“Boompaw, that’s what Johnnie called him, and it just stuck,” said one of this General Authority’s eighteen grandchildren.
I was visiting with four of his grandchildren, two boys and two girls. Even though they were cousins and shared a common grandfather, they all had different experiences to relate.
“My grandfather works very hard. He loves nature and mountains. He likes to fish whenever he has the time. His mountain cabin is a very special place. All of us grandchildren get to take a turn going there to stay overnight with him.”
“His great-great-grandfather led the settlers into Oakley, Idaho. We went to a parade there once in his honor. It was a lot of fun because me and my cousins got to drive a little car in the parade.”
“One time we visited a place where the people seemed to be very poor. My grandpa went to a grocery store nearby and bought some bags of groceries. Me and my cousin helped him deliver the groceries. We knocked on the doors of several houses and then left a bag of groceries at each one.”
“It’s really neat when Grandpa and Grandma come to our house for a family home evening. We play all kinds of games that are fun and then we have ice cream.”
“One day my grandpa talked to me about where I would like to go on my mission. He told me to learn as much about the Church as I could while I was young. He said, ‘That’s the main thing you need to know.’”
“Grandpa plays the piano and violin and so do I. I really enjoy hearing him, especially when he plays his two favorite pieces. He once told me about playing the violin at his high school graduation program. His sister Helen, who played the piano for him, whispered, ‘Would you like to tune up?’ ‘No,’ he said and he played the entire number a half note off from the pitch of the piano. I guess it sounded pretty bad.”
“He tells us Indian stories like the stories about Kickapoo Dan and his horse Pinto.”
Each of the four children expressed enjoyment in relating their experiences about this mountain place so dear to Boompaw.
“What is his most outstanding trait?” I asked. “Well,” one of the older children answered, “he always seems to be organized. He does so much in so little time. He’s a real doer. And he loves the Church.”
“My grandpa notices me!” one boy declared. When I inquired if his grandfather ever gave him suggestions on how to improve his life, he answered, “Yes, he likes my hair shorter. Sometimes he tells me, ‘Now you’re wearing your hair like the movie stars do.’”
“He brings me books to read like Tom Sawyer, Buffalo Bill, and also some other really neat books written especially for young people in the Church.”
I felt that that honest appraisal was a good place to end my interview. Again I had gained a new appreciation and admiration for a strong, righteous man who had been chosen by the Lord to serve His Church in these latter days.