Sunday, December 25, 2016

Week of December 19-25 (Christmas)

The missionaries in our mission get to go to the temple twice per year, in June and in December, with members from their wards. Then a couple weeks before they finish their mission they get to go to the temple with the other departing missionaries. In addition, it is new policy that they can go with their new converts to take them to do baptisms. Well, last Tuesday and Wednesday were the all mission temple trips. On Tuesday we went and Ingrid Ball went with us. Her husband opted to stay at the office. We went to the Los Angeles Mission Office in the basement of the Visitor Center. We met the office couples and had a tour of their office. It was fun to see how another mission office looks and runs. We saw many of our missionaries coming out of the temple as we were going in. They went earlier. We ate a late lunch in the temple cafeteria before going to a session. It was past 5:30 pm and dark when we walked out of the temple, but the Christmas lights were shining brightly. We walked around and enjoyed them before our drive back.

On our afternoon off on Thursday, we delivered the fifteen microwave potato bags I made to some of our neighbors and friends from church. It was fun to spread a little Christmas cheer.

Friday was the Christmas "Morningside" for this side of the mission at our stake center. We had breakfast, watched the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", passed out the Christmas treat bags, played a fun game with the gifts the parents had sent, had a couple special musical numbers, sang Christmas carols, were taught by President and Sister Layton, and ended with a picture video of the missionaries and their activities. Everyone had a wonderful time!

Saturday night, Christmas Eve, the Morris's invited us over for a Mexican dinner. We brought bunuelos and pan dulce that we bought at Vallarta's Mexican grocery store. (It was so busy there this morning. Everyone was buying masa to make tamales and their food for the holidays.) After dinner, we had a fun "white elephant" gift exchange. Then Patty Morris read a touching Christmas story. It was so nice being there with some of their family and friends. It distracted us from missing our own family and Christmas traditions.

On Christmas morning we found our stockings all filled with goodies and opened a couple gifts. Then we went to church and enjoyed our Christmas Sacrament Meeting. We loved talking to our kids and grandkids and hearing about their Christmas.                 

We had Christmas dinner at the Ball's house with them, Elders Colburn, Egbers, Casper, and Waters, and John from their ward.

Below are some of the Christmas lights and trees around Bakersfield that we have enjoyed this season.

The article "The Holy Ghost Our Personal Guide" in the January Ensign tells about the adoption of our own sweet Sister Hayes in our mission. She was adopted from an orphanage in Asia when she was four years old. The article is written by her mother.

A picture is worth a thousand words.
I guess it is true that some Mormons have horns!


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week of December 12-18

Monday we welcomed ten new missionaries to the California Bakersfield Mission. James and I are the ones that usually set up the cultural hall for their arrival. We set up tables for the lunch and tables for the orientation stations area. We are in charge of the lunch also. We order and pick up the pizzas. I make salad, and this time we also had cantaloupe, grapes, and cuties. The missionaries arrive at the airport about noon. President and Sister Layton and the Assistants are there to greet them. Elder Morris is also there with his truck and trailer to transport all of their luggage. They usually get to the church about 12:30. We eat lunch and visit. Then we man our stations (contact info, housing, health, vehicles, finances, photos/emails, and picture with President and Sister Layton), and the missionaries fan out to get information, sign papers, etc. After they have gone to each of the stations, they get their mission binder (full of more important info) and a treat! This month it was the sugar cookies I made and a candy cane in a little bag for each one. Then the missionaries go to the Relief Society room for some training. We clean up.       
That evening we all have dinner at the mission home. Sister Morris takes care of that dinner. She did ask me to make salad this time.             
Here we are with Sister Arceo from the Houston Spanish Stake. Her stake president is President Call, who served with James in the first Spanish Stake when we lived in Pasadena, Texas.

On Tuesday the new missionaries are assigned companions and transfers take place. Early Wed.
morning the Assistants and President and Sister Layton take the departing missionaries to the airport. We had twelve go home this time.

This is a picture of some of the Christmas Morningside treat bags I assembled. I felt like one of Santa's elves filling 149 Christmas stockings. Our mission had two Christmas Morningsides on Thursday for the missionaries in the Lancaster/Palmdale and the Ridgecrest/Bishop areas. This coming Friday will be the one for the Bakersfield area. We have also been getting lots of Christmas gifts in the office that we have had to organize and wrap to be given out at the Morningsides.

Saturday we drove to the twin cities of Lancaster and Palmdale in the Antelope Valley. They are about 95 miles to the south-east. We had not been to that part of the mission yet, so we decided to go. We also had some packages and a license plate tag to deliver to some of the missionaries serving in those cities. As we were driving we were surprised to see a light dusting of snow on the mountains. There are huge solar farms outside of Lancaster. Lancaster became the first US city to require solar panels on all new homes effective January 2014. Lancaster is also home to the first "musical road" in the US. We rolled our windows down and listened to the theme of "The Lone Ranger" (1950's TV show) as we drove 55 mph down the grooved road. The music is probably only about a quarter mile, but it was pretty cool!
Palmdale is called the "Aerospace Capital of America" and is home to Edwards Air Force Base. There is also the California Poppy Preserve. The poppies are in bloom mid-February to mid-May, so we will have to visit then.

Guess where America's favorite clementine comes from? If you said Bakersfield, you are right!   They are grown in the San Joaquin Valley which includes all of Kern County where Bakersfield is. They are packaged at Sun Pacific in Bakersfield. Cuties are the original "fruit" snack.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week of December 5 - 11

This week was draining, especially for Elder Porras. He had a colonoscopy on Tuesday so Monday it was a clear liquid diet and Dulcolax and Miralax. When they took him back for his procedure, I went to work for a couple hours until they called me to come get him. Everything went fine. It took all the rest of Tuesday and all night for his drowsiness to wear off and his stomach to get back to normal.

On Wednesday we met Elder Sant and Elder Chamberlain at the church to teach April a new member lesson. First, Elder Chamberlain helped her with some of her math problems she didn't understand. We were lost, but she got it. Then we had a lesson on faith and how faith, hope, and charity are intertwined. We took the pictures below at church today because the elders wanted pictures with us before they get transferred on Tuesday. Elder Sant is on top and Elder Chamberlain is on the bottom.

Saturday we went to Tehachapi, which is about forty-five minutes from Bakersfield. It is a pretty drive there because you get into the mountains. Since it is over 4,000 feet in elevation it was about fifteen degrees colder there and rainy and foggy. Before we got to the town we stopped at  the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument and museum. Cesar Chavez was an American labor leader and civil rights activist who organized strikes and protests for the benefit of the migrant workers. He helped organize the National Farm Workers Association. He helped so many people improve their lives. He started out in the fields as a Mexican American farm worker. That back breaking work and his long fasts for his causes took a toll on him and he died when he was only sixty-six. It was a slow day at the museum and we were the only ones there, so we got to visit with the girl at the front desk and ask her lots of questions. She is Daniella Chavez one of Cesar's thirty-five grandchildren. She was born after he died so she only got to know him thru her grandmother who took care of her when she was little and then Daniella took care of her grandmother in the last years of her life. Helen, Cesar's wife, died just last June. Daniella is twenty years old and one of the younger grandchildren. She said she has been bullied and called a Communist by those who didn't like what her grandfather did or understand it. I told Daniella what impressed me as I learned about her grandpa is what good one person can do in this life. I told her about our church's Christmas initiative, "Light the World" on I told her that her grandpa certainly did his part to light the world by helping all the people he did and improving their lives and bringing light into their lives.
Then we drove along the scenic Tehachapi Loop. However, because it was so foggy we couldn't see much. We did see the train. The train loop was built in l876 and is the largest spiral configuration of railroad tracks every designed and built. They say if the train is long enough, it will pass over itself.
We drove on into the town of Tehachapi to the Crèche Festival at the church. It was beautifully set up. We enjoyed seeing some of the missionaries serving there. Sister Gallacher, from Highlands Ranch, Colorado is in the red shirt. Remember the nativity scene (in the bottom picture) that we all got from Primary or Mutual back in the '60's and was in every Mormon home. That brought back memories.

Sunday evening we attended a Community Christmas Music Festival at the stake center. There was beautiful music and singing. Our favorite was a couple who sang "All I Want For Christmas" accompanied by her playing the ukulele. It was very peppy unlike most of the numbers. Too bad they didn't sing more.

