I know I’m not the only one who feels like time is disappearing like ice cubes in hot water (there ought to be a better analogy than that, but it’s early-morning). It’s the last day of August! (Fei calls it Hogust). And it’s time to leave the mountains for a few days. It’s been delicious… I’ve tried to think of another word, but that one keeps popping up. And I say again that I have felt spoiled. Or is it just a nice blessing after being so constantly “home-bound” for so long. This has been wonderful. Up here it feels like my favorite season has begun. Yesterday there was an incredible thunderstorm with a very tall rainbow. The colors are changing. There have been elk and deer and soaring hawks – oh, isn’t it great watching hawks! And yes: The clean, fresh air. What a lot of blessings!! And I’ve been able to get a lot done on the book I’m writing. I’m really hoping it can be published. We’ll see.

Today we go back down to the valley, and so far the air quality indicates GREEN… so I don’t have to wear masks or stay inside. Hope it lasts! We’ll be going to the Temple (the Park City Temple hasn’t even been announced yet…. Grin). I get to see my great/grand nephew Alex from Georgia who enters the MTC on Weds. Spanish. Calif Santa Rosa. And it’s time to teach our first religion class on Wednesday morning – I can hardly wait! I love working and preparing, and it will be good to see all our class members again. Our plan is to come back up here on Wednesday afternoon. I’m already looking forward to coming back for a few days, and we haven’t even left yet. I wish all of you a very nice Monday. Unexpectedly pleasant.






Johnny Hart

I thought I’d enjoy sharing with you something about one of my favorite cartoonists, Johnny Hart. He may have been one of your favorites too.  He was born 18 February 1931 and died 07 April, 2007 (age 76).  Among other things, he created B.C. and Wizard of Id.  He was an extraordinary cartoonist.  He died of a stroke while working at his drawing table.  He was raised in a casually religious family and attended Christian Sunday School regularly. He was fascinated with the Bible. In 1984 there was a shift in Hart’s spirituality. He said his religious awakening happened because of his encounter with a father-son team of contractors who installed a satellite dish at his home. His increasingly deep religious faith and his staunch conservatism became a source of considerable controversy in the later years of his life.  Some newspapers refused to print strips with overtly religious themes (or, as with the Los Angeles Times), moved them to the religious section of the paper.  I’m going to include a few cartoons, and I hope they don’t disappear after I post them (this has happened quite a bit, and I don’t know why or how, so I don’t know how to fix it). So here’s hoping you can see what I’ve shared (if not just enjoy the text from a few of my favorites).





A tribute to Hart from Bruce Tinsley in his Mallard Fillmore strip:


There was also a tribute in the “Wizard of Id” strip: Two peasant women are talking. One who has just bought some flowers says: “How come you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day?” and the other answers: “My Hart isn’t in it this year.”



“B.C.” by Johnny Hart

In olden times lost souls besought sweet solace from the gloom

Of all the sin that man had wrought in conquest of his doom. 

And then one night a ray of hope shone down from one bright star,

And in that morn, a King was born, who loves us as we are. 




“B.C.” by Johnny Hart

Picture yourself tied to a tree,

Condemned of the sins of eternity.

Then picture a spear parting the air,

Seeking your heart to end your despair.

Suddenly — a knight, in armor of white,

Stands in the gap betwixt you and its flight,

And shedding his “armor of God” for you

— bears the lance that runs Him through.

His heart has been pierced that yours may beat,

And the blood of His [body] washes your feet.

Picture yourself in raiment white,

Cleansed by the blood of the lifeless knight,

Never to mourn the prince who was downed,

For he is not lost!  It is you who are found.


BC CARTOON  ‘ THE SEED ‘  by Wiley












I want to be 6 again

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, observing his wife, looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she’d like to have for her Birthday. ‘I’d like to be six again’, she replied, still looking in the mirror. On the morning of her Birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Monster Roller Coaster, everything there was. Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald’s where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M’s. What a fabulous adventure!  Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, ‘Well Dear, what was it like being six again?’ Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed. “I meant my dress size.”

