was only 29 that year. It was her first school. She had been going summers
to the University of Utah to get her certification to teach while Max and I had spent a long lonely
summer with Grandma on the old Vermillion ranch. We got so lonely we
tried to make an airplane out of an old
hayrake. Surely that contraption would fly us to Salt Lake City to see our Mama.
when it failed, Max got Uncle Con's new hardtwist lariat from the shed.
We roped a pig. We would ride the pig to see Mama. We almost got dragged
off the fence into the pig mire but we let go of the rope just in time.
Then came the awful confessing to Uncle Con, and having him retrieve
his soiled rope from the pig's neck.
I go back to Fruita (that's what Capitol
Reef National Park will always be to me) I sit high on the hillside
on the trail to Cohab Canyon,
just above the old Pendleton barn. And listen to those echoes of the
past – Uncle Cass calling from his fruit ranch up the valley to his
neighbor, Dewey Gifford, down close to the confluence of the river and
the creek. They had no need for telephones. Their voices carried the
three-quarters of a mile and echoed in the ledges like thunder. And
I can still see and hear Mama stepping out on the little porch of the
schoolhouse, ringing the hand bell to call in her little flock – a dozen
or so boys and girls, 15 years on down.