An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Mormons are admonished to record their life stories and those of relatives—the objective being to create a series of faith-promoting episodes to inspire ensuing generations. The problem with recording life stories in my family is that none of them is very faith-promoting. Take my Uncle Duemore. Even in my work-oriented family, Uncle Duemore was unusual. At the time he was running a grocery store, 15 hours a day, six days a week, Uncle Duemore bought a cement mixer and decided to build a cabin in his spare time (Sunday).

Eleven p.m. on Saturday nights found him heading up Provo Canyon in a pickup truck loaded with the cement mixer, bacon, eggs, and beans—and my dad, my brother, and 10-year-old cousin. Uncle D and Dad spent all day Sunday pouring cement for the cabin foundation or mixing mortar for the cinder block walls. Their BB gun-toting sons spent the Sabbath shooting porcupines.

The cabin was finished in two summers, but Uncle D continued to spend Sundays pouring concrete around the cabin from early spring until winter’s first snow. He built a concrete woodshed to store logs felled from the hill where he cemented a staircase to the top and poured a concrete slab for a porch swing with a great view.

When he ran out of room on his property, my uncle bought the adjoining lot and created solid concrete picnic tables and benches beneath the trees. “Nobody will run off with my tables and benches,” he boasted. Oddly enough, the only part of the lot he didn’t pave was the basketball court which consisted of packed earth and was unusable during spring thaw and summer rainstorms.

Aunt Prudence supported her husband’s cabin projects. They kept him away from home where, after retirement, he used cement in creative landscaping projects. Most people use bark or colored gravel to keep weeds down in perennial borders. The iris and peonies in Uncle D’s front yard sprouted and bloomed from within small circles of concrete groundcover.

The Church was probably better off with Uncle Duemore spending Sundays on the mountain. No telling what he and his cement mixer might have done to the ward grounds had he become active.

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