Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Storyteller's Saga - In Memory of My Grandpa-- Darrell D. Wood 1921-2014

During my final quarter at Utah State University in 1997, I took an Advanced English
class from Dr. Helen Cannon. Dr. Cannon was pretty intimidating. For the class,
we all were required to subscribe to “The New Yorker Magazine” and read it from
cover to cover each month. We had to study and practice this style of writing. Our
final piece was due right after the Memorial Day weekend and I hadn’t come up
with a topic to write on. We were asked to write a research essay as a reporter
using a lot of dialogue.  Over the Memorial Day weekend, I went with my family up
to Grandpa and Grandma’s cabin. As we were sitting around the kitchen table, my
essay began to take shape. We were all laughing so hard and I could not write
things down fast enough. I kept telling Grandpa to stop talking for a second so I
could write everything down. Here is essay I wrote about Grandpa Wood!!--ERIN

A Storyteller’s Saga
“You really ought to hear it.”

 Written by Erin Peterson
 May 30, 1997

Nestled amidst tall, slender quaking aspens and short, stocky evergreen pine
trees, lies a family getaway in Stoffer Mountain.  “Wood’s Woods” best describe
the ten acre plot of land known as “our summer home”.  Early in the spring, the
gravel road turns into a mud slide, with gaping tracks left by four wheel drive on
and off road vehicles, leaving large pools of rainwater.  “I hope we can make it
past the Smiley Faced Cabin this year so we don’t have to hike in” Mom said.
During the later part of May it is difficult to drive directly to the cabin without any
problems.  “Do you remember when we came to the cabin three years ago and we
got stuck?” Aleece reminded me.  Riding up in Grandpa’s “Green Machine”—a
gutless lime green Volkswagen Bus —how could anyone forget these memories
made years before?
Grandpa and Grandma Wood purchased land near Liberty, Idaho over
twenty years ago.  In 1978, they bought their first Mobile home trailer, hoping
they would be able to find “a place to relax and get away form the busy world”.  It
definitely is a place of relaxation and rest, with the added conveniences of home.
As we go swerving around through the trees at high speed, anticipation
mounts until the cabin comes into view.  Wood’s summer home is very different
and unique–two trailer houses connected side by side with a large A-frame roof
overhead constitutes their cabin in the woods.  A large redwood deck lines the
Mobile homes on two sides, complete with a three piece lawn furniture set plus
matching cushions and colorful oriental lanterns that dance in the wind.  The
freestanding blue and white striped hammock has also found its place on the deck,
alongside the linoleum-covered electrical spool used as a table while cooking
Dutch oven chicken and cheesy Dutch oven potatoes.  Above the door hangs a
discarded piece of pine, strung on a piece of flaxen cord, engraved with the words,
“Welcome to the Mountains”.  The cabin is loaded with all the essential
necessities of home: drinkable running water, flushing toilets, electricity, minus a
telephone.  Inside is a large assortment of modern conveniences: two gas stoves,
two kitchen sinks, two large refrigerators, a portable dishwasher, a deep freezer (a
new addition this trip —“I bought this freezer for only $75 at the Deseret
Industries with a ten-percent frequent shopper discount.  It was a steal” Grandma
said proudly, “Did I tell you I also got the three piece lawn furniture set at the D.I.
two summers ago for only $35 with the matching cushions?”), a small microwave
oven, a long man-made table which seats at least twelve comfortably with
mustard, tomato spice and chocolate colored kitchen chairs.  Recycled couches,
lamps, chairs, tables, curtains, bed mattresses, bedspreads and wall
hangings–which I have seen hundreds of times before coming to the cabin –fill the
large rectangular living room and four bedrooms.  Under toe dividing the kitchen
and living room, the carpet in one trailer is hazel-nut brown and other side is olive
green sprinkled with orange.  “I’m sure glad these couches never stayed in our
house long,” David said as he flopped onto one of the two matching puke green
and tan striped couches–couches which transform into queen-sized beds at
nighttime, changing the living room into a four-man bunkhouse, at least.
“At twenty-five after, I have to take the cake out of the oven” Grandma
Wood exclaims. “You can’t let me forget!” Shauna, Vicki, Jared, and Aleece all
nod their heads in agreement. It was Monday afternoon, breakfast had just been
cleared from the table and everyone sat down to relax and talk.
Grandpa is the official cabin chef, especially for breakfast. Grandpa has his
own special words for everything. “Who wants another hotcake? Rachael, do you
want a bullet or a softy? Who’s ready for water and moo juice in their hot
chocolate? You want just cold cereal? - you’ll die of starvation before noon!
Cereal is food fit for squirrels.”