This evening I made and decorated sugar cookies all by myself. There were no grandkids around to help me. I missed our annual grandkids cooking decorating and caroling day! I made the cookies for a treat for the arriving missionaries that come tomorrow.

This week the mission received four new cars; Chevy Malibu's. The cars are really nice. We have fourteen more coming in the next few weeks. Some of the missionaries have been trying to buddy-up to Elder Porras in hopes that they will be assigned one of the new cars. Too bad it doesn't work that way. The cars with the most mileage (over 50,000 miles), cars farthest away from Bakersfield, and other factors are taken into consideration. Then the President and his Assistants are really the ones who make the decisions.

Dewar's Fine Candies is a fourth generation family owned and operated business. It was established in Bakersfield back in 1909. They have chocolates, taffy chews, and ice cream. We had an ice cream cone there and it was good, but Utah State Aggie ice cream or Texas Blue Bell ice cream have them beat. However, it is a fun place to go. They have two locations; the original store and a new modern building.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week of November 28 - December 4

California passed a law to ban plastic bags at grocery, convenience, and other stores. It went into effect right after the elections. So now you pay for a bag, bring your own, or just carry out whatever you bought. At Walmart and some other stores they have these thick plastic bags you can buy for 10 cents that are suppose to last thru 125 trips.

We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. We took the afternoon off to do errands, shopping, dinner, and a movie. I posted this picture on Instagram and then our daughter, Delane, put it on Facebook. We got lots of likes and comments from family and friends. It was fun to see. (Just as a reminder, we did not deface this tree in the forest. We just happened upon it and it had our initials. It was a miracle!)
We have committed to Light the World in at least 25 ways over 25 days. We have been sharing the pass along cards and calendars for this Christmas initiative with everyone that comes in the mission office; the Culligan man, the mail man, and the Fed Ex and UPS delivery people.
We enjoy turning on our own Christmas lights every evening. It makes me happy and brings a special spirit. We love the nativity that our daughter, LaResa, and her kids sent us for an early Christmas gift.
Friday we got to go to the Los Angeles Temple for the "departing temple trip" for the missionaries leaving in a week and a half. We took Elder Hernandez, Elder Smith, and Elder Price with us in our little VW Jetta. Thank heavens they are all thin elders. However, Elder Price is 6 foot 8 inches. I moved my seat up as far as I could to give him some leg room. He said he was fine. It was fun. We had a wonderful day!
 After having lunch in the temple cafeteria, we enjoyed the Temple Visitor Center and the beautifully decorated Christmas trees.

That evening we attended Lisa Wells's baptism. She is in our ward. Her husband, Eddie, and their three children came with her. She told me she did not even tell her mother because she knows she would not have approved. Eddie was very touched and emotional. He has been coming to church with her the last few weeks also.

Saturday James was out washing our car when a U-Haul truck pulled up. He jumped right in to help a couple guys unload it. They were helping their friend, Lee, move. He moved into the apartment next to ours. I looked out the window and saw them going up the sidewalk with loads of stuff, so I went out to help too. It was nice giving service, but the exercise was nice also. Then we shared "Light the World" cards and calendars with them.

Saturday evening was our ward Christmas dinner and party. We took Verenice and Melva's mother and sister. Melva is out of town, but her nonmember family was happy to go and really enjoyed it.

Sunday James bore his testimony in Sacrament Meeting. One thing he said was that he has opened lots of Christmas gifts over the years, but can not even remember what one of them was. Yet, he can remember the celebrations with our family and enjoying the time together. I feel that way also. 


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week of November 21 - 27 (Thanksgiving)

It rained last Sunday night and Monday morning! Then it rained again yesterday (Sat) and this Sunday morning! Rain around these parts is quite an unusual event, so we had to make note of it.

Believe it or not both Ingrid and I finished our 30 day fitness challenge on Tuesday morning! We bragged about it to everyone we could that day. When we first looked at it and saw the last half and the last day, we thought no way. However, we persevered, told ourselves "you can do it", relished every "rest" and made it through. That's not bad for two 65 year old women (one, named Alecia,  who is almost 66)!  It just goes to show we and everyone can do hard things physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or whatever comes our way.