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is the anniversary of the birth of my Mother, and I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a tribute I wrote for/about her in 1999. She had 10 more years to leave (she and our Father both lived to be 95). Dad had been gone since December of 1997 (they were 12 years apart in age). (Please remember that I hate to proof-read; thanking you)

Ella Mary Middleton was born in Rigby, Idaho, on 29 August 1914, to Charles Franklin and Mary Wolfensburger Middleton. Most of her young life was spent in Fullerton, California. She graduated from Fullerton Union High School and was such an outstanding athlete that they gave her a permanent pass to attend any athletic function at the high school for the rest of her life. Her main sport was tennis. She went into nurse’s training at Orange County Hospital and graduated in 1936.  She did post-graduate work including time at Shriner’s Hospital in San Francisco.  She was a surgical supervisor at Hanford Sanitarium.

On 22 June, 1937, Mom married Paul K Edmunds in the Mesa Arizona Temple. They lived in Corcoran, California and drove 25 miles to attend Church. Mom worked as office nurse to our father, a physician. In 1938, Paul K Edmunds Jr. was born. Then in 1939 the family moved to Van Nuys, California. I was born in 1940 in downtown Los Angeles (Good Samaritan Hospital) . Charlotte came along two years later and chose to be born in Hollywood. In 1943 our family moved to Cedar City, Utah where we would stay for 14 years. Five more children came to be with us — Susan in 1946, Franklin Middleton in 1950, John M in 1951, Ann M in 1953 and Richard M in 1956.  Dad worked as a “family doctor” and “house-call doctor” for these 14 years. Mom was active in the nurse’s organization and also in the medical auxiliary group. During the war she would help to train nurse’s aides. Mostly she was at home, a fact we deeply appreciated as children.

Mom and Dad bought a huge flour mill (I mean huge… we’re not talking about something which would fit on any kitchen counter), which we still have, and milled whole wheat flour which we’d sell in 5 and 10-pound sacks. We could follow Paul around Cedar City by looking for the exploded flour sacks which had fallen off his bike. In our home there was always lots of activity, lots of books, great dramas on the radio, and much music. At one time there were at least 3 of us taking piano lessons plus violin, cello and clarinet. How do parents do it?? Our parents have always allowed us to be unique — our own person. Charlotte’s dolls went to dances, and mine went to war. One year for Christmas Mom and Dad turned a little room in our home into a “play store.” They had worked on it all year. It turns out everyone in the neighborhood had been opening all their things carefully during that year, and Uncle Leo (our neighbor who was a carpenter) put them back together — a block of wood in the package of a bar of soap, water in soup cans and so on. There was even a little cash register with play money, and a scales on which to weigh such things as dried beans and peas, which were put in little paper sacks. We learned so much from our little store. During these years Mom taught Red Cross home nursing and baby care classes at the high school and also to community groups, including the Paiute Indian women who lived in a little village at the north of our town.

After we moved to Mapleton she continued teaching Red Cross home nursing classes and did so for a total of 20 years. She received a special service award.  She was involved in lots of other community service including the PTA, high school health fairs, parades and such. Mom was the one who used to provide a huge, unforgettable picnic for ALL the Little League participants at the end of the season. It was an “all-you-could-eat” affair, and boys that age DO eat! Mom was the one who invited the people who came to work in the orchards in the summer to come and wash their clothes, get a drink, watch TV or take a bath. I remember Jim Cocking who lived in the tiny house down the street and how tenderly Mom cared for his live-in girlfriend, Nellie, especially when she gave birth to a little baby. Mom organized a “shower” for her so she’d have plenty of baby supplies, and Mom was the one who took her to the hospital when the baby came. And, while she was there, Mom completely cleaned and fixed up the little house. Mom would take Nellie to get her hair done at the beauty parlor once a week because she said it gave Nellie such a lift. She has always been willing to care for those sick enough to go to the hospital but whose families wanted them to die at home. Florence Corry, Nellie Allen, and David Whiting to mention just a few.

