Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Robert Pearce, 31

Robert was a cripple, but at the same time he was filled with the spirit of gathering.  He promised Daniel Tyler (President Martin's counselor) that he would walk the entire way.   His legs were paralyzed, but he made good time with crutches.  A couple times he became separated.  One time Elder Southwell and others were sent with a handcart to find him, and this became a rescue.  He had taken a wrong turn, following some animal tracks.  As they neared where he was they could hear screaming. He was shelter by the roots of a tree, two wolves doing there best to get to him, and eagles were in the tree hoping for a meal.  They arrived just in time.  They set him in the cart, but he remembered his promise. They convinced him to ride.  The elements would take his life a few days later.

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Samuel Washington Orme

Samuel was actually born in the United States.  His family had immigrated, and he was born July 4, 1832.  His father had heard Mormon preaching while in Ohio, and made his wife promise to seek out this religion before he passed away.  He told his wife she would recognize by the burning of the truth in her soul.  They lived in Coalville, and visited the Mormon preaching in Whitwick.  She said, "Why I feel as if my very soul is on fire.  I know it is true."  Samuel became an Elder and clerk of the branch.  Samuel was a sober child, and did not abide alcohol as some of the other youth in Coalville.
Samuel traveled with an older sister, younger sister and his mother.  Because of their late start, they suffered together from cold and hunger.  As rations were shortened, Samuel began to fail.  They were reduced to four ounces per day, and Samuel's mother suggested to the girls that the women share with Samuel, which they did, saving his life.

Martin Handcart Company Pioneer: Joseph Smith Barlow

Joseph Barlow was the youngest of his eight siblings.  His father had been called to labor in the Spirit World.  His mother kept the dream of gathering to Zion alive, and the handcart plan afforded the opportunity.  The immigrated with two other families headed by single sisters; that of her daughter-in-law and that of her sister.  Not one was lost from these three families.  Joseph and his brothers may have participated in swimming in Iowa City as handcarts were being prepared.  Joseph's older borer joined e infantry as a contract laborer at Fort Laramie and would make it to Salt Lake a year later.  His older sister Jane would be so sick she would be left at Fort Supply.  She would recover, and marry in the Spring at age 15.  Joseph would freeze his legs, and a doctor suggested amputation.  His mother would have none of it, and after 18 months he was able to walk, although unhealthy for e remainder of his life

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Samuel Openshaw

Samuel Openshaw
Samuel immigrated with his parents and younger siblings.  His two older brothers preceded them to Utah, but his oldest brother's young bride traveled with them.  Samuel admired the open prairie lands of Iowa.  He also commented on how many locals thought they were deluded, but apostates put the greatest effort into dissuading them from their journey.  Across Nebraska, a couple of his sisters became ill and had to be pulled in the cart.  "It made it just as much as we could pull."  He also talked of the deep sands which made pulling hard.  Sometime after winter hit, one of his sisters died due to her illness and hardships.  His sister-in-law would also pass away.  However the rest of the family subs rives, and after recuperating for a time went to Santaquin where the oldest boys had made a home.

Willie Handcart Company: James Kirkwood, 11

James traveled with the Willie handcart Company with his mother, two older brothers and younger brother.  His father and two sister’s had passed away in 1851.  James brother Thomas, had been run over by a wagon when young and consequently had to be pulled across the plains.  This task fell to his mother and oldest brother Robert.  To James fell the task of watching for his brother, John, 5.  With this mode of travel things went well until they hit the snow.  John and James became separated from his mother.  His mother waited patiently for them to arrive.  They finally arrive, James carrying John on his back.  He set him down, and collapsed from exhaustion.  He was buried with twelve others.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Martin Company Handcart Pioneer: George Harrison, 14

While traveling on the Ship Horizon, George took interest in the “big Mulatto” who was making pancakes.  He watched him flip the cakes, and then asked for a turn which was granted.  George remembers the company singing the handcart song as they left Florence, Nebraska.  However the company lingered near Winter’s Quarter, and George and his older brother Aaron and some other boys decided to go swimming.  The Missouri was too swift, so they found a slough.  However this turned out to have unhealthy water and George and some of the boys took sick, Aaron did not.  George had to ride in the sick wagons.  In crossing the plains, George became sicker and sicker.  Aaron, his brother, joined the army at Fort Laramie.  When they further lightened their loads, George made a decision he too was extra weight and determined to unload himself.  He started back up the trail, maybe to get back to his brother Aaron.  He remembered they had passed an Indian camp, and went there for assistance.  They gave him food, which he ate ravenously.  He then passed out.  His father came looking for him.  The Indian woman was married to a French trapper.  The convinced his father he best stay with them, as he could not walk.  The convinced his father of this.  He remained the winter with them, but they visited a trading post, where Johnston’s Army was camped.  There he ran into his brother and they had a nice reunion.  He took a job to help the camp cook, and said goodbye to his adopted “red mother.”  There was a sad parting. 
He traveled with Johnston’s Army, and entered the valley with them.  They made their base at Camp Floyd.  When his father, having heard of their arrival, went to visit George and his brother Aaron, George presented him with $85.  He had not spent any of his earnings.  He would continue working at the camp until the army abandoned it five years later at the outbreak of the Civil War.  He was able to help support his family in this way.

Taken from “Tell my Story Too” by Jolene S. Allphin 

Marin Company Handcart pioneer: Thomas Durham, 28

Thomas accepted the gospel when he first heard it.  However he had to come of age (22) before he could be baptized.  He served as the choir leader for four years in his branch before baptism, and then as the branch clerk and president for six years after baptism.  He was given a blessing by Cyrus Wheelock (writer of “Ye Elders of Israel”), “You will go to Zion but it will be by the skin of your teeth; and when you get there the Angels of Heaven will sing to you and give you music as you sleep, and you will be able to write it and sing it in the Temples of our God.”  He had married Mary Morton.  When he was determined to leave England, his parents pleaded with him not to go for his new religion.  Thomas was determined. 
He traveled with his wife, wife’s sister and another woman was assigned to their handcart.  In Nebraska some of his friends persuaded him to stay.  However he was still determined.  He indicated they had to guard cattle every other night.  Snow cam early, resulting in many difficult river crossings.  Ice floating in the rivers would cut his legs.  He would often make the trip several times, helping others across.  Their ration was reduced to four ounces of flour per person, or a pound for their group.  They would mix this with water, bake the mixture, and then share this four ways.  If not for the timely rescue, which included the brother who had given Thomas the blessing, they would not have made it to the Valley. 
He and his wife were asked to settle in Parowan, where he again served as choir director until his death (a total of 62 years with his time in England).
His choir sand in general conference on a couple occasions, he promoted music in the area, focusing on the classics.  On several occasions he heard music in his dreams, and would write these down.  He was able to sing his songs on a couple occasions in two different temples.

Taken from “Tell my Story Too” by Jolene S. Allphin 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Albert Jones, 16

While Albert was attending boarding school, his mother and half brother were converted to the Gospel.  Mother of course talked to others about the gospel and news of this spread at the school.  Others at the school took every opportunity to dissuade Albert by placing negative articles about the church on his desk.  However he was one of the older boys, and large at that, so other students didn't tease him.  After he knocked a boy over for calling him "Old Joe Smith" all teasing stopped.  His father had refused him baptism, so when he went to visit his father after his baptism, in a happy manner revealing he had been baptized, his father went to strike him with a book, but in the end restrained himself.  A year later, he immigrated with his mother, older brother and half brother.  They had to bid their father goodbye which was painful for Albert.  Albert's father loved his boys, but he lost his family as he was unwilling to listen the the gospel.
Alberts says between guarding stock at night, and pulling handcarts all day, the load began to tell on the men.  Albert had some conflict with Brother Tyler (asst. Company leader) and Edward Martin (company captain).  However time healed this anger.  While traveling he carried a large piece of buffalo tripe, from which he would eat to stave off hunger pains.  He remembers Brother Joseph Young coming to their rescue at Red Buttes.  He had a whit mule, with a blue over coat which was loose and flapped as he rode.  It gave the appearance he was flying.  They were reanimated with the first  rescuers and singing and traveling again.  Albert was certain his brother would have died if not for the rescuing effort of Ephraim Hanks.