Tuesday afternoon we went to the Chat and Chew Restaurant, which is owned by five brothers, to help serve a Thanksgiving meal to homeless children from Champ Camp. Champ Camp is an afterschool program run by Bakersfield Homeless Center. The director said they have about 100 kids in the program, but could only bring about 25 of them. The kids were kind of somber at first, but then they livened up, except one 11yr old boy. Both James and I talked to him, but he hardly said anything and did not crack a smile. We felt so bad for him that he was so sad or troubled.

There was one woman who must have wandered in off the street. We tried to talk to her, but she also hardly said a word and did not have a smile. However, I think she was happy for a good meal.
Bakersfield's new mayor and one of the city council members were there along with TV camera crews.

Later in the week, we went to the Bakersfield Homeless Center and dropped off the 21 knitted hats I made since we have been here for the Champ Camp kids.

Bakersfield seems to have quite a large homeless population. We learned that California has the highest concentration of homeless persons in the US - close to 21% of all homeless in the country. Yet, California's total population is just 12% of the nation's total. We see lots of people pan handling at the intersections. You often see people with an old grocery cart or a little trailer on their bike filled with all their worldly goods. Bakersfield is probably a pretty good place to be homeless because the weather is fairly decent and there is hardly any precipitation.

Wednesday we drove to Ridgecrest (about two hours away) to attend Zone Conference there. It is a small zone with only four elders and eight sister missionaries. President and Sister Layton taught them about the "power" they as missionaries have and how they can get and improve that power. In the afternoon, James did a nice five minute vehicle presentation mostly about safety and defensive driving. Then before the missionaries left, he inspected their cars inside and outside. There is a form he has to fill out on each car. The Stake Relief Society fed us a delicious lunch of salad, soups, rolls, and pumpkin pie. After lunch at Zone Conferences all the missionaries gather around the sisters who provided the food and served to thank them. The Zone Leader asks them to share their name and any missionary affiliation they might have like if they, their spouse, children, or parents served a mission or if they were taught the Gospel by missionaries. It is always great to hear their stories. Then we sing "Called To Serve" to them.

(Elder Allen, on the left, is from Aurora, Colorado and knows our granddaughter, Gaby, from church dances. He asked about her.)

Four out of our five children live in and around Denver, so they all had Thanksgiving dinner at Troy's house. Our sweet grandchildren surprised us with a message video of them going around the table telling what each one is thankful for and then they ended with, "I love you Grandma and Grandpa." That melted our hearts!
One granddaughter is in Lithuania for a few months with the International Language Program. For our daughter who lives in London, it was just another day at work. Her husband and two boys are in Prague right now where it was just an ordinary day also. We miss them all.
We ate Thanksgiving Dinner at Dalila Medina's house. She invited all eight of the missionaries (that includes us) from our ward, her mother, her sister and her family, and Dalila's three kids. I made pumpkin cake to take. After dinner, we all went around the table and told what our Thanksgiving traditions are. Then she said it was her tradition to share our testimonies. So went back around the tables and each shared their testimony. The sister missionaries from the YSA ward came after the elders left. We learned it is against the rules for them to have dinner together. It was a really nice Thanksgiving, but we definitely missed our family!

On Saturday we attended two baptisms. Rochelle and her 9 year old son, Hasan, from our ward were baptized at 6:00 pm. She is a single mother who also has a 2 year old daughter, Selena. Rochelle said she was so happy and felt so good to have her sins washed away. The other baptism was at 7:30 pm for Yvonne Taylor who has been investigating the church for about a year. The woman who gave the talk on the Holy Ghost at her baptism has only been a member for five years. She told how they investigated the church for about eight months. They had lots of questions and didn't feel like they knew enough or were ready. Yvonne and her husband got a babysitter for their four small kids on a Friday night and drove to a special place where they poured out their hearts in prayer to ask Heavenly Father if they should be baptized. She said they did not receive an answer right away. Monday night they decided to have Family Home Evening. They did not have anything prepared, so they decided to watch a Mormon message video. They let their oldest child pick the video. It came on their old computer and then the computer froze up just as the words "You Know Enough" showed up on the screen. That was their answer and they were baptized!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 14 - 20

Elder Holmgren came into the mission office to take pictures with us the day before he finished his mission and went home to Iowa. He was one of the Assistants until the last couple of weeks, so we got pretty close to him. (Elder Holmgren is on the left and his companion is Elder Werrett.)
The missionaries all seem to especially really love Elder Porras. He loves to talk and visit with them and vice versa. The gift of gab is definitely one of his gifts.

