Wednesday, April 24, 2013


When I wrote my blog about Melissa yesterday I didn’t pay attention to the date (as I get older those things have less importance).  It so happens that today – one day after commiserating about my only daughter – we celebrate the birth of our eldest son.  What better day to remember a little about the wonderful young man that our Josh was and has become.

As the first male child, Josh took the brunt of my ‘practice’ in learning to raise boys.  Of course, we played a lot of ball (he loved anything round) and did many ‘boy’ things but he also had to endure some of my own growing up – including some unreasonable expectations.  I am forever grateful that he was patient enough to realize that dad wasn’t perfect but could still be a fun addition to life.

In many ways, fathers live through their sons.  Not necessarily in terms of getting them to do what they couldn’t but more in hoping that they will be better.  In this desire, I was most pleasantly rewarded.  Josh is many things I could never be and has conquered spectacular mountains in his thirty-three years.  Today he continues to be amazing and it is with pride (unrighteous or righteous, you pick) that I call him my son. 

And like his sister, Josh has chosen well in a mate.  Heather complements our boy in so many ways – it’s almost like we got to choose her ourselves (you know, that old arranged marriage thing).  Together they have created a family that makes us happy and gives us great hope for the future of the world and our family in particular.

Maybe it’s because I am male, but when Josh left home, there was much less angst in our home and for me personally.  I suppose part of the reason is because I know how his circumstances feel (and I didn’t for Melissa).  But I also think that there is a protective nature with girls that isn’t as prevalent with boys.  But the love is just as abundant and I will forever be grateful for the fine son who came to lead the boys of our family in righteousness.

Happy Birthday Josh – from your loving father and mother.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


There is only one daughter in our family so, as a dad, I didn't get extensive training in that arena.  While we suffered through many of the traumas brought on by the teen years, the truth is we were very blessed when it came to our little girl.

Growing up, Melissa was attached to her dad – probably like many other young girls are to their fathers.  But I sort of got used to being the “alpha-male” in her life and relished the good relationship we had.  Even when she started dating, there was a sense that no one could really measure up to her daddy.

Then along came that dreaded BOY!!! 
He was on probation but after 10 yrs we let him stay.

Oh, I knew the day was coming but it was still a big shock when it happened.  All of a sudden dad was in the background and my baby girl was off with some strange guy starting a life without me.  The change was difficult but eventually I accepted my diminished role and made-do with what little was left.

Melissa and her clan

Fourteen years later (or thereabouts) I seldom think about what used to be but there is still a place where I miss the quiet times we used to have just sitting and talking about things together.  She has someone else who deserves her attention and I am happy that he is so good to her.  And those six little angels – well, let’s say that they are a great bonus and are worth all the sacrifice made.  Yet, I do miss how things used to be. 
The oddness of being Whitmer (now DeMoux)

Maybe that is a little like how Heavenly Father feels when we go off and get busy in our lives.  If so, I have a small taste of what that may be like (though I don’t accuse Missy of forgetting me).  God bless my little girl and her wonderful family.  And thanks be to our Father for the good man she married who keeps her happy, healthy and fed.  I love them both. 

On another day I will opine about my boys and how that has gone.  It is very different.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Last night Teresa and I were in the temple for our regular evening of service.  Normally temple workers (at least in our temple) are in groups of three when involved in ordinance work.  One of Teresa’s ladies was ill so a sub was brought in to fill the group.  She was a pleasant British lady with a cute smile and lots of things to say (which is good for Teresa cause she likes to listen). 

In the course of the evening the sister stated that her husband had died a few years ago and she was struggling with being single again.  Feeling some sympathy for the sister, Teresa asked her, “was it hard having him die … was it a shock when he left you?” 

Cue in a very unusual response!!

This delightful, dedicated temple worker began to laugh.

My poor little wifey was very bamboozled and did not know how to respond.  Was this woman so distraught at the mention of her husband’s passing that she had gone insane? 

After a moment the lady stopped and cleared up any concerns that might have arisen.  She said:

I was very sorry to lose my husband but your question was so fitting.  You see, my husband was electrocuted and died from the SHOCK!!

What are the chances of using the exact word that caused the demise of the man she loved?  And how do you get out of something like this without making it worse?

