Friend to Friend


“My dad always tells us how far he had to walk to school when he was little so he doesn’t think we should complain about walking.”

With this opening remark by a teenage daughter of this General Authority, I wondered how many children throughout the world have heard their parents say the same thing to them!

“When Dad was a little boy, he had a dog named Wafford. He always tells us about how useful this dog was on the farm and about how many things Wafford could do. He compares Wafford to the ‘civilized’ dogs today who just seem to waste their time.”

“Dad was active in the 4-H Club when he was a boy. His father let him raise a calf each year to enter in the state fair.”

“He can remember all the names of the kids he went to grade school and high school with. I can’t even do that now while I’m still in school.”

“When Mom and Dad were first married they lived on a farm. One day Dad knew an orphan pig would die if he didn’t keep it warm and feed it himself. So he brought the pig inside and put it in the oven. He didn’t turn on the oven but thought the pig would be comfortable there for a while. He didn’t think to tell anyone what he’d done and my mother, not knowing about the pig being there, came into the kitchen and turned on the oven to bake something. Needless to say, an unintentionally roasted pig at our house that day caused quite a problem.”

“How can I possibly describe my father’s laugh? First of all, he appreciates a humorous situation and laughs a lot. His laugh is unique so that when we go to the movies we sometimes feel like slumping down in our seats because people start looking in our direction. He laughs like he does everything else. He gives it 100 percent.”

“He loves life—every part of it—all the small things as well as the big ones. It is really something just to watch him peel an orange or polish his shoes. He usually sings at the top of his voice, enthusiastic about whatever he’s doing.”

“Dad likes to tease us. Every time I eat a piece of chocolate cake he says, ‘You know you’ll gain weight, and remember, fat girls die young!’”

“Dad loves people and enjoys learning about different cultures. He loves what he’s doing.”

“Dad’s a very grateful person, particularly for his good health. He likes oranges, pecan nuts, and sorghum. Often he’ll say, ‘John, go get me my sorghum.’ He eats bread and sorghum with whatever else he’s having for supper.”

“How about discipline?” I asked ten-year-old John.

“Dad doesn’t like the words shut up. When we have done something wrong, he wants to make sure we understand why it’s wrong. He might talk to us for hours about a small thing just to make sure we get the message.”

“Which of your father’s character traits appeals to you most?” I asked the eldest son.

“He’s so intense and enthusiastic about everything he does. He never holds back. And always he’s been my friend. Every day when he’d drive me and my friends to seminary, we’d turn on the radio and all sing the popular songs. He knew the words as well as we did.

“He cut my hair, and we were home-teaching companions together. These are great memories for me.”

“One of the most interesting things about my father is that he gets a kick out of fixing mechanical things, no matter what they are. He repairs all the bikes for my neighborhood friends, and he fixes shoes, purses, earrings, and other jewelry. He repairs car mufflers, too, and gets excited over the challenge of repairing anything that’s broken. Sometimes we have to search to find things for him to fix.

“New gadgets fascinate my dad.”

“He has fun taking pictures, and he used to have his own darkroom.”

“Dad is a champion at pitching horseshoes, and enjoys other athletics. He believes in keeping physically fit.”

“My dad was a navy pilot for twenty-six years so he’s not afraid of heights. But it makes my mother nervous whenever he stands out on the smallest point of land at the rim of a deep canyon and peers over the edge.”

“I was so young that I barely remember when the missionaries came to our house. Soon after my father was converted to the Church, he began to be actively engaged in missionary work himself. He baptized the people who lived in back of our house and those through the block. He baptized the people living across the street and the ones he rode to work with. He even baptized his copilot and his squadron commander. Dad’s a great missionary!”

Subject of interview for Friend to Friend is Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., of the First Council of the Seventy.