Sunday, November 08, 2009


You would think that by the time Ben left home I would be used to it but I was to learn that you never get used to it. You would also think that the younger kids would learn from the mistakes of their older siblings and start taking my advice but as teenagers often do, Ben had to learn the hard way. All through high school Ben had a girl friend. She was a wonderful girl and the daughter of very good friends of ours. I had told Ben many times that he should not make any commitment when he went to college. It wouldn't be fair to him or to her. It was her senior year and she should be able to date and Ben needed to date also while he was at college. When Ben and Laura were still dating just mere months before he left for college I also told him that he shouldn't break up with her. Just agree to date other people and then go to college. The relationship would probably die a natural death and no one needed to be hurt. Ben of course did everything in about the worst possible way. He certainly wasn't mean, just inexperienced and thoughtless. He broke up with his girl friend at the worst possible moment and then to rub salt in the wound he decided to start dating another girl just a month before he left for school and then to top it all off, he promised this girl that they wouldn't date other people while they were apart. Of course you can probably guess how that all turned out. The old girl friend was devastated and no sooner did Ben get to school when he decided that he did want to date other girls and he broke it off with the new girl friend. There were two broken hearts where there didn't have to be any. Finally, no sooner did Ben get up there than he started going out with a new girl and totally forgot about my A, B, C rule. Ben decided to attend Snow College. He actually did get accepted at the U of U but at Snow he could be on the football team and he really wanted to play college ball. As it turned out he ended up being red shirted. Snow College is a two year school and was the #1 rated two year school for football in the nation. It was a good place to go if you wanted to get a good preparation for college football.

Much more important than football however was Ben's academic experience. Ben had always been much too into his sports to worry about a silly thing like grades. As long as he was passing that was good enough for him and the only reason that was a concern was that if he didn't pass he couldn't play his sports. As a Junior Ben was a varsity player on the Football team, the Basketball team and the Volleyball team. He would have played more sports too if there had been another season in the year but alas, you can only squeeze so many sports into one school year. I'm not sure what it was but once Ben got to Snow he started getting A's and B's in his classes. It was a rather amazing thing to behold. The original plan was to take two semesters of school and then go on his mission but the coaches suggested to Ben that he leave on his mission as soon as possible and then he could be back in time for spring training so that is what we did. We were very fortunate with Ben that his mission call came while we were up there picking him up for Christmas. Since he wasn't going back to school we had to pack up all of his possessions. We were all in his apartment when he opened his call. He looked at it and then he announced, "I'm going to Mexico!". Since that is where Brandon was we all thought he was joking. Lisa said, "Yeah, right, where are you really going?". It took a while but he finally convinced us that he really had been called to Mexico. Brandon was in the Mexico Sinaloa mission and Ben was called to the Mexico, Guadalajara South mission. At their closest point the two missions are only a hundred miles or so apart but as far as the character of the mission is concern they are a world apart. Sinaloa is the drug capital and Guadalajara is the manufacturing capital. His mission actually included the south half of Jalisco, all of Michoacan, a small part of Guanajuato and all of Colima. Most of his mission was very devout Catholics. Almost fanatically so. He never once had to deal with the kind of violence and threats that Brandon did but he had to deal with some very angry Catholics who did not want them around. He had drunks throwing bottles of beer at him and that sort of thing.

I have some rental property in Pensacola, Florida. Unfortunately it was a direct hit by hurricane Ivan and I suffered severe damage. I learned the very hard lesson that hurricane insurance does not cover flood damage so I was severely under insured. Since Ben wasn't leaving on his mission until March and he was sitting at home with nothing to do I took the Month of February off and Ben and I went down and fixed up my house. It was a month of very hard work but what a wonderful experience it was to get to know my son in a way that you can't do in any other way.

One of the biggest tests that Ben had to deal with was near the end of his mission. His mission President pulled him to the side and told him that he would like Ben to extend his mission a month so he could call him to be the Assistant to the President. Of course it was never a really decision for Ben but in his heart he sort of knew that by staying he would miss most of spring training and quite possibly he was giving up his dream of college football.