Taken from "Tell My Story Too, Jolene S. Allphin

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Aaron Harrison, 18

Aaron travel with the Martin Handcart Company with his family.  His parents had a large family, 11 children total.  Three sons died in infancy, and another daughter was born after the trek.  Aaron’s parent are William and Hannah Louise.  He  was the oldest child, followed by George, 14, Mary Ann, 12, Alice, 10, Olivia, 7, Hannah, 2, and Sarah Ellen, 5 months.  The family suffered a great deal, but all survived.  Aaron’s mother became so starved, that when she nursed her baby all the baby could get was blood.  Hannah would make a snow ball, bless it, and then said it tasted like manna. 
Aaron enjoyed swimming near Winter Quarters, however the experience sickened his brother, who became very week.  At Fort Laramie, Aaron left the handcart company and joined the army.  Many others did this as well, reducing the number of people requiring provisions, but also allowing them to use their signing bonuses to help their families. 
Aaron would actually arrive in Salt Lake with Johnston’s Army.  They would march through Salt Lake City, which had been abandoned, and prepared for immediate burning should the army not follow their agreement.  The army did keep their agreement, marching through the city only, and then going south where they established their base at Camp Floyd. 

Taken from “Tell my Story Too” by Jolene S. Allphin

Martin Handcart Pioneer: John Jaques: 29

John Jaques traveled with his pregnant wife, Zilpah Loader Jaques and his 2 year old daughter.  John Jaques had served for some time with the Apostle Franklin Richards helping to edit the Millennial Star.  Several of his poems were published in this magazine, as was his catechism for Children, which became the church curriculum for children in Sunday School for some time.  His poetry put to music comprise two LDS Hymns including "Oh Say What Is Truth."  For his services Franklin Richards purchased him a rifle which he took on the trip.  During this period he is known for a letter which was published in the Millennial Star.  The letter was a rebuke of his  father-in-law and family which had traveled to New York, and was waiting a good circumstance to travel by wagon.  Jaques' letter basically said the way is open through the means of handcarts.  His father-in-law, James Loader would succumb to the pressure and the family traveled by handcart.  He said he would travel by handcart if it kill him, and kill him it did.
The daughter of John and Zilpah came down with the measles aboard the Horizon.  However she was nursed back to health.  John Jaques served as Captain of a 100 on the boat and with the handcarts.  He also served as the company historian, and kept a very good journal until the last crossing.  After this he wrote of the events, but from memory.
Zilpah would bear a son along the journey.  The family asked if she could ride in the sick wagon and permission was granted, but no family member could ride with her to attend to her.  Consequently the family decided to decline this and they got behind the rest of the company for a couple days.  During this rims they passed a large group of Indians, who helped them haul for a time.  This is also when Zilpah's father became ill.  They finally caught up with the handcart company, arriving in camp after midnight, and then having to be ready to leave again early in the morning.
John documents how the ice cut into his legs when the pulled through the Sweetwater River to Martin's Cove.  He became stuck in the river as the women were carried across, as his male companion who said he couldn't go through the river.  Valley boys came to his rescue and helped him across.  Close to the Green River, Flora would pass away.  They would take her body to the Valley where she was buried in the Franklin Richards plot, and the family taken in by the apostle.

Martin Handcart Pioneer: George Frederick Housley, 19

George immigrated with his mother.  His mother had been the victim of domestic violence, and left her husband with her three children.  He promised to amend his ways, and she went back to him.  However he continued his previous behavior and the family again left him. 
Georg’s older siblings had established new families, and would immigrate later while George and his mother, Harriet Cook Housley traveled with the Martin Handcart Company.  At Florence George became convinced he should stay in Florence for the winter.  This greatly distressed his mother.  She prayed for a sign as to whether they should stay or go.  The gentleman who had been talking to them of staying went hunting, and came back to the tent ill.  He went to his cot and commenced singing  that Harriet should take her son to the valley and everything would be alright.  This to George and Harriet was a spiritual manifestation of what they should do.  He remembers singing the handcart song as they left Florence.  However he also recalled the hardships with company members passing away each night.  One night he was with two companions, who both passed away during the night.  He became so distraught he wandered off from the company and was praying by a rock that he would die or that the wolves would come and take him.  One of the rescuers came upon him, and got him on his horse with a blanket, and took him into his wagon saving his life.  Coincidence would have it that later he would meet this gentleman again as the father-in-law of one of his children. 
George was a resident of Cache Valley, and helped build the Hyrum second ward church.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Samuel Jackson, 12