There were always extra people staying or living with us. From the time we were little we got acquainted with relatives and strangers from all over the world. They were always welcome, and they were never strangers for more than a few minutes. Aunt Florence, Grandmother Edmunds, Grand Ida, Margaret Andrade from Mexico, Alia Raad from Lebanon, Mom’s little brother Jimmy, our Navajo Sister Pamela, John Muir from England, Radene from the Philippines, Marie Lehman from Holland, Trudy from Bountiful, 8 student nurses at one time (and Mom would get up early and make about 17 LUNCHES every single morning…YES! we were SPOILED!). Frans, who had no parents, and Jim, Pamela Allen whose Mother was dying of emphysema, Akram and Nasrat from Damascus, Russell from Ogden, Naoko and Yoko from Japan, Darsi from Indonesia, Davy from Washington, Julio from Mexico, friends from the Philippines….  Some stayed a few days or weeks, some a few months or years, and some stayed until they died.

Another “hallmark” of our life was animals. We always had at least one dog and sometimes had 14 or 15 (during the years Mom raised St. Bernards). We had horses, donkeys, chickens, turkeys, guinea pigs, mice, cats, pollywogs, bunnies, Shetlands, salamanders, turtles, birds, lambs, pigs, ducks, geese, and cows (Mom milked the cows for at least 30 years when we first moved to Mapleton). We became very attached to our animals. I remember when Mom and Dad stopped killing and cleaning the turkeys themselves and we’d gather them up and drive them down to Salina. One year when Mom and I went, she had the people really wondering as she called goodbye to each “bird” as if she knew them personally. With pretended emotion she called out “Goodbye, Ethel. Thanks, Gertrude. I appreciate your sacrifice, Thelma!” The folks at the processing plant could only wonder if she was serious. I tried not to laugh. We put on some crazy hats and gowns and went in and watched them go through the whole process. Mom was (and probably still is) hilarious! Having so many animals has been a source of joy and also a source of much learning. I will remember forever what it felt like to see Mom sitting alone out on the back porch or out in the orchard, sobbing at the death of a cow….

We were taught to work. We all have memories of those summer mornings when we’d get up at 4:00 a.m. and go pick cherries or raspberries, or pod peas or something. One morning when Charlotte and I weren’t working as fast as Mom thought we should she gave us each a pill saying it would help us. It sure did! We were like machines on high speed the whole day. It wasn’t until we crashed that night that Mom revealed she had given us each one of her diet pills….

Both Mom and Dad were always true and faithful in the Church. Mom served as Relief Society president several times (remember the bazzars??) and has done a lot with Primary and Young Women. I remember the year Charlotte and I got to go with her when she took her Beehive girls to Zion National Park for a camping adventure. She had the girls do such creative things as having as many tourists as possible from as many different places as possible autograph toilet paper…. Mom was always fantastic with young people.  Whether it was scouting or road shows or MIA camp or neighborhood stuff, she’s always been a “hit.” She earned her Silver Beaver award for all year many years in Scouting.  She deserved it! I’ve loved reading things and hearing things from about “her Scouts.” My brothers and sisters and I were pressed into service many times for a “Scout-O-Rama” (her troop always seemed to take first place) or girls’ camp or whatever and have seen her in action.  She has had many memorable moments including the year she taught the young women how to cook a turkey in a pit. She was a very popular skit person for young women’s camp and almost always was the one to teach first-aid. I especially remember Shane, Mom’s Scout who everyone said couldn’t be a Scout because he had Down’s Syndrome. Mom disagreed and brought him into her troop and loved him dearly. One year he got away from Mom at the Scout-O-Rama and was up on the main stage with all the dignitaries. People remarked at how sweet it was to see her go up and whisper kindly in his ear and have him come with her immediately. Later we found out that what she had whispered was something like “Come with me right this instant, Shane, or I’ll wring your neck!” How Shane loved Mom! She picked him up for every single meeting and every single event, and when he’d see her coming he’d run towards her with open arms and great enthusiasm. I’ll never forget the day he got his First Class Scouting award. As he stood in the chapel grinning out at the audience he spied Mom and ran right down to climb over people to reach her and hug her. I think we all cried.

