Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Yesterday I spent a memorable chunk of time on the phone with Glen Leonard, LDS Church Historian and friend.  We're working on a project together and needed to discuss some details.  In the course of the conversation Glen talked about another project he's working on, a history of Farmington, Utah, our hometown.  I love talking to Glen because he knows so many delicious little tidbits that no one else knows, and he fills in holes that have been empty for generations.  For instance he mentioned that children in the early days of the church did not attend Sacrament meetings.  And since most children could not be left alone, most Sacrament meetings were attended by mostly men.  Eventually they built a little red Sunday School house for the kids, and then the Primary was founded right here in the old rock chapel on Main Street in our peaceful little town. I look forward to the publication of his book in the coming year.

When we first moved to Farmington, 30 years ago, there were no stop lights.  There was the small Bowman's grocery store on State Street, and Farmington Drug where Walt Bain was the owner and pharmacist. And the post office and the barber shop.  Haugen's Auto Shop and Farmington Texaco, Security Title and Davis County Bank.  And of course, Lagoon. That was about it. On the north end of the city were those three large red barns with the crisp white letters POTTER BROTHERS HEREFORDS. They stood at the edge of the Potter and Leonard property where thick green fields of fresh alfalfa grew all summer, the aromatic scent of their harvest travelling up the hillside to our neighborhood. When the old Leonard barn fell down under the weight of too many winters, we retrieved a sturdy beam and used it as the mantle for one of our fireplaces.  Through the last three decades we have witnessed the trembling and collapse of so many old timbers, figurative and literal, so that now the landscape would hardly be recognized by old Truman Leonard or any of his wives. I remember the hubbub over the installment of our first stoplight, on the corner of State and Main. I paused for a moment to to try to count the stoplights we have now. There used to be not an inch of Farmington I did not know, at least casually. I am sorry to say that I stopped counting at a dozen.  I'm not sure what new developments may have sprung up recently.

The other day I sat at a light in the neighboring town of Kaysville as a train passed through.  It was a large one, requiring a couple engines to pull the weight.  I noticed the graffiti on the cars of the train and thought how the world had come to us, these little farm towns in northern Utah.  Cars that were tagged in big old cities, where crime was common and grime prevalent, where gangs of kids climbed over fences and marked their territory on moving objects.  Those big old engines brought the marked territory to our town.  The dim light of our streetlights shines on them as they pass on through, the stench of their exhaled breath staining the scent of fresh cut alfalfa that floats in our gentle summer breezes. And yet, the freshness overtakes it and something of the small town innocence remains.

Last fall we were hit with graffiti on Main Street, down by the Brass Comb beauty parlor.  It was disturbing, for sure, to see that someone would defile anything in our little piece of heaven.  And yet I was amused and relieved when these were the words they chose to write:

The city has since removed the sentiment, but it made me chuckle every time I drove past.  Some rebel with a philosophical bend.  That's about as hard as we get, here in Farmington. We are a charming quirky little town, with what the world would call a pretty weird past.  Why should the future be any different?
Such a dandy little town we call home. 

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