The period between my Freshman year at BYU (mid April) and my mission (mid August) was a very strange phase of my life. Many things happened during that time that were so different than what I had experienced up to that point and thinking back, it all seems somewhat surreal. To begin with, Dad had sold the motels in Waterton. He'd built them largely to give us kids something to do and since we were now all gone (Lester graduated that year) he was no longer interested in running the business with hired hands. With the money he got he built two houses, bought a store in Cardston and started a reupholstery business. Meanwhile, Greg was now living in Cardston and my summer job was to build a house with him. It was basically just the two of us and it was one of the most pleasant experiences of my life. Every day from early until late we slaved away and in just the few months that I was there we pretty much had the whole house framed in. It was actually a duplex not just a house.
The other strange thing was that I got a girl friend. Marine Webster and I had been friends as long as I could remember but I'd never seen her in a romantic light before. I'm not exactly sure how it happened but we started going out that summer. I grew very much in love with her and we had a lot of fun but I'm quite sure I was a lousy boyfriend. For the first time in my life I really had to communicate and I don't think I did a very good job of it. There are so many things I would do differently but considering where I was coming from I did better than might have been expected. We went to her graduation dance together and to an after party in Mountain View. I remember one time we were driving into Lethbridge together and a cat ran out of the ditch and I nailed it with my car (it was an accident, honest). Looking in my rear view mirror I actually saw the cat flying through the air flipping head over tail through the air. His tail and paws were flying straight out. For me the reaction was, "dumb cat" but for Maurine she was nearly hysterical. She wanted me to stop and see how the cat was but stupid old sensitive me, I said, "The cats dead" and I just drove on. A good way to impress a girl eh?
One day Greg and I were working away on the house when some one drove up (I think it might have been Jackie) and handed me a letter. I can't remember if I opened it right there or if I waited until we got back to the house but I clearly remember opening it and reading that I was called to the Belgium Antwerp Mission and I would be speaking the "Flemish" language. I had no idea where Belgium was and I'd never heard of Flemish. I quickly pulled out a map and saw that Belgium was in Europe. The idea of going to Europe had never even entered my head before. I'd always pictured myself going to the south pacific. Dad had gone to New Zealand and Greg had gone to Australia and I sort of figured I'd go to the Polynesian Islands or Samoa or something like that. I think my first reaction was a bit of a dissappointment but it was quickly replaced with great excitement.
Shortly before I left on my mission Pam Hunter threw a party for me. I don't remember who all was there but I remember that among other gifts, I got a razer and a shaving mug. I still have them both today but the shaving brush that came with it lost all of its hair a few years ago. It just sort of rotted away. It was after all thirty years old. I believe it was Mom, Dad and Lester who drove down with me but I'm not sure. I do remember that we got to Provo early and we went to see the movie Star Wars. I had that song in my head for two years. For some reason Mom and Dad had to leave early so they left me with some Aunt (don't remember who) and then they left. To make it worse the Aunt had to leave also so she left me her car and I drove myself to the LTM. I parked the car in the parking lot and walked into the LTM with my suitcases all by myself. I sat in the famous room where they gave all the talks and then the missionaries walked out one door and the parents walked out of the other door. That wasn't too hard for me since I was by myself. I was now on my mission.