“Where is David?” Shauna questioned. “He’s supposed to be watching ‘The
Last of the Mohicans’ today so we can write his English paper before school
tomorrow. Has anyone seen the movie before?”
“We have it. Aunt Vicki said. “‘The Last of the Mohicans’ is a pretty good
movie. It’s rated R because of the violence. The Mohican's are dying every two
seconds until there are only two survivors, I think.” No sooner had she completed
her sentence then Grandpa emerged from the bathroom. “Grandpa, why are you
wearing a bandanna around your head,” Aleece questioned as she looked at his
black, hot pink and turquoise bandanna. All eyes turned to Grandpa as he placed his
hand on top of his head, fingers spread apart, pointing upwards to give the
appearance of feathers on an Indian Headdress. He proceeded to mimic an Indian
dance, yelling out an Indian warhoop, “Oooo-ooo, Oooo-oooo” while bouncing up
and down in a circle around the room. Realizing that five pairs of eyes were
watching from the kitchen table, he pulled out his dentures and yelled “Look at
this” while grinning a toothless grin. Eyes were wet as laughter filled the room.
“Stop! Stop! Stop! I yelled between laughs, “my side hurts!” Since Grandpa was
the star of the show, he made a few more faces before Grandma jabbed him in the
stomach, gave him “The Look”, and muttered, “Deb” with embarrassment in her
voice. “Always the center of attention!”
“Oh look, there’s a deer...a dear little tree,” he said as his voice trailed off to
almost a whisper as he gazed at the mountain from the window.
“Did you know I was born in the same house my father was? I have some
great memories of that house in Spanish Fark.” Grandpa reminisced. Darrel D.
Wood – or better know by “close friends” as Deb – was born February 28, 1921 to
Amos Benoni and Sarah Ann Durfey Wood. “Dad, tell us a story of when you
were younger and lived next to Grandma who had the lilac bush. What’s that one
about going to church?” Shauna questioned. “You mean the one about my
neighbors?” “No the one about church at night. When you would stay home and
Grandma and Grandpa went.” “Oh ya, I remember that...let me think.” Sunday
School was always held during the daytime back in those days and Sacrament
Meeting at night. “Never be late–Always be there at 10 o’clock in the morning”
Grandpa sang. “It’s in the old, old, songbook. You remember that Muma?” he said
looking at Grandma. Sacrament Meeting was from 7-8 p.m. and “only the adults
went because the kids were too noisy.” Grandpa and his brothers and sisters would
stay home along and play “Animal Pens”. “As soon as my parents walked out the
door, we started throwing all the cushions off the couches and chairs to build cow
and pig pens. I always wanted to be an animal because they — my brothers and
sisters – would throw raisins and bread crumbs at me. I always wanted to be a pig
because then I could eat more” Grandpa explained.
“Grandpa, don’t you want to sit down?” Jared questioned. “You’ve been
standing and telling stories for quite a while.” “Jared, Grandpa has to stay
standing; he can’t think sitting down” Shauna alluded. “I can’t sit on my brains!”
Grandpa said laughingly. “Let’s see, I remember another game....”
“He has to make up another story,” Grandma whispered thinking Grandpa
wouldn’t hear her. “No, I just got to remember it. I don’t remember the name that’s
all.” In a square are, draw the face of a die with five dots in the sand. Everyone
grabs a heavy bomber – a club used for hockey or better known as a tree limb.
Everyone has a designated hole, “I think”. You wait ten seconds and yell “Old
Sow”. “Oh ya, I remember the name – it just slipped my mind a sec. It’s Old Sow.”
Spot, Jack, Ab, Wally and I would always play these games.” “Who are Spot and
Wally? Did you ever call anyone by their real name?” Shauna inquired.
“Grandpa, I don’t think I’ve ever heard your war story about the bomb” I
began. “Will you tell us what really happened?” Grandpa fought in World War II
from 1941-1945. To my knowledge, he has only brought the subject up once
before to my mother as she was growing up. Talking about the war is very difficult
for my Grandpa. He saw many of his close friends from Spanish Fork, Utah die.
“We were all in a unit together. We enlisted to serve in the United States Army
together. We enlisted together, served together and some of us returned home
together. Some we had to leave behind.”
“We thought we were on our way to Guam, but then we thought we got
dropped off early in Saipan.” Later they realized they were on a small island
named Tinian, which is now part of the Micronesia Islands. “One day Wally
Smith, Russ Isaac and I went to the airstrip where the P-47 airplanes flew in. As
we walked along the airstrip, we saw a P-47 coming in for a landing. There was a
bomb hanging off the rack that never dropped. As soon as the aircraft lowered
itself closer to the ground, the bomb “hit the ground and was jarred loose” from
the aircraft carrier and sent rolling down the airway. The bomb that was dropped
