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        Stories of Early Perry, Utah

    Store 1933..gif (74765 bytes) Lisle & Vera Larsen Store, 1933   Double Click Photo for Full Image
By Vera Jean Larson   See Google, Yahoo page
1888106123  316p Hard Cover 6 x 9 (Out of Print)
Additional Information:   PREFACE   THE "OLD" ROAD THE FRUIT FARMER    



To Three Mile Creek, With Love
by Vera Jean Larsen

There was a time
When life was quiet and still
And skies were blue
And roses grew
Along the country roads
That I once knew.

All the people in the town
Seemed like family
As we lived each day, side by side
Sharing our fate, with those who cared
As life brought the good times,
As well as bad.

And yet, we made it
You and I
By the love of those
Who helped us along the way
Teaching us, by their own lifestyles
To do what’s right
To live one’s life in such a way
That others were grateful
You passed by.

Let me travel down that country road again
Let the dust puff up around each step I take
Let my foot prints stay there in the dust
To prove to those who follow
That life is good.

The blossom of the locust
The cooing of the dove
The gurgling sound of water
The singing of a songbird
I shut my eyes
It all comes back to me
The memory of youth.

Clear, blue skies above my head
The feeling of contentment in my soul
Walking along that old country road
In a town called "Three Mile Creek"
A long, long time ago.



Within my heart lies a memory, a memory that refuses to be forgotten. For whenever I think of her, I relive that special day, a day like no other. It was in the summertime of 1931 that she took my hand in hers, and she and I walked together down the dusty unpaved country road of "Three Mile Creek."
    The country road was really a country lane, used mostly by people, rather than by cars. To see an automobile would be a rarity as few people owned a car in the 1930’s–a time known as The Great Depression.
    The intense blue of the sky made a perfect background for the fragile wispy white clouds floating gently over the hills. The clouds lingered briefly above our heads, then lazily drifted westward toward the Great Salt Lake.
    Alongside the road an irrigation ditch, built by early settlers of "Three Mile Creek," carried water from the head of the canyon to the fields in the valley below. The gurgling sound of the flowing water could be heard as it swiftly moved along, accomplishing its purpose.
    Alongside the ditch banks sprigs of peppermint grew. She would stop and snip off the tops of the tangy green plants, and carefully place each one in the pockets of her apron, saving them for the time she would make peppermint tea.
    Rose bushes grew wild alongside the country road. Covering wooden fence posts, climbing up wire fences, trailing along the ditch banks, clusters of fragile pink roses could be seen, adding to the beauty of that day in summer.
    An aroma of sweet perfume filled the air as we walked by the tall locust trees. We watched as gentle breezes released their delicate tiny flowers causing each to flutter lightly to the ground. The sweet fragrance of the blossoms caused Grandma to sneeze, not only once, but several times. And then she laughed, oh how she laughed.
    Grandma had unusual eyes. In the wintertime, or on a cloudy day, her eyes would be gray. But when the sun shone, her eyes would be as blue as the sky and this sunny day they were no exception. Her hair was gray, cut short, parted in the middle, and held back by combs placed in her waved hair. However, it was her smile that you would remember. Something remarkable happened whenever she smiled. Her face would glow with a special radiance whenever she had occasion to smile. It would be often that her loved ones saw that lovely smile.
    Grandma was not skinny. I don’t think it ever bothered her, as she seemed contented with her plump figure.
    What I remember best is whenever I hurt, she could always make that hurt disappear. When she held you in those fleshy arms, your head on her ample bosom, seated on her soft pillow of a lap, her sweet kisses on the forehead, she would sing songs, or tell you funny stories, and the hurt would quickly go away. Grandma had a magic healing power with her hugs and kisses and her ability to love.
    With all my heart I loved my Grandma, and I thought she was the most beautiful grandma in the whole wide world. As we walked I glanced up at her; she was looking down at me smiling. I felt good inside.
    There are certain times in one’s life, when the world seems to stop. I believe it happened that day to me, as something unexplainable touched my inner self.
    I was caught up in the beauty around me, of nature, of being with a dear one, just the two of us walking, kicking up the dust. We walked along that old road, a little girl and her grandma leaving footprints in the dust. Gentle breezes seemed to whisper, "You belong here. You belong to Three Mile Creek."
    I did belong. I felt good inside. I loved me. I loved Grandma. I looked up at her while I squeezed her hand, hoping I could communicate to her my feelings. She smiled and squeezed my hand back. The message was received.
    Grandma spotted the bird before I did. It was a yellow bird with black markings and it was chirping a cheerful catchy tune as it perched on a fencepost. With fingers pressed to her lips, Grandma made a "shh-shh-ing" sound. I stopped instantly, anticipating something remarkable was about to happen.
    Grandma whispered, "Do you know what that bird is singing?" Shaking my head no, Grandma then said, "Now listen carefully." And I listened as carefully as I could.
    When the bird burst forth into song, Grandma sang these words, "Three Mile Creek is a pretty little town." Each word she sang matched each warbling note of the bird’s melody. The bird must have agreed, as once more the bird repeated his song, and Grandma sang the words. Then I joined in with Grandma. "Three Mile Creek is a pretty little town." We sang and sang, over and over we sang the words, the bird accompanying us, never missing a note.
    But all good things come to an end, or perhaps the bird had other things to do, for he flew away to another field to sing his song to those who would listen.
    As we watched the bird fly away, we continued with our walk. In utter amazement, I tried to figure out how Grandma knew the language of birds. She was not only beautiful, but she had to be the smartest grandma in the town of "Three Mile Creek."
    Many years have passed since Grandma and I walked together down that old road–leaving our footprints in the dust and leaving a memory that stays with me and never leaves.
    And I still see the beauty of that little town. I feel the peacefulness and belonging. And love surrounds me whenever I think about that day when Grandma and I walked down that road so long ago. And the meadowlark still sings to those who listen "Three Mile Creek is a pretty little town."
    I still see her singing those words to a little girl who believed it with all her heart. And long after moving away, it’s song continues in my heart, "Three Mile Creek is a pretty little town."

The name Three Mile Creek was changed to Perry, 1900.


Chapter One


On a road map it is listed as Highway 89. But for myself and others who lived in the northern Utah towns, we will always know it as "The Old Road."
    It began as a two-lane highway. However, as traffic increased, two more lanes were added. It didn’t stop there. As overflowing traffic became too much for the four lanes to handle, plans were made to build an Interstate Freeway, west of the present road. This would accommodate the ever-growing problems of more cars, more trucks, and more travelers.
    While the new highway was being built, the inhabitants of the surrounding towns, in their daily conversations with one another, began to refer to the two different roads as "The New Road" or "The Old Road." However, after the completion of the new highway, it was always called from then on Interstate 15. "The Old Road" remained the same, and to this day it is still regarded as "The Old Road" to those who lived there when all the changes occurred.
The completion of the Interstate became a blessing to those who for years had endured the continuous roar of traffic. No one missed the huge semis, which by now traveled the road 24-hours-a-day. This had caused many a sleepless night for those living beside the constant stream of traffic. The rumbling semis had shaken houses, rattled dishes, toppled pictures from walls; their shaking resembled the tremors of an earthquake. Needless to say, the opening of the Interstate was awaited with anxious anticipation. One looked forward to quieter nights ahead when one could sleep without the bothersome sounds of the never-ending traffic.
    At the same time, there were those who had mixed feelings about the new Interstate. With this being fruit country, the fruit growers depended upon the sale of their home-grown products. For several years the steady procession of cars along "The Old Road" brought customers to the fruit stands during the growing season. With the new Interstate becoming the main stream of traffic, serious concerns were raised among the orchard growers.
    The apprehensive farmers wondered if the drivers and passengers traveling the freeway would take extra time to find the turn-off leading to "The Old Road." Here, some of the finest fruit in the country was grown in surrounding orchards, and sold in the old and reliable fruit stands. But the farmer’s fears proved groundless. As the summer season approached, countless customers found their way to the fruit stands, along "The Old Road," to purchase the choice fruit. This fact delighted those dedicated to the life of a fruit farmer.
    It is the fruit farmer who plants the small trees in the ground, patiently watches their slow growth, and guards the small tender shoots from the cold winter winds. It is the fruit farmer who protects them from the rays of the hot sun beating down upon them. Every day he hoes the weeds around his trees, keeping his orchard neat and clean. He insists that the rows that carry the irrigation water past his trees are straight, an assurance each tree will be watered and none left out.
    Dressed in striped overalls, with an old felt hat upon his head and his shovel carried across his shoulder, he walks through his orchard, stopping to observe the growth of each tree. Like a father nurturing and protecting his children, he builds a strong bond with his young trees and feels responsible for each. When they develop into maturity, they reward him with an abundant crop, giving him a feeling of success, making the hard work worthwhile.
    To keep each tree alive and healthy, he takes his water turn faithfully, regardless of the time. Many times throughout the years, he has crept out of bed, flashlight in hand, his trusty shovel over his shoulder and leaves his house to go into the dark still night. He trudges up the ditch where he releases the main gate that changes the direction of the water. The water flows into his orchard, where with his guidance, the stream finds its way down the narrow long furrows alongside each row of trees.
