Friend to Friend


“My grandpa likes to walk around and see our yard and our vegetable garden when he comes to visit.”

“Do you work in your family garden?” I asked six-year-old Thomas.

“Yes, I get to pick everything that’s ripe.”

One of this General Authority’s granddaughters, age four, told me that her grandpa had once gone out into their corn patch where he picked and ate a cob of corn “without it even being cooked.”

“Dad loves corn, whole wheat bread, fish, buttermilk, ice cream, and raspberries. He has always loved to garden and keeps his yard looking beautiful; it’s one of his ways of showing that he truly appreciates the out-of-doors.”

“Dad loves horses and claims he’d rather ride a horse than drive a car.”

“He’s always talked about how important it is to have a supply of food stored and also to store coal and wood where possible.”

“Father grew up on a farm, the oldest of eleven children. He has always taught us the value of hard work. He tells us of the fun they used to have on bobsled rides when he was a young boy and about how beautiful his mother was, especially her long hair which she brushed every night. She never came out of her room in the morning until she was immaculately dressed. He said his mother never raised her voice, as far as he could remember, except one time when Father caught his finger in the wringer washer and she ran outdoors shouting for his father to come in quickly to help.”

“Dad’s father and mother built their house and moved into it when they were married, and all eleven children were born there in a front bedroom. While he was growing up, the boys couldn’t all leave home at one time to go to college, so they took turns, each going one semester at a time.”

“Dad loves to sing songs such as ‘Springtime in the Rockies,’ ‘Once I Went in Swimming,’ and ‘Freckles.’ On family trips, when we were children, we would sing and harmonize in the car. We always used to gather around the piano at home and sing.”

“I remember the sturdy swings Dad erected in our yard for us children whenever we moved to a different house.”

“Mother is such a special person. When Dad was called on a mission to Europe after World War II, Mother was left with six small children. I was the youngest and soon became so sick that the doctors said I might die.

“Mother took me to President George Albert Smith, who gave me a special blessing.

“When I was better, she wrote to Dad that it was a relief to have me well again. Dad was so concerned that he tried to make a long-distance telephone call. In those days you were lucky to get your call placed in a matter of many hours. Dad said he got down on his knees, intending to stay there in prayer until the operator got the call through. It wasn’t long, however, until he heard Mother’s voice saying that all was well.”

“When Grandpa plays basketball with me he makes a lot of baskets, then he says he’d better quit while he’s ahead of me.”

“One time we took Grandma and Grandpa out to eat. We asked Grandpa if he liked pizza. He said, ‘I don’t think so, the crust is too hard and the topping is too gooey,’ but after he had eaten, he said that he really enjoyed it. Then he suggested that we get some ice cream so we could sort of clean out our systems.”

“Grandpa always encourages us to develop our talents. He also encourages us to keep up on political and current issues.”

“He tries to spend the first Monday night in the month with us for family home evening. After one of us gives the lesson, we all talk about it and especially listen to his comments. Afterward we have ice cream, and someone plays the piano so we can all dance.”

“Home was always the best place to be. There was comfort there. All you needed to do was to chat with Mom and Dad. They had such listening ears. Even though Dad was gone a lot, he was all ours when he was home. He never seemed to push his counsel on us but would listen and then give sound advice.

“A couple of years ago our family had a reunion for the first time in years. Dad thanked the Lord that day for his posterity. He prayed that as we were all gathered without any vacant chairs, that in heaven there would be no vacant chairs either. He has referred to that prayer often since.”

Ezra Taft Benson

This General Authority’s name is Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve.