Friend to Friend

Ardeth G. Kapp

Ardeth Greene Kapp said that she grew up “in the little farming community of Glenwood, Alberta, Canada, where about three hundred people lived. Glenwood is about ten miles north and ten miles west of Cardston, where the temple is. My mom and dad had both lived in Glenwood all of their growing-up years, so we lived in that small community surrounded by family—all my aunts and uncles on both sides and all of my cousins were there. I took piano lessons from one aunt and dancing lessons from another. I lived across the street from one of my grandmothers, and my other grandmother lived with us.

“My dad was a farmer at heart. He had eighty acres that he farmed, although we lived in town. Dad and I used to spend a lot of time together, and we understood each other very well. He was very, very strong on obedience and felt that it was the most important principle. He never questioned any instruction or guidance that was given by Church leaders. He obeyed any directive they gave, and he instilled that desire to obey in his family. I remember Dad as being a strong disciplinarian, but he always tempered his discipline with love and concern. Once when he spanked me, he cried. But he felt that he had to execute the discipline in order to teach me obedience. I remember thinking then that it hurt him worse than it hurt me.”

Sister Kapp also feels that by spending a lot of time with her father, she “learned a lot about patience and about living in anticipation. When you live on a farm, you have to wait for the season, and you have to wait for the crops, and you have to wait for the ripening of things. When my family made ice cream, we’d get the ice from the river in the winter, or from an icehouse in the summer. Then we’d cut and chip the ice. Mom would mix the ingredients for the ice cream, and then we would crank the handle on the freezer, each taking a turn. After all that effort, the ice cream tasted especially good because we had anticipated it all the time that we were making it.

“I had some difficulty in school because of sickness. As an incentive for me to try really hard in school, my dad, who was the bishop, told me that on my twelfth birthday he would take me to Salt Lake City to attend a conference. Going to Salt Lake City seemed like going to the end of the world! I remember going to that conference and sitting up in the balcony on the north side and seeing the General Authorities and realizing that they were real people. When I look back on that and then think of going to conference now and sitting in one of those red seats, I know that there was no way then that I could have thought of myself in my present position. I think if we could have some idea of what the Lord has in mind for us, we would probably have a lot more confidence in ourselves as we grow up. No matter how humble your circumstances, how far away you live, or what the size of your town is, believe that the Lord has something special in mind for you.”

Sister Kapp recalls that during the Canadian winters she “would get up in the mornings at the same time that Dad did, in order to kindle the fire. We would stand there freezing until we got it going. Dad used to tell me that that chore was like faith—you have to put the wood in first to get the heat, because if you stand around to get the heat before you put in the wood, you’ll never get warm.

“We would leave for school in the morning when it was dark, and we would leave to come home when it was dark. Often it would be forty degrees below zero, and when we arrived at school, the room would be too cold for us to sit at our desks. For a half hour or so we would just march around the room in order to keep our circulation going.

“One thing we did in our town that was a lot of fun was to put on three-act plays. When we were on stage, we thought we were the best performers they had—and we were, because we were all that they had! And, of course, half the audience was family! Even so, it was fun to hear the applause.

“School fairs were put on each year, too, with all kinds of opportunities to develop talents. I remember taking an elocution class while I was a young child and winning a prize for saying a little poem.

“In our family we were encouraged to get an education, even though there were limited resources in our town. Our family would sometimes hire piano teachers to come from another town to teach us. My older brother became a very fine musician. He was also a good student and writer, and we all grew up knowing that excellence was expected of us.

“My mother opened a little country store to help keep our family financially afloat. I worked with her in the store quite a bit. She taught me about respecting and serving people. Once, when I was fourteen, my mom and dad went to Salt Lake City for a conference and left me to mind the store. The Hutterites in our area wouldn’t go to the bank to cash their huge grain checks, so Mom was a bonded payor, and we would sometimes have thousands of dollars in the store safe. I knew the combination to the safe, and I knew that my parents trusted me, so I opened and closed the store on time and took care of customers.”

Sister Kapp believes that “the way to be happy and feel good about yourself and to please Heavenly Father is to learn to be obedient. Even if we don’t understand why we should or should not do certain things, if we will just trust in our parents and in the wisdom of our Father in Heaven, one day we will understand. My hope is that every child will develop the self-discipline to do what he knows is right. When we’re obedient, we’re happy; when we’re disobedient, we’re not happy. It’s just that simple. Let us, then, choose to be happy.”