Articles published in the Blue Mountain Panorama

This blog was created to preserve digitally, articles written by Janet Wilcox for the Blue Mountain Panorama. This newspaper is published in Blanding, Utah by Neil and Becky Joslin. By publishing digitally, more photographs can be added, and your comments and corrections can be quickly noted. Thanks for reading my articles in the newspaper, as well as on the Internet. If you have ideas for stories, please contact me at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sentimental Journey of Quilts: Trunk Show Fills Home

Normally a trunk show in the quilting world represents showing special quilts kept in a trunk, but in Eve Lyn Perkins’ case, it took a whole home to hold her collection.  Next to her family, there is probably no other interest that has consumed and entertained her for so long, as has quilting.  She started learning when she was 10 years old, by helping her mother and grandmother and hasn’t stopped since.
Surrounded by beautiful quilts she has made over the span of 60 plus years, Eve Lyn took neighbors, friends, and quilting buddies on a sentimental journey of quilting on Nov.18.  She and her daughter Gayle were conductors for the grand tour of quilts which filled seven rooms and hallways of her home. 
An estimated 45 full sized quilts, plus another 50 or so small quilts, wall hangings, rugs, table toppers, and art pieces were artfully displayed. Never one to be afraid to try something new, Eve Lyn has mastered hundreds of patterns and quilt making techniques including applique, chicken scratch, embroidery, paper piecing, and original designs. 
Her displays included heirloom friendship quilts made by her mother, grandmother, and great aunts, along with pioneer quilts made from clothing, and prints of the 30’s and 40’s. Her creative work included everything from polyester “trip around the world” quilts, to levi camp quilts, to fancy quilts almost too beautiful to use on a bed.  
The quilt displays were spectacular, and took a great effort to orchestrate and take down.   Everyone enjoyed the evening which celebrated one of the great quilters of Blanding. Everything was "sew" wonderful!”
Grayson Quilters Show and Tell
Show and tell from guild members was exceptional as well. Besides dozens of amazing quilts there were wreaths, rugs, bracelets, pillow cases, bags, wash clothes, and back scrubbers shown.  Who says quilt guild is just about quilting!?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

All A-mazed by Blanding Streets

The Corn Mazes of northern Utah have nothing up on the excitement provided by Blanding's A"Mazing" streets when it comes to sidetracking participants, or running them into dead ends. Not only does the west side of town currently provide ample opportunities for back tracking and rethinking the course of travel, but it also provides some interesting hazards and sudden drops with unexpected delays and turns. At best most mazes in the state provide only a month or so of entertainment and surprise, but Blanding citizens have enjoyed their A"mazing" adventures since the onset of summer. But the extreme bonus this location provides, is that you get to enjoy Blanding's maze from the comfort of your vehicle. Who missed promoting this business bonanza? The city should have sold tickets! Of course once we get out of this a "mazing" mess (hopefully without calling 911), we will appreciate the calm serenity of paved streets devoid of potholes and bumps, and reflect on the experience we've had. It's been quite a ride!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oct. 12 --Historic day for Bluff Co-op groundbreaking


  Governor Gary Herbert promised Corrine Roring last Wednesday, that not only would he “polish his dancing shoes” for next year’s promised dedication of the Bluff Co-op, but that he would “start practicing his dancing steps.”

