Sunday, June 22, 2008


Climbing the "Y"

Bah, Humbug!

democracy, family night, and mountain climbing.

By Clovis Hill

(Published originally in the Improvement Era, August, 1960)

Government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is supposed to be good government. Fourth of July speakers say democratic principles foster initiative, guarantee freedom of speech, and assure the pursuit of happiness.
"Be democratic in your family councils," a Brigham Young University Leadership Week lecturer said.
Democracy in the family? Not this one. Not any more. Democracy may mean good government, but it also means painful blisters, aching muscles, wounded pride, loss of status.
Our heretofore democratic family consists of two parents and four children. Kathleen is ten ("I'm a sub-teen and almost eleven”); Bradley, a toothy nine; Dave is six; and Dianne, four.
We try to hold a family night every Wednesday. This poses some problems as Carol is Relief Society president of our ward and a member of the Golden Avenue PTA executive board. I'm a high school teacher with extracurricular responsibilities that include service as a San Diego Stake high councilman and seminary teacher.
But about family night and democracy. The scene is Provo where I'm a visiting instructor at BYU's summer session. While I'm the titular head of our household, it is really Carol who determines policy. "What would you like to do for family night?" This from the prime minister just identified—nothing Churchillian about that face and figure though—but back to democracy.
"Maybe something different?" queried she whom I had promised to love, honor, and cherish—or was it obey?
"We want to climb the 'Y' (purportedly the highest block letter in the world visible on a mountainside)," chorused the boys.
"We want to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” chimed the girls.
Two votes were cast for the hearth and popcorn. A stalemate. Discussion ensued. When the delegation was polled, results showed three votes for climbing to the "Y," two for the show, and one for popcorn.
"Climb to the”Y” we will then!" This exultant cry from Carol. Traitor! I should have known, even though she was one of the first ballot popcorn votes. She had climbed Timpanogos once and still boasts of the white spot worn on the seat of new blue jeans when she slid down the glacier ten years ago. Too, she hiked to the bottom of Grand Canyon twice. Besides, her grandfather had pulled assorted handcarts across the plains, with one hand while warding off Indian attacks with the other, I'm led to believe.
Driving up to the base of "Y" mountain, we parked the car and eagerly began the climb; some of us eagerly. The boys shunned the path, heading straight up forty-degree slope like flies wearing suction cups. Kathleen chose her mother as a hiking companion. This left Dianne and me.
"Daddy, is it really the highest “Y” in the world?"
"That's what they say. Shall we start?” Democratic? Sure. Note the non-directiveness, the comradery.
"What do ya say we take the trail, OK?”
The trail it was. We would help one another, I explained, I'd never make it the way the boys were going ...using the trail is no picnic, either....
For a four-year old she can walk fast. "Let's rest, Sis, and look at the view.”
Below us to the west lay Provo. What a picture! A conglomerate of green— green fields, green trees, green grass—framed by Utah Lake and ringed by the rugged mountains of the Wasatch fuses the present. to the past: two-storied, sturdy brick homes of an earlier era rest beside the horizontal steel, glass, and synthetic structures of the impatient twentieth century. Gray asphalt streets crisscrossing the floor of the valley seem to lace the intermingled cultures and incongruous architectural patterns together. Punctuating the outlying green fields brown and white cattle graze as their kind have done in Utah Valley for more than a century. A freight train gives a convulsive wheeze as it spews grayish smoke into the air.
"Come on, Dad; everybody's way ahead of us,” Dianne said with an impatient frown.
We continued…. A recent rain had loosened small rocks and softened the soil. This made the climb “more exciting” as the boys put it later. The brief rest and feigned enthusiasm did little to ward off the reality of the problem—the mountain. Unaccustomed exertion and altitude began to take their inexorable toll. With heart pounding and legs the consistency of Jello, I managed a controlled gasp.
“Dianne, let’s stop a minute while I tie your shoe.”
“It isn’t untied, Dad. Let’s hurry. We’re never going to get there.”
“Oh, so it isn’t. Well, let’s go then.” From up the trail we heard two feminine voices in gay song: “I love to go a-hiking along the mountain trail, balderee, balderall—"
“Falderall! That’s what it is—Falderall. I’d love to go a-hiking. I’d love to pop some corn. I’d love to be home reading the sports page. Besides, I should be correcting some papers.”
“Why are you puffing, Dad?” Kathleen shouted, somewhat tantalizingly it seemed to me. “My hike-o-meter shows only three-eighths of a mile.”
Three-eighths of a mile! Seems more like eighty. There oughta be a different kind of measurement. They should count mountain climbing miles something like the gasoline people measure ton miles, or whatever it is, in the economy runs. Let’s see: body weight times waist measurement, times age, divided by Provo elevation over accustomed elevation squared, minus blood pressure to get a standard score. This could be expressed in a percentile norm which should take into consideration the degree of large muscle activity associated with a given occupation—but maybe the heat’s getting me.
“You’re thinking, aren’t you, Dad?” This from my hiking buddy who would often snap me out of my reverie at home with this question.
“Huh? Oh, yeah.”
“Daddy, carry me. My legs hurt.” She was tired. Carry her I did.
Shade cast by a gnarled oak twenty yards up the trail beckoned. My temples were pounding. A wave of nausea swept over me. I felt like I was going to be sick. Lungs unused to such exertion and altitude protested. Pain stabbed my back. But on and on! Over hill, over dale! “It’s little more than a mile,” friends had said.
Reaching the shade we rested momentarily. “Let’s walk awhile now, Sis.”
“But, Daddy.”
“When I was on the track team, the coach told me not to stop suddenly after a race. He said keep striding, or your legs will tie up. You don’t want your legs to tie up, do you?”
“Were you on the track team at BYU, Dad?”
“Oh, in high school?”
“No—er—well, I was the third fastest boy in the seventh grade at my school—and I was eraser monitor,” I added lamely.
The look of indifference told me I’d lost my stature. Fathers can’t afford to lose stature with their daughters. They must be big and strong and brave.
“Want to ride on my shoulders again, Sis?” At least I could make a show of being strong.
“Give me men to match my mountains—hah!”
She assented. “I love to hideaway, out beside that Utah trail….” I’m afraid my show of bravado wasn’t that convincing. What was once a trim waist bulged bellows-like ahead of me, protruding and receding as I gasped for breath in the thin air.
“New hope was kindled for ahead was our goal as they say on TV. A block letter “Y” formed of whitewashed rocks some 200 yards ahead was like an oasis to a desert traveler.
There, beside the elongated “Y,” we had our family night, Mother presiding, I recuperating.
“Who was Joseph Smith?” This from Carol, not one to miss an opportunity to teach the children the gospel. Kathleen, eager to respond (I suspect she’s a hand waver at school), Bradley carefully eying a beetle, David throwing rocks with abandon; and Dianne gazing at the panorama 1,000 feet below us presented an interesting picture. In turn each child told something about Joseph Smith, and Brad rounded out the discussion by defining a prophet.
"Daddy, what would you like to discuss?" This from Carol, seemingly as fresh as when we had begun the ascent an hour earlier.
A bit recovered by now and invigorated by the view below, I led a discussion. What a visual aid was afforded from this height!
I climbed Timpanogos once; walked to the Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon once, and now l have climbed the "Y" once. Democracy? Not in this family. The priesthood holder is the head of his family. I'm .the head of our house, by golly. What's that President Richards once said: "Put Father back as the head of the house"?
"What's that?" I had difficulty believing what I heard—"Kids, next week would you rather watch the rodeo parade in Lehi or hike to Timpanogos Cave?"
"Now wait a minute—wait—"
"Out of order," the chair ruled.
Say, know where I can get some good hiking boots?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Bradley Lunt Hill Family Reunion - June 2008

