Friday, September 24, 2010


I made this blog so my family and I could write down some of our favorite memories of our dad. I haven't done much posting on it. I've had a hard time sleeping tonight because I ate too much artichoke dip today, I thought I'd write down some thought I've had in my head.
I teach a Sunday school class and I was going to integrate this story in my lesson this weeks.

When I turned 16 and was getting ready to drive my dad bought a Volvo from my uncle Troy. At the time I was a spoiled teenager and just the thought of driving a Volvo was repulsive to me. I grew up in "Redneckville, Utah", a farming community where everyone drives pick-up trucks and SUVs the boxy 1980's Volvo was not what I had in mind for my first car.

The car was grey with a pealing clear coat pain on over the top of it. I had done some body work on cars in the past with my dad and I'd had a lot of fun with it. I decided to paint the ugly car my favorite car midnight blue.

Dad agreed to help me paint if if I did all the body work. I spent a lot of time everyday after school sanding and filling in dents with body filler. It was a lot of work. I put in a lot of blood sweat and tears.

I was so excited when I finished. One Friday Afternoon dad took me to NAPA. I flipped through books of paint chips searching for the color I had dreamed of my car being. I vasalated between colors. I think the store was getting ready to close and I finally picked on. The next morning I spent several hours helping dad mask the car, covering all the parts to keep from being painted. I spent detailed work making sure all the lines along the windows were straight and smooth.

We only had one mask and, of course, only one paint gun. I went in the house and dad painted the car I was so excited.

I came out to look at my newly painted car... and it was HORRIBLE. The beautiful midnight blue color I had envisioned looked like a robin egg blue with a touch of psychedelic sheen. It was not the car I had envisioned.

I tried not to let my disappointment show on my face after all my dad had just spent a lot of time and money trying to make me happy.

I said something like 'wow... dad..... thanks, um, I really appriciate it.'

He asked 'do you like it?'

I couldn't speak because I knew I'd break into tears so I just nodded.

I went in the house huddled up in my room and burst into tears. All my hard work for nothing. The new car color was even worse than the cracked and chipped clear coat.

There was a knock on my door and my dad came in. I tried to stop crying I really did. But he could obviously tell I wasn't happy.

'It will darken up, when it dries,' he tried to reassure me.

'Yeah, I know how dark do you think it will be?' I asked.

'I'm not sure what color where you hoping for?' I pulled out my favorite midnight blue T-shirt to show him. I could tell from the look on his face that it was not the color my car would be. I tried not to cry again.

We waited a few hours the car was still hideous. And the worst part was that it was all my fault it was hideous I'd picked the color.

Stupid NAPA autoparts and their dump deceptive paint chips! I went back in my room to sulk.

Dad came in and told me to go get in the truck. I got in the truck hopeful that he had thought of a chemical we could put on it to darken it up. We drove back to NAPA autoparts and he let me pick out a whole new color. We got home and he repainted the whole car over again.

Since it had 2 coats of paint the outer layer had the texture of an orange peal in some places but it was wonderful it was the color I'd really wanted.

Later on I considered how much the whole adventure cost I probably spent about $100 in supplies doing the body work.
The first coat of pain was ~ $200 and then the second coat was ~ $200 dollars more. I'm not sure how much the primer and supplies for the paint gun were but lets say it was ~ $100.
All said and done my dad spent nearly $600 dollars to make his little girl happy.
I think we bought the care for $500 dollars from my uncle, so we put more into it than it was probably worth.

The moral of the story is that my dad cared a lot about making us happy teaching us skills (like doing body work on cars) and just making sure we knew he loved us.

I cringe when I think about how much time and money he spent on fixing my mistake that day. But overall it really made me feel that he loved me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scotts funeral talk

Larry Scott Toland was born on August 30,1954 in Afton, Wyoming, He was the oldest son of Margery Balls and Larry Toland; later he was joined by five siblings, a younger brother Kim, a sister Lori, infant twins Gene and Jan, and a half sister, Melissa.

