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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

This blog is a record of events in the life of Joseph Taggart and his family since his spinal cord injury while body surfing in Guatemala in January 2006.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Lesson

Today is Joseph Smith's birthday, Christmas Eve eve. We thought you might enjoy this true Christmas story from the life of a dear friend and neighbor:

A Christmas Lesson 1932
Bernon Auger

The Christmas day of 1932 is one day that I never will forget. Christmas that year fell on Sunday and in our home we always attended church as a family. Santa brought a new pair of skis and a new 22-caliber rifle. While doing the morning chores that are necessary on a farm, my youngest brother and I decided this day we wouldn't go with the family to church. We conceived the plan if we didn't go we could be the first ones to try out the new toys.

With so much rebellion, father consented to leave us home. Our punishment was that we had to do all the chores, which were many, even milking all the cows in the evening. This we readily accepted. We waived goodbye as they left and promised that they would have no need to worry. We stood and watched them go down the road in a bob sleigh until they were out of sight.

We forgot about our promise and hurriedly started to execute our plan, which was to take the new skis and rifle to try them out. There was about two feet of snow, as I remember, and it was snowing. I took the rifle and the old pair of skis and Arnold took the new skis and we headed for the hills not too far from our place. We planned on being back before the family got back from church so the wouldn't know that we had been out.

We had been out a long time and were hoping to see a rabbit that we could shoot, thinking that it would make a good dinner. But, we saw none. The snow began falling harder and we decided we better go home and get the chores done as we promised. Since we were on top of a small hill we turned our skis downward for a thrill and a race to the bottom of the hill. Halfway down I lost my balance and plunged headlong into the snow. At that moment I let go of the rifle, and I didn't know which direction it went. We spent a long time pawing through the snow before we found it. I remember how tickled I was when I took hold of it again.

Realizing we were out of time we hurried home to start doing the chores. I told Arnold to clean up the rifle and skis and put them back where they had been, thinking perhaps we could hide all evidence of what we had done. I hurried to the barn to take care of the cows before the folks got home. This way it would be a perfect day.

I had hardly made it to the barn when I heard Arnold screaming to the top of his voice. I turned around and saw him running toward me saying, "Do something, I'm dying". I couldn't imagine why he would say that. I ran back to meet him and asked what the matter was. All he could say was, "I'm dying". I noticed that he was holding a white dishtowel to his chest. I pulled the cloth out of his hand and believed every word he spoke.

The most frightening feeling that I have ever had came over me. In front of me was my brother bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound in the upper chest. As he was cleaning and ejecting the ammunition he put the gunstock down between his feet sitting on the coal range oven door. As he was ejecting the bullets one discharged. I had the feeling of panicking, but really I didn't know what to do. The only thing I could do was help him back to the house and go for help.

Living five miles from the nearest doctor and knowing the roads were drifted full of snow I knew I couldn't go there. All our neighbors had gone to church. I ran to the barn and got the saddle horse and started for help. When I passed the swinging gate in front of the house, there was Arnold begging me not to leave him. He kept saying, "I'm dying". Again I took him back into the house and laid him down on the floor and told him to be quiet as possible, assuring him that everything would be alright.

Upon reaching the saddle horse I looked down the road, I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that what I saw was the best sight that I had ever seen in my life. It was the folks coming home from church. I shouted to the top of my voice for them to hurry. At that moment I broke into tears for joy or sorrow I couldn't say which. I felt something tugging at me as I stood there for I felt as if I had no sense of feeling. I realized that Arnold had come to me when he heard me shout. When Arnold saw the folks coming he collapsed in my arms and I thought the words he spoke had come true.

I will never forget the look of anguish and despair that was on Mother's face when they pulled up the to the gate and screamed to know what the matter was. What should have been one of the happiest days of our lives turned into the most tragic.

It took father only a few minutes to sense what had to be done. He turned the sleigh around, wrapped Arnold in blankets, and headed for the doctor. Under normal conditions it would take a team and sleigh one hour to make it to town. This day, even though the roads were drifted full of snow, father realized that time was vital and he mercilessly whipped the horses to go faster and made it to town in 45 minutes, breaking, I believe all records under such conditions. Needless to say, with the loving care of mother and the fine work of the physician Arnold pulled through with little or no bad effects.

Once Arnold was "on the mend" father returned home. I dreaded seeing him. I was sure I was in for some stern punishment, perhaps even a stripe or two with the razor strap. For the rest of my life I have remembered that meeting. He came through the door of the house and walked directly up to me. Then, he said, "Bernon, I hope you have learned a lesson from this." That perhaps was more stinging than any physical punishment might have been. I knew that I had disappointed my father and mother. Throughout my life to the present there is not a Christmas that comes and goes without my thoughts reflecting back to that one. I have had many happy Christmases since, but I have learned this lesson from experience, that rebellion and disobedience can only bring trouble and heartache.

Bernon J. Auger was a great friend of our family. He was born in Preston, Idaho in 1916, just a few miles from where Tim grew up in Cache Valley. He attended Preston High School and Utah State University. He worked for Utah Power for many years until he retired. In 1942, he married Quida Griffiths in the Logan Temple. Together, they had four children. She died in 1988. Bernon married Janice Jenkins in the Jordan River Temple in 1990. Between the two of them they have eight children, 27 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren. He enjoyed woodworking, gardening, family history and his family. When Tim was Stake President he called Bernon to serve as Stake Patriarch where he served for many years before he died on Nov. 7, 2007. Tim was honored to speak at his funeral. Bernon gave Elizabeth her patriarchal blessing and helped Tim ordain Joseph to the Aaronic Priesthood in Jerusalem in 1994.


Anonymous deedee56 said...

Dear Taggart Family,
I was so suprised to see my dad's story on Joseph's blog. I know he would feel honored. I only wish he could have been here to see it. I know he would be pleased. Thank you for your treasured friendship, and the love and respect that you continually showed to Dad and Janice. I need to thank you Tim, for your words of comfort, and strength. Twice now, I have been uplifted by your words at the loss of my loved ones. I will never forget that. I am hoping all goes well with Joseph's stem cell transplant. You are all special to our family, and we will pray for you and Joseph. Please let us know if we can do anything to help you with the fundraiser.
All our love to you and yours,
Dianne and Steve Faurschou and family.

Dec 23, 2007, 11:53:00 PM  

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