Two weeks ago, I had my first reading of Blessed be the Wicked at The King’s English in Salt Lake City. I haven’t lived in Utah since I graduated from high school a very long time ago. Still, Utah’s a place always close to my heart. My pioneer ancestors helped settle Deseret in the mid-nineteenth century. I grew up listening to my mom tell stories of her grandpa’s ranch out in Grantsville. The farm hands were up at the crack of dawn, and when they came in from the first labor of the day, around dawn, my great grandma would feed them steak, eggs, and potatoes for breakfast. Meanwhile, my mom would sneak spoon fulls of cream from the top of milk jugs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen happier grins than what I saw in the frayed black-and-white photo of my great grandpa in striped overalls with my mom by his side on his tractor. Grantsville, Utah, in the late 1940s was a place where people knew to cherish time. As a rancher, my great grandpa had plenty of work that had to be done. He did it and he did it well. If you’re a farmer and a rancher, there’s nothing to be gained by cutting corners. When he finished what needed to be finished, though, he knew there was more to life. From the stories, I know he knew how to have fun. He took my mom out on the horses, he let her drive the tractor, he watched her climb trees. I never knew my Great Grandpa Brown. I only know him through my mom’s and my grandma’s stories. HE laughed a lot. He smiled. He knew how to live. Getting work done was important, but so was playing. It’s a lesson I’m trying to apply in my own life. We need to get our work done: yes. We need to do the best job we can: yes. Then, we need to play: absolutely. So do what you need to do. Do it well. Then, climb a tree.

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