Samuel Jackson traveled with the Martin Handcart Company to Zion with his mother, two older sisters and younger brother.  His father had previously immigrated hoping to send money home to the family; was lured away by California gold and the family did not know of him for over ten years.  An older brother lived in Boston at the time, but when the company passed through Samuel refused to visit him for fear he may try to convince him to stay.  Samuel was highly motivated to travel to the valley with the Saints.  When the company ran into trouble, and was short of food, Samuel relates how they would find animal carcasses, break the bones and suck the marrow.  The also singed hair from animal hide and roasted them for food.  One time Samuel was so hungry he cut the high tops off his shoes and boiled them for soup.  After the rescuers came, he would often get under the horses and pick up the corn the horses had dropped.  When they made the last crossing, Samuel's sister, Elizabeth was carrying his younger brother, Nephi.  She slipped and they both fell into the river.  They were carried down stream but a man on horseback rescued them.  Samuel's older brother succumbed to the hardship six days after they arrived in the valley.  They were able to bury him without the fear of wolves desecrating his body, and in a place where they could visit.  As a result of his ordeal, Samuel as an adult also had sympathy for the poor and needy.  This trait served him as he served as a bishop for 21 years.

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Thomas Dobson, 19, Healing at the Hands of Ephraim Hanks

Thomas came to Utah with the Martin Handcart Company with his mother and older sister and younger brother.  His mother had been one of the first women to be baptized in England, and 19 years later was migrated with the handcart companies.  Crossing the planes, Thomas wore out his shoes.  His feet became frozen.  Ephraim Hanks promised him the next pair of shoes, but his feet were so badly swollen nothing would fit.  It was feared he would lose his toes.  Ephraim Hanks administered to him, saying there is nothing I can do, and wrapped his feet a piece of cotton.  He promised him, “I tell you what you do.  Stand up and sing the handcart song and I promise you in the name of Israel’s God your feet shall be made whole.”   That night Tom heard fiddling (as the result of a wedding).  He hobbled to the fire, and one of the brethren, as a joke challenged him to dance a jig.  He had learned the clog dance since a youth, and as a result obliged them with a dance.  He says that was the last of his lame feet.
Ephraim Hanks tells the same story in this manner.  One evening after having gone as far as Ft. Bridger, I was requested by a sister to come and administer to her son…  He was very sick and his friends expected he would die that night. . . . I felt the power of God resting upon me and addressing the young man said, “Will you believe all the words I tell you?”  His response was, “Yes.”  I then administered to him and he was immediately healed.  He got up, dressed himself and danced the hornpipe on the inboard of a wagon, which I procured for that purpose. 

Handcart Pioneer, George Cunningham, 15, Willie Handcart Company

George traveled with his family, save his older brother who was recently married and would come to Utah in 1861.  This included his parents, older sister, and two young sisters.  They family had been promised if they lived the gospel all members of the family would arrive safely in Zion.  As they traveled through Iowa some local residents would make fun of them yelling “Gee, haw” but George said this did not discourage them.  The Willie company was subject to a buffalo stampede.  This was followed by a thunder storm.  Many of the oxen of the company wagons stampeded with the buffalo.  Their tracks were lost in the rain.  “The search was kept up for a week and often we thought we could see [an oxen but] they would invariably take to their heels and prove to be nothing but an old buffalo.  We transferred our provision from the wagons to the handcarts and hitched the thirty milch cows to the wagons to haul the sick and the children who were not able to walk.” 
At one points Georg’s young sister, Elizabeth, almost died due to lack of food.  In fact she was left behind.  However, when mother remembered the promise she insisted they go back.  They built a fire and warmed some water and commenced to rub her limbs.  When some hot water spilled on her foot her eyes twitched. 
When the company was in a desperate dream, George had a dream of two rescuers arriving in camp, and telling them provisions were close at hand.  When members of the company were around a fire, looking gloomy, George related his dream.  Many were inspired by this dream, and when the rescuers came over the hill the next day he said, “See, See them coming over that hill!”
Taken from “Tell my Story Too” by Jolene S. Allphin 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Legacy of Stew Morrill

Stew Morrill retired this year from coaching at Utah State.  He made basketball at Utah State fun again, as his team was always in the game, and you knew if things fell the right way they would pull out another victory.  Morrill won more games as a basketball coach at Utah State than any other coach, coached more seasons, went to more NCAA tournament and post season tournaments than any other coach.  He also had the most 20-win seasons.  His was a legend of success.  From last year’s press guid we read:
While at Utah State, he has guided the Aggies to a 21-win season a total of 14 times, as USU's 13 straight postseason appearances (NCAA-8, NIT-4, CIT-1), was snapped in 2012-13, but both of which are school records. Prior to Morrill's run, USU had never posted more than three-straight 20-win seasons and participated in more than three-straight postseason tournaments.
Morrill has also led Utah State to the sixth-best winning percentage in the nation during the last 14 years at 73.9 percent with an overall record of 369-130. Against conference opponents, Utah State has a 219-82 record with seven regular season league championships and six tournament titles during that time, including appearances in its league's tournament championship game 10 times in the last 15 years.
The recent Utah State magazine in an article by Jeff Hunter noted that he ended with 401 wins as a head coach at Utah State (a school record) and 620 total.  620 puts him at 81 on the all-time list.
Morrill retires with 40 total years coaching, 29 at the NCAA Division I level.  He coached at Montana, Colorado State, and the past 17 years at Utah State. 

