As I walked out into the beautiful Autumn sunshine my heart was filled with love for our Savior, the creator of this wonderful world in which we live. I remembered His words "Love one another as I have loved you". And the first and great commandment to love God with all our might mind and strength and our neighbor as our selves.

I came to realize that we cannot learn to love without receiving love. Our Father in Heaven and His beloved Son have loved us with a great infinite and eternal love that can start us on our way to learning to love. We came into this world because of that love and are given the opportunity to develop our capacity to love as the Lord has commanded us to Love. In my life I have received much love that has really helped me to learn to love and develop my capacity to love.

My earliest memories were of feeling secure in the love of my parents and brothers and sisters. Some of the things that stand out in my memory are things that my parents and family did as I grew up that gave me an assurance of their love. I remember when I was about 4 years old they gave me a Birthday Party. I was very shy but I remember receiving my little friends out on the porch of the old home where I was born. Just a birthday party but it was for me showing me that I was an important part of the family.

When I was five we moved from our home up to a big home by the mill where my father worked. While everyone was busy carrying out furniture I was standing around trying not to get in the way. My father came and gave me his precious new Sunday hat to carry up to the new house. This little act gave me to know that I was trusted and loved enough to be given such a great responsibility. I carried it proudly up to the new house. I was barefooted and the yard was overgrown with weeds and slivers. I found a little path that led in to the back doorsteps and picked my way in, picking out the slivers as I went. I hung the hat in a safe place and felt that  I had helped in the moving and that I was a responsible member of the family. Love began to grow in my heart.

My brothers and I were given plenty of work to do fixing up the house and lot, watering the lawns, that we planted, with a hand pump, planting the gardens and hoeing the weeds. We did it willingly and felt that this was our home and we were part of the family. I felt loved by our parents at being included in the work for our home and family.

We had a lot of grapes growing along the garden fence. There was a small grape leaf Caterpillar that would eat the leaves of the grapevines. We had to get rid of them by picking the leaves where there was a group of those little pests and smash them all. We had  to be very careful because those little caterpillars had an acid on them that if we happened to get some on our arms it would sting like fire and would raise a welt wherever it would touch. When this would happen I remember I would run to mother and she would wash it off and put on some kind of soothing ointment to ease the pain.

When the grapes got ripe the June Bugs would come by the swarms and settle on the grapes to eat them. We would go to pick them off the grapes but as soon as we began picking them off the others would begin to fly off to escape.. We made us some paddles by cutting a handle in a shingle, then when they began to fly we  would knock them down with our paddles and step on them to smash them. These June Bugs were a shiny bright green in color but they had a very distinctive repugnant smell. Mother suggested that we tie a long thread around the June Bug and fly them on the thread around the Yard. I remember catching many big June Bugs and my mother would get a thread and help me tie it around the Bug. They had a crack in the shell like armor in front of the wings and in back of the head which we considered their neck. When we could get the thread around their neck in that crack it left them free to fly. Mother would carefully help us tie the thread around their neck in spite of the awful smell. I am sure she rushed to wash her hands as soon as she was through. We would take the June Bug outside and it would fly around above us at the end of the thread while we ran around the yard guiding it wherever we wanted to go.

Mother would take time out from her busy household duties to help us with all kinds of ingenious things to do. I remember she would always be available to help us make our Top Strings. She taught us how to take several strands of No.8 Thread stretched from the Sewing Machine wheel across the room to our finger.. She would then run the Machine and twist the strands together very tightly. We had to hold back keeping the threads tight while they grew shorter and shorter as they were twisted.  Then mother would take the middle while we would go with our end to the machine wheel making it double. Then mother would hold it in her hands while the two parts would twist together into a good heavy Top String. After letting it twist and rubbing it smooth she would come and cut the ends of the string off the wheel and off our finger and tie the end in a knot. We would have a very good top string that would last for a long time. This made me want to help my mother so she would let me help her by sitting on the floor behind the Sewing Machine and with the arm that connected between the  foot treddle and the fly wheel I would run the Machine by pumping it up and down, while my mother would sew the silks for the sifters in the mill. She let me do many things of service and it helped develop my capacity to love.

Mother taught me to braid with four, six and even eight strands making a flat pretty braid. She told me that she used to braid straw hats for the Union Mercantil. She explained that the straw had to be soaked in water to become soft and pliable so as not to break while it was being braided. I learned to love to make things with my hands from my mother. This training also taught me patience and I learned to enjoy creating useful things with the work of my hands. 

My brother Bob became my pal and would help me in many ways making me feel his love and attention. He would help me make flippers or sling shots as they are now called. When I got a new top Bob would help me replace the peg that was not good with a screw peg with the head filed off and made into a perfect durable peg that would out last the life of the Top. In our work and play together he helped us learn many things such as how to hoe weeds effectively, how to dive and swim, how to learn to walk on our hands and turn flips and learn to shoot marbles and spin tops.   

I remember that on many long winter evenings Dad would build a fire in the big wood burning heater in the big dinning room. Then join us in playing different games. We would set up the bean bag board at the far end of the room. This board had three holes in it. The top smaller hole was labeled 30 points the middle slightly larger one was 20 points and the bigger hole at the bottom was only 5 points. From the opposite end of the room about twenty feet away we would take turns trying to throw our three bean bags through the   top or the middle hole to get as many points as possible. Dad was very good at this game and gave us plenty of stiff competition. I remember that I became good at this game but I don't remember of being able to beat Dad; even though I could give him a close second. We would also compete in the dart game. Dad also taught us to play Chess and our goal became to get good enough to beat Dad at Chess but this did not happen. He used to say that offense was the best defense. He would keep us so busy with planning a defense that we didn't have opportunity to counter attack. Among us brothers the competition was more equal we learned to win some and lose some and enjoy the game in the process.   

