Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Virtues of the Grandparents

Last night we were talking about this and that, and Papa mentioned that when he was working at Davis, in California (before he got married), his boss had a mother-in-law who was addicted to gambling. Then he said, "Well, she wasn't the only one... I remember one night when he [the boss] and some other guys offered to take me down to the 'cat patch;' I told them that in our religion, we would consider it to be better to lose our life than to lose our virtue, and they said that they guessed that they had better not take me."

In a world where frequently religious people, and even (especially in the past) non-religious folks have held a double-standard of virtue for men and women, I deeply appreciated his commitment, long before he met my mother, to being pure for her. This is the first time I have heard this story about Papa, but it reminded me of a story he has told me a couple of times before about his dad [story redacted because I just told him I posted it and he just told me that I was getting him mixed up with his dad. Grngh. I never forget things! That's Papa's job! Oh, well. I shall write up the alternate story he suggested at some other time.]

And THAT reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother the other day-- again, a story I had never heard before. She said that the reason why she had never cheated in school was because of the stories her dad had told her about navigators during WWII who had cheated their way through navigator school and then died. The part she did not say, because we both know it so well, is that Grandpa got a distinguished flying cross because he most certainly did not cheat his way through navigator school, and in fact knew his job so well that he was able to do it under truly trying circumstances. The other part she didn't say, because we both know, is that one of the few things Grandpa was willing to say about his WWII experience is that he stopped making friends, because you'd make friends with a guy at breakfast and he'd be dead by dinner. I am guessing that he didn't look too kindly on those who made this sort of thing more likely to happen.

Which in turn reminded me of the times I have been tempted to study on Sundays-- not that I'm saying it's a terrible thing to study on Sundays, but... my mother, Nana to the neeflings, has told me more than once that she got all the way through her PhD without ever studying on a Sunday. I decided to try it. It isn't that I had been studying on Sundays and stopped, but I had wondered if there would come a point when I just had to because I had so much work to do. I guess you could say that I decided to keep the commandment in faith-- not doing it out of habit, but to see if there were any blessings I might catch by doing so. I have never regretted that decision. I now have a Bachelor's degree and a Graduate Certificate (which is to a Master's sort of as an Associate's degree is to a Bachelor's), and what vestiges of sanity I have left after all that school were definitely preserved by having a day off every week. And on a more serious note: I honestly believe that my ability to retain and process information has been greatly enhanced, both by my Sunday-rest-keeping habits and by my scripture study habits. Maybe it's just that a rested brain is less likely to be sieve-like; I'm not really sure of the mechanism; but it is a family tradition which I have every intention of carrying on.

1 comment:

N said...

Thank-you. I've often felt grateful for and impressed with many of our family traditions; it's lovely to have some of them written out.