Master of Ceremonies and former SJC commissioner, Lynn Stevens, introduced Gov. Herbert, as “Utah’s Most Rural Governor” and complemented him on his efforts to represent and visit rural Utah.  While in San Juan County, on Oct. 12 Herbert, also spoke to students statewide via the Utah Education Network and visited several local schools, Blanding Visitors Center, Edge of the Cedars Museum, and .
            Gov. Herbert reminded the audience of about 100 people at Bluff Fort, that the groundbreaking of the new Bluff Co-op, was a remembrance of those who had come before.  “We are standing on the shoulders of the Hole in the Rock pioneers, whose qualities can still be incorporated today.”  The addition of a replica of the first Co-op promises to be the “Gem of the Fort, and will once again be the hub of what happens here at the Fort.
            The Co-op was one of San Juan County’s first successful businesses, where bartering and trading with Native Americans and pioneers alike made it the center of commerce during the years of the gold rush, and first oil boom in San Juan County.  In fact, Herbert stated, “the Co-op paid a 10% dividend to original investors during the first 5 months of existence, and later paid 25% dividends to investors before the first year ended.”
            The Governor told citizens that the state is looking for ways to expand the economy in rural Utah, saying that Tourism and Travel can help. He thanked local residents for “all you do to raise good families and to run good businesses.”
            Dignitaries who participated in the groundbreaking, and who were introduced by Mr. Stevens included Wilson Martin (Chrm of Utah State History, and Chrm of Four Corners Heritage Council); Shirley Silversmith (Director of Utah Division of Indian Affairs);  President Mike Redd (Blanding LDS Stake); Elder Perry Webb (6th Quorum of 70’s LDS church area representative); San Juan County commissioners: Kenneth Maryboy, Phil Lyman, and Bruce Adams; Cleal Bradford (Chr of Trail of the Ancients Council, and member of Heritage Council, as well as writer of the original grant of $486,600 to build the new Co-op); Manuel Heart (Ute Tribal Councilman and former Chairman of the Ute Mt. Ute Tribe); and ; Leigh Von der esch (Director of Travel & Film for Utah).
            In her introductory welcome, Corrinne Roring, on behalf of the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation, thanked those who had worked so hard to make her “distant dream” of 10 years ago, a reality.  “I predict that with the addition of the Bluff Co-op, the Bluff fort complex will become a “must stop and see” destination for all those who pass along Hwy 191. . .This would not have succeeded without you.”  She thanked all those who over the past four years, had helped to raise the matching money to the original grant; and thanked the Bluff Fort volunteers who “perform a labor of love” in keeping the gardens and grounds so clean and beautiful.
  She predicted that in 2012 we’ll celebrate the dedication of the Co-op which will be the “Jewel of the Fort” by “ringing the bells,” (as they did in early Bluff when Utah became a state in 1896), and “with a feast, and dancing ‘til midnight – so get your dancing shoes ready.  Bluff will buzz with activity again!”

Following the official ground breaking, many 3rd – 5th grade students from Bluff Elementary also took turns breaking the soil for the new building.

A delicious lunch with Bar-B-qued meat was prepared by Twin Rocks Care and salads, cookies, and drinks prepared by the fort volunteers fed the group.  It was a delicious end to a beautiful day of culmination, ceremony and hope.

About 120 people attended the ground breaking
         Earlier in the morning, Gov. Herbert addressed students statewide. It was the first statewide, live gubernatorial speech geared toward high school students. About 110 schools participated via live Web streaming. Herbert said the digital age and changing job market demand a highly-educated workforce in order to compete. "When you go out to the world to start your careers, you're not just going to be competing with the graduates of Utah State University and Dixie State, you'll be competing with the graduates of the University of Beijing in China," he said. After the speech he fielded questions from students from Orem, Rich County, Murray and Emery County.
Beverly Vowell, Fort Docent and Steve Bronson, Director 

Governor Hubert with Bluff Fort Stalwarts

LaVerne Tate explains the plans for the Bluff Co-op using the scale model

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bayles Posterity Builds Cabin at Bluff Fort --Easter 2011

by Janet Wilcox  and Peggy Bayles Palmer (Granddaughter of Hanson and Evelyn Lyman Bayles); All photos by Peggy Bayles Palmer

Dwight Bayles family

When Hanson Bayles received the call to join other Latter Day Saints establishing a mission along the San Juan, he didn’t hedge or hesitate, but joined the cause.  Neither did dozens of his descendants flinch when they united 131 years later to build a commemorative Bayles cabin at the Bluff Fort to recognizing the sacrifice and courage of their common ancestor. 

Their grandfather, Hanson Bayles was born Nov 27, 1857 in Parowan, Utah to Herman Daggett and Anna Frederikka Easter Bayles.  On April 1879 when he was 21 years old, Hanson was called by the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to accompany an exploring party to find a southern route to the San Juan . He left his sweetheart Mary Ann Durham behind in Parowan. Crossing at Lee’s Ferry and traveling through Northern Arizona, they reached the present site of Bluff, Utah in June 1879.  He then returned back home to Parowan.  