 Pictures scanned from Utah State magazine

Handcart Pioneer: James Briggs, 11

James Briggs, 11              

James traveled with his entire family.  His parents, two older siblings and 4 younger siblings.  The trek was very hard for the family.  The older siblings, from James and older, took turns pulling the handcart.  They also took turns carrying their baby sister Emma.  They sometimes would carry her under their clothing to warm each other. The last crossing was hard for the entire handcart company; especially the men.  They met rescuers on October 28, and were then at Martin’s Cove.  James’ mother awoke to find her husband had passed away in the night. One of James' brother also passed away in the cove.  Finally after a week in Martin's Cove there were wagons enough to move on.  However, this family would see death again.  The baby, Emma, would pass away just a day before they entered the valley.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Handcart Pioneer: James Gordon Bleak Sr., 26

James Bleak (pronounced Blake) had a childhood.  All of his siblings and his parents died when he was young.  He lived with an aunt, and she also passed away.  However he remembered bowing to Queen Victoria when she would pass by.  When he visited a Mormon meeting, one of the Elders noticed that his eyes were weak.  He admitted he could scarcely see anything.  He received a blessing, and never had this problem again.  After joining the church, he became president of the White Chapel Branch in London.  As he was being released to travel to America, a sister spoke in tongues.  James understood the meaning, but did not respond.  Another sister did, stating what he already knew, "Notwithstanding he shall see the angel of death laying waste on his right and on his left, on his front and on his rearward, yet he and his family shall gather to Zion in  safety, and not one of them shall fall by the way."  He traveled with his wife, Elizabeth Moore Bleak and their four small children.  This prophesy was tested on the trail.  Most of the family became ill and the fell behind.  James was so weak he asked his wife to leave him behind.  She tucked him in a blanket and got the children into camp.  She then repented and went back for her husband.  They got him into camp and nursed him back to health.  Another occasion was even more nerve racking.  Two women were caring for one of the boys at night.  One very cold morning, they came bearing sad news, the boy had passed away.  Thomas had stopped breathing, but James, remembering the promise delivered begged upon Gd to not forget this promise.  .James went to work on the child, rubbing his limbs and anointing him with oil.  He thought he saw a glimmer of life, and continued to rub and administer.  By God's power the child opened his eyes and was able to continue thr journey, becoming a father of nine children.

Martin Handcart Pioneer, Heber Robert McBride, 13

Heber's father, Robert, was on of the first individuals baptized in England.  He was only two days behind the first baptism.  They were provided the opportunity to immigrate to Zion by the handcart plan.  Heber talks of the march of the last train stop to the outfitting camp.  They were caught in the rain, soaked and lost their way..  It was only after dark and they could see the campfires that they were able to make it into camp.  On the handcart trek Heber's mother became ill, and the care of the children went to his older sister Jeanetta.  Heber had three younger siblings and an older sister.  She was no longer able to draw the handcart and this duty went to Heber.  His mother would walk as far as she could and then would be placed on the the handcart everyday.  Their baby sister also rode.  He recalled using buffalo chips for fuel.
His father pulled the cart everyday, and his body began to break down.  Despite this, he made about 25 trips across the river helping others across.  After they made it into camp, Brother McBride was asked to sing.  "O Zion when I think of thee, I long for pinions like a dove."  He could only sing one verse.   He was so ill the next day he could barely sit up.  Heber found a spot for him in one of the wagons.  That would be the last they would see of him alive.  That night the arrived in camp after dark.  The next morning Heber went in search of his father.  He found him frozen under a wagon.  He was buried in a communal grave with 14 others.  He and his family faced terrible hunger and privations, and resorted to eating the bark off of trees.

