There used to be a little ol’ sweetheart of a gal in Brown’s Park named Esther Campbell, who everyone dearly loved.
She was funny, helpful, kind, generous and always smiling. She was a school teacher, starting out in 1922 at Skull Creek, and then eventually taught in Brown’s Park.
Her husband was teased unmercifully because he never went anywhere without a dishrag hanging out his rear pocket. He always did the housework while she taught school. She used to laugh and say how the house looked pretty good with its pathway down the middle of the room, and on weekends, she’d dig all the magazines, papers and stuff out from behind the furniture, where he’d swept it.
At one point, she and her husband lived way back on Douglas Mountain. I mean, you really had to want to go visit them if you drove on their road.
Just so one wouldn’t get bored, her hubby put signs along the road — maybe I shouldn’t even call it a road — such as “New York,” with an arrow pointing in that direction stating it was 2,000 miles away.
It was very entertaining, to say the least.
And then, while you were there, he loved a good joke … rubber spiders in the sugar bowl or fake ice cubes with flies.
They eventually moved down into the park and that was a lot easier on them and everyone else for visiting. After he passed away, she sold her property to the Bureau of Land Management but was allowed to stay there as long as she could. She used to love to go to all the potlucks, parties and events at the old schoolhouse.
This is where I got to meet her and know her in the late 1970s.
Now, she was probably a pretty darn good cook, but who was to know?
A sentry stood by the doorway of the hall, and as soon as she appeared, reports went out of what her potluck dish looked like. After the meal got started and everyone was seated in the other room, eating and visiting, someone always would sneak into the kitchen and scrape all her food into the garbage.
Now, I just said she was probably a good cook, but the problem was that she had too many cats. When you went to visit her, the cats had free run of the entire house, including the kitchen, counters, cupboards, table and everywhere that a cat could possibly meander.
So, after a few times of spooning in a mouthful of her lovely potluck dish, and then digging out a wad of cat hair from your mouth, the word traveled faster than a speeding bullet to steer clear of her cookin’.
I once went to visit her with my youngest daughter, and of course, right off the bat, Esther drags out a cookie jar filled with cookies.
I had just observed a kitty with its nose in the flour sack on the counter and was watching all the other cats, so I politely said “No thank you, I’m still full from breakfast.”
But you know how it is with a kid. Yum! Cookies! I kept poking Janey to stop eating cookies, and while I was busy poking on one side, her other side was grabbing cookies. I finally just told her that she had eaten enough cookies and should save some for the next guests who would come visit.
You can’t really tell a little kid why they shouldn’t eat something because you know how little kids are; can’t you just hear it already?
They run up to the person and right in front of a whole room full of people, they spout out, “Mom says not to eat your food ’cuz it has cat hair in it!”
And then what do you do?
So yeah, it was just easier for someone to scrape all the food out of her bowl or pan, and then everyone would tell her how delicious her potluck was.
And you know what? It made her feel so good that people enjoyed her cookin’. And everyone wanted her to keep coming to the feasts and feeling good, so we didn’t mind.
She eventually had to move to Vernal, Utah, for health care. I received a letter one day asking me to come visit her. You know how that goes — always too busy, things to do.
I used to write her regularly and send cards, but I never did make it down to visit her. Now she has been gone for quite a few years and it makes me feel bad that I didn’t go visit her.
We all need to just slow down. Life is over quickly enough. Let’s don’t rush it. Let stuff go and make someone happy.
You’ll be so glad you did.