Later that fall the full expedition set out again for San Juan with Hanson herding some of his own cattle while he helped manage the large herd of livestock that accompanied the party.  In April, 1880, the weary pioneers finally pulled into Bluff after their grueling six month journey. Next to the San Juan River they built a fort, their cabins, and established the San Juan Mission.  This trek was named the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition. 

In the fall of 1880 Hanson returned to Parowan to marry Mary Ann in Oct. in the St. George Temple. By December they were back in Bluff to start their life together, true pioneers.   Sadness struck when Mary Ann died in 1888, leaving him with four small children.  He eventually married Evelyn Lyman, a daughter of Platte Lyman in 1897, and they had nine children. Hanson became a successful livestock man eventually owning 6000 sheep and several hundred cattle.  He was also Bishop of Blanding when the South Chapel was built.

Cabins Built to Honor Early Pioneers

Peggy Bayles Palmer family 
Fast forward to April 2011, and you would have seen a huge assemblage of Hanson Bayles’s descendents energetically working together to build a cabin in his honor at the Bluff Fort site.  The Bayles cabin is #14 in a series of new cabins announced in 2007 when the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation sent out a request asking for cabins to be built around the outer perimeter of the original Bluff Fort site. At that time there was only the original Barton Cabin on site.  Families who wanted to commemorate their ancestors were invited to build and adopt one of these cabins which would cost approximately $15,000-$20,000.  It was an ambitious challenge, but Hole in the Rock descendants rose to the occasion.
Donald Bayles, oldest grandchild
History of the Bluff Fort Cabins:

By Oct. of 2008 three cabins had been raised: the Thales Haskell cabin, the Barton Blacksmith Shop, and the James Monroe Redd cabin. 
The next year, 2009, the Lemuel H. Redd Jr. Cabin was built in April, George Hobbs Cabin in May, and the Lymans (Platte, Walter, Joseph & Edward) and Perkins (Hyrum and Ben) cabins were built in June.  In October of 2009, unbelievably, three cabins went up: Frederick Jones cabin; Samuel Wood cabin; and Parley Butt cabin.  Everything was finished in time for the dedication of the John Taylor monument Oct. 24. 2009.

By May of 2010 two more cabins were built by descendants of Jens Nielson and Charles Eugene Walton and that fall the Deckers joined forces to honor their ancestors (James, Cornelius, Nathaneal & Zachariah Sr. and Jr.) with a cabin. By spring of 2011 the Bayles’s were ready to fill the final spot.

Bayles Descendants Build Cabin

Pouring the Foundation
On the morning of April 21, 2011, after an early breakfast prepared by the wonderful folks of the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation, construction began on the Hanson Bayles cabin at the Bluff Fort.  What turned out to be the work project by Hanson’s grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren turned out to be a Hanson Bayles labor of love project.  A large number of family members with their construction tools and skills flocked to the Bluff fort and immediately went to work on the construction as well as doing other tasks to help the Fort.

Granddaughters painting Pet Rocks
Grand children of Hanson attending were Marian Bayles, Jon Bayless, Donald Bayles, Lloyd Bayles, Gaye Holt Passey, Merene Holt Buck, Willa Rae Holt, Joselyn Bayles Johnson, Dwayne Bayles, Peggy Bayles Palmer, Joel Bayles and Georgia Bayles Black.

All family attending had an awesome three-day experience.  Everyone was kept busy working on the cabin, helping in the kitchen, working in the garden and on the new restrooms.  


Dwayne’s family out did themselves entertaining the little ones keeping them busy with activities making rag dolls, pet rocks, cowboy hats, listening to stories, playing marbles, making pioneer covered wagons with Twinkies, and working their little hearts out chinking, mudding and staining on the logs.  The dolls were donated to the Fort gift shop to be sold, which helps with their operating expenses.
Chinking between logs
Reed Palmer skinning the logs

Fitting the logs

Mudding the roof

Dwayne Bayles conducted the dedication services held in the meeting house on Saturday morning.  Kevin Palmer gave the opening prayer, Lloyd Bayles gave a history of Hanson, Mary Ann Durham and Evelyn Lyman and their families.  Mark Bayles, the first patriarch in Hanson’s family gave the dedicatory prayer.

