Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cowboys in My Family

My grandfather was a cowboy. His grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1853 from Denmark to help settle the Utah Territory with the Mormons. The family arrived in New Orleans by ship and made the arduous journey over the plains. (Their trip was documented, and I received a copy of this hand-written account from my aunt several years ago.)

They settled in Spring City, south of Salt Lake. We visited the town in 2012 on a long road trip. After miles of barren desert, I was amazed to see trees and lots of green as we neared the area.

My great-grandfather, Marinus Lund, settled a farm and raised cattle. He even had his own brand.

It had been pressed into fresh concrete, and years later, one of my great uncles (by marriage) made a rubbing of it. I’d love to know where the original brand is, if it still exists.

My grandfather was one of twenty-three children. His mother died when he was seven, after giving birth to thirteen children. His father married a woman who already had six children, and they had four more together. Only two of the twenty-three died in infancy. The rest went on to live full lives—with many marriages. However, they were not polygamous.

Marinus’s family lived in a cabin on the farm. One of my second cousins made a sketch of it.
I can’t imagine raising twenty-three children in such a small place. We tried to find it when we visited, but apparently, it no longer exists. The town historian found the lot number from old tax records after we left. Maybe we’ll go back sometime and see if we can locate it.

My grandfather was a blacksmith and built a forge in his back yard in California. He used it well into his eighties.

Shortly after his marriage, he moved to Nevada, where my father was born. Two years later, they moved to Alberta, Canada to join his brother, Mariuns DeLoss Lund (known as DeLoss).

During their time in Canada, my aunts were born. For some reason, they decided to move to California.

Because my father died when I was very young, and he and his sisters were raised by other relatives, I never knew the reasons for either move.

DeLoss’s son, Clark Lund, became a professional cowboy, and competed in the Calgary Stampede. He won the All-Around in Calgary in 1939. In 1990, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Clark’s son, DC Lund (Darwin Clark), a veterinarian, also became a professional cowboy. He was named 1965 Southern Alberta Steer Wrestling Champion and was named All-around Champion in 1974. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

His wife, Patty Ivins (Lund), is a Calgary Stampede pioneer. She was one of the first barrel racing champions in 1959 and 1960.

Their son, Corb (Corby) Lund, competed as a child. However, his interest turned to music. He is famous in Canada as a country-western artist. You can find videos of him on YouTube.

When she was little, our daughter, Kim, was obsessed with all things cowboy. For her second birthday, her godfather gave her a cowgirl outfit. She wanted to wear it every day. She mounted her Wonder Horse and rode for hours.

Now she lives in Texas and wears her boots most of the time. She says she always felt at home there. Maybe she comes by her cowboy roots naturally.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why Travel?

This blog should come with a disclaimer: Travel is addictive.

We began making trips early in our marriage, first to places in the US and later farther afield.

Our first major trip, in 1979, was a three-week vacation to Hawaii. I worked for a year to pay for it. We planned with a travel agent and created our own itinerary. Five islands, eight flights, thirteen hotels later, we still hadn’t seen everything. It’s why we keep going back.

We have returned to Hawaii often, several times with good friends. Our last trip was in March of this year for a writing conference.

In 1980, we took a Caribbean cruise at the recommendation of friends. This was not our favorite vacation. I spent the whole week feeling queasy. However, we were one of the last cruise ships to dock in Haiti. This was the most severe poverty I had ever observed. One of the benefits of visiting foreign lands is the reminder of just how blessed we are.

In December of 1984, we had the joy of accompanying Kimberly’s high school choir when they sang in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Afterward, we toured Israel for a week with the group. I recently posted the link to the short video we made of the trip. It is fuzzy, and the sound isn’t perfect, but it still brings back special memories:

In 1993, our friend, Bob Schwenck, did a pulpit exchange in Scotland. Larry was reluctant to take time off work for a trip to visit there, but I finally negotiated for ten days. We visited with the Schwencks for a couple of days, and then split the remainder with my family and traveling a bit. As we boarded the plane for the return flight, Larry said, “We should have stayed longer.” Can you say annoyed?

We learned our lesson. We now take whatever time is required.

Between 1998 and 2001, we lived in Japan and received an in-depth education in the Japanese people and the country. While we were there, we tried to visit a different location each weekend. One of my Japanese coworkers said she thought we’d seen more of the country than she had.

During one holiday weekend in 2001, we had decided to travel to the northern island of Hokkaido. My friend contacted travel agencies and made inquiries. Even though we would only be gone three days, the cost was outrageous. (Earlier, we had made a trip to Okinawa to visit a friend, and it was also expensive.)

As we were investigating the options, the head of HR asked if we would like to take a trip to Beijing. It would be for a week, and it cost less than the trip we had been considering. Of course, we decided to go.

In 2003, right after I learned I was losing my job, an opportunity for a trip to Italy came to us. Rather than my normal caution, this time I decided we were going, no matter what. This country had been on my bucket list for many years. So, we went, and I never regretted a minute!

The following year, we went to Ireland with the same group. What a terrific experience. The highlight was a visit with my mother’s distant cousin, Jean, who invited the entire group to her home for tea.

We have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and many other places, with several more on the bucket list. In 2014, I checked off another when we traveled to France. The country was everything I had imagined and so much more!

When we retired in 2011, we went to San Mateo to visit my aunt and uncle. When we told them we were retiring, each of them said the same thing: “Travel.”

Where have you visited? What was your favorite place?