Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two of My Favorite Men

Dick Janes (About 1960)

Lon White (About 1959)
The two men above made an incredible impact on my life.  Dick Janes was my father, and Lon White was my father-in-law.  I've written a great deal on this blog about my dad.  He was a very kind, loving, wonderful man.  He was also the most eccentric person that I've ever met.  I've never written about Lon White.
Like Dad, Lon was one of a kind.  When I met him, he was already retired, but he had been a truck driver for Garrett Freight Lines in Idaho.  He was fun loving, and was always up for a tease.  Lon's life had not been easy, especially during the great depression, but he always managed to land on his feet.  Long before I met him, he was an alcoholic.  It made life difficult for his family for a number of years.  One day, however, he drove through some mailboxes.  A kind man loaned him the money to have the mailboxes replaced on the condition that he never take another drink.  Lon was true to his word.  By the time I met him, he not only was sober, but had been sealed to his wife and two of his sons in the LDS Temple for time and all eternity.  I was young and very impressionable when I met Lon, and that always stuck with me.  The power of repentance is real.  The power of forgiveness is also real.  His family was able to embrace the changes and love him for who he had become.  When I met Lon, I had some issues with forgiveness, and this was a great lesson for me.

The first time I met Lon was quite an experience.  Danny and I had driven from Sacramento to Reno, spent the night with my parents, and then driven to Idaho the next day.  It was an incredibly hot summer day to drive through the desert, and I had a horrible cold.  I suspicioned that Lon and Lois White were about to become my father and mother-in-law.  I don't know what I was expecting, but whatever I expected, did not come to pass.  I was totally surprised.  As I got out of the car in Caldwell, Idaho, Lon greeted me with "Hi, daughter!  Do you want a cheese and onion sandwich?"  I'd never had a cheese and onion sandwich before, but I like cheese, and I like onions, and I like bread -- and this was probably going to be my new father-in-law.  "Sure!"  The two of us sat down and enjoyed sandwiches together -- and we were instant friends forever.

As much as I try not to compare these two men, I can't help but do so.  They were both self-made men.  They both were incredibly honest and trustworthy men.   They both had a great sense of family.   They were both very sensitive men.  In other ways, they were as different as night and day.  As fun loving as Dad was, he was also very reserved in a lot of ways.  Lon just laid it all out there.  The first day I was in Idaho, I remember Lon pinching Lois on the rear.  I had a moment of culture shock.  My parents did those things (I assume) behind closed doors.  They had four children, but public displays of affection were nonexistent in the Janes family.  Lon obviously noticed my embarrassment (I'm sure I was blushing), because he delighted over the years in trying to shock me.

Lon and I had a mutual respect for one another.  I think he respected the fact that I stood up for myself in the White family.  I'm not a pushover in any stretch of the imagination, and Lon liked that.  I admired his strength and tenacity.  I admired his ability to turn his life around and become the man he wanted to be.

I learned from my father a great love of God and family.  I learned from Dad to never take blessings for granted.  Dad taught me to be a lady, but one with spunk.  I learned from my father-in-law, that life doesn't end when you make mistakes.  I learned from Lon to pick myself up by my bootstraps and move on.  Lon taught me that life deals the cards, but it's up to me to play the game.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog. That's the picture Dad had to have taken when he went into the insurance business, and since I was his favorite daughter, I want everyone to know that is NOT an earring in his ear!