The brand on the cabin door reflects
 130 years of  Bayles ranchers
The finishing touches to the cabin made it all come alive with portraits of Hanson, Mary Ann and Evelyn brought by Jon Bayless.  The quilt on the bed was made by Mikki Palmer and she lovingly named it Mary Ann’s garden.  Before they left, they even heated up the forge at the Barton Blacksmith Shop and branded the door. No question as to whose cabin it was with the HB brand on the front door. Saturday afternoon the family went to San Juan Hill and also up to the cemetery.
Bayles Brothers: Mark, Lyman, and George

The family of the Hanson Bayles family wants to express a special thanks to Corrine Roring and the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation for providing us this opportunity to be a part of this spiritual event honoring our ancestor and his families in his calling to the San Juan Mission.  Thank you, Corrine for allowing our family to be a part of your vision of the Bluff Fort.  It was an incredible and awesome experience and gave us chance to get reacquainted with our family.  The hospitality was great and the food prepared by the Hole in the Rock Foundation was the best.

The Final Touch on the cabin were a collection of single trees and pioneer tools used by the Bayles family
By Mildred Bayles Palmer 
Mary Ann was my great grandmother Mary Anne Durham Bayles who died in childbirth

South of here on a rocky bluff,
There is a grave.
It is not a lonely grave,
There are others there.

A lovely girl came to a lonely, barren place,
To make a home for the man she loved.
To follow the destiny of mother, wife.

She bore four children,
I wonder if she ever spoke of pain.
One day when her only son was five,
In childbirth she died.

Her grave is sand and rock,
A marble marker placed with love is there.
Even so, I wish she could be
By the one she loved
Where it is cool and green.

(The son was my grandfather Hanson D. Bayles Her husband is buried in the Blanding cemetery.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Does a Docent Do in “da” Day

Bluff Fort is a Happy Place to be as exhibited by some of the local docents:  l-r   Steve Bronson, Director, Neldon and Bobbie (kneeling) Holt, LaRue Barton, Ariella Thomas (kneeling), Ron and Lorraine Barton, LaMar Helquist and Graig Taylor HIR Board members.

Anyone know what a docent is? 
   Half a cent?  Two cents? Those who “do” ?  

Hint: The Bluff Fort has nearly two dozen of them. Some of them include local residents Neldon and Bobbie Holt, Karl and LaRue Barton, Beverly Vowell, Karen Dufer, Joyce Martin, Donna Washburn, Bernice Hurst, Max  & Sandy  Black, Pam Bronson, and Judy Lyman.

Give up? A docent is one who teaches or lectures, often serving as a volunteer at museums, historic sites, and galleries.  The Fort site has now expanded and visitors have increased to the point that a real push is on to recruit docents to help meet the needs of the many visitors who were coming each day.  In 2010 there were about 1500 visitors.  From March 3 of this year to June 30 there have been 5,376 visitors to this historic site.

Bobbie Holt explained how they became docents, “Last Fall we were here visiting the Fort with our daughter and grandkids and Steve Bronson, director of the Fort, asked us if we’d like to be tour guides at the Fort, and we thought it would be a good thing to do; so here we are.”   

Bobbie told of a recent experience she had at the Fort,  “Last Saturday while we were here substituting at the Fort, we had an amazing thing happen.  A German couple came in, and as we visited I told them I was going to Germany this fall.”  She explained that she was going to  St. Ingbert about 50 miles south of Frankfurt, and the couple said they lived very close to that area.  Then they asked her who she was going to see.  “I told them it was my sister Shirley and her husband Theo Herzer and I was dumbfounded, when they said, they knew them!”   Ironically, the visitor and Theo are both ministers in protestant churches in that area.

That same Saturday, Bobbie explained that at one time there were five languages being spoken: Russian, German, Spanish, Italian and English.  The Fort is fast becoming the multi-lingual gathering point of San Juan.

Another local volunteer docent is Ariella Thomas who moved to Montezuma Creek 6 months ago to teach Kindergarten.  “I needed something to do this summer, and came looking for a job.”   There were no paid jobs, but lots of volunteer needs, so she decided to help.  “This experience has helped me learn to love the area. When I moved here I thought it was the ugliest place in the world, and now because I’ve learned so much, I really enjoy being here.”