As a special project for the Bicentennial in 1976, Mom got her scouts together and they decided they’d like to help get a flag for Mapleton. Mom made “tons” of chocolates and the boys helped package and sell it. They aimed for about $40 but got over $400 and ordered a beautiful flag from New York. Mom would regularly go to Deseret Industries and hunt for old uniforms so all the boys could be fully outfitted even if they couldn’t afford new stuff. In the years after those Scouting ones, Mom spoke at countless Eagle award ceremonies and missionary farewells. She treasured the letters she received from literally all over the world. And she’d write letters to these dear Scouts. One wrote her from Fort Leonard Wood to say that his drill Sargent made a comment on the envelope decorations she came up with.

I remember the letters and packages I used to get while serving as a missionary or living away from home. Mom would always stick hilarious things in, like pages (especially ads) from 50 yr-old magazines, huge rat traps, old aprons, things she’d purchased at D.I., toilet paper, and perhaps something crazy like an Avon catalog for my friends in Indonesia or Africa or somewhere else that had never heard of Avon.  When she sent one to Africa, she said she thought the Sisters out in the “bush” would enjoy having a Tupperware party. Mom took 20 years going through all Dad’s journals (he kept a daily journal for almost 70 years!) and write the history of our family in “long-hand.” We now have most of this material on computer. She made countless picture books which are priceless collections of our family in action through the years.

Almost every year we would have a family vacation. Mom and Dad never went anywhere without us (which, as they looked back, may have been a mistake… grin).  One of the most memorable trips was the year 8 of the 10 of us went all the way to Niagara Falls in one car. Wheeee. This was before seat belts. We attended the Pageant in Palmyra along with many other adventures.  Mom was a very spontaneous person. I remember many times when she’d all of a sudden announce that we’d be having supper in the canyon. Off we went! It was not unusual for her to show up at an orchestra practice when we were in Jr. High and High School with a huge pan of fresh, hot cinnamon rolls. The summers I worked at Zion National Park (1956 and 1957), she’d show up on some of my days off with an enormous picnic complete with fried chicken, watermelon and chocolate cake.

Mom was an incredible cook and didn’t have to follow very many recipes. I remember sitting down to many a Thanksgiving dinner and realizing that almost everything was right from our own little farm — including the turkey. As Mom would say “We did everything ourselves except for the silverware, the plates and the salt!” What she meant was that she had done about everything herself. She taught herself so many things, like making butter and cheese and curds & whey, etc. But she became most famous for her chocolates,(and she continued being famous for her whole wheat bread and cakes and such). She began making candy in 1961 and, as always, became an expert. More than once she won “Best in the Show” at the county fair and collected many trophies and ribbons.

Mom was always very service oriented, and there’s not space or time to even scratch the surface in this category. She’d help anyone and everyone. For years she’d take Sisters Houtz, Whiting, Bunce and Young to do their weekly shopping and down to the Manti Temple and sometimes just out for a drive. Each year for more than 20 years she’d have several sessions of “Farm Day” where whole school classes and other groups would come to romp and play for hours. She’d plan it so there were baby chicks and ducks — lots to see and do. Often she’d hide hundreds of boiled eggs so the kids could have the fun of funding them. If there were fewer than 50 children she’d bake each one a little loaf of whole wheat bread. Sometimes there would be several busses and more than 100 children at a time. And if the kids couldn’t come to the animals, Mom would take the animals to the kids — right into their school rooms!

Mom had a wonderful, zany sense of humor. If you never heard her laugh hard you missed one of the great moments in life. She was so good at putting other people at ease. We’re convinced that one of the reasons she came back so remarkably from a stroke was because of her ability to laugh at herself and her circumstances. I remember the morning when I was with her at the hospital and she was going through the ward list to try to recognize names and bring back what the letters meant. She came to a particular name and I could see she was studying it intently. All of a sudden she laughed. “It’s me!” I also remember the day she was out by the gate after she’d come home from the hospital. Someone walking by stopped to visit and at some point asked her how old she was. She said “I am 100.” And then, hearing what she’d said, she laughed harder than he did. I remember the year someone was putting together a book about all the women who had served as Relief Society president in Mapleton.  They asked each to list their favorite scripture. Someone just happened to look up Mom’s before they printed their booklet (they knew her):  “Thou shalt not commit adultery!”

