Friend to Friend

From personal interviews by Joleen Meredith with a General Authority’s children and grandchildren.

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    Dad loves to work outside. We have two and one-half acres of land and a cow, a lamb, chickens, and a horse we call Double Deal. Dad comes home at night, changes his clothes, and immediately goes outside to work. Right now he’s working on a fence.

    “My father loves to build things. Once he built me a dollhouse with real lights inside. He also built us an outdoor picnic table. He’s a hard worker and he works to make it count. He’s always working!”

    As I talked with the other children and grandchildren of this General Authority, the sentence “He’s always working,” was often heard. There were also other repeated phrases such as “always reading,” “always studying.”Such wonderful lessons to be learned by us all.

    “We moved to Uruguay, South America, on a Church assignment when I was two years old and stayed until I was six. I remember going to a French school there and learning to speak French quite easily. We had an armadillo for a pet. One day it was killed by a dog and we were all very sad.

    “The thing I remember about South America, since I was only a baby when we went there, was that the missionaries called me Gordi, which means fat in Spanish.”

    “My father is a good listener. I always know I can go to him for good advice.”

    “He teaches us the value of obedience. He really believes that children should mind their parents. He tells us often that it is good to learn obedience at an early age in life.”

    “Does your Father have a sense of humor?” I inquired.

    “My father says, ‘The Lord made a few perfect heads—the rest he covered with hair.’”

    “What about discipline?” I asked his son.

    “Dad sometimes paddles me, if he’s really cross, but most of the time he just talks to me and lets me know what I’ve done wrong and tells me how to do better.”

    “Dad tells me when I’ve done wrong; then he always explains that I should do as he says, because I am his daughter and he is responsible for me.”

    “I love family home evening. It might be a report meeting for my father to relate to us his experiences at a recent conference. It might be a family activity night. Sometimes it is a planning session for the entire season ahead of us. Sometimes we have a lesson. It’s always a good night.”

    “What kind of person is your grandfather?” I asked one of his grandchildren.

    “Special,” was the reply.

    “What do you mean special?” I urged.

    “He works.”

    “When you visit your grandpa, what do you do?”

    “I sometimes go outside and work with him.”

    “What do you talk about?”

    “Lots of things. Mostly he just says, ‘Keep working!

    “He loves to turn off the television while we’re watching and say, ‘Let’s go outside and work.’”

    “I know your grandfather likes licorice,” I said to another grandchild. “Can you think of anything else he likes?”

    “Us! Grandpa gives us hugs and kisses and we give ’em right back.”

    “Grandpa loves Grandma. She always goes outside and works right by him. They hold hands when they walk.”

    “Grandpa? He always has a shovel in his hand.”

    One of his children concluded the interview by saying, “My father smiles all the time—he’s just always smiling.”

    “Why do you think that is?” I asked.

    “He loves life—he loves what he’s doing. He’s just happy.”

    A simple sentence, “He’s just happy.” And yet what a wonderful way to live.

    Artifacts courtesy Church Historical Department

    Show References

    • General Authority interviewed for Friend to Friend is A. Theodore Tuttle, of the First Council of the Seventy.