Monday, May 4, 2015

Bear and the Cocker Spaniel

I wrote this on the date below after jogging with our dog Bear. He walked up to the house one day in 1990 and just stayed.


December 29, 1993

Bear, our dog, has character that a human should be proud to possess. He is part German Shepherd, I think, tall, yet skinny. 

This isn't Bear, but he looked similar.
Yesterday I went running at about 9 a.m. He went with me. We ran about three and one half miles, a loop that is almost one mile on each side. The block we live on. 

He usually goes with me. He likes to run up to fences where dogs are and bark at them, but he doesn't like to fight, and he doesn't like to hurt little dogs. He doesn't back down easily when big dogs come at him, but he avoids them if they are loose.

There are four legs (lengths of road) on this run we go on. We went East first, less than half a mile on Avenue 104, then south for about a mile on Old Stagecoach Road, then west for a mile on Avenue 96, and then north for the last mile on Road 264 back home.

On the second leg about a third of the distance there is a fenced yard with a giant dog and a little dog. Bear always runs the length of the fence at full speed barking, and the dogs bark back. They run at each other and bark like they want to tear each other apart. Even before the big dog was there bear would tear out after the little dog, but one day the little dog got out. Bear didn't even bite at him.

About another third of a mile down this road are two more little dogs. They came running out and barked at bear. The hair on his back lifted a little, but he ignored them and trotted next to me.

At the end of that second leg there is another fenced yard with some big dogs. Bear ran at them too, barking. On the third leg there are more dogs, medium size and little ones. Bear just trots along and lets them bark.

At the beginning of the last leg two dogs came out. They haven't been loose before. One was a small blonde cocker spaniel, and the second was a bigger dog, maybe a part Boston bulldog. The bull ran at bear and bit at him. Bear turned and fought. The bull backed off, and bear turned to trot by my side. The bull came at him again and bit bear on the behind. Bear turned and started chasing the bull and bit him sharply on the back, then let go and trotted with me. The Boston bull chased again, but when Bear turned to face him, he backed off and went home.

The cocker spaniel who had been barking all the time must have thought that he chased Bear off because he kept following, barking. Bear ignored him like he does all the little dogs, but the cocker got closer and nipped bear on the behind. Bear just speeded up and kept in front of him. The cocker believed that he had Bear on the run, I think, and ran up and tried to nip Bear again. Bear looked back and saw him coming and speeded up.

By now we were almost a quarter mile down this leg in front of the house with three whitish grey dogs that look like German Shepherds mixed with wolves. They look mean and Bear used to stay with me when we went by this house, but he decided it wasn't worth the bother because they always come out and fight, so he started running out into a field and then in a large loop to avoid the dogs.

There's one big one that always attacks Bear. If Bear stays and fights then the other three jump in and bite him too. There's a red Irish Setter who also comes out and jumps in when Bear is trying to fight off the big one. So bear usually takes off at
the corner about a quarter mile in front of that house and runs out into the field and makes a huge circle around the house, runs through an orange orchard and meets me on the road almost a quarter mile past the house. The dogs don't run up that far, because then they will be there one at a time and Bear can handle that.

Well, that little blonde cocker spaniel had made Bear forget about this house, and he was just trotting along beside me, looking back at the cocker keeping him a little behind him. The cocker was feeling like he just drove bear a quarter mile away from his corner house, I guess, because when he heard those big dogs start to bark he turned and ran at them like he was going to drive them away too.

By now Bear and I were about a hundred feet passed the house, free from the big dogs attacking Bear. The little cocker ran up to them, barking, and the big one turned him over and started biting. The other dogs ran up. 

It looked like they were going to kill him quickly, but Bear started back. I couldn't believe he would go back to help that little dog who had been annoying him for three or four minutes, and I was sure he wasn't going to help the big dogs. 

The hair on his back stood up, and he ran full speed up to within ten feet and suddenly stopped, realizing what he was doing. He turned back away, and started back toward me, then turned back hearing the yelps of the little cocker. He hesitated for an instant, and then ran close around, trying to draw them off the little dog, but they didn't pay any attention. 
This isn't Bear either. He wandered up like Bear.

He made another pass and bit the big dog in the back of the neck. The big dog let go and ran after bear, but saw who it was and didn't chase. The little dog ran home as fast as he could, and Bear followed him a ways, looking back at the German Shepherds, warning them not to follow the little dog, then he made a big loop across the street, around the dogs, out into the field,  and caught up to me, walking proud as could be.

He didn't want to fight any of them. He loves to bark at dogs penned up, but doesn't like to fight. The little Boston bull dog bothered him, so he bit him and stopped him, but the little cocker was only an annoyance so he humored him, but when the little cocker was in trouble Bear ran to the rescue, hesitated, but went ahead knowing that he could get hurt by those big German Shepherds, but wanting to help the little dog. 

Aug 8, 2000

Bear was killed a couple of years ago while we were jogging. He ran into an orange orchard and came out full speed, chasing a rabbit across the street. He was hit by a car.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Arriving at Martin's Cove

   We got to Missionary Village on Ranch 66 on the first of May 2014. We were happy about our home. It is a two bedroom mobile home about the same as number 6 at our place in Terra Bella, Ca.

This is the rickshaw which we took on our first day of training.
   The next day, Friday, May 2, 2014 was a training session for trek leaders coming from their stakes. There were over two hundred youth leaders. That’s a requirement for any stake or ward. Before they can bring their youth on a trek here, they must send some leaders to participate in a training session. All of the newly arrived missionaries went on the trek also.