    Then, one day in early spring it happens. At first a few blossoms gradually appear, here and there. Then, as if by the touch of a magic wand, the trees come alive with color. White blossoms compete with various shades of pink, each outdoing one another with their loveliness in presenting a splendid display of beauty in the cherry, apricot, and peach orchards growing alongside "The Old Road."
    Spring makes an announcement signaling a message of hope and encouragement, giving those who search for it an appreciation of nature’s beauty. It has been said that there are some who get so overcome with emotion at this time of year, that they mysteriously burst forth in song, singing words about popcorn popping on some kind of tree. Imagine that!
    The magnificent beauty of the blossoms represents hope to the owner of the orchards. However, until the growing season is over, and the last bushel of fruit is picked and sold, the fruit growers’ constant companion is worry. From experience, he has learned to respect the elements of nature, and be aware of the destruction it can do. He has seen early spring frosts wipe out the entire fruit season. He has witnessed wind storms leaving behind broken limbs, and fruit scattered on the ground around the trees.
    One year, a native insect, called the peach tree borer (a clear-winged, day-flying moth that feeds on the inner bark of the trunk of the tree) invaded and killed his young trees. This caused him to start over again, buying and replanting trees and waiting until they were mature enough to produce fruit. One strange year, nature played a cruel joke. Due to a lack of bees, the trees did not get pollinated, resulting in an unsuccessful season.
    The most dreadful act of nature he remembers is the day he watched helplessly, as fierce black clouds, pushed by a strong wind, moved across the sky. Closer and closer it came. As he watched, fear crossed his face. He heard the striking noise against his window pane. He saw the menacing clouds release the hailstones, pounding the ground with tremendous force. Havoc was caused to every living thing as the frozen ice attacked tender plants, ripping and slashing green leaves. Nothing escaped the storm’s relentless fury.
    Within a few minutes the killer storm moved on, leaving a silence deafening to the ears. In a dreamlike state, he walked through his orchard to view the damage. He wore an expression of defeat on his face. He walked slowly, like an old man, his shoulders humped over, a dazed look in his eyes. He gradually recognized his year’s income has been taken from him within a few minutes.
    A distinctive quality of a farmer’s character is his ability to cope with his setbacks. Risk-taking is part of the vocation he has chosen.
    Needless to say, he is relieved when nature cooperates, grateful his trees have survived a successful growing season without any catastrophe. With a burst of energy he begins to pick the ripened fruit, and places them proudly in bushel baskets. He is filled with deep satisfaction and pride as his customers admire the beauty and size of his peaches. For the next ten days or so, he picks until the trees are bare. Finally, the day comes when the last trucker has come and gone and the last bushel is sold. Things slow down for a while.
    Then one day he pulls himself out of his chair, puts on the old felt hat, picks up the shovel, and heads for the orchard where he begins to remove the old rotten fruit left on the ground. As he works amongst his trees, he makes plans, and thinks about replacing several old trees. Perhaps he will try that new kind of peach he’s been reading about. And so, with a renewal of energy, he prepares his orchard for winter, dreaming dreams, thinking thoughts only a fruit grower knows.



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