Mom had a pioneer spirit. Truly. She made her own soap, bottled thousands of quarts of fruit, milked cows, made butter and cheese, killed and cleaned her own chickens and turkeys, taught herself veterinary skills (many in the community would call her for advice), helped design and build a barn, planted huge gardens every year, learned to make apple juice and dry fruit . . . and on and on.  The only thing I can think of that she didn’t succeed at was her goal to play “Silent Night” on the organ. Her plan was to surprise us by playing it for the family on Christmas Eve. She even bought the organ and signed up for lessons, but it just didn’t “take.”

In 1965, the BYU Women honored Mom with a surprise “My Life in Review” and a special gift. In 1981 she was first runner-up as Mother of the Year for the state of Utah. As I mentioned she received a special 20-year service award from the Red Cross and an honorary Golden Gleaner award. And, as I also mentioned, she received the Silver Beaver award for her many years in Scouting. She  always seemed to have more hours in a day than anyone else I know, and more energy, enthusiasm for life, more tenderness underneath her humor and busy-ness….

Was she perfect? Of course not. But she was a wonderfully unique human being.  Here ae some excerpts from her obituary:  ELLA MARY MIDDLETON EDMUNDS / 29 AUGUST 1914 – 15 MAY 2009.  Ella Mary Middleton Edmunds passed away peacefully on 15 May, 2009, at her home with her son John, his wife Melanie, and their family in Orem, Utah. She became a genuine farmer during her many years in Mapleton, and was also known as a self-taught “vet.”  Many in the community called for advice. She made some of the best hand-dipped chocolates anywhere.  At her “peak” she was making around 45 varieties which were shipped far and wide.  Many LDS wards have had the blessing of a box of her chocolates on Mother’s Day through the years. One of the most endearing qualities of our Mother through her whole life has been her sense of humor and her infectious laugh.  Everyone has a collection of stories about something funny she has said or done.  She loved life! Ella has been a faithful, active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her entire life, serving in many positions including Relief Society president.  She’s also been a teacher and leader in both the Primary and MIA (Young Women), and she served with her husband Paul in the Provo Temple for several years. We offer a very special thank you to John, Melanie and their children for welcoming our Mother into their home, their family, and their lives, for so many years. They helped to make her last years and her last days so pleasant and peaceful. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, 21 May, at the LDS stake center on the corner of 800 East and 600 North in Orem, Utah, beginning at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, buy a cow.

OK… we actually had people contact us who did buy a cow! One was from a fellow who found a way to donate a cow to a family in Africa! There were some unique things about Mom’s viewing, funeral, and burial. There was a picture of Marilyn Monroe displayed prominently at each of the three “events.” That’s a long story for another day. A large furry St. Bernard was placed on top of the casket (in lieu of flowers). Each of the 8 of us spoke at her funeral (as we had done at Dad’s), starting with the youngest and ending with the eldest. I love the way my parents lived their lives — simply and happily with much generosity and contentment. We miss our parents. Dad was no less wonderful and amazing than Mom. Maybe I’ll do a tribute to him on his birthday. For now I suppose I can finish by saying to those of you who never met Mom that “I wish you could have known her.” She was “one of a kind,” just as your Mother probably is/was too!  Happy Birthday, Mom! (She would have been 101 today).




Here’s the way we’re going to handle this:  I’m going to share a puzzle, and you’re going to try to guess the answer. I’m going to give you time to think about it (this is a puzzle of logic).  Don’t let it interfere with the laundry, the grocery shopping, the loading and/or unloading of the dishwasher, “must-watch TV,” scripture study, personal prayers, ETC. And you don’t have to try to solve the puzzle – this isn’t homework, and you’re not competing with anyone: There will be no prizes or grades. It’s just for fun, OK? (And if you know the answer, please DON’T SHARE!  Give me my little bit of fun today. OH… and please DO NOT look at your neighbor’s paper. Thanking you.


Off you go!  Watch for the answer later today or first thing tomorrow morning.



