperative effort to make a go of it. They eventually got electricity, but water had to be hauled in milk cans for several years before they got city water to the house. Then World War II came along, and what looked like a disaster. In the winter, either late 1944 or early 1945, Deb received military induction papers with instructions to report to the induction center in Ogden for a physical and processing into military service. Mary was pregnant with their third child and things looked bleak. The couple went to Logan and spent the night, then Mary had to put her husband on the train heading for the induction center in Ogden. Deb went through this ordeal, hating every minute of it, then was told he could return home for a few days to make final arrangements. With a farm and cows, a young family and a pregnant wife, he felt pretty discouraged and desperate. Then a miracle came. A telegram was sent to Ogden, from the President of the United States, instructing them not to induct any more farm boys into the service. Deb got a deferment from military service and somewhat soon thereafter the war was over and the country was celebrating.
It was hard to get the farm in Lewiston productive. It needed a field drain and the ground built up. They couldn’t make all the payments required for building onto their home, which was necessary to accommodate their growing family, and to also build up the farm, so they continued to crowd into the two rooms. With a young family and a baby, they needed a refrigerator to keep the milk fresh and that purchase stretched them further than what was comfortable. So in 1947, Deb again found a solution and took a job at Cache Valley Dairy to supplement his farm income. He was earning $1.25 per hour. Eventually, they were able to obtain a loan and they put their first addition onto the house because with 4 children the house would stretch no more.
Needless, to say Deb worked hard at both his jobs, spending all day at the factory and much of his nights milking cows and working the land. After years of pushing himself, he developed a little health problem and it was clear that something had to give.
A neighbor came to inquire about his renting the farm. The deal was made and the land was rented out and life started to get a little easier and much better. His career at the dairy began to rise also-- he was promoted to Packaging Manager. After a few years he became Production Manager and later when a new Plant Manager came on board, Deb was also put over Maintenance. During the last years of his career he became a Field Man for Cache Valley Dairy and then happily retired at the age of sixty-five.
For Deb however, retirement didn’t mean rest, relaxation and endless travel. He studied and passed the tests and requirements to be a horse trainer, at the scoffs and disbelief of some who thought it couldn’t be done at his age. For many, many years the horses kept both his mind and his body fit and toned.

That is the simple bio of an uncomplicated and modest man. But you don’t measure the life of a man by simple facts, simply told. It’s been said that you measure it in the truths he learned, or in the times he cried, or in the bridges he burned, or the way that he died.

In his 91 years, my father learned much, rarely if ever cried, never burned a bridge and pretty much knew how he wanted to make his exit.

Here are a few things that my father learned:
Dad learned the value of hard work. He woke up everyday, put on his shoes and went to work to provide for his family. He truly believed that if you worked hard and treated people honestly you could have a good life. It’s a lesson he has passed along to his posterity.

He learned to be generous with himself and with others. My father didn’t always have much but he shared what he had with anyone that he saw a need to help. I remember him once bringing home a couple of little children of some migrant farm workers, to join our family for dinner simply because he knew they were hungry. My older siblings recalled there being a migrant work camp not far from our house and in the cold winter months dad would bring several along on the family outing to the picture show because he knew they didn’t have those opportunities. In war time German prisoners of war were brought to work on the farm. He was left “in charge” with the instruction to be humane but no special treatment was to be given. Despite that, dad took the Orange Cake meant for the family dinner and gave each a piece of the best tasting cake they had ever eaten. And I swear word must have gotten out that dad would feed any stray animal that could be dropped off at our corner in the middle of the night.

My dad learned to live life, period. My father worked hard, but he played hard too. My older siblings remembered Dad dressing up as Superman, with mom’s help, complete with long underwear died red and the big “S” on his chest. When money was tight the family picnicked in the mountains and when it was not he bought a boat and we fished and water-skied and had great fun as a family. Dad was an avid hunter. He snowmobiled. He grew the best looking and most productive gardens. He cheered on sports teams---Go Royals!! He cheated at pinochle and challenged his sons-in-laws to arm wrestles. He babied his animals, especially those horses.

He learned to live life with optimism and ruled with unconditional love. I know he was truly proud of his children and the way we all have grown up. His chest puffed out with pride over his grandchildren and then over his great-grandchildren. He gathered under his wings and shared his nest with any child, grandchild or great-grand child that needed a hand up or help of some kind from time to time. And once you got into this family through marriage, there was nothing---not even divorce—that would emotionally count you out.

Finally, as to how he wanted to make his exit….he really never wanted to. He wanted to live to be a hundred. He wanted a passel of great-great-grandkids. It was important to dad that he maintained his independence and his dignity and he did all of that and more. Dad’s was not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. Nope, our dad skidded in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and I am sure he arrived on the other side loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride.”

How does a girl say goodbye to Superman? I love you daddy. Always have, always will.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's behind the Name.....

I thought my family might want to know how their family name originated.

Alvey is English. Comes from the Anglo-Saxon name Elfwig meaning "elf battle". In the Middle Ages names were believed to influence a child's fate. Aelfwig indicated "military fortitude and liveliness". The surname is recorded in the 11th century in Suffold and Oxfordshire. After the 12th century, the surname may have been established in Ireland when the Anglo-Normans invaded. The Coat of Arms is a sable/black sheild (signifying constancy) and displaying a gold boar. The boar is a symbol of bravery anhd perseverance. The coat of arms is believed to be registered at Thetford in Norfolkshire although no date or entry of registration is available. It may be that the Alveys ended up on the wrong side with"their name being stricken from the records" ??