Dad decided that we needed to build a Tennis court. We all worked together in that big project until we had a very nice smooth dirt tennis court with white lines painted with a very white lime solution. We had to roll it down with a big heavy roller. This roller was ingeniously made with a big ring of heavy iron pipe that was 16 inches wide and 4 feet in diameter. This pipe had been filled with cement with a two inch pipe placed in the middle. Through  this pipe was placed a pipe handle that extended back on both sides about four feet. These handles were joined in the middle to form a strong solid handle on which to push in order to  move the big roller. It  took strength and skill to push and guide that roller and not let it tip over. We would sprinkle down the dirt court to get it just right to roll so as to leave a smooth surface. If we got it too wet in spots the roller would sink in and it had to be filled in and rolled level again. So we learned very quickly not to get it too wet. We used sand to keep the dirt from sticking to the roller. Soon we learned to roll that court and leave it smooth and perfect ready for the lines to be painted. To paint the lines we would stretch a string the length of the line as a guide then with a can with a hole in the bottom that was filled with a lime solution we would take our finger off the hole and move along the string leaving a straight white line. This process of preparing the court for play was repeated at least every two weeks and especially after each rain.

Dad brought a net and rackets and balls from El Paso and we began to learn to play tennis. Of course Dad was our teacher in all of the process of learning to make and roll the court and he was our teacher in learning to play tennis. He was a very good tennis player and we learned very well but we could not beat him. I remember early in the morning, just at daylight, playing tennis with Dad. I remember I would try to place my shots where he would have to run to return them. He usually would return them and make me run. He had a very good serve and many times it was hard to return his ace. My father earned my love and respect in all that he did. I loved him and I knew that he loved me. He didn't have to tell me I knew from the time I spent with him working and playing.

He also took me on many trips to the mountains with him. I learned to love the mountains and learned to hunt and fish and enjoy camping in the beautiful country. I realized that Dad loved being in the mountains not just to kill a Deer or hunt Turkey but to enjoy the wild free beauty of the mountains and the wildlife there. He enjoyed going out on the mesa just at sundown to watch the big Bucks parade along the Rim high above the deepening shadows of the vast canyon below.  In Turkey season he loved to go out into the virgin forests and beautiful canyons to hear the booming Gobbles of the big Gobblers in the still air of the breaking dawn. I remember as a boy feeling the tingles go up my back when that Gobbling sound come booming from a nearby tall Pine Tree. I sat shivering beside my Dad while the big Gobbler strutted back and forth. I thrilled at the sound of his dragging wings and the chucking sound as he inflated to his utmost to begin his proud strut. I have hunted Turkey ever since that time and have enjoyed that same thrill at the sight and sounds of the Turkeys probably more than the actual shooting of them. I guess that is why I usually do the calling and let others do the killing.

As I look back on my life as I was growing up I can see that I was given much love and attention and it gave me the opportunity to return that love and grow in my capacity to love. I knew that I was loved just as I was and my self esteem and self worth grew accordingly.

A few years ago I met our old friend Harold Brown and we were talking and renewing our friendship. He said, "I just have to tease you with this: When we were boys and you  were playing Basket Ball on the Dublan team. Your Dad would yell in his high pitched voice, 'Give it to Keith!!! Give it to Keith!!!' and Uncle Loren would yell, 'Give it to Selle, Give 'em Hell!!!'".

I realize I was not the best player on the team but my Dad wanted me to be which really helped me in my life. I mention these incidents to show that my parents demonstrated their love for me in ways that really mattered and helped my love grow for them and for all things.

When Naoma and I were married we were counseled to Lavish our love on each other. We have done this for over 56 years and the lord has blessed us with a great gift of love. With the birth of each of our nine children our capacity to love has increased and grown. We decided that we got married to be together.  Whenever possible Naoma would go with me to the farm and ranch. As the children came along they were included in all that we did together.

When I was teaching Seminary we were required to go to the Seminary summer school every other year. We would pack up all of the family in the family Oldsmobile and travel to Provo. We usually rented a house on campus and set up house keeping. The older children would take care of the younger ones and Naoma and I would attend Classes at BYU.

Every Summer we took all of the family that were at home for a weeks pack trip in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Many times Leland and Marge Robinson and their family would go with us. Usually we had invited friends and relatives to go with us to share those wonderful times and share our love for the mountains. We were not consciously teaching our children to love, we were just enjoying each other and doing the things that we loved to do. We included the girls as well as the boys in all of our work and in all of the family activities. We had a rule that on camp the women did not have to cook or do the dishes unless they wanted to. The boys and Dad did most of the cooking and camp work. When it came to catching fish the girls knew how as well as the boys. I remember the time that little Claudia Ann caught the biggest fish that was caught on our trips to Trout Creek.

I have included this picture below because it illustrates what I am trying to portray in this letter.  Here we are enjoying each other in the beautiful canyon of Trout Creek. The purpose of these trips was to help the family have fun together and enjoy the beauties of our surroundings. Naoma was the one to point out the beautiful sunsets and cloud formations. She also helped us see all of the different beauties around us everywhere.

We also enjoyed finding the remains of the ancient terraces and dwellings. We felt that we were sharing the enjoyment that the ancient peoples had of their beautiful mountain homes. We always knew that we were not the first to enjoy the beautiful streams and canyons of the Sierra Madre mountains.

As I view the picture I feel again the joy we had in our children and family. I feel that occasions like this helped us all to learn to love and increase our capacity to love each other and the creations of our Heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ .