The bedroom in her eyes…

The stories we have read so far are certainly interesting. Some embarrassing, which is what has brought back a fun memory for me (not so much for my wife however). We were attending the parade seeing as many homes as we could one evening late. Both my wife and I were tired and felt the home we were in would be the last for the day.

We were in the main bedroom which was spectacular as it featured everything you could imagine and more. To my satisfaction my wife had what I will describe as, “the bedroom in her eyes” as sung by Due West in their song, “I get that all the time.”

To this day I am not certain how this happened, but we were walking from the closet toward the bed. We got separated somehow in the crowd as commonly found in the evening while touring the homes. The fellow near us was dressed nearly the same as me with us both having the “almost” same build and look. My wife, gazing at the finishes and not paying attention to people; reached down and gently massaged his behind as she began to utter words…

He quickly turned around and saying, “I will give you five minutes to stop that” knowing she wasn’t cognitive of whom she was soliciting. She melted onto the floor; the rest of us died laughing. Yes, we have other memories as we are regular participants, but this is my favorite. You can bet if we make the post I will be linking to my soulmate in crime. A match certainly can burn twice…

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My first kiss

There are many things we remember as we go through life’s journey. The most vivid for me are the ones that carried a little extra emotion. My hope is that we as females aren’t alone in our ability to summon up these memorable times like the one I will share.

The parade group asked us to share something about our experiences at their show. This immediately brought back a myriad of emotion for me. My family first started going to the parade when I was in middle school. I still go to this day years later. The parade has become a tradition as I plan for it each year.

In my senior year of high school I met and began dating a boy who was in my English class. We had known about each other throughout our earlier high school years, but never really talked or met formally. We had an assignment which required a small group of students to gather after school. Brian was in my group. I will say I fell head over heels in love as I began to understand more about him.

Class ended, we had some contact, but Brian is fairly shy (or really shy) and I don’t need to say what this meant. I could see he was finding ways to be in places where I was at school events, but no formal invite to date was extended. Brian’s friend began dating my friend which is where it all started. This was a good enough reason for Brian to suggest we go out. I assume he was comfortable I may say yes. We double dated for our first date and began finding ourselves together more regularly as the school year ended.

Over the summer we saw each other, but each of our family trips was offset so we had gaps in being together regularly. As I have said, my family goes together to the parade of homes. What I found fun is that Brian’s did too. For a date, Brian suggested we take our tickets and see some of the homes we each had missed.

It was in our last home that night where my memory was created! We had seen about six homes and were nearing the closing of the homes for the day. The last one was exactly what I had dreamt about my entire life. As we walked through the home I could see myself living there forever. I mentioned this to Brian as he turned and kissed me! It was amazing making me feel the whole experience differently. Brian on the other hand had acted on emotion and was embarrassed to death. This made it even better.

Today we live together in a home as near to this dream as we can afford…

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Yes- I was left alone for a time…

When I was a child, I attended the Parade of Homes with my family and our neighbors. Each family had their own car. Initially we all traveled in our separate vehicles. As the day went along, we traded children riding in the cars so I could be with my friend and my sister with hers. It wasn’t uncommon for us to trade between cars depending on who came out of the home first.

It was in about the fifth home of the day we were having conversations about getting some lunch before the next home. I was particularly fascinated with the backyard which had the best play area I had ever seen. What I didn’t notice was that I was engaged with some that weren’t part of our group. Time must have flown by for me.  In my excitement soon I realized there wasn’t a soul around who I knew.

Anxious, I went through the home toward the exit looking for any sign of my family or the neighbors. Nothing! I went out front and down the street to where we had parked. Nothing! No cars and no family or friends to be seen. Many might not know there was a time we didn’t have mobile phones, but this was the old days and we didn’t.

At first I thought to just sit on the sidewalk where the cars had been parked, but I soon realized I was out of place there. I went back to the home and sat near the front porch.

My family and neighbors each thought I had gotten in the other car. It wasn’t until they got to the restaurant they realized someone (me) was missing. My mom tells the story that she not only thought I was in the other car, but that I must have gone to the restroom first and why I wasn’t there to order.