I had a chance to open my mouth again this week and I did it. A certain Fed-X man always delivers the boxes of Book of Mormons and other stuff we order from Church Distribution. He came last Friday and delivered part of the shipment, so I knew he would be back in a day or two with the rest of it. I had a Book of Mormon ready with my testimony in it. Sure enough he came on Monday. When he was finished bringing in about five loads on his dolly, I asked him if he knew what it was that he was delivering. He said he knew it was books. I said, "Yes, they are the Book of Mormon. I thought you would like to know what you are delivering, and I want to give you this one." He took it and thanked me. He should be back in another week or two with the next order, so I will ask him if he has had a chance to read any of the Book of Mormon and what he thinks about it.

We attended one of the Zone Conference on Thursday. This zone has fourteen sisters and twelve elders. It was unusual to see more sisters than elders at an event. Zone Conferences used to happen four times per year, but starting in January they are going to have them between every transfer which usually happens every six weeks. I had just finished the new calendar for 2017 when President Layton came in from the Mission President's conference they had been at and said they were instructed to have Zone Conferences more often. So he and Sister Layton are trying to squeeze everything in and will give me an updated version, so I can do a new calendar.

Once a month The Villas has a potluck dinner for the residents. There was lots of good food. They have a man who comes with his electric guitar and plays oldies during dinner. You can see him back in the far corner of the picture on the right.

On Saturday we went with Bruce and Ingrid to the Sequoia National Forest. It was a couple hour drive. As we got higher in the mountains, it became smoky and we could smell fire. It was very interesting to see the blackened ground and trees, smoking hot spots, and even flames and burning logs. There were  Forest Service firemen and their trucks along the road every now and then. We came to find out we were in the middle of the Meadows Fire, one of four fires burning in the area. This fire started a few days ago with a lightening strike. When it started it was only a half acre and had spread to 3,000 acres.

James was walking ahead of me and told me to come because he wanted to show me something. I couldn't believe it. Somebody had carved our initials on the bottom of a fallen tree. That was pretty cool!

We stopped at The Trail of 100 Giants and marveled at the giant sequoia trees along the pathway. Look how big the root system of these fallen trees are. It made us dizzy to look up and see how tall the trees were. They were amazing to see, and it was so nice to be out in nature.

We hadn't driven very far when we were stopped on the road. One of the forest service guys told us they were cutting down a tree that was burning and they didn't know which way it would fall. After about fifteen minutes of waiting he came back and told us they had closed the road because the fires had become too dangerous. We had to turn around and take an alternative route back to Bakersfield.

Below is another Bakersfield landmark, Guthrie's Alley Cat. It is a friendly bar (just drinks, no food) that has been there since 1940. It is known for its neon sign. It is on Wall Street, which is actually just a little alley in downtown. Inside there is a large caricature drawing down by Al Hirschfeld of himself. Al Hirschfeld was a famous "characteristic". Harley-Davidson comes to Wall Street every year and does photo shoots because they like the old, rustic look of the alley.                  

The picture on the right is our little pumpkin pincushion I made for a Thanksgiving decoration. 


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Week of Nov 7 - 13

Fall in Bakersfield is different than what we were used to in Colorado. There is not much color in the leaves. They just sort of turn brownish, get crispy, and fall off. However, it is so nice to see all the flowering bushes and trees this time of year, which of course we do not have in Colorado. The temperatures are really perfect; 65-80 degrees. We like the early morning light, but it is rough getting used to darkness at 5:00 pm is rough getting used to.

Who would have guessed that Trump will be our new 45th President of the United States! It was quite a stunning, shocking, and incredible political feat he pulled off. At least, our country will probably never have a dull moment these next four years.

On Wednesday we finished our 65 day mission wide challenge to read the Book of Mormon! We were looking for and underlining the doctrine of Christ as we read; faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. The book is full of references and examples of these
doctrines. They are repeated over and over among the peoples in the Book of Mormon. We also saw the cycle of when things were good, people's pride started taking over and they forgot about Christ. We need to be diligent and not let that happen to us. If we keep having and using our faith, repenting, renewing our baptismal covenants thru the sacrament, and listening to the Holy Ghost we will be able to endure (enjoy) to the end. The whole Book of Mormon really is another testament of Jesus Christ!

