Jan 25, 2007

5 Things

by Jennifer Griffith, Guest Blogger

This was a tough exercise. As I looked back over my life, it’s like a big blank, punctuated only by embarrassing moments. Darn! Nevertheless . . .

1) Disappointment Acres, my dad’s dairy farm in Idaho, is the name of my girlhood home. The brand is a backwards dollar sign. Like all farm kids, I had my chores, which mostly ranged to the unglamorous: whacking mice while I shoveled grain in the barn’s loft, and high-pressure spraying manure out of the milking parlor each morning. Still, I get nostalgic remembering the triumph of teaching a calf to drink from a bottle, or the smell of alfalfa while moving sprinkler pipe on a cool summer morning.

2) I once killed the prize houseplant of a U.S. Senator. For 10 wretched weeks I ineptly manned the front desk of Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s Washington, D.C., office. I did more things wrong than I can catalog, and my face burns red with shame at my lameness in every aspect of my employment there, but by far my worst legacy was the day I got bored and decided to dust EACH and EVERY leaf of the boss’s gigantic, blue ribbon Ficus. With Windex. All the other employees tried to gently urge me to “Let the Senator tend his own plant,” but no. I insisted I’d been the plant girl at Fred Meyer in college and I knew what I was doing. It shriveled, and I got a job in another office, and I’ll only be vaguely recalled as that chick who killed Larry’s plant.

3) At 33, I had the thrilling experience of a “version.” When my fourth baby was being born in Tucson, a last minute sonogram showed she was coming breach. They gave me the option of either trying to turn her or receiving an emergency C section. I went for the turn. A specialist came and pushed my Catherine’s head through my tummy while a nurse pushed her little bottom, and after a zillion silent prayers and a queasy-good while, she flipped. Hoorah! Thinking about it makes me want to throw up even now.

4) Despite the fact that I don’t have a risk-taking bone in my body, for one freak year, I went absolutely berserk. When I was 23 and just home from my mission to Japan, I went rock climbing in Moab, skied (and tore out my knee on the bunny slope), rappelled down a cliff (and got my hair dangerously caught in a carabiner), dug and slept in a snow cave (fighting claustrophobia for the entire miserable night), rode my mountain bike across the 13 mile causeway to Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake—alone (and had to hitchhike home), and even bungee jumped (sort of—it was a ride at Lagoon). Who was that woman?

5) My GPA from college was .049 points too low for Summa Cum Laude at Utah State. It really, really, really irked me at the time. However, I’m now considering making myself a t-shirt with this number on the front: “3.9451,” and on the back the words: “Nobody Cares. Not Even Me.”

It’s funny how things change, and time goes by, and we forget, and things don’t matter, whether they felt mundane or exciting or important or scary or embarrassing at the moment. Time seems to dilute them all into a sea of life experiences. But now looking back, my life appears much more punctuated with moments of joy than embarrassment, and I see how good the Lord is to me.

Tag: Joyce DiPastena


  1. I loved your posting, Jennifer. I could have read 10 or 15 more things about you.

    Perhaps you should get two T shirts and send one to my brother, Dr. Ron Shook?

  2. Forgot to mention that my last baby was breech--unturned. He came out doing the splits. The thing about a breech birth is that you know the sex right away. I remember when they announced it was a boy, all I could think about was that I had to go through cub scouts again--something worse than the experience at hand.

  3. I'm curious to know what possessed you to do all those daring things? My motto..."Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane". I'm surprised you didn't try parachuting as well. I'm glad you lived to tell you tales.

  4. How clever you are, Jennifer. And right to the point. But where in Idaho? I grew up on a farm near Rexburg.

    We spent three years in Japan, within seventeen miles of Tokyo. I even learned a little Japanese.

    I'm also afraid of falling, but I steer clear of all those dangerous things--almost. I did love the scary rides at carnivals.

    I didn't ever have a breach baby, but I stood by my daughter her breach would not turn and she had a C-section, delivering a boy with such a large head and wide shoulders that he could never have made it otherwise.

    I'd love to get more details and hear more about you.


  5. Jennifer,
    What fun to read so many interesting facts about you. I share your discomfort with heights, except I have to look down to keep calm. If I can see where my feet are, I am okay. Now if I look up, I am in big trouble! Vertigo sets in immediately.

    When you experienced your version, it sounds like they didn't use any analgesics or anesthetics...that would be more than nauseating!

    loved the t-shirt idea!

  6. Ron says he's sorry about the B, if that was what made you miss Suma. He said he'll change it.

  7. Liz,
    Don't tempt me to ask you to ask him to change those 2 B's. !!!! I'm just psychotic and vain enough that I might consider asking. Yikes!

    Oh, and Kari-
    I did have the epidural during the version. But it did't do a thing for nausea.

    Disappointment Acres is in Weston, on the West Side of Cache Valley, pop 300. It's a nice place. Especially in the summer.

    Thanks to all for the comments!


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