When Scott was around a year and a half, Mom and Dad moved to the Bar B C Ranch in Jackson, Wyomig to feed cattle through the winter. While at the Bar BC, Scott learned to mimic the coyotes that would howl each evening around the ranch. Scott's canine antics quickly became a family favorite. Grandpa Balls would even take him to the local Pool Hall in Afton, Wyoming where he would howl for all of Grandpa’s pool playing buddies.

Scott continued to enjoy nature and the outdoors throughout his life. I truly think Scott could have given Bear Gillis the Survivor Man a run for his money. He knew every edible plant and had eaten most of them. He tried to enlighten us on natures bounty. I only cooperated enough to taste wild onions, I shutter thinking about the terrible taste that lasted about a week. There's a big difference in what can be eaten and what should be eaten.

While Scott didn't have much luck converting me to the survivor lifestyle, he always had a lot of friends around while growing up and motivated them with new high adventures of survival, the thrill of inventing a rocket to the moon or traveling with Jules Vern to the center of the earth. Scott was a true friend, he befriended the friendless and helped those in need. In 1966 at the age of eleven, Scott received recognition as an “Outstanding Patrol Boy.” Scott recieved this award from the Ogden Police Department as recognition for an act of bravery. Scott pulled a fifth grader from the path of an on coming car possibly saving the boys life. He was an extraordinary boy.

Scott was not a typical teenager either. If he had any extra money he wouldn’t by a candy bar, I can’t remember him ever buying one, instead he would go to the grocery store and buy fruit and vegetables. Imagine seeing a tall lanky teenager munching on a head of lettuce. That was Scott. When he was in
High School while other boys were interested in sports, Scott excelled in science and the arts. He found his creative side in High School Ceramics. He continued throwing pots and experimenting with glazes the rest of his life, I’m so thankful I have a few. They are unique and touched by the hands of a true artist. He worked dilligently on his pottery, and extended that same ethic to his work.

Scott knew how to work and he worked hard, when he was in high school during the summer months he sprayed pine beetle infested trees and moved pipe in Ashton, Idaho while staying with his grandma and grandpa Toland. After Scott graduated from Ogden High School in 1972 we moved to Star Valley Wyoming. While in Star Valley , he worked for an implement company as a repariman. All of Scott's employers had positive things to say about him.

While Scott continued working in Afton I went to school in Provo, Utah; Kathy Mitchell was my roommate. We shared a large old home right off campus. I, went back to Star Valley the next weekend and announced to the family that I had found a wife for Scott. All that fall, whenever Kathy and I got together, I would laugh and say things like “You’d be just right for my brother” or “I’d really like you to meet my brother.” Kathy at the time was seriously dating a young man whose home was in Nebraska. At Christmas break, Kathy flew to Nebraska to meet his family. After spending several days on a very large farm in Nebraska, in the middle of winter, Kathy decided this was not a living circumstance she could abide. Upon returning to school after Christmas, Kathy approached me and said “Lori, let’s go to Wyoming.”

The next weekend, Lori brought Kathy to Wyoming. That evening, as I was preparing to attend a cousin’s wedding reception, Scott asked if the ladies would like to “go to the show.” Lori replied “I’m going to the reception, but I’m sure Kathy would like to go.” From that time on during the winter months, Kathy and my future husband and I, made several trips to Wyoming, and Scott would venture to Provo or Salt Lake as often as he could. By this time, Kathy’s parents and family were dying of curiosity as to what kept pulling her to Wyoming. They assumed it was a man, and all of their fingers and toes were crossed. After all, by Uintah Basin standards in the 70’s, she was soon to be 22 and destined to be an old maid the rest of her life. Gathering her courage, Kathy made the call to her family to announce she was bringing a young man from Wyoming home. When asked what he looked like, Kathy responded “Well, you remember Jeremiah Johnson and Grizzly Adams? You just pictured him.” When Grover found out Scott was a vocational/agricultural mechanic, he was enthusiastically invited back next weekend to overhaul the Massey, (which means splitting the tractor in-two) much to Kathy’s embarrassment. Everyone approved of Scott because of his mechanical talents, especially her brothers.

A few months later, in the month of March, sitting in the Mitchell kitchen, Scott mentioned that his mom had asked when they were getting married. Kathy asked “Well what did you say?”, and his response was “I don’t know.” Several hours later, Kathy said “Well Scott, when are we getting married?” To which Scott replied, after a pause “Uh, I don’t know. When do you want to?”

