Good Morning, Morning Glory

Here’s a little snippet from my Grandma Curtis’s writings. Remember how I mentioned before that her motivation in writing was to make people happy? Well, I thought this was a fun little example.

This morning, as I noticed the morning glories wrapped around the other plants in my flower garden, I straightened them out a little, so they would fill the empty places with their pretty dark pink flowers, and not choke out more tender plants. I always liked Morning Glories. They grew so easily, and once you got a start, they’d come back every year from dropped seeds.

One day I had been helping my Mom weed her garden. The ground was still wet from the rain the night before. It was soft and easy to walk on, or even to kneel on, and the weeds came out of it with just a gentle tug. Besides, it smelled good, all full of green things growing, and flowers blooming. It was like everthing had been washed new and green.
Mom told me to pull up the stray Morning Glories, but I left a few by the post. She thought that was all right. We were just wrapping them around the post when we heard someone coming down the sidewalk.

He spoke in such a cheerful way. His voice seemed full of smiles and happiness, almost as if he had discovered a treasure of some kind. It boomed out:
“Good Morning, Morning Glory,” he said.

Mom and I looked at each other, and I had to duck my head to keep from smiling because he was looking right at my Mom, like she might be the Morning Glory.
“Top of the morning to you, my dear little Morning Glory,” he went on, “and isn’t it a beautiful day?”

“It is that,” Mom was saying, and she was smiling at her early caller, who by then had come down the path to where we were working. I could see he was carrying a suitcase of some kind, and I knew he was a door to door salesman.

Mom let him talk a few minutes about the products he was selling, then she said what she always did, “I know they must be really nice, and I wouldn’t mind having them, the only trouble is, no money.”

Mom always said it in a way they knew it to be true, so they hardly ever argued. But this was a nice man, even if he was middle-aged and kind of shabby looking. He still had the nicest smile and the cheeriest voice. I remember how he kind of touched his hat, like men did for ladies in those days, as if to show respect, and smiling as much as ever he still said, “But it was a pleasure to meet you, all the same, my lovely, Morning Glory.”

At the supper time that night as we gathered around the table, each of us telling the interesting things that had happened to us during the day, I had to tell our Dad how the stranger had admired our Mom and called her a Morning Glory.

He looked at her. She was kind of blushing, or maybe it only seemed that way, Mom always had pretty pink cheeks. Dad kind of grunted, half-disgusted. I wished he would say she was his morning glory, too, but he just thought it was foolish.

Mom didn’t let that bother her. She told her sisters about it, and had a good time thinking how they could still be thought beautiful even after four or five children, and all the hard life they had been through. Mom said how wonderful it was that a funny little man like that, could still want to make someone else happy.
I thought at the time that he was a pretty smart salesman. Maybe with some, it would work, too. Just get a person feeling happier about life, and just maybe they would buy something.

Since I’m older now, I think like my Mom did, that he didn’t have much himself. Maybe it made him feel happier to give someone a compliment. It didn’t cost him a thing. It made my Mom feel kind of special all day… maybe even kind of special for the rest of her life. Do you know why I think so?
Because many times, in the years that followed, even after she was an invalid in a bed, she’d call out to any of us, “Well, Good Morning!” and there’d be such a note of happiness and cheer in her voice that we knew she really meant it.

Sometimes, just for me, she’d add the rest of the sentence, “Good morning, Morning Glory,” and we’d both smile, remembering.

Sometimes, when you give a gift like that to someone, you just never know how long it will last, or how many lives it will touch. It is a lovely morning.

Revolutionizing the Course of the Universe

This story took place a short time before Jenni and I were married.


It was a very dull day at Deseret Book as I leaned against the counter, chin in hands, waiting for something to happen. One of my co-workers stood only a few feet away, bored as I was.

“So,” I said, trying to break the monotony, “What should I do to revolutionize the course of the world today?”

He thought a moment. “Got any bombs? You could always blow up an important building somewhere.”

“That’s true. But I don’t have any bombs. Besides, that’s a bad thing, and there are plenty of bad things going on all the time. I need to find something good to do.”

“That’s true,” he replied. Then we both fell back into silence.

I began thinking more about our conversation. What could one do to revolutionize the course of the world? What about the universe? Could one person effect the destiny of the universe?

There have been many people who have changed the course of life on this planet; Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. George Washington led a revolutionary war that led to the foundation of what might be considered the most powerful nation in world history. But did those things change the destiny of the universe?

It occurred to me that the person who best fit that description would have to be Jesus Christ. Not only did he save the destiny of every person who would ever live, but He provided a way for us to become like His Father.

Now there’s a new approach to the question. If I have potential to become like my Father in Heaven, then certainly I have power to effect the destiny of the universe.
So I guess the next question would have to be, what can I do today to best effect that progress? Of course, a response as broad as “live the gospel” wasn’t really a sufficient, since I had been striving to do that my whole life.

Then I realized that I was in the process of beginning one of the major aspects of the perfecting process. I was about to get married in the temple. I decided that maybe the best thing I could do to work toward that goal would be to strengthen my relationship with Jenni. How could I do that? That question is easy. I could be kind and loving to her.

I looked around the store. Everything was quiet, normal, ordinary. Customers came in and left. Employees straightened bookshelves or stood patiently waiting for something to happen. I had a date with Jenni scheduled for that night. I decided that tonight I would change the course of the universe – I would show love and kindness towards her.

Sixty Days to Live…

play-with-me-baba For family home evening tonight we watched a movie called, “Return with Honor,” about a young guy who gets in a terrible car accident, and has a near death experience where he is asked what he has yet to accomplish in his life.  He gives his response and he is told that he has sixty days.

It got me thinking.  What would I do with my life if I knew I only had sixty days to live?  Obviously I would wish to be able to raise my kids and take care of my wife, but if I knew that wasn’t an option, and I only had sixty days left, what would I do with it?

I was listening to an advice call-in program on the radio one day, and I don’t remember what the caller was asking advice on, but the advice given was interesting.  “Your doctor just called you and said you have six months of life left, and not a day more.  I’m not saying this just to make you think about it, I want you to decide what you need to do in that six months, and then YOU DO IT!  Six months.  That’s all you get.  What ever you would do if you only had six months to live, do it.”

So, what would you do?  What would you stop doing?  What would you change?  Who would you visit?

Think about that  – whether sixty days or six months, whatever you would do in that time if you knew you were going to die, do it.