My sister, Andrea, sold me on reading the personal history of my Great-grandma Brewer (my dad’s mom’s mom). To be honest, I’m a little shocked I even went to the trouble of downloading it. I have up until this time in my life exhibited absolutely no interest in family history or genealogy. There’s no surer way to lose my interest in a Church meeting than to talk about family history, with the possible exception of talking about modesty. Or talking about anything – even the most exciting, interesting thing in the world – one minute past the time the meeting or class is supposed to end. You can keep my body there after the allotted time, but not my mind.

But download it I did, and since I’ve had plenty of time on my hands lately, I started reading. I’m really so very glad I did. I finished it in a few days, and then started in on my Great-grandpa Bell’s history, which I found equally engrossing. But I’m hard-pressed to explain why. While they were both lovely, decent people who lead lives worthy of praise and honor, they were, like most of us, relatively unremarkable. They weren’t famous or glamorous, and with the exception of my Great-grandfather’s service in WWI, they weren’t involved in any particularly dramatic events. So why am I so interested in them and their lives?

Our interest in those members of our family with whom we interact often and closely is easy to explain. We love and feel connected to those people we spend time with, family or not. But I was young when my great-grandparents died, and I can’t really remember any of the time I spent with them. So why do I feel a sense of connection to them? Is it simply because they’re my forebears? Because I’m carrying around a little bit of their DNA? Because I exist as a result of their actions and choices? That’s probably some of it.

But I also think it’s because I’ve received and accepted the idea that families have identities – certain traits and characteristics – and that those identities are passed down from generation to generation. If pressed I’m not sure if I could explain how I believe this process occurs – is this identity passed through genetics? Through upbringing and culture? I don’t know.

But I confess that while reading these histories I took a certain pride in the accomplishments and positive attributes of my ancestors. But why? Given that I clearly wasn’t responsible for the things they did, the only option left is that I feel that some of positive characteristics they exhibited made their way down to me. Which may or may not be true.

True or false, reading these histories has rooted me in an unexpected way. Reading them left me with an inexact but nonetheless powerful sense of belonging and inheritance and legacy. Maybe all of those Bells and Brewers and Barkers and Chipmans who came before never considered me as they worked and prayed and fought to move up and forward, or maybe they did. I don’t know, and I don’t think it really matters. The fact of the matter is I’m standing on their shoulders, and knowing that makes me feel that my life isn’t my own, that it’s a gift given me by an Ogden shopkeeper and an Idaho farm girl and Willard Bay Wonder Bread truck driver and a Dutch janitor and on and on. That gift, as I see it, isn’t just the fact of my existence, made possible by their decision to have children. It’s much more than that. It’s the gifts and providential circumstances of my existence; the beauty and goodness and love of my parents and their parents and their parents. My presence in this abundant country. The privileges and blessings of my upbringing. It’s all of it.

And the only proper response to a gift won that dearly by people as good and strong as they is to revere it and guard it and polish it and then give it to someone else.

And We’re Back?

There are things that you pretty well know to be true but have never proven – so you don’t know know them – and they may be things you hope aren’t true and so you allow yourself to think that they may not be true even though, come on, it’s pretty obvious that they are. Read the rest of this entry »

Exciting News!

Gentle Reader,

We want to announce some exciting changes here at DDDT. We get a lot of reader mail, and one theme we’ve heard repeated over and over again has been: Why do you guys post on a fixed schedule? Why not just write when you’d like to? Just in the past week we’ve heard this from frequent commenters and readers Ryan, Davis, and Christian, to name just a few.

So, no more Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting. We still plan on posting, just not on a schedule. And although you will now only read posts when we decide to write them, we’ve decided to allow you to keep writing comments whenever you want – for free! So we don’t think this change really affects you that much. Your reactions to this change can be sent to gostartyourownblog@gmail.com.

Warm Regards,


Songs about Freedom and Dreams

I remember playing soccer on a grass field scarred by big dirt potholes at Knowlton Elementary School one day during recess, when suddenly the game was interrupted by a bunch of classmates running onto the field and being surrounded by the rest of the players. These kids had been absent most the day and had just been dropped off at school. There was a big commotion as many of my fellow soccer players circled the newcomers to hear about the event that had taken them away from school on this warm day. I was annoyed; partly at the game being stopped, and partly at having yet another reminder thrust in front of me that I wasn’t a member of this exclusive group. It was a group that I didn’t even understand. I wasn’t sure what they did. I just knew that there was a segment of my classmates, mostly hailing from Fruit Heights, who belonged to some club that won them time out of school and the adulation of their peers. These kids weren’t regular kids, the kids were the Sunshine Generation.

I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew it got them out of school and they all talked excitedly to each other about whatever it was Sunshine Generation did. Well I later discovered what they did and my jealousy evaporated.

