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Halloween will be here in a few days. Have you purchased your “trick-or-treat” goodies yet? I wonder if we will have any trick-or-treaters this year? There were many folks at the North Logan Pumpkin Walk, which is always a fun and creative experience. Hats off for this annual event and all who make it possible. There was some talk of not having it this year due to the virus, but it was as festive as ever. Thanks to all who go the extra-mile for making this a Cache Valley tradition.

As a child growing up in my hometown of Magna, we wore masks (not the kind we wear today) and went door to door to “trick or treat.” We collected our “haul” in pillow cases or other sturdy containers, came home, and poured it all out on the kitchen table. We separated what needed to be eaten first (because it was not wrapped) and then rationed it all out for a week or more after Halloween. When I was older (fourth or fifth grade), we also went into downtown stores that were open — The Standard Market or Mori Market — and they gave out candy, too.

Some mothers went out with their younger children earlier in the day, but those over the age of 10 or 11 went with friends. A few parents also dressed up a bit if they were taking their young ones up and down our street, but it was mostly kids out for a fun night with no worries. Magna was a very safe little town with folks who worked at the copper mills, the refinery, or the Garfield Smelter — the latter is where my dad worked as an electrician for more than 50 years.

I’ve written previously about how I worked at the smelter a couple of summers after graduating from Cyprus High and attending the University of Utah and Utah State Agricultural College — “the AC” as it was called by many folks at that time. I still have friends in Magna, West Valley City (which back then was Hunter and Granger), Bacchus just a few miles South of Magna, and Garfield about 10 miles west. Teenagers from the Jordan River West came to Cyprus or Bingham High School, our number one rival. My, oh my, how it’s all changed from the way things were in the ’40s and ’50s to 2020! Cache Valley only had three high schools — Logan, South Cache, and North Cache. Many students attended school until the 6th, 7th, or 8th grades and then worked on the family farms or elsewhere. My mother finished her schooling after 8th grade at South Cache. My father rode a train from Garfield into West High School and graduated from West. They were determined that I, their only son, was going to college and were thrilled when I was awarded scholarships to the University of Utah and USAC (now USU). I chose “the AC” and graduated after a three-year absence to serve a mission in New Zealand.

New Zealand was a three-year mission then as we were to learn Maori. During my mission, the church decided that all missionaries would be English-speaking as most of the Maoris had learned English by then. Some Maoris still spoke their native tongue and were happy that some elders could speak Maori.

During my time in New Zealand, many changes occurred. It was time now to take the message of our church to all citizens of New Zealand, so English was the official language of the nation. Ngawai Kohu was a dear old Maori member of the church who knew little English. When I was in the area where she lived, she taught me Maori, so we could converse. My Maori is not what it used to be, and I doubt most of the Maoris even speak or are taught their native language any longer.

One phrase I shall always remember is, “Ko kite puku, moi te powaka” — which means “My stomach is full; I sleep like a pig.” It was what they said after eating a good meal as a sign of gratitude. I will always remember the song they sang when a missionary was leaving, “Po Ata Rau.” It says, “Now is the hour when we must say goodbye … soon you’ll be sailing far across the sea.”

I know quite a few folks who have been to New Zealand, and all agree it’s a long flight. When Jane and I went there several years ago, I was amazed at all the changes. It will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Hawaii, Tonga, and Kiribati, where there are church schools. In Hawaii, the former LDS Church College of Hawaii is now BYU-Hawaii.

Change and change and change. So many changes in my lifetime — cell phones, colored TV, emails, cars that show you what’s behind you, ordering your groceries and clothing online, having your car tell you when your fuel tank is getting low, or even electric cars that you plug in. What’s next? Who knows? Not one Jay Monson, who often thinks of years gone by with awe and wonder. It seems they go by so fast. What’s next? Think big. It seems the sky is the limit, or is it — with space travel for all?

Now back to earth. I hope we have at least a few trick-or-treaters. I’m sure we’ll have our granddaughter Chloe who lives in North Logan and attends Edith Bowen Laboratory School at USU, where I was once the principal or “director” as it was called then.

Now if you missed the North Logan Pumpkin Walk, look up pictures on Facebook. It seems to get better each year. It’s fun to see which family or group has built each exhibit. Bless them for doing so.

Hope you have a happy Halloween this Saturday!

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