Friend to Friend


“Grandpa gives me a big hug and kiss when I go to his house. Then he picks me up and swings me around. He tells me he loves me and sometimes he tells me stories like Little Red Riding Hood. One night when I was staying at his house, I crawled into bed with him and Grandma in the middle of the night, and they didn’t even know I was there until the next morning.”

“Dad loves to work in the yard and to build things. He also has a great sense of humor,” recalled one of his sons. “Once while I was courting my wife, I told her jokes early one evening. She laughed but only to be polite. Then I took her to supper at my home, and my father told all the same jokes to her during dinner. He sometimes laughs so hard at his or others’ jokes that he has to leave the room until he can quit laughing.

“And speaking of courting, I remember a night when my sister Jane had a date with a boy who had grown a fine beard (fine enough to win a recent beard contest). However, the boy was very nervous about coming to our home, and he didn’t know if Dad would approve of his beard. He finally became so concerned that he shaved it off and appeared at our front door that evening clean-shaven. You know, my father was very touched by that.”

“Dad counsels with people a great deal. He seems to be especially sensitive to the needs of others.”

“Dad built our home. He did everything—the concrete work, the plumbing, all of the carpentry work. I always worked with him.”

“Can you think of a pet peeve your father might have?” I inquired.

“Yes, a person who wastes time,” came the quick answer.

“He smiles when I come to his house,” a grandchild piped up.

“My father gets up early! As long as I can remember he’s always risen early. He’d come by our rooms singing loudly, ‘Half a day gone by and nothing yet done.’ This was at 5:30 A.M. He’s a real worker!”

“Dad loves to make do, and never overspends. He puts three old parts together instead of buying a new one.”

“My mother? She’s the soft, warm support of the family. Her even temperament makes her truly an angel on earth.”

“Dad was raised on a farm. His father had a great sense of humor and could really spin a good tale. Grandpa used to tell about the time he was voted the homeliest man at school one year. My father likes to reminisce about his father and his own childhood.”

“Dad worked as the European Mission secretary while he was on his mission. During that time he made a presentation to President Grant regarding the missionary system, and President Grant commissioned him to carry out those suggestions. This later led to his calling as executive secretary of the Missionary Committee. Dad has always been very missionary minded.”

“Grandpa? He loves to play games, read scriptures, and he giggles a lot.”

“Dad loves the soil. He plants trees, trees, trees. I’m sure he’s planted at least 2,000 of them.”

“Your father travels a great deal. How does he manage such a schedule?”

“Dad has a mantle of great physical strength. It is not a bit unusual for him to tour twenty-three days and hold twenty-two conferences during that time.”

Eight-year-old Rosemary told this about her grandfather: “He’s building a dollhouse for our family—it’s pretty. He even builds big houses, the kind you live in.

“And did you know my grandpa eats shredded wheat for dinner?”

“Don’t you mean for breakfast?”

“Nope, for dinner, right out of the box.”

“The place that is most fun is Grandpa’s rocking chair. We sit together and talk and talk. Sometimes he tells us Bible stories.”

“When my grandpa prays it’s like he’s really talking to somebody,” added Heather.

“He’s always saying, ‘Be grateful,’” Celia said.

“Grandpa asks me if I’m being a good girl. Then he picks me up off the floor and gives me a big kiss. Oh, I almost forgot, he brings us money from other countries,” added Laura, age six.

“My dad? He’s very wise, weighs both sides before making a decision. He’s also very discreet. He never talks about others or about situations. He only talks when he has something to say.”

“Dad ties green yarn on his suitcases so he can quickly recognize his own luggage at the airports; that way he doesn’t waste time. He’s always the first one on and off an airplane. He walks so fast that sometimes we all wonder where he’s going in such a hurry.

“But he always knows where he’s going—and why.”

[photos] Photos by Lonnie Lonczyna

This General Authority’s name is Gordon B. Hinckley of the Council of the Twelve.