Sunshine Generation is a performance troupe for young children. How did it come to be? The story goes that 30 years ago Liberace had a pallet of small glittery red bow ties and yellow and orange frilly dresses mistakenly delivered to his house. Not one to waste such treasures he figured he might as well put them to use by creating a performance troupe for young children in Fruit Heights, Utah.

I do my best to forget about Sunshine Generation, but one can never escape it completely. Last July at Kaysville’s Independence Day Parade I endured 20 floats with their own little performance troupes.

Then I forgot about it again and life returned to normal. Then I saw the Double Dream Hands video recently, which most of you have doubtless seen by now as well.

Why do parents do that to their children?

The Boxer(s)

(Note: Yes, this is a re-run. Leave me alone.)

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a class with a girl who I will call Jen Carter. Jen was one grade above me in school, and six million grades above me in every other meaningful sense. Read the rest of this entry »


You know what’s horrible?  When you hate something, and it turns out everyone else loves it.  You know what my daughter Lucy hates?  Oh, just hamburgers, pizza, chocolate chips, and M&M’s.  If I weren’t her deeply sympathetic and loving parent, I might find it funny to watch her navigate life with these loathings.  If you got down to the objective truth, it may be that she only mildly dislikes pizza.  It’s just that it is around so often, and all the other kids and adults around her are generally very enthusiastic whenever they get it, so that the presence of pizza now cues an immediate emotional response for her, resulting in disconsolate sobbing.  The way she melts down when pizza comes isn’t really about sadness, but about total isolation.  It’s like having pizza turns everyone around her into Urdu-speakers, and she’s stuck speaking English, and she’s now barred from communicating with anyone else until dinner ends, and they’re all secretly telling Urdu folk jokes about her the whole time.  Poor girl.  I wish I could make it stop for her.  But I like pizza and hamburgers, and I love chocolate chips in my chocolate chip cookies.  But I can’t deny its an isolating experience.  I used to not like sushi.  Don’t spend time with sushi eaters if you don’t like sushi.  You will cease to exist for an hour hanging out with them.


A very isolating food

I have a friend with a similar problem. Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome back. No this isn’t Ryan, it’s your old friend Kook. We’re changing our post order. We’ve narrowed down the finalists for the new slogan which will advertise the change and drum up some major press. Here are the options you have to vote on.

  1. Monday’s on D3T: they just got a whole lot cooler.
  2. Monday is the new Friday!
  3. Mondays and Wednesdays used to be lame. Now Wednesdays and Fridays are lame.
  4. We refuse to be your bookends any longer, Davis.

I hope everyone had a great holiday break.

{cue the movie sound effect of a record suddenly comes to a screeching stop, which happens when someone commits a faux pas, like in Tyler Perry Presents Madea movies. As in “Well, Reverend Antoine, I’m sorry to tell you I didn’t hear a word of your sermon about taking the beam out of our eyes, cause my eyes was too busy beamin’ at that fine rear end of yours!”}

{Screeching sound}

Hold on, did I just say “Holiday” break as if I’m some sort of beret-sporting liberal Jewish movie agent writing a card to my client and close friend, Brad Pitt (sigh)?!? I meant to say I hope everyone had a freaking awesome CHRISTMAS BREAK! Eat that, Al Franken. Actually, our non-Mormon readers need to know I’m being sarcastic, of course. Mormon’s don’t celebrate Christmas. Nor birthdays. We only celebrate a day of second wife cart-pulling called “Festivus,” which falls on the true “seventh day” and involves the airing of grievances, Dianetics, and listening to a prison broadcast from Dear Leader, Warren Jeffs. And if we’re lucky, Leader Warren will conference in uncle Jim (Jones) via Ouiji Board to lead the closing Gnostic chant of Lothlorien. Since we don’t believe in electricity or batteries, we use a gerbil-powered radio and keep warm by the fireplaces we are famous for crafting.

Yes, I had a good Holiday (I’m including New Years, so I’m not using “Holiday” like a pansy). The Holiday Season is even more Holiday-y for me than for the rest of you because my birthday is December 30. So December is a double holiday trifecta for this guy; full of presents, fun times, and lots and lots of, you guessed it…chocolate.

I’m a lousy present giver (I once gave my little sister a My Little Pony for Christmas when she was 13 or so), but at least I’m not a hypocrite because I always have low expectations on the presents I receive too. Not because I expect the givers to spitefully reciprocate my last round of bad giving, but because I have a hard time coming up with something I want and would enjoy. But I’m always pleasantly surprised by what the gift givers come up with on their own. I guess the good gift givers in my life pay close attention to offhand comments I make throughout the year and get me stuff that I forgot I wanted: stuff that brings me a lot of satisfaction. Like the “Life” animal series Reba got me. I’ve been so happy and excited to have hours of that to be watching. Or the Ruth’s Chris gift card; I’ve never been and I’m a big steak fan, so it’s just time. Or the book about Israel’s version of Delta Force my Mom got me, or the massage certificate my in-laws gave me.