had a time fuse. “As soon as we saw the bomb rolling towards us, we took off
running. I never ran so fast in my entire life.” Grandpa’s good friend Russ
weighed 225 pounds while “Wally and I weighed only 145 pounds. I never saw
Russ run so fast. He passed us all and made it to the dirt hills first.” We waited and
waited and waited, lying stomach down on the earth, yet nothing happened.
“Don’t ya think it’s safe to look now?” Russ asked.
“I ain’t lookin’,” Wally interjected.
“Me either. It sure is taking a long time for that bomb to go off.” Russ said.
“Man, you two are just scared! How long does it take for the time fuse to go
off anyway? A minute or two?” Grandpa inquired.
“I don’t remember, those two weeks of basis training last year weren’t quite
long enough. I wish I could remember these things but I’m so darn scared, I can
barely remember my first name,” Wally interjected.
Finally, after waiting behind the small dirt hill for what seemed like an
eternity, “I poked my head out from behind the dirt hill to see what had happened
to the bomb.” The earth sat motionless, which was distinctly different than the
other bombs I had seen explode. I lay peering across the airstrip until “my eyes
rested upon the bomb. It was still in tact! The bomb just stopped and sat there in
one place!”
“That was one luck day” Grandpa concluded. “I still don’t know why that
bomb never exploded. There’s a reason why I’m still kickin’ now.”
“Doesn’t that look like a piece of sugarless cake?” Magically cakes and
brownies turn sugarless whenever Grandpa wants a piece. “Deb, your diabetes,”
Grandma reminds him. “Oh, a little sugar won’t hurt me none.”
Grandpa is a retired gas station operator and barber. He always fills us up
with stories from his childhood, stories he heard at the station, and “facts” about
the lives of his clients as a barber. “Do you remember Porky Buys from Payson? I
think his first name was Ray.” Times were hard during the war. Porky had a whole
litter of kids and money was kind of tight. Porky used to go to the store, buy two
T-bone steaks and a dozen weenies. Porky would tie the weenies to the chandelier
and while the kids were jumping up and down, trying to eat the weenies,” he said,
“my wife and I would eat the steaks. I don’t think the kids ever knew.”
“Do any of you know what is a spurt?” Grandpa questioned. “No”.. “No” ...
“No” chorused throughout the kitchen. “It’s a drip under pressure” he said as he
walked over to the kitchen faucet. He turned it on a little until water drizzled out,
slowly like a piece of string. He quickly stuck his finger under the faucet so water
shot directly into my lap. “Oh, that reminds me of something else. This is a .... sort
of like a test.” Walking over to the kitchen cupboards, he pulled out a funnel. “Sit
up straight,” he instructed his wife as he set the tip of the funnel down her shirt.
He placed a two liter pop bottle lid on her head filled with ice water. Grandma had
no idea what was up his sleeve. She was directed to shake the lid into the funnel
on her back, which she did obediently. No sooner had the cap fallen into the
funnel, then Grandma let out a scream. “Why did you pour water down my back?”
Grandpa’s reply was, “I used to do it all the time to my sister and she didn’t mind.”
“Well, I am NOT your sister.” Grandpa exclaimed.  Just then Shayna walked in the
door and asked, “Grandpa, why did you pour water down Grandma’s shirt?” Jared
took the words right out of Grandpa’s mouth when he said, “That’s what happens
when you’ve been married 51 years.”  “You just wait until this summer! I’ll get
you with the hose!” Grandma jokingly threatened.
Grandpa Wood has his own vocabulary that only members of the family can
decode. He’s always making “suicides” — mixing every kind of soda or Kool-aid
together you can find to drink.  If you write “slanch ways”, you are really writing
sideways at a slant. “I’m fresher than you” means you don’t stink as bad as
someone else. “Moo juice” is none other than milk from a cow, and not the
“watery skim milk.”“If it’s burned —it’s done.” “Target paste” refers to – well,
this word needs a little more explanation.
“Aren’t we going to have some ‘target paste’ with our leftover Dutch oven
potatoes tonight?” “Why do you call gravy ‘target paste’ Grandpa?” My dad is the
only one who knows what target paste is. The explanation I received on target
paste is that it is “goop” you stick on a tree that holds a target for shooting
practice. (I guess only men in the United States Army would know that.) “It ends
up black and sticky when target practice is over.” Dad always said that having
gravy referred to as target paste wasn’t too complimentary to my Grandma’s
cooking. “Well, isn’t Dad the one who always make the gravy at Thanksgiving
and Christmas?” Vicki interjected. “If so, you just criticized your own cooking.”
Grandpa’s quite the “character”. Always make sure he’s standing up to tell a
story or he just might sit on his own brains!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Grandpa- Darrell "Deb" Wood

