Some years when we attend the Nebraska Reunion, I come home dissatisfied and vow I'll never go again. There are many people that now live in Utah or surrounding areas outside of Nebraska that show up and many I don't know. This year we had a good cross-section of people come and the night would have been worth it just for two groups that came. Barbara Catts (and her son Steven) and the Golds made the night more than worth it. When I came home and downloaded the photos, memories of our life in Nebraska came flooding back. Silly little details came to my mind. Important meetings and testimonies popped up. Examples by everyone that was there stood as strongly to me now as they did then. Time dimmed some of those memories. And so now I want to pay tribute to just a few of the people that were there so I don't forget what they taught me.
The first one is Barbara Catts. She was always a tall, lovely lady. She is now very small and very old but her humor and bright smile haven't changed a bit. I love taking pictures of people that show character in their faces and her's is the perfect example. She was a member of the church but not active for many years. She married a non-member man. They moved to Nebraska and a Primary teacher paid a visit to their house inviting their son, Steven, to come to Primary with her and her kids. Barbara wasn't against the church, just not terribly interested. She allowed Steven to go. After watching Steven thrive and love Primary, Barbara became a little more interested in the stories he shared and she decided she needed to go, too. I believe she was called to be a Primary teacher and fell in love with the children and the organization. She became fully active in the church over time. Her husband wasn't interested in being baptized but he went to church with his family. He was a marvelous man! We all loved him. He even served in some kinds of callings and did a lot of activities in their ward. Steven continued to thrive in the gospel and by the time he was made an Elder at age 18, he said to his dad, "I'm going to go through the temple before I go on a mission in one year. I want you to be there with me." I don't know how many sets of missionaries they went through but this was the goal Steven set with his Dad. Unbeknownst to Barbara, they set up a baptismal date, invited her to go to the church where she discovered that a baptism was going to take place and it would be her husband with the son doing the baptism. They went through the temple a year later just before Steven left for his mission. I served with Barbara in the Stake Primary. She was the first councilor and I was the secretary. I adore this woman for so many reasons.
Roy was a councilor in the Stake Presidency most of the time we lived in Nebraska. He was a straight shooter. He didn't mince words but his words were always profound. One night, shortly after I got pregnant with Lance, he gave me a Priesthood blessing. I can't remember why I was even in his office. He blessed me that whatever ailments I had had in the past with pregnancies and afterwards would not affect me this time. He had no idea that I struggled with Hoshimoto's Disease with the three previous pregnancies and had told Jim that if it hit me again I would not have any more children. He didn't know any of this. I never had the problem again. He gave us counsel and blessings just before we left Nebraska, moving to California. He and his wife have been constant friends through all these years.
One afternoon I took the boys to Cub Scouts at the Ertl's in Lincoln. While we were waiting for them to get out, an ice storm hit. I had never seen one and had no idea how deadly it could be. I didn't know what to do so I just stayed in the truck until the boys were done. We didn't know the Golds very well at that time. They knew I was new to the world of ice storms so they followed me all the way home (25 miles) to make sure we made it safely. And then they had to turn around and go back again. I couldn't believe someone would be willing to do that. One more incident stands out in my mind. The night Jason had his appendix removed, Roger and Jim Peterson came over to the hospital to give Jason a blessing. Jim had left that morning and was on his way to California, having no idea that his son was in the hospital. I received a great deal of comfort from those worthy Priesthood holders who stood readily in the place of a father.