John L. Sorenson
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I choose this title rather then “vacation” because I am concerned here with places/experiences more extended and peace-enhancing than the often frantic “vacation.” There have been few of these in my life; in general I have been pretty overwhelmingly busy. The one that stands out, of course, is the month our family spent in Hawaii in August 1968. We were busy enough, but the busyness was not with the humdrum activities of daily work. Upon learning that the Coburn family were looking to trade their home in Laie, Oahu, for a place in California, we arranged a straight-across exchange of homes and vehicles. (I never did learn how many of them were to occupy our Santa Barbara place). Jeff and Tony were not at home at that time, so there were seven of our children (counting Stacy), Kathryn and I, Grandma Maggie (for part of the time) and friend David McMullin from Santa Barbara, who ended up in Coburn’s (more or less adequate) house facing the campus of the Church College of Hawaii (later named BYU-Hawaii). The most troublesome thing we faced was that that August proved to be one of the hottest months on record for Hawaii (there was no air- conditioning). The vehicle they left for our use was a small Toyota pickup truck. For the most part we stayed on the windward (northeast) side of the island of Oahu. A few times we ventured to Honolulu (half an hour travel through the tunnel). I think we paid to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, adjacent to the campus, a single time for the experience, including the luau (rather disappointing) and the pretty spectacular nighttime show. The favorite destination in the pickup was “Pounders,” a small bay with beach that was only five minutes away. There the gentle surf and the comfortable water temperature provided all the uncrowded-water experience we could wish for. I don’t recall anything about how Kathryn fed us but that burden must have been something of a spoiler for her, although she always claimed the experience overall was delightful. Four weeks was enough that we were happy to get home again to California, where we learned that the Coburns had driven our vehicle pretty much all over the USA! Kathryn and I had an annual ”retreat” for a number of years as we took advantage of a time-share arrangement we had (“Sweetwater”). Once a year we had a reserved week at our choice of resort stays throughout the western states. Those were comfortable experiences of relaxation. We were in Park City several times, in San Diego on the beach, Jackson Hole, and the island of Kauai in Hawaii, among other sites I’ve forgotten. Eventually we figured out that the condo and membership fees amounted to more dollars than the experiences were worth, so we gave up the deal. Then there was the Thistle Creek property in Sanpete County near Indianola. We bought a ten-acre plot there up in a canyon not far from the national forest line that we held for at least a dozen years before turning it over in a deal to Curt and Stan. At that time we had a minivan- like vehicle that we had rigged up to contain a bed in the back. We greatly enjoyed exploring that area, locating the four marked corners and other “natural” wonders (more or less). Bob and especially Joe (and Scott Bennion) camped there a number times. It was generally a very quiet scene. Kathryn’s and my favorite spot of this sort was in Carpinteria, CA, where we spent January and February of 1990. In a condo just a few steps from the beach we had all the comforts we wanted plus convenient access to that lovely stretch of sand. This was truly a retreat because we allowed no cares to interrupt our relaxation. Perhaps that “no cares” stance was something we were not supposed to have too much of. When we tried to repeat the experience the next year was when Kathryn passed away, on our first night there. A precursor to Carpinteria was our stay at a trailer park on the Colorado River must above Parker, AZ, which I have described elsewhere. It was indeed pleasant although the river could not compare with the beach we found in Carpinteria the next year. You can see that we did not have lots of time to relax in retreat sessions. Our lives were busy, busy for the most part. All the more reason why we enjoyed those few seasons when we could “get away.”
Reminiscenses by John L. Sorenson