After a short time my mom asked if the neighbors knew where I was concerned it had taken a little more time than normal. The response shocked my mom as she heard, “no he wasn’t with us; didn’t he ride with you?”

Well, back at the home and for what seemed like an eternity, I had made a friend with the person at the door. She told me not to worry and that as soon as either group realized I was gone they would be back to get me.

Mom jumped in the car racing back to save her son. What I will never forget is her eyes as she quickly drove up near the front of the house. She was wide eyed and filled with concern until she saw me. When she realized I was OK, her face changed portraying comfort that extended into my heart. The ensuing hug is one neither of us have forgotten.

Needless to say, we had greater restrictions for the remaining homes. I have been every year since and love the parade.

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Haven’t missed a year…

I won’t say that I have had an unusual parade experience; however, I may have one that is quite rare! I just celebrated my 32nd birthday and am married with two children. As a newborn (I would have been six months old) I was taken to the Salt Lake Parade of Homes™ by my parents. I have attended the parade each and every year of my life. I will readily admit those first years I don’t remember and that I am relying on the word of my mother, but I have continued this trend with my children.

From the time I could remember, I would always ask when the parade was being very anxious to see the latest new construction ideas. While many of the house treatments may seem to stay the same, I will suggest we have made some great strides. Technology is playing a big role in today’s homes which is fun to see with automation. But as I think, I remember when microwaves started becoming popular and flat panel televisions. I remember the main bedroom closets expanding and the “great room” becoming popular.

I am interested to see the trends change as the younger buyers enter the market knowing they want smaller high functioning homes.

Thank you for putting on such a great event! See you in July

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My friend Jim Hicks

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Watch out for shower doors if you are gawking

I think it was 2002, we were in a home called Tuscan by John Roe. Maybe other parade attendees are like me; dragging a husband along! I think they fear honey-do lists or a wife who wants a new house. Anyway, we were in the main bathroom closet. It was a walk-in, but you could step inside a few feet leaning against a rope keeping you from entering entirely.

While we were commenting on the organizers, three women stepped into the shower to take a funny picture. I will admit they were nice looking and slightly younger than we were. The door to the shower was glass and barely visible if you didn’t pay attention. As we turned to exit, my dear husband got distracted by their activity (beauty) and ran face first into the shower door.

It not only left a mark, but slammed the door shut shocking the ladies and making them scream. I can’t imagine what others at that end of the house were thinking as they heard the commotion. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t help! This is something we tease about even to this day. I often wonder if those ladies share a different version of the incident…

We love the parade, and have been regular attendees for years. Thank you for showing off your homes and builders.

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1976 Salt Lake Parade of Homes™

As a young man, my parents took our family to the Parade of Homes™1976. I remember the homes were in Glenmoor Village. It was exciting because the home builders had a large domed tent with exhibitors. I hadn’t ever seen anything this big that was temporary in nature.

While we walked through the home, I felt there were a couple things that could have been done differently. I mentioned this to my mother who agreed with me which validated my young heart. We approached a man in the living room who asked if we had any questions. My mother asked who he was, he happened to be the builder/designer Interstate Homes. To my great fear she said I had a couple ideas to share about the floorplan. He anxiously listened even offering that he may make the suggested changes in future homes.

Turns out he did, I loved seeing my ideas come to life. This seemingly simple parade experience set in place the course of my life. I pursued an architecture degree and have been that same little boy figuring out new ways to build ever since. I don’t think I am alone in having the parade mean something beyond showing the public new and innovative ideas.

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What is our “adult” example teaching?

Are we really adults as we go about bad mouthing, expressing hate, and dissing on each and every move our political leaders make? Why it is families are fair game now? Is there anything that either side can endure about the other today? Can we compromise on anything that comes from a differing ideology?

We teach our children good manners asking them to be appreciative and express themselves with gratitude. Suggest that we don’t tolerate rudeness letting them know in is never acceptable to lash out at another person. Offer that their greatest asset in life will be to become a good listener. Share that life has rules and set boundaries for them where they learn the consequences of decisions. Encourage open-mindedness so the diversity of life can be expressed through varying life experiences. And impart the value of showing respect to elders and those who hold important positions.