    I took a rickshaw in case Dorothy wouldn’t be able to walk the whole way. She wasn’t. I started pulling her up the hills. She was out of breath. We are at 6200 feet. Elder Jensen helped me pull her up the hills for the rest of the trek.

Totally, we went about 9 miles that day. Dorothy walked at least five, but we stopped from time to time, and the last year’s missionaries told stories because the stake leaders that were being trained needed to hear the stories. The stake leaders of their own youth are supposed to take charge of the trekkers. Our job is only to be there for assistance and tell stories if asked. Usually one missionary is in the front and one in the rear.

 The next day was also a training session, but we went to 6th Crossing about 60 miles from Martin’s Cove. It is another Handcart Site, further up the trail. It includes Rocky Ridge, the hardest part of the Mormon/Oregon/California/Pony Express trail, not because it is so steep, but because of the large rocks the wagons and handcarts have to be pulled over.

A handcart with Devil's Gate in the background.
 In 1856, the Willie and Martin Handcart companies landed in Boston and New York and took a train to Iowa City, Iowa. From Boston, the Willie Company arrived first in the Thornton, and were loaded into box cars with benches fastened to the floor. They thought that ride was uncomfortable, but the Martin Handcart company were put into cattle cars without any benches at all.. They had to sit on the floor on the ride from New York.

 Here is one of our first letters, written on the day we reported to the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah, to our family about our mission to Martin’s Cove:

 "April 21, 2014, "Today we start our training at 10 a.m. 

"We have been studying about the hand cart treks. After Joseph Smith and Hyrum were killed in June 1844, the Saints (members of the church) in Nauvoo were getting attacked more and more by mobs. The mobs demanded that the Saints leave, so they did, straggled out over the plains for years. 

"Brigham Young wanted to help the poor Saints, so he developed the Perpetual Emigrating Fund (PEF). More wealthy Saints donated what they could, and it usually was not much because everyone had to leave their homes, businesses, furniture, and just get out, or leave the Church, or deny that Joseph Smith was a prophet. They wouldn't do that, so they just left their property. They donated their pennies to the PEF. 

 "After a while there was enough to make loans to families to buy wagons and food for the 1300 + mile trip to Salt Lake. Usually they donated in kind, grain, wagons, chickens, etc because the monetary system was not developed. 

 "The poor people promised to repay the PEF as soon as they got to the Valley and could do it. "It was dangerous anywhere in the United States to be a Mormon, so those who gained a testimony by praying and asking God if Joseph Smith really did see Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, and received their answer had no choice but to leave and go west or deny that God had spoken to them, too. Many gave up under the persecution, but thousands were faithful to their prayers and just packed up and left. Some packed their stuff in wheelbarrows and walked the 1000 miles. 

William Henry Jackson's painting of handcart pioneers crossing in front of Devil's Gate. Where the visitors' center now is.
 "Missionaries were sent all over the world, and the poor people wanted to "gather to Zion," but they could not because it cost at least the equivalent (2014) of about $12,000 to come to America. 

 "The PEF was extended to the Saints in England. Persecution increased there too. One person would join the Church in a family and the rest of the family would kick them out, but there wasn't, enough money in the PEF to bring everyone, so faithful families waited years or began to send only one child or one parent to Zion. 

"In 1855 there were crop failures in the Salt Lake Valley and people there hardly had enough food for themselves. Earlier, one missionary going east to start his mission met a man walking to the gold fields in California with all of his supplies in a wheelbarrow and wrote to Brigham Young about it. Brother Brigham figured out the hand cart concept. He said something like this:

Dorothy is pointing to the daily ration of food available.

'If the Gentiles (non Mormons) can walk across the plains and mountains for their God Gold, think what the Saints can do for the real God of Israel.'

" That's how the handcart system was started. In about 1854 there were 11,000 Saints in Utah, but 30,000 in England. Sometimes they would even get fired from their jobs there because they joined the Church, so they wanted to come, but the PEF was already in debt.

 "I'll tell you more later as I learn it. To write the story helps me remember it so I can tell it at the visitor centers. "Got to get ready to go to a meeting now. 

" Love, Dad, Grampa, Uncle, Stan, Elder Stark

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mission to Martin's Cove: April 17, 2014 to October 10, 2014

We have been gone on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and since we returned we have been repairing, renovating and re-renting some of our income property, so there were no posts on this blog since May of 2014. Actually in that last post we were living in the Missionary Village in Muddy Gap, Wyoming and about a month into the mission.

Senior Missionaries have different rules than young missionaries, so I could have written, but just didn't have time, and I slept good every night. (So I didn't need to do something when I couldn't go back to sleep.)

Martin's Cove is between Casper, Wyoming in the north and Rawlins, Wyoming in the south, about an hour's drive from either. There is nothing in between but sage brush, mountains and wind.

Wind is blowing the flags horizontally, on a warm day
Wind is the one thing you first notice in Martin's Cove. It blows in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, when it's raining, when it's snowing, when it's sunny, when it's hot and when it's cold.

Sometimes it blows hard. Like the time it lifted the tents of a company of youth and carried them fifty yards. The young people were camping at Cherry Creek Campground a few miles from the Martin's Cove Visitors' Center.

Sometimes it blows softly, like on a hot summer day when we were out on the trail with twenty-five or more handcarts and over a hundred youth pulling them, reenacting the 1856 trek of the Mormon Pioneers from England who couldn't afford wagons and oxen.

Then........ 1856,  the wind was a killer.

It and the cold, and exhaustion and starvation were the cause of the deaths of at least 139 members of the Martin Handcart Company, in and around Martin's Cove. That's why there is a visitors' center. That's why we were there on a mission: to tell the story of the Martin Handcart Company.