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Opinion: Early days in Lehi evoke thanksgiving and gratitude

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While driving through “old Lehi” as some people call the area around Wines Park, a rush of memories gave me pause. I was traveling down First East and the fall colors were overwhelming. The rusts, golds, and bronze colors made my heart race as I thought of many years ago when I rushed through the leaves in the park to church. I can hear the crunch of the leaves and smell the earthy aroma of fall as I rushed to “Mutual,” an old term forYoung Mens and Young Womens youth groups today. 

The old second ward chapel has been torn down, but I still remember the giant backdrop of Hill Cumorah in the large landscape painting on the chapel wall. I vividly recall being given a fan when entering the chapel during hot summer days. I remember the excitement of the bazaars when the women of the ward would spend days preparing for the yearly feast and festival. The candy and cookie plates on display could be purchased for a dollar, The treats were bought quickly and immediately consumed. We gorged ourselves on Dorothy Evans’ and Eunice Watkins meat pies. There was always a fish pond for the kids, and for a dime you could pull up a treasure–whistles, small story books, etc.

I loved the hush of winter snows and the scraping of shovels on sidewalks. All the neighborhood kids would go to the park and make snow forts. We would go home for a quick snack, then back to the park for hours and go home with frozen hands and toes.

Down the street from our home on Center Street was Powells Service Station. When I heard of Bill Powell’s passing, I thought of the hundreds of times Bill filled my mother’s car with gas. He would wash her windows and check the oil. He was always kind, helpful, and full of news. I look back and realize the blessing it was to have a neighbor and business owner like Bill who was always looking for ways to make the lives of his friends and neighbors better.

On one rainy and windy day, Mom rode down to Powell’s to get gas. Just about the time Bill put the nozzle in the gas tank, a loud clap of thunder and micro burst wind was heard and felt. There was a giant cracking sound that came from Mom’s home (we only lived a couple of blocks from Bills). She hit the gas with the nozzle in the tank– Bill running after her. When Mom reached the house, she noticed a huge tree in the park had been blown over. Mom turned around and noticed the gas hose was dragging behind the car and Bill inspecting the scene. Mom looked at Bill and he looked at her and they both started to laugh. Mom offered to pay for the damages, but Bill refused.That was Lehi in the 70s.

I feel so grateful to have been raised in that idyllic time. I’m sad that my grandchildren will never experience the joy of the familiarity of friends and neighbors. I know that progress cannot be stopped, but I still would love to wind the clock back to when Lehi was a small, rural community that embraced all that was simple and good. Oh, well, I still have the memories!

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