By Virgil A Bushman, Jr.
I, Virgil A. Bushman, Jr., the name sake of my father Virgil A Bushman, Sr., decided to write a few of my memories of him. I hope this will be of benefit to my mother and siblings. this may prove to be amusing to my descendants and other who may have the privilege, or the responsibility of reading it.
My father seems to have been a patient man. I have been told of several things I did as a child that should have brought the wrath of my father upon my pointed head. When dad would discipline us kids it was usually with the foot, swift kick to the backside had a way of motivating us to repent and start us in the right directions. There was one day we needed to be corrected for something, I cannot remember what it was, Dick Wilkinson was playing with Ivan and me and dad proceeded to correct us, when dad turned to help Dick out he was already half way home. Those days if you got in trouble at someone’s house you were disciplined also, so Dick was making tracks. I only received this type of help two or three times in my childhood.
Dad had just finished varnishing the front room floor of the house and told me not to walk on the floor. He went outside to clean up the tools he had used, when he returned I was riding my tricycle on the newly finished floor. I looked up and said, “I am not walking on the floor.”
We did not have much success as a family with a beautiful front yard, even though dad was a farmer. He had just planted a tree in the front yard. I ran over it with my wagon, to cover up my error I quickly replanted it and thought all was well. Dad came in for lunch and asked what had happened to the tree. I told him nothing had happened to it. I was told that I planted it upside down and the roots were flapping in the breeze. I cannot plant a tree correctly to this day.
Dad was an all around handy man. His main occupation was a farmer and dairyman, but could do many other things. I can barely remember him building the house we were raised in as kids. I don’t imagine I was much help in the construction of the house since I was a little guy. I learned a lot from these experiences, helping to build barns, sheds, fences, plumbing, etc., Dad could not afford to hire the work done so he had to do it or go without. I don’t recall feeling mistreated because we didn’t have much.
Dad was Velma Newton’s home teacher and her husband had died. Velma Newton’s house only had two rooms, a kitchen and a bedroom. She needed a bathroom and would like an additional bedroom. Dad collected two volunteers (Ivan and me) and built the much-needed addition to her house. I remember the feelings I had helping a dear sister of the church. I have reflected on this act many times. The value of giving was taught to me as we worked together to help someone in need. Dad was always willing to help when needed and share with those that were in need.
Dad suffered from a bad back most of his life. He was apparently dropped when a small child and did permanent damage to his neck. He tried to life a ladder out of a silo as an adult and injured his low back, which he suffered with the rest of his life. The back pain he learned to live with and never complained much about it. The back problem was something that he worked around, still always doing his share of work. He could no longer carry bales of hay and the heavy containers of milk. This made it necessary for me to help out more. I started getting up early in the morning to carry the milker after the cow was milked and empty it into the milk cans to be delivered to Midway Dairy. At first this was a neat experience but it soon got old. Uncle Harold, Uncle Orvil and dad decided that a pipeline type of milking system would help dad’s back and stream line the system. The system was installed and boy did I like it, I no longer had to get up as earl to help with the milking.
Dad milked cows most of his life as a producer for first the Joseph Cit Dairy and later for Midway Dairy with other producers. The fresh milk was good and I was spoiled with milk and cream products while I lived at home. Milking cows was a seven-day a week job twice a day with no holidays. I knew the cows had to be milked and I had my share of opportunities to participate. I knew how to shoot milk from a cow clear across the room, avoid the dangerous landing gears that would make a swing and the swishing cockle-bur laden tails that would raise one’s dander real quick, might even make a guy say something he shouldn’t. (Hum).
One day in the evening I was playing north of the house when dad yelled across the fence, “Get a knife and bring it to me,” I ran into the house and got a knife and took it to dad who was milking cows. I asked why he needed a knife. I learned that a cow had been somewhat rebellious; she would not go into the milk house. Dad had picked up a board and hit her right behind the horns and knocked her cold. When I arrived on the scene she had recovered and staggered around the corral and walked straight in. There just may be a lesson in this for us, however dad was usually a very patient man.
People came for his assistances with their livestock. I remember many times he would leave the house and go and render aid to some stricken animal. He usually was never paid for his aid and may times donated the medication as well. He also donated many hours of tractor work to the church and those in need. This type of service has been an invaluable example to us as a family.
Scoutmaster Virgil A Bushman is a legend in and of itself. He is known for his scouting activities all across the state and church wide. He became a scoutmaster before he married mom, talk about a scoutmaster’s widow. Mom was always very supportive of his scouting activities. He spent many hours on camping trips, service projects, helping boys reach rank, doing whatever it took to help a boy succeed. I don’t know how many boys were in the scout program with dad, but there were a lot. There were many that give him credit for helping them reach the rank of Eagle. I feel his scouting activities will help secure him a seat in the Celestial Kingdom. Dad was an Eagle Scout, received the Silver Beaver award and many others. These we can be proud of.