Other happenings over the break:

Reba opening the cool Willams & Sonoma Star Wars pancake molds and Darth Vader pancake flipper Davis got us, and laughing and asking if he was serious. She thought it was simply a Star Wars-themed pancake mix (not sure how that would even work) and assumed it must be a gag gift. Made things awkward.

Losing to Ryan in ping-pong. Bad lighting, non-regulation net height. Won’t happen again.

Discovering the great game Wits and Wagers.

Waiting for an hour to get into Cheesecake Factory for lunch. At 3 in the afternoon. I’m no interior design expert, but next time you’re in there tell me if you wouldn’t feel like the design was really tacky if it was a no-name restaurant. Also, I hate cheesecake but I don’t mind their cheesecake, because it’s the least cheesecakey tasting cheesecake in the world. So what does it tell all you cheesecake lovers that the cheesecake you all agree is the very best tastes the least like “cheesecake” and the most like regular pie/cake?

Playing in 6 foot deep snow with this guy and sledding off the top of a cabin roof at about 40 mph into a pile of powder 35 feet below.

christmas 2010 027

Snow boots? My dad told me snow boots are for poor children; that the cool kids just put Gap bags and packing tape over their tennis shoes.

Here’s to me getting all you important people in my life amazing gifts next year!

Christmas Break

Since D3T follows the public school schedule (for tax reasons), we’re taking the next couple of weeks off for the Holidays. See you back here in January.

Meeeeeeerrrrryyyyyy Christmas, beautiful Bedford Falls!!!!!

Guest Post: The Bum’s Crevasse

Christian here; first a bit of house keeping. One of our regular commenters told me recently that lately our site rejects all his comments automatically. Is this happening to anyone else (I’m not talking about some comments going into moderation until approved, but rather them totally disappearing)? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. Just kidding, email me at sharkmanbell@gmail.com.

Ok, Here’s a post from D3T enthusiast, Layne. I don’t know him very well, so I’m not familiar with any of the people in this story. Thanks for the post, Layne! I hope to meet you in person someday!

When I transferred to BYU in January of 2003, I was already engaged to be married in the middle of February. So I had one of those awkward interim periods in which I needed a place to stay, but couldn’t sign a regular semester-long contract. And because he lacked imagination, my bishop wouldn’t give me an ecclesiastical endorsement if I was living with my fiancee. I had to find a place to live until it was BYU-legal for me and the future Mrs. to cohabitate. Luckily (or unluckily, as it turned out) for me I had a friend already attending the Y. Four weeks before I moved down to Provo, he assured me that YES, he was sure that I could stay at their house for a few weeks. He just needed to clear it with his roomies first. A few weeks passed. Two weeks to the move, he again assured me that while he still hadn’t double-checked with his roomies, YES, he was sure that I could stay at their house. Great, I had a place.

Well, school was starting Monday, and on Sunday night I was driving to Provo for the semester. On the way down I called my buddy and had the following conversation (To protect the guilty, let’s call my friend “Kristian”):

Me: Hey Kristian, see you in a bit.

Kristian: Um, err, let me talk to my roommates and I’ll call you back in a bit.

Me: Dude, school starts tomorrow! Are you serious? You said there was a spot at the house! I’ve turned down other offers already. I’m screwed!

Kristian: Oh yeah, I guess it does start tomorrow. Yeah, come by, we’ll figure something out.

Me:  (Thinking “Crap, this really sucks.” Sigh.) Ok. See you soon.

Well, after a tour of the house, a few things were obvious immediately:

1) The place was stink-hole. (A couple weeks after moving in, I distinctly remember “Friend” dry-heaving after warming some chili con carne in the microwave who’s last cleaning was 10 years prior. There was more food on the 6 walls of that microwave than there is in many home’s food pantries. Yuck. I won’t even tell you about the shower.)

2) There was no place for me to lay my head. I was toast.

Then when all seemed to be lost, I went upstairs and saw a door about 3 feet high. Hmm. What’s in here? The “Bum’s Crevasse” I was told. The Bums Crevasse was a little attic crawl space. It was 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, with the ceiling starting at 4.5 feet tall and sloping down to meet the floor 8 feet later. A tiny triangle room full of suitcases and other junk. For 6 weeks I slept in a sleeping bag on a thermarest camping pad in the Bum’s Crevasse. My roommates charged me the same amount for sleeping in a broom closet that they paid to sleep in a bed, have a closet, desk, and other amenities that I only dreamt of. Thanks for the great deal guys!  Being a bum is expensive I guess…


Given my experience, this guy is paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-$425 a month for this cozy setup

Luckily for me, Jami still wanted to marry me and I moved out 6 weeks after I moved in. Hallelujah.

What’s the worst place you’ve ever lived?