Simon and Jodi are leaving for Munich at the end of June. They're committed for at least two years to Simon's new employer, and they could stay for as many as five years. Since we probably won't all be together until their return, we decided to piggy-back with the larger Lunt reunion and have our own informal get-together. Scott and Sasha hosted us all in Draper. Here you see us on a Saturday morning hike/bike ride and in a Sunday-after-church pose. What a glorious weekend it was!

My brother, David is also going to Europe. In his case, he will be a mission president for three years in the Balkan states. We used the occasion of the Lunt reunion to get a group photo of our generation of the Clovis Lee Hill Family.

And I just had to include this photo of Kathleen, Dianne's sweet daughter!


Lunt Cousin Reunion 2008 - American Fork

This photo is blurry. I'll swap it out as soon as one of you shares a better one. Thanks to all of you for being there, and thanks especially the organizers.

On the way back to La Mesa, Lupe and I snapped this photo of Great Grandpa Henry's stature in Cedar City.

Grandpa’s Pocket Watch

One summer between 1960 and 1968 a bunch of us cousins were at the farm. Grandma was cleaning out the southeast bedroom and she invited us in to look in the top drawer of one of the dressers. It was full of watches and other trinkets. She invited each one of us to select a treasure as a keepsake. My brother, David, picked a gold watch, and I grabbed this one.
None of them worked, so we just tucked them away with other loose items once we got home. I think we dismantled David’s watch. I tried a few times during high school to have a jeweler repair this silver watch, but no one could. I did have the original cracked crystal replaced.
Grandpa died while I was on my mission in Central America. Later, while studying at BYU in the early 1970’s, I was stressed and depressed over school and life’s decisions. For some reason I started fiddling with the watch, and to my surprise, it started ticking! I felt like Grandpa was reaching through the veil to encourage me -- and not be such a wimp.
The watch has started without fail every time I have wound it since then. It takes between 19 and 21 turns to wind it. It has a double back, as shown here. If the inscribed numbers are a date, then the watch case was made in September of 1914. The watch itself appears to have been made in 1878, meaning it had an owner prior to Grandpa. Could it have been Great Grandpa Henry?

The reason that the movement and case serial numbers are unrelated is because up until the 1920's, almost all American watches were sold separately from the watch cases. People would go to the local jewelry store, pick out a watch movement that they liked, and then with the money left over, they would pick out a watch case. Or, if they were more interested in fashion than the watch's time keeping ability, they would pick out a case they liked and used the money left over for the watch movement. The jeweler would then put the movement and the case together. With only a few exceptions, the watch companies and watch case companies were completely unrelated business.
In addition, watch cases tended to wear out much quicker than the watch movements. So, the owner would sometimes go through two or three cases over the life time of the watch. Obviously, these later cases can't be related to the movement serial number.
Even after the 1920's, when watch companies started selling cased watches, the watch companies still bought the watch cases from outside sources and the serial numbers were still unrelated.
Search Results For Serial "579971" (273,000 watches of this model were made)
Serial Number SN Range Quanty Name Year grade size code jewels Adj/reg/etc.
-------------- -------- ------ ---- ---- ----- ---- ------ ------ ------------
579971 579001 1000 ADV 1878 10* 18s hfg2lb 11j


Bravo, Emily!

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