From one census to another, across the generations, our forefathers denominated themselves farmers. They learned farming from their fathers, in the field, and harbored no uncertainty as regards the provenance of their sustenance. My Cyndi, on the other hand, when asked what I did to support us, replied, “Oh, he sits in front of a computer, all day.”
But if you asked her what we were doing on those Saturdays when we drove to Worcester before sunup, she’d say, then or now, that we were taking people things they needed, from the Bishop’s Storehouse.
Each of our first six offspring accompanied me on at least one church assignment, in those years.
- Rick and I boast of a record: within 24 hours, we attended Priesthood meeting in three stakes, in three states.
- The bishopric in Worcester suggested I not bring Erik again.
Cyndi (probably still spelled Cindy, then) competed doughtily to see which could drag the two-wheeler up the concrete steps at Southington, laden with the heaviest cases of canned goods. Chris claimed later that he’d been glad to let his “twin” sister triumph.
By which I mean to convey that I treasure those memories of sharing important church-service activities on the road with my children. I don’t recall for certain just which years were hallowed by that particular privilege, before the Church lawyers decreed the exclusion of kids from Church vehicles. Whenever, (it overlapped with the early Eighties), it enriched our family life pricelessly.
Rebecca: I seem to have pushed it a bit, bringing her so young: she threw up in the restaurant where we stopped in the company of a mission president.
Debbie…ah, Debbie became my regular weekend traveling companion through the five years I was given to serve in the mission presidencies. And when I presided over the Asian Branch (1990-91) she came with me to Lynn on Sundays and helped mightily with the youth. She functioned on my staff just like the stake missionaries that President Mitt borrowed from the wards, but I don’t think he ever extended her a formal call.
Years later, Chris remembered Sunshine, a pigtailed cutie in southern Connecticut to whose home we brought some commodities—exceptionally, because they were paving the parking lot at her stake center.