Other docents at the Fort come from out-of-town and include Lorraine and Dennis Harvey from Casa Grande, Az, Elaine and Frank Rowley from Coolidge, Colo,  Jim and Mitzi Perkins from Boise, and Ron and Lorraine Barton from St. George.  They will be in San Juan through the summer and live in camp trailers while volunteering at the Fort.  Earlier docents who served at the Fort were George and Lark Flannigan from Cedar City area, Bill and LoraLee Hall from St George, Corrine and Howard Hurst from Calif, Grant and Erleen Taylor from Highland , Keith and Geri Nielson from Utah, County, and Lamomi Sampson also from Utah county. 

Steve Bronson, Bluff Fort Director
Future Docents coming in the next few weeks include Russell and Peggy Capson from So. Jordan, and Lamar and Colleen Helquist.  In  Sept. Wayne and Marva Hancock from Springville, and  Erma Redd  will be coming to help.  Fort Director, Steve Bronson, added, “ We need about four more local docents to help us finish up this season and we could really use some local volunteers to help us for a few hours on Sundays.“

Docents at Bluff Fort, are multi-talented volunteers and do much more than explain and lecture.  They also garden, water, organize, run the gift shop, clean cabins, bake zucchini bread, and greet the public.  Director Bronson thinks they are the best.  ”How wonderful and great they are!  We have some wonderful people working here, who have a great willingness to serve.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  They have really spruced things up!”

In the early days when the idea of Bluff Fort was incubating in Corrine Roriring’s mind, Karl and LaRue Barton were the first docents and directors of the complex.   Last Fall, LaRue stepped down when Steve Bronson came on board. Corinne Roriing paid tribute the Bartons at that time, “We would particularly like to thank LaRue Barton, outgoing Visitors Center Director, for the great work she has done. She worked tirelessly for three years to advance the mission of Bluff Fort.”

Every state in the union has been represented in visits to the Fort this year, except Tennessee, and people from 44 foreign countries have come.  In the two hours we were there Friday July 8, we spoke to Frenchmen, Scotts, Irish, and people from Belgium.

So what is bringing tourists to this unobtrusive piece of real estate commemorating the survival and sticki-ta—tudy of the 1880 Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers?  It’s certainly not glaring neon lights, loud music, and colorful buildings.  None of modern technology’s fancy recreation draws is needed to tell the Bluff pioneers’ simple, yet dramatic story of dedication and survival in the wildest country in the west.  Not only did they survive, but they did it all while carving a road across the rugged, unmapped morass between Escalante and Bluff, Utah.  These are the stories the docents share with visitors.

The cabins, stories, memorials and friendly visits with docents help to make a memorial experience for those who visit the site. One visitor from Morocco wrote, “God bless the souls of all these pioneers.” 
Another from England wrote, “Great to see sheer will power wins through this history lesson.”

Steve Bronson claims there is a unique spirit there, different than ay other place.  He recalled visiting with Kirk Nielson once, who told him: “I can’t even say the word “Bluff” without tears coming to my eyes.”  After visiting the Fort most leave Bluff Fort with the same feeling of awe and admiration.  If you have questions call the Fort at 435-672-9995

Monday, July 11, 2011

Donations needed for Co-op Store Match by September

            Both small and large projects need big pushers before they can be completed and Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation member, Graig Taylor is doing one more big song and dance, to encourage those with heart-ties to Bluff, to come forth with more than just words and feelings.   “We need everyone who is interested or connected to Bluff to donate money to help make the new “Bluff Co-op a reality.” 

            While the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation has obtained a grant to rebuild the actual structure, matching funding is needed to create the inside displays and panoramas that will teach visitors about the Hole-in–the- Rock trail and the early San Juan colonization efforts. The final push needs to raise the last $90,000 for the HTR match by September.  Little and big contributions are appreciated.  Mail checks to
HIR Foundation  Box # 476 Bluff, Utah 84512 .

            In the early 1900’s, the co-op store was at the heart of the community of Bluff. It was originally organized with Platte D. Lyman, President; Jens Nielson, Vice-President; Charles E. Walton, Kumen Jones and Hyrum Perkins, Directors; L.H. Redd, Secretary; Benjamin Perkins, Treasurer; and Joseph A.
Lyman, as salesman

            The original log co-op store was located in the northeast corner of Bluff Fort. This cooperative venture provided a means for buying, selling and trading, and it became very successful. Navajos and Utes frequented the store and traded their wool, pelts and woven goods.  Near the turn of the century, the original log structure was replaced with a two-story stone building.