Certainly- as this is done we teach them how to think for themselves, create, and find ways to improve the world. That is normal, our thoughts are to enable greatness and build opportunity as this new generation grows into adulthood and leads those who will follow them.

Yet our supposedly adult eyes are closed and ears covered to anything the other side does or says. It seems we stand on platforms of acceptance holding out welcoming hands to all types of diversity; except ideological! What is absurd to me is that we know example is the best teacher. Our education systems are filled with appropriate methods to enable desired outcomes and further learning which is occurring naturally at home. But, what is a child to think when they see how the “adults” of the world destroy any learning that has occurred? Imagine what it would be like for them to learn critical life skills to then see that they mean nothing in the real world today.

My simple hope is that we can practice what we preach and join the youth in what we know to be the basis of acceptance and civility…


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Misguided logic of some Outdoor Retailers

Utahns aren’t known to crater to threats or misguided logic. Yes, the Outdoor Retailer Convention was good for our state and many businesses that call Utah home, but having a handful of “industry leaders” voice through ultimatum their view isn’t how we do things here. I acknowledge our leaders for standing with the people on this; that is courage! I witnessed the brash treatment of our legislature as they debated this critical issue. Our elected officials held civility and open minds throughout.

Corporate heads such as Rose Marcario, Todd Spaletto, and Jerry Stritke didn’t have the courage to fly in on their private jets and sit down with Governor Herbert in person. Their bravery was readily apparent as they immediately provided a press release after their conference call. This type of bullying is why we suffer as we do in Washington, but not here in Utah!

I find it ironic that a criticism of Utah’s leaders was that they didn’t listen to the “people.” Guess what Rose, Todd, and Jerry, you have no clue! Your convention participants were interviewed by your organization in August of 2015 with results showing two-thirds of 6,000 retailer attendees and exhibitors want to keep the show in Salt Lake! Call Marisa Nicholson- Vice President and show director for specifics.

Another thing you should learn about Utahns is that we love our outdoors! We are careful stewards of public lands, in fact, I bet no other state does as much. We not only preserve our critical lands but enjoy management behavior that stands out as national leading ideas. This effective use of our land allows for beneficial use throughout a unique diversity of needs. Do you know Utah has 253 conservation projects engaging a commission to aid in continued preservation? We have 43 state parks which in part are funded out of Utah’s general fund, a commitment that goes back to 1957! There are 35 million acres of land open to the public and the country’s largest wildlife conservation project. You could say we are too good at promoting the outdoors as people from all over the world come to see what we have done. I haven’t even mentioned the might five national parks or eight national monuments.

Don’t give credit to Rep Rob Bishop, state and local leaders who were working together with the residents of Utah, yes “locals”—not blinded environmentalists— to preserve and manage the exact same area. With a little luck, and because we didn’t pander to your hysteria; we well may have a Goosenecks State Park soon! Go ahead and believe your alternative facts and internet stories to promote a false agenda. I stand with the leaders who represent the people of Utah who have a rich history of championing good land policy…


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Two unexpected paths cross

Beautiful twin sisters were out late one night with friends. Nothing unusual occurred during the evening, but memories carried were that they all enjoyed each other’s company. Small talk occurred among the group as their vehicle traveled home on a nearly empty city street.

In the same neighborhood, and just over the fence on the street the teens traveled on, a surgeon and his wife had lain down to bed. They too had spent the night with friends perhaps having had similar memories run through their minds.

Suddenly, the couple heard a loud bang followed by crushing sounds of metal moving down the street. Sitting straight up in bed the Doctor suggested to his wife, “There has been a horrible accident; I must go see what I can do to help!”

He was right, the teen driver had lost control, and in an effort to correct course his car slid into its side beginning to flip. The teens weren’t speeding, but on a street with a speed limit such that it caused the vehicle to roll repeatedly as it gradually came to a stop in the middle of the street. As the car rolled, two of the passengers were thrown from the vehicle while the others tossed and turned inside hearing breaking glass and realizing crushing blows.