Ben returned home from his mission and it was a wonderful reunion. He was also a changed man. He was bigger (hard to imagine) stronger and much wiser. He had gone from a boy to a man. That summer he just did odd jobs for friends and stuff because it was only a short while before he had to head up to Snow for summer training. During the short time he was home however he came to know the sister of one of his friends quite well. It wasn't too long before we started seeing much more of Sharley Cotter around the house. It didn't take me long to figure out that this was much more than just a summer fling. I asked him how he figured it was going to work with Sharley going to school at BYU in Idaho
and him in Ephraim Utah? He just assured me that they would make it work. They did too. Sharley totally wore out her car and they spent a ton of money on gas but before Thanksgiving Sharley had a shiny rock on her finger. they were married May 31, 2008. What a joy it is to have her as a member of the family.

It was during this year of school that Ben gave me another surprise. Consistent with his new found ability to get good grades Ben ended up setting the curve in his business law class. He was going for a business degree but he enjoyed this class so much that he has since decided that perhaps he will go for a law degree. All I've wanted is for one of my kids to become an engineer but now I may end up with two lawyers. What did I do to deserve this?

Ben's football team was undefeated for their entire year and was ranked number one in the nation (again). We actually went up to their play off game with Butler which was played in the U of U's football stadium. It is a wonderful facility but the game ended up being played in a blizzard. It was snowing so hard that they had to shovel clear the line of scrimmage before every single down. We could scarcely see the other side of the field. Unfortunately Snow plays a passing game and Butler plays a running game so Butler had a clear advantage playing in the blizzard and Snow lost their one and only game of the year. In any case, Ben still has a honking big ring on his finger.

At the end of the year Ben's coach told him that he was going to give the two starting wide receiver positions to a couple of black guys. Ben was so upset that he decided it was time to focus on more important things like his new wife and getting an education. Since he wasn't playing football anymore they decided to finish up Ben's AA degree in Mesa Arizona where Sharley has a lot of family. Ben now has two AA degrees from Mesa college and if he wants to apply for it he can get a third one from Snow. He graduated with straight A's and that is while carrying 15 credit hours and working part time at a mortuary. Pretty impressive for the boy who was happy with C's in High School. He is now attending school at Fullerton where they have a brand new business school and Sharley is finishing up her fine arts degree at Long Beach. It is really nice having them only 90 minutes up the highway. We see them often and I look forward to their visits. It makes it much easier to send our kids away when they stay close to home.

World wide about 5,000 people have died from the Swine Flu. Every year in the United States alone about 36,000 people die from the seasonal flu.

What is Napoleon Dynamites brother Rico doing holding Ben when he was a baby?


Lynn said...

LOL! Cute last question posed, Fred.

Very interesting story about Ben! Way to go Ben! Looks like life is good for you and your little family.. The Lord seems to have had a hand in all the directions your life has's a good thing you follow the paths that are laid out in front of you.... : D

Fred ... said...
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Lisa L said...

Awww! I love looking at pictures of my baby's growing up! I was the one who insisted on him putting that last picture up. I figured the kids would get a real kick out of it. He didn't want to put it up but I pressured him into it :)

Trevor and Alycia Crowley said...

could he be any cuter?! AH! haha and That is me he is holding :) hehe. and that last picture dad......
I don't want Trevor to see this or he is going to get really excited to try and look JUST like that!

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

I LOVE that last picture!!!! Crazy!!!

Ben Leavitt said...

i had some pretty sweet looking cloths back int the day! i have a matching spiderman shirt that i still wear wear today!!! and aparantly my bum had an itch or something... some things never change.

Lisa L said...

Ha!Ha! Ben :)(about the bum comment) The one white short set you are wearing on the little ride toy is an Edmonton Oilers set. You really were styling. I looked at that picture of your spiderman pj's and thought "Those are so retro and they are once again back in style :)"

Trevor and Alycia Crowley said...

I totally saw the butt scratch too haha I was like Ben has an itch!