            In a letter to Joseph F. Barton dated January 16, 1900, Jens Nielson wrote, “Our co-op store is now so far completed that we can pile goods in the lower part, and [we] had all our holiday dances on the upper floor. The building cost $2,700 to date and will cost about $300 more to finish it. The store has cleared $2,700 in two years (Fall 2010 HIR Newsletter).  Unfortunately that Co-op was blown up in 1925 during a robbery attempt.  The robber, under the alias Fred Starr, used too much dynamite when attempting to break into the safe, blowing up both the co-op store and himself.

            The new Bluff Co-op will visually show the Bluff and Hole-in-the-Rock story, telling why and how the pioneers came, what they experienced once they arrived in Bluff, and how they survived.   It will also show the Hole-in-the-Rock trail, as well as San Juan Hill, and give visitors a reality experience with what a Co-op store of the 1880’s was like a century ago.  Who knows, there may even be honey taffy, and hard tack available!

            The 2nd floor will be dedicated to Bluff’s pioneer town center and Main Street, and will also house a video theater.  “The stone Co-op store, was the jewel of the fort, and was the center of old Bluff commerce and its social life,“ stated Corrine Roring, HIRF President.   With a big dose of Jens Nielson ‘STICKYTA-TUDY’ it will become so again. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bluff Fort Provides Pause that Refreshes

            It doesn’t take flashing lights, carnivals, and donut shops to entice tourists and busses to stop.  Having a  spacious clean bathroom facility ranks right at the top of important “musts.”   Imagine how amazed the original Hole in the Rock pioneers would be to return to San Juan County and find a luxurious bathroom facility at Bluff Fort!  Changing tables, running water, and private stalls for both men and women are a far cry from bushes and cliffs where pioneers sought bathroom privacy a century ago.   Bus tours, youth groups, families and other tourists who visit Bluff Fort today now enjoy a convenience that was never even imagined 130 years ago.
            The restroom foundation and cement slab was built by Hurst Construction, and Redd Mechanical installed the plumbing. A group of volunteers under the expert guidance of Ron Snowden put up the walls and ceiling beams and covered them with plywood.  Construction continued through last winter, and then in March when the Bayles family came to built their cabin, part of the group put up the siding on the restroom.  Tile on the walls and floor finished off the pristine facility, a far cry from the two-seaters of earlier times.  Its completion can now qualify Bluff Fort as a designated stop for bus tours going through San Juan County.

          As the Fort becomes more and more a reunion center for families, this facility becomes even more valued as large crowds can now be easily accommodated. In recent months the Hobbs family, the McConkie/ Wolf/ Woods families, and Sons of the Utah Pioneers have all convened at the Fort for their reunions and meetings.  Craig Taylor, long time promoter of the Fort stated, “We hope Bluff Fort will become more and more, a family reunion destination as well as a stop for tourists.”


    To learn about future work projects and volunteer opportunities, contact LaMar Helquist at 801-225-9096 or

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eileen Davis (l) teamed up with Taylor Winn at the June Quilt Camp and
Joann Watkins helped Anne Hendry.

Gail Glover helps granddaughter, Taylor
Motivated by a desire to pass on the love and skills of quilting,  Blanding and Monticello quilters joined forces to teach to the next generation.  The vision of the camp came from Gail Glover, secretary of the Grayson Country Quilters.   She had taught several of her own grandchildren in past years and loved the experience.

Gayle Marian helping her grandson
 Gayle Marian headed up the effort to find teachers, and then teachers found their own students.  Many worked with their grandchildren or neighborhood youth.  Twelve adult leaders and 18 youth were involved in the two day workshop.  Other leaders included Elaine Davis, Susan Flavel, Shari Guymon, Janet Wilcox, Silvia Stubbs, Joann Watkins, Gail Glover, Tracy Seiter and Jorden Giddings.
Heather Palmer teamed up with her niece, Ann Pugh

     All of the youth caught on quickly, and successfully completed a quilt top by the end of the 2nd day, many doing twin sized quilts.  Taylor Winn even got her baby sized quilted tied while at the workshop.  All participants considered it a great success.  Leader Heather Palmer said, "I liked that everyone was so helpful and friendly.  I didn't have to figure out everything by myself.  