Darrell D. "DEB" Wood
February 28, 1921 – February 19, 2014
Darrell D. "DEB" Wood returned to our Heavenly Father on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. He was born on February 28, 1921, to Amos B. and Sarah Ann Durfey Wood in Spanish Fork, Utah. Deb graduated from Spanish Fork High School, is a veteran of World War II, and graduated from Salt Lake Barber College. Deb married Betty Raye Keele on April 17, 1946, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. 

He was a licensed barber and managed the Cash Saver Service Station on Riverdale Road. Deb's customers were his friends. He asked about their families and even knew many of their birthdays. He had a terrific memory.

An active member of the LDS Church, he served in numerous callings. Deb and his wife, Betty, were ordinance workers in the Ogden LDS Temple and served in the LDS Texas Houston Mission. He loved spending time with his family at their cabin in Idaho and camping with friends. Betty and Deb traveled throughout the United States and Europe. 

Deb is survived by his wife, Betty, daughters Vickie (Stephen) Funk, Shauna (Ronald) Peterson, Debbie (Wayne) Funk, and a son Dennis (Teresa) Wood, 23 grandchildren, 71 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild. Also surviving are brothers Jay (Glenda) Wood and Blaine (Mary) Wood, brother-in-law Arthur Slater, and sister-in-law Berniece Wood. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Lothair, Francillo, Kenneth, and sisters Thelma and Athene.

Deb loved his children and grandchildren. He knew all of them by name and their birthdays. He especially enjoyed the weekly family dinners and was always ready to go to a buffet. He loved playing games with friends and family. We love you Dad. We will miss you.

Funeral Services will be held on Monday, February 24, 2014, at 11:00 a.m., at the Roy Stake Center, 5127 South 2400 West in Roy, Utah. A viewing will be held Sunday, February 23, 2014 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Myers Roy Mortuary , 5865 South 1900 West in Roy, Utah, and on Monday from 9:30-10:30 a.m., prior to services at the church. 

Interment will be in the Roy City Cemetery where military honors will be accorded. - See more at: