Friend to Friend

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

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    The decision was unanimous. They were ‘granddaddy’ clocks even though they looked like grandfather clocks.

    “My granddaddy can build anything. He made this clock for us.”

    “Granddaddy is the man in overalls who fixes everything,” was a proud remark by a teenager.

    With this introduction, and after visiting further with the children and many grandchildren of this General Authority, it was soon apparent that they all loved and respected him.

    “Dad always trusted me. He never seemed worried that I wouldn’t make the right decision. We had a lot of fun together,” said his daughter, a mother of nine children.

    “Dad helped us when we were building our house. If he hadn’t helped us so much, we never would have finished it. Many times it was three o’clock in the morning when he’d finally put his tools away and say, ‘Let’s call it a day.’” His daughter went on to say, “I change water pumps on cars and do house repairs like Dad does. He told me once, ‘Gay, you even put tools away like I do.’”

    “Hobbies? Clocks—making big ‘granddaddy’ clocks or just repairing clocks. Dad repaired the old clock in Brigham Young’s home in St. George, Utah, and now it runs.”

    “He can get anyone to smile,” said eighteen-year-old Cindy.

    “How does he do that?” I asked.

    After a long pause Cindy answered, “I guess it’s his twinkle that makes you smile.”

    “If I have a problem, I can always go to Granddaddy for good advice,” added a young grandson.

    “He has some of the belongings of Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph, and when the grandchildren are old enough he shows them these special treasures.”

    “Granddaddy has given blessings to me and my sister. It was a spiritual experience I will never forget. We went down to his office where he was Granddaddy one moment, then it was as though someone turned a switch and he gave us these wonderful blessings. We drove home afterward and he was just Granddaddy again.”

    “He wants to know what I do as a deacon,” said Joe, age twelve.

    “He’s really interested in Scouting,” offered thirteen-year-old Jim. “He asks me all the time how I’m doing.”

    “He’s pretty nice to me,” said Gary. “He never gets cross and he’s so patient.”

    “He loves cherry chocolates.”

    “How do you know he loves you?”

    “Easy, he smiles,” replied a toddler.

    A teenager commented, “When I first think about him, I see him smiling.”

    “Dad is always there for his children’s and his grandchildren’s blessings, baptisms, confirmations, and priesthood ordinations. Sometimes Mom and Dad have traveled many miles to see a grandchild blessed or confirmed. With seventeen grandchildren, that means quite a lot to keep up with.”

    “Mother was raised with a musical background and Father was not. Once when he built a wall outside, he took the record player out where he was working and listened to classical music all day so he would become more knowledgeable. It was agreed later that only the neighborhood had become more knowledgeable.”

    “We have a tradition at Christmastime of going to Granddaddy’s house where we dress up and act out the birth of Jesus while someone reads the story from the Bible.”

    “Heidi was Baby Jesus one year, ‘cause our family didn’t have a boy baby then.”

    “I got to be an angel last year!” Natalie, age five, declared.

    “Marcie fell and cut her head and Grandma loved her and kissed her and put ice on her head. Then Granddaddy picked her up in his arms and sang to her to make her feel better. He makes up songs, you know.”

    “Dad loves to whistle. He usually whistles while he works. Sometimes he whistles a tune you’ve heard before, but mostly he just whistles.”

    “When one of us is hurt, Dad will say, ‘Oh come now, it can’t be that bad.’ Then if he’s standing close to you, he’ll rub your back and with him saying that and a back rub, too, everything seems OK.”

    “He can see right through you. He seems to know about a problem even before you tell him. When Dad gives a blessing, he answers all of your questions during the blessing, especially the unasked ones.”

    The measure of this good man could probably be summarized by a statement made by one of his children, “He’s just an average, everyday, extraordinary person.”

    Show References

    • General Authority interviewed for Friend to Friend is Eldred G. Smith, Patriarch to the Church.