First on the scene was a woman who was traveling just seconds behind the car. As she walked onto the scene—somewhat in shock—the physician came running up to the car in a bathrobe and slippers. His natural instinct kicked in as he began to perform triage on the situation. What he saw was a car containing teens that seemed confused, but appeared to need less medical attention then the two who were outside the car lying on the pavement. He knew the escape of the trapped teens would need to be facilitated, but wanted desperately to check on the others first. He kindly suggested to the woman, “I feel it is important that I check on these other people first.” As he raised his arm pointing in the direction of those who had flown from the car, “I need to see if their needs are greater. It is important that we get all these people out quickly as you can see there is a fire building near the gas tank. Can you do that please?”

With that he fled to the others finding that they had received terminal injuries. This only took minutes as he then hurried back to assist the woman he had left temporarily. As he approached the car, he saw that she had helped everyone out but one. She yelled to him as he neared “there is one girl who is trapped” asking for his help. The only thing he could do was to crawl in the car with her to see what could be done. Once inside, he found that her hand was caught between the pillar and the doors window frame. He was nervous about the ensuing fire, yet wanted to help in a way not to do further damage her fear filled body.

He spoke with the young woman finding she had calmed in his presence. He suggested he was there to help, asking if there was any further bodily harm she was aware of he couldn’t see. Nothing was noted other than the unfathomable shock and fear that engulfed her. After hearing this, the doctor began working on freeing her hand. It was clearly crushed in a fashion making it nearly impossible to remove. He tried to comfort her as he tried different ways to help. At this point the fire had increased to the point of smoke making visibility and communication difficult between the two. He knew time was limited for both of them as fuels could easily combust without notice. The best option for survival was to apply full pressure to remove the hand at what could be high cost (potential loss of fingers or damage to the hand), but far less then another loss of life. “You need to trust me” were his next words, “I need to pull your hand with all my might to free you and it will be very painful!” To his surprise she said, “Go ahead, I am ready.” He felt as if she were closing her eyes as she spoke these words, but he couldn’t see. What he did know for certainty was that her courage was significant.

What happened next may be the first noticeable miracle of the night. As he pulled, after having tried many different ways with slightly less pressure, the hand slipped out and they were free. Just as both climbed out of the car, it blew into flames to become nothing more than black melted piles of what was once a car.

After the accident, the physician reached out to the brave young lady asking to see her in her hospital room. Once there he asked the family if he could meet with her personally. They had no idea what he wanted, but being so grateful for his heroism they obliged willingly. As he entered her room—after both subconsciously recounted there experience together—his first words were, “thank you for saving my life.” She sat bewildered believing it was he who saved her life so she was confused. You see it was her twin sister was one of the two who lost their lives that night, so she was particularly sensitive to his life saving actions. She remembered when they both stood in amazement at the car engulfed in flames just seconds after they arose from the entrapment.

Why do you say that? She asked sincerely. Well, I had made myself a promise that I would stay in the car with you no matter the outcome. When I asked you if I could your hand free, I knew that if you said no, we would meet a certain death. Your bravery saved us that night; thank you! She then quietly asked “do you know how my hand freed so easily?” No, but I do believe in miracles. It may be we simply received a tender mercy. Whatever it was; it saved our lives.

Not many of us can imagine the pain this young woman, her family, or friends must have experienced. Her loss is beyond words; her survival is a miracle as described by the doctor. This miracle may have never happened if this service minded physician didn’t offer help. Did her sister play a role in the rescue? I have hope she did.

Yet as in any hardship, there is a lesson in this story we can learn from. Intense grief can’t be broken down by words alone; it is through shared grief healing occurs, which then makes our words significant. Reach out to those in need, particularly grief stricken, and brokenhearted. Hold out a hand of love, offer a comforting embrace of compassion, shed a tear of common sorrow. Over time wisdom will transform pain into understanding, but for now support is needed. God bless this family who is surrounded by love during this difficult time.


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