Because my dad died when I was young, my Grand-pa Vernon be-came like a father to me. I loved to sit on his lap as he made funny faces and even dropped his lower dentures to make me laugh. We had a special relationship through the years, even after I moved from Utah. I loved to visit my grand-parents in Mil-ford, Utah. They always gave me a silver dollar whenever we parted. I wished I had saved those silver dollars––they would be worth a lot of money these days, but not as much as the memory of the love we shared.
Grandpa had a demanding job for fifty years as a section foreman supervising the railroad gang maintaining the Union Pacific tracks between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City in good running order. In case of a derailment or other urgent track problem, he could be called out anytime day or night in any weather. His duties and responsibilities at home also kept him busy. As a hunter, he supplied most of the meat they ate as a family. He loved to hunt and fish and taught me how to fish, and to thread my worm on a hook. Although he was an expert fly fisherman, he took the time to help me untangle my line and showed me where the good places were to find a nice trout to catch or at least drown my worm in the creek. Always busy, he was the gardener, the farmer raising chickens and eggs, the car mechanic, and overall fix-it man.
The last time I saw him, he’d retired from the railroad and was enjoying fishing in his leisure time. Hunting was impossible for him now because of heart problems that developed. I didn’t know as I sat next to him in 1974, smiling and listening to the same old hunting and fishing stories I had heard through the years, that this would be our last visit. It wasn’t until after his death that I heard the real stories of his youth from my uncle DuWayne. How Grandpa had been a sheepherder before he worked on the railroad, and had even run bootleg whiskey between Wyoming and Park City during prohibition times. I decided to write his life history so that someday when my family is curious about their heritage, they can come to know and appreciate my dear grandparent.