Lou Mueller, USU extension agent
going over plans

Lou Mueller and Gloria Eberling of USU Extension 4-H programs partnered with Blanding Quild, and secured the Arts and Events Center, as well as prepared lunch, snacks, and activities for the two-day event.. In the process the group also learned some things about the 4-H program.
Janet Wilcox worked with Laurie and Nizhoni
Silvia Stubbs worked with her two granddaughters

Taylor Winn made her quilt for her cousin

The students were encouraged to complete their quilts by July 2 for the 4th of July quilt show, as well as to enter them in the County Fair, Aug. 8.

At the end of day 1 everyone had completed this much of their quilt

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seniors Sneak To Branson, Mo

            For some the “Blanding Senior Sneak” was part of an extended honeymoon, for others an anniversary getaway, or a Mothers Day trip.  For more than a dozen it was a reunion of the extended Ivins’ family, but for most it was a great opportunity for top class entertainment and wholesome company for nine days.
           The Diamond tour to Branson with 46 passengers included everything: abundant snacks and drinks on the bus, top class accommodations at Hampton Inns, delicious meals and even its own bus poet laureate (Austin) and a peppy cheerleader (Bev).  “It was wonderful.  All I had to worry about was getting to the bus at 9 AM, and all the other things were taken care of,” stated Donna Slade. “Every show was wonderful in their own unique way; many like Shake, Rattle, and Roll were a real musical nostalgia trip.”

            In an unheard of precedent, Marcia Johnson and Deann Ivins were able to secure enough local passengers for a tour to Branson, Mo. -- enough that the bus came right to Blanding for pickup and delivery. No six hour trip to SLC prior to leaving or airport security to pass, just good home-town company, a congenial bus driver, and excellent programs  It was a vacation from the moment the group left the South LDS Chapel parking lot on May 7th until they returned on the 15th

            Branson is a welcome relief of wholesome entertainment and natural beauty when contrasted with other worldly recreation meccas.  For these “seniors” the golden age of Rock and Roll was enjoyed and celebrated in many of the programs which featured Elvis, Neil Diamond and the golden era or Rock and Roll. 

The amazing acrobats of China, and aerial performances on the Show Boat Branson Bell, along with the 12 Irish Tenors added a new cultural dimension to the whole Branson experience.  In a class by itself was the original Branson Iconic Baldknobbers Jamboree show, which was recently honored by the Smithsonian Museum for its 50 years of entertainment and humor.   Linda Lewis of Monticello, stated, “I’ve never laughed so hard in all my life, “ and coming from Linda, that’s quite a statement.
            Another wonderful thing about all of the Branson shows is that they take time to do a moving tribute to U.S. veterans.  Each branch of the military is recognized and vets are asked to stand and be recognized.  Blanding had several veterans in their group: Harold Keylon, Keith Ivins, Calvin Blake, Dale Slade, and Darwin Leavitt.
            Along with nine hilarious, joyful, and entertaining programs there were also two inspiring stops on the way home.  One was at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma which celebrated the life of a great American humorist, actor and writer.  The visit was especially meaningful since San Juan High Drama and the community had produced the Will Rogers Follies this past school year.  Many on the trip had parents who had considered Will Rogers ”The great American Folk Hero.”
           The next stop in Oklahoma City at the site of the terrorist bombing of 1995, was an informative and moving experience. A park ranger retold the events of April 19, 1995 when an American Terrorist bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building.  The presentation interwove the events with the symbolism of each part of the beautiful memorial to the 168 Americans who were killed that day. Sections in the Memorial include the Museum, Children’s area featuring tiled replicas of messages of hope sent by children; the Rescuers’ Orchard, Survivor Tree, Reflecting Pool, and most moving of all, the Field of Empty Chairs one for each adult and child who lost their lives that day.
      Our resident poet, Austin Lyman wrote this poem to commemorate that occasion:
Oklahoma City Memorial 5-14-11
Immediately and
Immensely touched.
A typical Wednesday it was.

Then the bombing occurred.
All their lives were changed.

The gates of time were altered.
The mystery to them
Was opened up

Life is hard to understand
  It seems.
Darkness sometimes rules
  The world.