If Teresa’s friend was the sensitive type, she might have been offended by a simple question, stated in a polite but unknowingly inappropriate way.  And sadly, there are many people in the world that would take you to task for making such a mistake.  Political correctness has bred into our society a feeling of entitlement to be free from any uncomfortable circumstances, no matter how innocent they may be.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks made mention of the trend for PC in our lives in his most recent conference talk here.  As I look back in my life, I recognize MANY times when I have misspoken and felt embarrassed for my tongue’s freedom.  O, to have a WABAC Machine to fix all the foibles of my past.  

Monday, April 15, 2013


Our grandson, Matt, had a birthday last week (number 5) and his mother asked him what kind of activities he would like to have at his party.  Most boys might say “let’s shoot hoops’” or “I want to go swimming.” But Matt is not most boys -- he told his mom that he wanted to do science experiments.

Everyone put on your safety glasses!

And Heather was delirious!!!

You see, she is a big science geek and loves to talk about molecules and atoms and diseases and stuff (after all, She does have a degree in microbiology)

So, here are some pictures of the kids doing their “experiments” for the party.

More girls than boys

#1 – The professor took her Erlenmeyer Flask (she was so excited to get one – I had no idea what she was talking about) and put some flame in the bottom.  Then she set a boiled egg on the mouth and waited while the atmospheric pressure changed and sucked in the egg (we used to do the same with milk bottles… not in existence anymore).  The kids were pretty startled—partly because of the popping sound and partly because half the egg stayed out of the flask.

All in awe of science

#2 – Heather put vinegar in the bottom of a bottle and then attached a balloon with bicarbonate of soda inside. (I chuckled when Heather began explaining to the youngsters the difference between an acid and a base and how when they are mixed a reaction occurs which creates a new gas… they all had this blank look but nodded OK).  The kids lifted up the balloon and were amazed when it began to fill with the carbon dioxide.

Some of the materials

#3 – Using Elmer’s glue, a concoction called GAK was made from water, glue and borax.  It was slimy but malleable – sort of like PlayDoh but smooth.

Everyone got their own pair of safety glasses and no one got hurt (nor did any of the objects used).

I was kinda jealous of the whole day, wondering why my mom never gave me a party like that.  My brothers and I had to figure all these things out while no one was home – and sometimes the results were not nearly so pleasant. (I was going to share a few but I don’t want to be responsible for what might happen to other people’s homes if their kids try what we tried.  Just know that many involved fire and some flammable liquid.)

Matt was ecstatic and will probably want more – should be interesting at that Whitmer house in the next few years.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


General Conference was great.  Lots of wonderful messages from people who have our best interest at heart.  I will probably write a bigger review in a day or two but I wanted to show the dissenting opinion.

Take a moment and read this to see what the other side believes about families and such.  Simply stunning what some people can come up with to defy the teachings of God. 

See you in a day or two.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Once a week my sweet wife and I trundle south a few miles and spend several hours working in the Jordan River Temple.  It is one of the highlights of our week because we love the Spirit there and the opportunity to work for the salvation of those who have passed to the Spirit world. 
Jordan River Temple -- Home away from Home
But I have another reason for liking my Wednesday nights.  You see, most of the folks who work at the temple are older – not necessarily elderly – just older than the average person.  And most are   OLDER THAN I AM!!!

During the week my job has me associating with YOUNG people.  My students are between 14 and 18 and the other teachers in my building are well behind me in years.  In other words, I am the OLD distinguished guy where I work.

So when I go to the temple, I’m one of the YOUNG guys and I can make fun tease the old codgers’ gentlemen on my shift.  Yippee for us young fellows.

I’m reminded of a statement Enoch made when God called him to preach to the people of his day:

          Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad…? (Moses 6:31)

If you look on the previous page you see that Enoch was 65 years old when this calling came.  And he considered himself a lad!!!  Maybe we have this age thing all backwards. 

Or maybe not!!! At least that’s what my body says.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Traditions are something I try to avoid unless they are the type that mean something AND we can remember what they mean.  In that vein, there is one tradition that I find very enjoyable.

Since Josh has been embroiled (for the past two years) in finding a way to finish his MBA program, we have had to forego our annual trip to the Green River for a few days of fishing.  This year my wonderful wife insisted that we take up our rods again and go in search of the mighty TROUT!!!