Clean fresh air!

I’m in the mountains again, and I’m SO HAPPY!  I wasn’t too thrilled the other day when it started out green (and I felt SO enthusiastic and happy) and then turned yellow… It’s yellow “down there” today and tomorrow, but that’ THERE and I’m HERE. YUM! Saw a small herd of ELK yesterday, very close to us, wandering through the beautiful mountainside. Maybe 12-15. Magnificent! I’m giving time and attention to the book I’ve been working on (for and about lady missionaries) and hope to finish it while I’m up  here. And then I hope it will be worth publishing.  I’m having a pretty good time… it sure takes a lot of work (at least for mee) to write a book!

OK… the lost pictures. I know that many times the pictures I post disappear. I don’t who takes them (ha) … where they go. They just disappear! I have NO idea what I’m doing wrong… but there must be something, right? Will the designated specialist please check in.  Thanking you.  Meanwhile, I apologize for not being able to post the Monument Valley night-time sky again… I’ve tried and tried and can’t figure out how to do it. I’ll try to remember to re-post it when I get home.


The summer is over, the days are getting a tiny bit shorter each day, your vacation was fabulous (IF you had one… grin), there might be GREEN DAYS ahead! … AND … it’s time for TOFW again! TIME OUT FOR WOMEN! YES!  You can find out about all the coming events by going to I’m so excited that I’ll be in Arlington TX, St. George, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. Come and say hello! Watch for TOFG too! TIME OUT FOR GIRLS. They’ll have a fantastic time.  OH, and if you sign up for Arlington before MIDNIGHT tonight, you get a lower price. Wowza!  Love, MEE


Arlington TOFW:      Arlington TOFG:


One thing I pray for and think about a lot is being aware. I want to be more aware of the tsunami of blessings which I receive every single day. I want to be more aware of how blessed I am – and have always been. I want to be much more aware of others – of how they’re doing, and how I might be able to help (especially if it’s a “green” day and I can do some visiting). I want to write more notes and letters, especially to my family (increasingly scattered all over the place). I love it when I have a few pennies I can share with others (I love surprises – good ones [grin] – and I think most others do too). I know there is increased compassion, tenderness, and joy with increased awareness. I want to notice others, to be more aware of their suffering, their loneliness…  I found a poem which “reached mee,” and I think it was in an Ensign magazine. Sorry I can’t do a better job of remembering when and where I found it, but oh how I appreciate Miriam’s words.

God – let me be aware.
Let me not stumble blindly down the ways,
Just getting somehow safely through the days,
Not even groping for another hand,
Not even wondering why it all was planned,
Eyes to the ground unseeking for the light,
Soul never aching for a wild-winged flight,
Please, keep me eager just to do my share.
God – let me be aware.

God – let me be aware.
Stab my soul fiercely with others’ pain,
Let me walk seeing horror and stain,
Let my hands, groping, find other hands.
Give me the heart that divines, understands.
Give me the courage, wounded, to fight.
Flood me with knowledge, drench me in light.
Please – keep me eager to do my share.
God – let me be aware.

– Miriam Teichner b. 1888












What a woman!

This is INCREDIBLE! Here’s a woman replacing a landing gear wheel MID-AIR with NO PARACHUTE!!  This was Gladys Ingalls, and the film from 1924 (so it’s kind of “grainy,”) shows her doing this “mechanical feat.” Fantastic.  She was a member of a barnstorming troupe called the 13 Black Cats in the 1920’s. Ingalls was a WING WALKER. In this film, she shows her fearlessness in classic barnstorming fashion to save an airplane that has lost one of its main landing gear wheels.  She is shown with a replacement wheel being strapped to her back and then OFF SHE GOES as “Up She Goes,” a duet from the era, provides the soundtrack. In the film, Ingalls transfers herself from the rescue plane to the one missing the main landing gear tire. She then expertly works herself down to the undercarriage only a few feet from a spinning propeller.  It’s certainly a feat many mechanics wouldn’t even try on the ground with the engine running!  She died at the ripe old age of 82!​

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Gladys Ingalls

Gladys Ingalls2