Handcart Pioneer: William Lawrence Spicer Binder, 23

William had embraced the gospel as a young man, and despite the efforts of some relatives to dissuade him, he was determined to emigrate to Utah and the handcart plan offered him the opportunity to do so.  He had served as Branch President if the Lambeth Branch.  A few years previous he had married Eliza Camp on Christmas day.  Highlights from his trip included sailing on the Horizon.  He was sea sick most of the way, although his wife kept her health.  traveling by train to America they observed the Fourth of July celebration in Buffalo.  Also at various spots there were those who opposed the church and preached against the prophet Joseph Smith.  He observed armed men traveling to Kansas in light of the troubles there.  At the outfitting point in Iowa City he was required to leave much of his clothing behind to make weight.  The company left Iowa City to begin their handcart journey July 28.  August 3 they observed a bright "luminary in the sky' which descended to within 50 feet of the earth where it suddenly disappeared.  On October 17 the company was asked to reduce their weight to only ten pounds.  They left behind bedding and clothing which made them vulnerable to the cold which would soon hit them.  Their ration was serious reduced, and with only two-day supply remaining they were met with the advance guard of rescuers from the valley.  They then had a three-day trek to meet the promised wagons.  One of these days was very arduous for mud.  It was determined they should move to Martin's Cove.  William took his own handcart across the river.  He then returned for Brothers "SS and Albert Jones" who had become stuck in the river.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Willie Handcart Pioneer: Thomas Caldwell 14

After Thomas' family joined the church, his father traveled to Canada to join his parents; and was never heard form again.  His mother was anxious to travel to Zion, and his family, older brother and two younger sisters traveled aboard the Thornton and joined the Willie Handcart Company.  traveling with them was a young woman, Christina McNeil who was a boarder and friend from Scotland.  The family was assigned to a handcart with Thomas helping his mother and this sister pull the cart.  Early on, while helping some girls with a milk cow, he became entangled in a rope, tripped and broke his collar bone.  He traveled in pain the rest of the journey.  Even so he tried to keep up appearances for his younger sisters.  When they came to rivers he would help his sisters cross.  They pain was not getting better, and perhaps was getting worse.  "We finally arrived in Salt Lake Valley the 9th of November 1956.  We had endured hardships almost beyond human endurance."  After coming to the valley his collar bone was finally able to heal.  He eventually married Abigail Snow, daughter of the President Lorenzo Snow.  He died shortly after his first children were born, twin boys.  He is buried in the Lorenzo Snow burial plot in Brigham City.
Summarized from the book "Tell My Story Too" by Jolene S. Allphin

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Book Review: Lincoln's Last Days

Lincoln’s Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, Bill O’Reilly and Dwight Jon Zimmerman, Henry Hold and Company, New York, 2012.
This book is very interesting.  It focused more on Lincoln, the end of the war and his activities until his assassination.  It also focuses on the planning and the coordination it took to carry out this attack on our government and Abraham Lincoln.  There were three attacks planned, one which was not carried out.  However John Wilkes Booth was successful in killing the president.  Lewis Powell failed in his murder attempt again Secretary of State William Seward.  However he did injure several household members with his knife.  The third attack intended against the vice president did not materialize.  George Atzerodt was too drunk, and did not take kindly to the idea of murdering, and so wondered into the night rather than make the attempt. 
The capture of Booth ended rather quickly, with only a cursory review of his capture.  This book has left me interested enough to get the adult version; “Killing Lincoln.”

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Documentary Review: A Song's Best Friend: John Denver Remembered (2005)

This documentary is put together eight years after the death of John Denver.  It presents the brief story of several people who worked with Denver, and they express the influence had on their lives.  This includes his ex wife, manager, co musicians. 
John Denver's career started with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and was magical since its takeoff.  From this song he went on to record "Take Me Home Country Roads" which became an international hit.  Of course "Jet Plane" did as well.  Of course this documentary also talks of the inspiration for different songs.  "Annie's Song" is a favorite love song, but personally I prefer "Perhaps Love" which he recorded with Placido Domingo:

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Annie documentary about Denver has to include his environmental and world activism.  This documentary talks of he and Annie's move to Aspen, Colorado, and his desire to get involved in leading environmental causes.  "Rocky Mountain High" introduced this them in his music.  His life also included a relationship with Jacques Custeau and his support through his song "Calypso" from which he donated the royalties to the Custeau Society. 
Other song mentioned include the simplistic honesty of his son "Sunshine on My Shoulder" or the profound insight from "Rhymes and Reasons:" 
For the children and the flowers
Are my sisters and my brothers
Their laughter and their loveliness
Would clear a cloudy day.
"Thank God I'm a Country Boy" is all John Denver, although not written by Denver.  He performed this song to everyone's delight for years.