Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In Honor of Troy Leishman, my Sister's Husband

Troy joined the Anderson family through marriage nearly 26 years ago. When Monica started dating Troy there was a general inquiry by the younger siblings about who Troy was. Since there seemed to be an army of Leishmans in Rexburg, exactly which Leishman was this Troy? One of the first identifying pieces of information was the front window of the Anderson home on Apache Avenue. A pair of oversized, nearly body-length windows faced the street from the dining room. Among one of these windows, was something that looked like a bubble, or maybe a lodged marble inside the glass. Having never taken notice of it before, and having asked for clarifying information to link to this new boyfriend, we were invited to look and see this curious malformity in the windows. We learned it was not in fact a lodged marble, but the crusted tomb of a small BB bullet shot from a BB gun in the street. Did we live in a gang-ridden inner city? How had this window not completely broken? Why didn’t we grow up cursing the fool that had shot at our home?

“Well, several years back the Leishman boys shot at the window. At least we think it was the Leishman boys. We’re not sure if it was Todd or Troy, but they were always together.” 

Wait, this was the guy that was dating Monica? Keep in mind this piece of history wasn’t ingrained in our minds like it was in the window, it simply came up when we asked. But it definitely left Troy in the market of already having some making up to do, at least before he was given the green light to be Monica’s Number One.

Wait….so this kid who shot BB guns in neighborhoods, he was the same Leishman kid who had the cheesy permed mullet when he was in High School? The very one. 

 Two strikes! 

Nonetheless, the window remained and Troy was welcome into the home. After all, the mullet and it’s accompanying rowdy lifestyle were years ago, and there was a polite sweetness to this now newly returned missionary. 

As you now know, Troy did in fact become Monica’s Number One, and as far as the Andersons were concerned, Troy didn’t strike out. He even batted a home run. He got the girl! They were married less than a year after their courtship began. 

Watching a loved one become a wife or husband, seeing them start their own family, cultivating their new family culture as they bring their own history and expectations, well this is always a curious thing. By the time Troy was given the green light from the Andersons and got himself a pretty little wife, we loved and respected Troy. 

We knew that: 
A) If Troy was raised as a hunter, and passionate outdoorsman, and
B) Monica was a Coach’s Daughter and grew up in a sports family, then 
C) Which culture is more annoying? What would their new culture be? 
D) Are all sports people rude jocks? Are all hunters weird rednecks? 
E) Would Monica be left with new little ones and be ditched every hunting season? Or worse... 
F) Would those cute little babies eventually grow up and (*gasp*!) have their own disgusting mullets someday too? 

You think this is an interesting math story problem, but it’s actually a trick question. Because what we haven’t told you thus far is that there was an underlying foundation that was shared by BOTH families. And what that shared culture was, well it trumped everything else. What was it? It was the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was faith in a God who was in fact our Father in Heaven. It was devotion to family, and faith in the goodness of people. It was obedience to a living prophet, and a patient outlook on the work required to raise children. 

So how did that translate into the welding of this new family culture created by Monica and Troy? It meant that Monica had to get used to the man of the house not being gone for basketball games, but gone a bit during hunting season. It meant that Troy had to cut his hunting season short sometimes so he could stay home and help with the kids. 

Apart from the horrible general stereotyping that has happened so far in this little essay, there was the individual personalities and quirks of Monica and Troy, and that’s where it really gets interesting. Because Monica wasn’t just a “Coach’s Daughter”, she was and is a very capable, smart, independent woman. She can do complicated math in her head at the same time she is blazing creative energy into sewing, cooking, or crafts. The girl can’t sit still and she takes no crap! She is generous to a fault, and yet has a hard time disguising her frustrations at self-absorbed or lazy people. THE GIRL GETS IT DONE. 

What about Troy? As you well know, he wasn’t just a “Crazy Hunter”. He was and is a patient and kind man. He built relationships with rough-mouthed construction workers as easily as he did with sports coaches, sanctimonious clergymen, or retail clerks. He started a company by his boundless work ethic, then he made it a thriving business because it became synonymous with integrity and a job well done. Not only did he work his tail off, he still made time to water-ski, snowmobile, dirt-bike, hike, fish, and garden. The man dies at 47 but has left a lifetime of adventures with his wife and kids. That’s because his outdoor lifestyle wasn’t just a man’s club, it included his children and wife as well.

Speaking of children, how could such a macho outdoorsman hold all the tiny hearts in his hands? Babies and little children flocked to Troy. He cuddled and loved on his own kids, and when they grew up he didn’t stop. There was many a church and family function where Troy was swaying a baby, carting around a toddler, or playing with children. He was an expert at playing and he was pure in heart, and children loved him for it. 

For our sister and daughter personally, he was a doting husband. He respected her spitfire while simultaneously tempering it. He adored his children, and allowed them the space to pursue their own unique talents, even if they differed from his own passions. Monica and Troy’s work ethic was only matched by each other. There have been many meals delivered, clothes mended, adventures organized, and literal refuge during other people’s personal life “storms” given freely from Troy and Monica.