Thursday on our afternoon off, we enjoyed a great lunch at the Villas club house for veterans. They had it a day early. Then I got my hair cut (first time since we have been gone) and James went to a pre-colonoscopy doctor appointment. After, we did errands. That evening we had a lovely dinner at Matt and Patty Morris's house along with Ingrid and Bruce Ball. We ate outside on their patio and  enjoyed our fancy sandwiches and homemade tomato soup. The huge slices of pumpkin pie for dessert really topped it off.

On Friday, Veteran's Day, my very own veteran was treated royally. He got the oil changed on the car, a car wash, a haircut, hotdog lunch at Wienerschnitzel, dinner at Texas Roadhouse on their patio, and a chocolate custard filled Crispy Crème donut all for free in honor of his service. It is so nice how the businesses honor Veterans on this special day! It sounds like it was a party all day, but we also worked.

James had a sweet potato along with his steak. He thought they gave him a regular baked potato because it was white. Surprisingly, it tasted like a sweet potato. We learned there is such a thing as white, sweet potatoes.

Saturday from 1:30 till almost 5:00 we sat in the chapel of our stake center with all the missionaries in our mission and were instructed by an apostle of the Lord, Elder David A. Bednar. He is an apostle just like Peter, James, John, and others were! He was accompanied by Elder Ian S. Ardern, a general authority seventy from New Zealand. Some of the points Elder Bednar made were: stop taking notes (writing on the large plates), instead just write your inspirations (writing on the small plates); hear what is not being said; pray with expectations to act; just get going; the deeper your conversion the more you focus on the basic doctrines; it is important to observe, listen, and discern before you speak; don't look for big, defining, dramatic moments in your life - it is the consistency of small things which provides the big effect; steadiness thru tribulations is a source of great joy; and being His agents is more important than have agency. Elder Bednar invited the missionaries to answer and ask questions when the Spirit spoke to them. The spirit was very strong all thru the meeting, but especially when one of our struggling missionaries, Elder Watkins, got up and said, "I just want to know what I need not what I want." When Elder Bednar asked him a further question he stood there with the microphone for probably five minutes getting emotional and trying to speak. The room was so quite and everyone was feeling his pain and struggle. I don't remember what he finally was able to answer, but it was so honest. Elder Bednar told him it was profound. Several times before Elder Bednar made a point or answered a question he said, "Buckle up, here we go". Elder Bednar does not have favorite scriptures, but instead he has favorite themes in the scriptures. His favorite theme is the pattern of "one by one". He told us that "one by one" is mentioned six times in the Book of Mormon,  is how Jesus ministered, and is how we do things in the church. At the conclusion of our meeting, Elder Bednar left us with his testimony and an apostolic blessing that we would have "faith in Christ to have an eye single to his glory and you will see more clearly who you are, why you are here, and who you will become".  After the closing prayer and hymn, Elder Bednar came up to the microphone one more time and said he is not musically inclined at all, but for years he had the music to a song in his head. He did not know how to get it out. At a function, he met a well known pianist and told him his dilemma. The pianist worked with him for a while until finally he had the music just right. Then Elder Bednar wrote the words to his song and titled it "One By One". Elder Bednar hooked his iPhone to a speaker and played the song for us. It was beautiful.

Saturday evening we went to a barbeque with the Ball's at a member's house in their ward, Javier and Petra. It was such a nice evening to eat outside again. They hired someone to come cook tacos for them. James is such a good missionary. Before you know it he was over talking Spanish to that guy and his teenage helper. He gave them each a Pass-along Card.

One day this week a Fed-X man brought in a package and asked if the  fruit snacks in the jar on the counter were for the taking. I got brave and said, "Sure, if you share a fruit of your labor with me first." I pointed to the scripture on the jar. He read it and thought for a minute and then shared with me. He said his six year old son has mild cerebral palsy and he was finally able to get him on a soccer team which he thinks will really help him. That was so sweet. I went on to tell him about    
how important families are and gave him a family pass-along card. He thanked me.