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Sunday, May 24, 2015

No. 130 "The handsomest man who ever lived!"

In the 20s, 30s, & 40s, Mormon missionaries roamed the paths and shoreline of Harkers Island freely, spending their time at the homes of the various Latter-day families. By then a second generation of members was reaching its adolescence including several dozen young "Mormon girls" who couldn't help but notice the handsome young visitors from the west. Not only did they speak with a "funny accent," but those young elders were always dressed in store-bought suits, with clean shaven faces and well trimmed hair.

One afternoon, hearing her daughters and their friends talk about the two elders who then were serving at the Island, Gertie Willis decided to chime in on the conversation. Specifically she had noticed that each of the young girls had chosen a recent visiting missionary to label as the " handsomest man she had ever seen! "

After each of the girls had described in detail their choice and why he was chosen, Gertie decided to end the conversation with her own definitive choice of the handsomest man she had ever seen.

"Every afternoon, just before supper I look towards the Landing, and  eventually I see a tired, often wet and sandy fisherman walking this way, usually with his worn out pants rolled up to below the knee, and smelling like fish. But even from a distance, and especially when he grabs me by the shoulders and kisses my forehead, your daddy, Telford Willis, is the handsomest man who ever lived!"

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No. 129 "Little Rungs for Little Legs"

When Leah and Tiffany were very small, even before kindergarten age, they used to pretend that  the upstairs of Tommy's shed was a playhouse. The only problem for them was that the steps up to the loft were twelve inches apart, and their little legs had trouble trying to make the climb. Seeing what was happening, and how hard it was for the little girls, Tommy carefully added an extra rung between the standard ones, cutting the height of each step to only six inches -- and accessible even for tiny little legs and feet.

Now, almost three decades since either Leah or Tiffany have climbed those stairs, the extra rungs are still there, and actually make it quite tedious for longer legs and bigger feet to make the climb. When I asked Tommy why, after all these years, he had not removed the inserts that were no longer needed his response was simple. 

"Every time I walk up those stairs," he said, "I am reminded of the little feet that used to step on them."