Not only did Troy not strike out, but he kept batting home run after home run.
Home run #1 – Jaden Troy Leishman
Home run #2 – Alexis Maryn Leishman
Home run #3 – Danner Wade Leishman
Home run #4 - Sage Christine Leishman, and
Home run #5 – Regan Leishman

These kids were and are a testament to the beauty of Troy and Monica and their life together.

Together, these two were a force to be reckoned with!  It literally took the thrust of a million pounds of snow careening down a mountain to separate them.  Nothing else could have torn them apart.

There again is another trick, but it is the last.  For there is no death, but only change. Troy has taken an unexpected adventure away from his sweet Monica for a time, but he just needed to scout out the place.  He’s finding the perfect spot to set up camp, gathering wood for the fire. In the meantime, there is work for him to do. For although he couldn’t take his gun, his fishing pole, or his snowmobiles with him to the other side, he took what really made him the man he was and is.  He took his testimony, his love of his Savior, and his undying duty and love to his family. He took his joy in the gospel.

That joy remains here with those remaining behind, although in a bittersweet and complicated form.   That joy will at times be shrouded behind sorrow, woven in with fatigue, or twisted in with regret, but it will be there.  There must and should be joy in the life Troy lived, in the love that he gave, and in the generosity he offered to anyone and everyone he met.

Until we meet again dear brother.

Troy's obituary can be viewed here


Sunday, October 5, 2014

2014 Farm Camp

This poor old blog. I actually really miss it. I'm not sure where to start so I'm just going to upload some pictures and go from there and try to do a little catch up. 

Okay, so here was one of our many summer highlights.  This was our second annual "Farm Camp".  We had cousins visiting from Connecticut, some from Salt Lake, and second cousins from down the street.  We started by taking our duck Kiko on a walk around the block, dressed up in the Independence Day Get-Up from Gwendolyn (may she rest in peace).  I had this little guy trained up to follow me really well, then he went out back and got hormones and started annoying the female ducks. 

We then proceeded to get individual photos with the duck.   Notice how his lengthy Indian Runner Neck is swayed to the ground (get me out of here?) so it looks like sweet little mutts holding a dead duck.

Not Pictured:  Homemade Cheese by The Mister of the House, Psychedelic Fruit Leather, Front Porch Fairy Garden, Under-Rabbit Worm Farm, Homemade Rabbit treats, and stuff and stuff.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The 8 Year Old Swim

Back in aught-five there was an explosion of babies.  Just in August, came my son and 3 girl cousins.  Four months later 2 more cousins arrived, yet another girl and finally a boy.  With cousins spread here and there, we were able to track down at least one to share a special day with....8 years later.

I remember my baptism day.  A couple of months prior, my mom was visiting a woman in our neighborhood with a daughter a year older than me.  They didn't come to church very often, so I'm not sure why I took the girl as an expert.   "When you are baptized, anything bad that you have done is completely erased from your memory!" she announced.

I pressed her as we played with her barbie house.  To this day, I can't remember what it was that she had done, but whatever it was it dissolved like butt-ah on a hot pancake the moment she was immersed underwater.  It was magic!

From that moment on, I latched on to my sins that I knowingly had committed.  We grow up in families and learn to share and get along and fight, I'm not talking about that stuff.  I'm talking about knowing better and choosing the other way.

Sin #1) I stole a small handful of Swedish fish from Porter's Variety Store.  I loved them sooo much, and my mom wouldn't buy them, and they were right there in front of my face.  I took them, and was quickly busted and escorted back to the store where my sins were publicly confessed and a dime was given to the cashier.

Sin #2) Knowing that I was getting baptized in a year, I remember visiting my Aunt and Uncle's house in Blackfoot.  Sitting on their couch with my cousin Quinn, I busted out every swear word I could think of.  I did this knowing these words were bad, and that once I was baptized they would be permanently off-limits.  That consisted of the following: shit, damn, and hell. 

{Now when I mutter these under my breath, I'm proud of myself for not dropping a double-fudge brownie like I heard a million times a day when working at a ski resort (exclamation, adjective, greeting).} 

So I was excited for the big day, I was ready and wanted to follow Jesus.  I also knew that He was powerful and that on my baptism day I would witness my first of many miracles.  I waded into the font, excited to see my dad, and got ready to be baptized and have my sins washed away.  

As the prayer was said, I fixated on my Swedish Fish Fiasco.  I reminisced the details of the store, the chewy release of raspberry? strawberry? Sweden?  The pounding of my heart as I knew I was taking something without paying, and then it was time!  I took a big gasp of air, plugged my nose, and bent my knees for a smooth ride.  Down I went, under blue, waiting for the magic of baptism and my sins to not only be washed away, but scrambled from my brain forever.

