The Louis T and Marinda Miller family still holds a reunion every 2 years! It’s mind-boggling to think of how many posterity their 10 sons and 1 daughter have yielded. No one even hazarded a guess at the May 28th gathering held at the Hyrum Civic Center.
Konnie and I have tried to attend as many of these reunions possible and can honestly say that we’ve enjoyed each one. It is a bitter sweet experience because, while we do get to visit with many members of our extended family, we are always sad to learn who passed away during the two-year interval since the last reunion. Notably absent were Ivan Miller and Junior Miller’s wife, Norma. Both were such gracious people and always treated Mom and Dad so well.
Since Aunt Merlynn and her daughter, Susan, had a schedule conflict, Konnie and I knew we’d be there to represent Marvin and Lucille. The reunion committee requested that each family bring some “treasures” to display and to be prepared to share a few comments.
As I carefully selected the items I’d like to represent Marvin, I found myself thinking about how hard it is to reduce a rich 80+ year lifetime to just 5 artifacts. Still, they do tell quite a story:
- The fishing creel represented Grandpa’s fairly well-hidden “fun” side. He never invited me to go fishing with him but I do remember that he liked to fish small streams with grasshoppers. Davenport Creek and Left Hand Fork were two of his favorites. The creel is well-used and held together at the bottom by baling wire – a testament to frequent use and Grandpa’s frugality.
- The egg basket is just one representation of Grandpa’s hard work and how most dry farmers needed a steady source of income to supplement their risky (yield and price) Bluecreek endeavors. I did get to help Grandpa gather the eggs, clean the eggs and put them in 12-dozen size cartons to be picked up by Draper Poultry. I’m sure that Grandma Lucille shouldered a lot of the egg production burden while Grandpa was out at Bluecreek. On a side note, some of you may remember the “egg room” in the basement at the bottom of the stairs (on the left). It was cool and ideal for storing the eggs. I built several decorative shelves out of the egg room shelving after Konnie and I bought and remodeled the old Marvin and Lucille home.
- The sweat-stained hat is another representation of Grandpa’s hard work. He always wore a similar-styled hat while he worked…never a baseball cap. A long-sleeve shirt, a pair of denim coveralls and brown, lace-up boots rounded out his work attire. Aunt Merlynn told us that Grandpa never allowed his coveralls to be washed! He just shook out the dust and wore them until they needed replaced. Having seen how dirty Lyle got while working on farm machinery, it makes me wonder how Marvin ever managed to stay relatively clean.
- Since I couldn’t drive the blue, 1948 Chevrolet truck all the way to Cache Valley, I had to settle for sharing a picture showing it still looking good and in use. The truck epitomizes Grandpa’s “fussiness” and well-known trait of taking good care of everything he owned. I certainly enjoyed washing and waxing his truck once or twice a year when I was in my teens. He always seemed so pleased when I returned it to him totally detailed and looking near-new.
When it came my turn to share the memorabilia and a story about Marvin, I told about how upset Grandpa was when he got the truck. Apparently, new vehicles were still hard to get in post-Word War II 1948. He had to order the truck from Miller Chevrolet (no relation) in Logan, pay a deposit and then wait for the truck to be made and shipped via train. Well, true to form, he ordered the very most basic, stripped down model with a 4-speed transmission, the only requested option. When his truck arrived, it was dark blue instead of stock dark green, had a pin stripe around the cab, had a fancy hood ornament and the elaborate front bumper assembly, plus…a radio of all things! He was furious about the options and additional cost but pretty well had to take the truck or get put at the bottom of the waiting list again. To say that Grandpa was a penny-pincher is an understatement!
Two short stories about Grandpa did come out during the reunion. Gary Miller is Ross Miller’s son. Ross owned the dry farm just north of Grandpa’s. Ross often invited Marvin to join them for supper at the end of a long, dusty day. Ross would send Gary out into the field to hail Grandpa to supper. Well, Grandpa was so intent on his work that it was hard for Gary to get Grandpa’s attention. Gary’s solution was to throw dirt clods at the Caterpillar tractor. That got Grandpa’s attention, of course, but was always accompanied by a scowl that Gary remembers to this day.
Larry Miller (Weldon’s son) told about using his Dad’s bobtail truck to haul Grandpa Marvin’s wheat. Larry would drive the truck right into the field and Grandpa would pull the John Deere combine up next to the truck and auger the wheat into the truck box. Well, on one occasion, Larry drove up and Grandpa stopped the combine. While climbing down from the driver’s seat, somehow Grandpa’s false teeth fell out and landed on the combine’s cutter bar. The large, rotating reel with tines that pulls the wheat into the cutter bar wasn’t quite stopped yet. Larry and Grandpa watched anxiously as the reel slowed. Just before coming to a complete stop, the reel pulled Grandpa’s false teeth into the cutter bar, totally destroying his dentures. You can imagine how funny that must have been! The folks attending the reunion sure enjoyed the story.
On a closing note, let me share how proud I am to be a “Hyrum Miller.” Louis T. and Marinda left such a lasting legacy of honest, hard work and noticeable pride in being successful. As a young boy, I sensed these important family traits. Looking back, it’s hard not to admit that they’ve become part of who I am as well.