I learned to drive at a very young age. I don’t know if I was that much help by learning to drive or if dad wanted to make me feel important. I was probably about six or seven years old when I started to drive. We had an old back Ford pickup that was originally Grandpa Bushman’s. I would drive it down to the field to do different things and as I got “good” I would show off. One day I was showing off a little and out through the fence we went. I went in to confess my mishap to dad and blame Mike Eskey for what had happened. Dad did not say much but I don’t think he bought the story I told him. Usually when I would tear up some equipment nothing was said, just fix it. So as a result I have been fixing things ever since. His attitude about mishaps has helped me understand my boys and their incidents.
One day years ago a man walked into town and stopped at the house to ask for help. He had crash-landed his airplane north of town. I seem to remember he had engine trouble. The carburetor had plugged and he landed it on the road. He damaged a landing gear and needed a mechanic. The man had his plane repaired and was ready to fly out. We seen a grader to up the road and wondered what was going on. So dad, Ivan and I drove out to the sight and what we found did not make my father happy. This man had hired a grader to make him a runway right down through some of our choice grazing land. The runway not only destroyed the grass, but also made a potential problem of erosion. This incident was one of the few times I really saw my dad mad and he was mad. He really worked the poor guy over telling him that he would be held liable for any of the damage done. I don’t recall my dad ever mentioning this incident again which I take to mean things worked out okay and was forgotten and life needed to go on. Forgive and forget was his motto. Jason says there was another similar plane landing years later a little farther out. If only the men would have asked before making a runway all would have been well.
Dad did not get mad at people very often, although he may have been disappointed in them. However, animals would catch his wrath.
We were instructed by prophets to have family home evenings, personal priesthood interviews, family prayers, and to teach our children to walk uprightly before the Lord. The formal teaching in home evenings and interviews may have lacked a little. The real teaching was working with dad and mom. Mom taught me the Articles of Faith as we hoed weeds together in the garden. This teaching I will always remember, I still know most of the Articles of Faith, as well as many other things I was taught by my dear mother. Dad taught many principles as we worked side by side: honesty, morality, faith, trust in church leaders, appreciation for our country and heritage, scouting, love of nature, value of people, value of work, etc. We knew dad had a testimony of the gospel by what he said and did. One teaching moment was walking in from the field; the pickup had left us afoot. While walking in dad talked to Ivan and me about the birds and the bees. The lesson was not long; however it did make a lasting impression on my young mind. These teaching moments were his style and easier for him.
He taught us to love the gospel by example and action. When I was a deacon we were asked to attend Stake Priesthood meetings in Snowflake. These meetings came around all too often I thought. There was no lecture to go to them just get in the car and go. Sometimes we would car pool with Eldred Edwards. I really felt mistreated when no other boys from the ward were in attendance. I look back on it now and am thankful I was required to attend these meetings.
Dad and Eldred Edwards were neighbors and good friends. Possibly one of the most unusual things between the two of them was they would exchange haircuts. Once a month they would meet at dad’s house to cut each other’s hair. This exchange continued up until Eldred passed away. The quality of the hair cut depended on the subject matter they were discussing and who happened to be in the chair. If the stories really got out of hand, the haircuts seemed to be poor. I can’t say that either one of them is to blame more than the other. I know my mom would sometimes watch in dismay as the hair would fall to the floor knowing full well that a month would pass before the evening’s discussions would completely correct itself. I know she would help the next haircut would be better. Don’t get me wrong that all the haircuts were bad, because they were good barbers; they just seemed to get involved with other things than cutting hair.
Dad was continually teaching by example; one teaching moment was Sabbath observance. He never did more on a Sunday than was absolutely necessary. I remember one incident when he went out on Sunday to hook the mower up to the tractor and the next day all went wrong. He felt that had he observed the Sabbath he would have been blessed by the Lord and the day would have gone better. I remember him making a verbal commitment not to break the Sabbath again.
He was a man of his word. When he told us we would work till noon, he would stick to it even though the project was not finished. I recall a time at the ranch in Aripine we were working on some fence for Uncle Clark Flake and dad told us kids we would only have to work till noon. Noon came, Uncle Clark wanted to continue, dad said, “Let’s go. This is what we agreed to,” and so we left to do other things.
Part of our livelihood was selling hay. Dad was honest in this to make sure the customer was dealt with fairly. He would sell a ton of hay. The ton of hay would weight 2400 lbs. instead of 2000. One day a man said to dad I will buy your hay, but you have to make sure I get a full ton. He was told that the bales were to weight 80 lbs. each (30 bales to the ton), giving the man an extra 400 lbs for shrinkage. The man quickly loaded his truck and purchased a lot of hay from dad. Hay customers were told to leave behind bales of hay containing trash or that were too short, most customers appreciated this type of business and were fair to dad, however, occasionally one would use this policy to his advantage. I feel dad was totally honest in this and will be blessed for his integrity.
Henry Eskey, a Navajo Indian, worked many years for dad. Henry was an honest, hard worker and was a great asset to the farm; for the most part he was dependable. He lived in a house provided by Bushman and Bushman and was able to use a pickup for his personal use. He had a little problem drinking and about once a year would find himself in the “Cross Bar Hotel.” Dad paid Henry’s fine about two times and the third time he was left to think things over. H was never arrested after that, so it must have been a good lesson to him.
If any of his family needed help, he would always come if it were possible for him to do so. I never heard him complain about having to help us.
He always liked to have people around and, as the grandkids grew up, he would take them with him.
So much for now.