Joel enjoying our deluxe sleeping arrangements
As an added bonus we were able to convince Heather and Joel to accompany us on our voyage.  We also decided this was the year to hire a guide and float down the river in style.  Pretty magical for us and also pretty costly – but that’s what money is for.

Josh and Heather also liked the room
Thursday was travel day and we checked in at our accommodations early in the evening.  No fishing this day but lots of anticipation for a fantastic journey. 

Rising early on Friday we met our guides – but couldn’t go anywhere because two of our younger members (both male) had left their license in the hotel.  FIXED
Nice Brown for the old guy.

Our drift boats
A quiet spot on the river
Our guides were Brock and Paul from Old Moe Outfitters.  Both fairly young but they have a lot of years on the river so we were confident.  The water was clear, cold and very inviting.  The fish were abundant, fat and very accommodating to our hooks. 
Josh always has a smile

No surprise – Heather caught the most fish – we expected that.  But all of us had good luck and were delighted with our success.  The weather was pleasant and there was very little of the wicked wind we usually encounter.  The day was a great success and we felt we had received fair compensation for the payment given.

Best I can do but Joel makes up for it
The lovely couple
Saturday was for wade fishing and we were anticipating another bounteous day.  Josh wanted to go to a section we had never fished before so we hiked up a steep (but not too difficult) hill and began to cast our flies.

 And the wind came!!! 

And the wind did not leave.

So we did!

It was just too windy to have any success.  Too many tangled lines and miserable casts to make it fun. 

Heather and Joel went one way back and Josh and I went another.

Should have gone with them.

Let me explain.

Instead of going over the top of the hill, we found ourselves walking a little lower and along the top of some – sort of – cliff like things.  Mostly it was easier because we didn’t have to go up to the top of the hill. 

But we came to a place where the trail was washed out and there was a drop off of a few feet.  Josh jumped over the gap and I prepared myself to do the same.  As I considered what was needed I noticed there was a root hanging from the shelf above so I decided to use it to help me make the leap.  It really didn’t seem to be that big a deal but it soon became such.

As I launched myself with confidence I noted that my foot landed exactly where I expected.  What I did not expect was that the root would decide it had served its purpose and gave up the ghost.  Despite my perfect landing, I discovered I was falling backwards towards the rocks behind me.  I tried to roll forward (and was successful) but (as Josh described to me later) my body was now headed straight down a steep incline (8-10 feet in length) which terminated in a steep drop to a series of rocks below (30 or so feet down)

I was not aware of any of this (I was trying to stop myself from sliding and I was worried about the two rods I carried in my hand – mine and one I borrowed from my friend Jeff) but tried to brace myself and stop my descent.  There was a pushing in my chest and I knew that a fishing rod was pushing against me (my mind was screaming – DON’T BREAK JEFF’S ROD)—oh horrors, I heard the distinct popping sound of graphite breaking.  But at least my progress was slowed enough that I could stop before I reached the “drop-off zone.”

Not the actual place but similar in construction.
Poor Josh was so stunned that all he could do was pray that my feet didn’t fly up over my head and fling me to a sure death.  He was pretty pale when I finally got myself under control -- probably seems weird to see your father nearly fall to his demise. 

I wasn’t nearly so disturbed because, frankly, I didn’t know how close a call it was.  I was more worried about Jeff’s rod – which was completely uninjured – than I was about my fall.  But after Josh explained the predicament we survived I was very grateful for the prayers we offered before we left and for the fortuitous placement of my best fly-rod (which used to be a four piece but is now six).

Doesn't look that bad but it is very uncomfortable.
Or I'm just a whiner!
It wasn’t until sometime later I discovered I had sustained some physical injuries (that adrenalin really keeps the body juiced) that are now somewhat uncomfortable.  There were also holes in my waders, a broken fly-reel and big scrapes on my boots but overall I was very blessed. 

Joel trying but can't fight the wind.
Josh actually caught two but gave up with the rest of us.
We let the boys fish a little more and then decided to head home a little early.  Another great trip with plenty of interesting stories.  That’s the tradition I enjoy (though I hope the falling part does NOT become traditional)

Thanks Teresa for letting us have a good weekend.  I will make it up to you someday. J