Up I came and took a new breath, happy but confused.  In case you didn't notice, I have been describing my former sins approximately 30 years later.  That means when I came up out of the water as my new 8 year-old self, there it still was, like an out-of-town uncle that took over your bedroom for a week and was supposed to be gone yesterday.  I don't mind you, but I thought I was getting my bed back?

The main thing is: I didn't steal anymore Swedish Fish.  As for sin #2? I'm doing pretty damn good at watching my language.  Every now and then in a moment of unbridled stress, something slips out.  But for the most part, we're just hugging on the kids and praising God in our heart.

But like I said, that was 30 years ago.  And today?  Well, who knows what my Vanilla Wafer was thinking about when he went in the water.  I'm hoping it was something more along the lines of: Heavenly Father loves me!  I want to follow the Savior! The gospel gives you power and happiness!

Here's Leif and Eliza with Grandma and Grandpa Cozy!  Grandpa confirmed Leif an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and commissioned the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

We had family from Idaho, Salt Lake, and Draper.  It was so great to have such awesome family support.
 Mmmmmm....kissy kissy.

 The Olsen's in 2013 look like this.

Here's the dude that baptized me!  My papa gave such a great talk during the service.  He has always been funny and wise!

And here is the guy that confirmed The Mister of the House.  We are so blessed to have Grandma and Grandpa "Kitty" close to us.   Grandpa often says how much he thinks Leif looks like he did as a kid.  Good to know, since he looks nothing like me!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kidd Family Camp 2013

Since 1999 I have been invited to The Mister's extended family camp. Back then, it was aunts and uncles, Grandma n' Grandpa, and cousins. Being the oldest grandchild, The Mister of the House was the first to bring in an "outsider" via marriage. 

The tradition for family camp was going strong for a couple decades before I showed up. Grandma and Grandpa and Aunts and Uncles have watched the metamorphosis that I now witness: little punks, puberty, adulthood, marriage, kids, repeat. 

We are getting to be quite the group. Of course there are some that are far away and could not make it, and they were missed. 

This year I decided to document camp with a fun little project. Individual camp portraits were taken with something from camp that represents that person's favorite color. I have to add that I just finished a Family Reunion with my siblings, and it was out-of-state, and I was lacking time and energy, so no such documentation occurred there, but it was not for lack of love. 

With that, I now present The Kidd Family Camp of 2013 and it's smart and incredibly good-looking attendants:

Type rest 

Grandpa Jack was particular about his blue.  Azure blue.  I finally grabbed my hat with some blue-green jewels and it seemed a little closer to his mark.

Grandma Darling in her camp chair that leans back.  Comforts at camp can be hard to come by, but I dare say we were spoiled.

Sorry Carol, the Doritos and Dr. Pepper didn't make the cut.  This picture was just too perfect.

You needed the perfect sunlight to catch the undertones of "midnight blue" in this motorcycle - sunlight which I didn't have.  Doesn't diminish the cool factor right?  When I'm ready to play out my mid-life crisis I'll just borrow this haawg and head to the desert.

Cherie isn't able to spend all of camp for health reasons, but we caught her this night wearing her favorite color.

Sorry Matt, this picture is not in black and white.  Good one though.

Purple is tough, but I think we caught some mountain majesties in the background.  Someday, when I have an empty nest and truckloads of patience, I'll have Janet teach me to make a real quilt.  She is a fabric artist.

 Greg shedding some grandpa love on a burgundy sleeping pad.

This is a woman after my own heart.  I wish she would revamp my entire wardrobe.

The fabric arts live on, via daughters of Janet.  A purple skirt being stitched was stolen for this photo op.  Lovely.

Josh creatively posed this himself, covering all the colors on the croquet stick but his favorite.

Dear drought, you provided excellent focus for Abby's favorite color.
 His blue tie-dye is swallowing the red.  Get it?

 Mom conjectured red because Ben loves Elmo and Lightning McQueen.  Donate to Ben's rare disease here.

Norma was just considering changing her favorite color to aquamarine (that is a good one).  For now, the Christmas Queen holds on to this classic holiday hue.  This is how you organize drinking cups for your massive family.

 Purple really is my favorite color.  But white has made such an impressive leap on my list that I decided to go with white.

 The kid is obsessed with water, so we went with blue.

Holly and Adam both stated they don't have a favorite color.  They pacified me via green.  BTW, how can a designer NOT have a favorite color?

Who goes back to law school after having a couple of kids?  Kristen and Marshall do that's who. Wow! 

Clay is a successful non-profiteer and Jen runs a classic design agency.  

I'm not sure how I'm suppose to get to know my new nephew when his family moves to INDIA, so we'll just thank the internet in advance for keeping us up-to-date on the lives of these fellow travelers.

I thought about "sciencing" my results, but honestly right now my brain hurts.  Seriously, blue and green kindof bossed the show right?