The couple was married that spring in Altamont on May 28, 1977. Promptly after the wedding, Scott and Kathy moved into a tent near Lava Hot Springs, ID while Scott pursued a career as a logger, much to Kathy’s chagrin. After three weeks of storms and the tent being blown over, and the toilet paper being wet and useless, they upgraded to a camper. After several bounced paychecks from his employer, the couple moved back to WY and lived in the camper in his mom’s pasture. After a brief stint at a parts store, Scott went to work for another logging company. Scott and Kathy moved to the mountains near Big Piney, WY until November. After the first big snow pushed the loggers off the mountain, he went to work for his previous employer Don Wood in Star Valley. Scott had promised Helen, Kathy’s mother, that he would let her finish her education. For Spring Quarter, Scott and Kathy moved to Ogden, where Kathy went to school at Weber State and worked in the preschool on campus, and Scott commuted to Salt Lake City working for Arnold Equipment Co. The next spring, Scott attended night school with Kathy, taking Geology and of course, several pottery classes where he promptly took over helping students. Kathy was very frustrated because he never read his geology book but could answer all the questions at the end of each chapter. His geology teacher was very impressed and said he would make an excellent geologist. That summer, Scott again tried to pursue making enough money as a logger to continue school. He worked with Kim, his brother, and his friend in the forest. Again, the paychecks did not come on a regular basis – there was barely enough for groceries. A good friend of Kathy’s, Sid Farnsworth, passed away that summer and Kathy came down to his funeral. While in Altamont, Kathy was offered a job at the elementary as an aide. When Kathy didn’t return, Scott followed. Scott soon became employed at Roosevelt Equipment. They purchased a trailer next to Max Allred’s in Altamont. Alexaus was born that spring on March 13, 1980. Kathy went back to school at Utah State two weeks after Alexaus’ birth. She did her student teaching in the fall, and was hired to teach first grade at Altamont in January.

Scott and Grover purchased a pontoon boat and enjoyed fishing and boating on Sand Wash. In the winter of 1980, Scott had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands at the same time. In the old days, before laser surgery, he had casts on both hands. Being Scott, he thought he could watch Alexaus and recuperate at the same time. But after one day, realizing this was not happening, Alexaus was sent back to the babysitter. Although he was a very good father, changing diapers without the use of one’s hands is difficult to say the least. In the early 80’s, while the rest of the country was in a recession, the oil fields in the Uintah Basin were booming. Scott went to work as Dalbo’s Water Service. As always, he put in long hours and was often gone, sometimes working for 2 days straight.

Scott always loved animals. His mother also loves animals. At this time, Marge had 2 toy Dachshunds. A friend at work had a puppy. Scott really wanted that puppy. Kathy, being raised on a farm, did not have animals in the house. She said “No, absolutely not.” After the husband and wife silent treatment, Scott finally said “I know you don’t want me to have that dog, but I really want it dammit, and I just had to say that.” The puppy was named Cupcake. Alexaus and Scott loved Cupcake. Kathy was somewhat less than thrilled. Cupcake became Scott’s truck dog and copilot during his long hours. One evening, in one of the Uintah Basin’s hard winters, Scott was headed to an oil well in Ballard. Going up a very steep hill covered with ice, he lost traction, slid backwards off the hill and into someone’s back yard. The truck rolled 3 times. The first time Scott radioed for help he got no response. With his next call, everyone knew something was wrong. Several truckers, including Randy Oman, raced to Scott’s location. After extricating himself and Cupcake, wearing greasy insulated coveralls and with blood streaming his face, carrying his toy Dachshund, he knocked on the back glass door of the homeowner. The parents were away, and the little girl, upon seeing the bloody monster with a puppy, ran screaming. Her brother, being a little older, let Scott in and gave him a towel to clean himself. One of the other truckers arrived in his car and took Scott to the hospital. When Kathy arrived at the hospital, the man said it was the most pathetic sight he had ever seen – a bloody brown abominable snowman without his front teeth holding a tiny puppy, waiting for rescue.

Later that year, Scott went to work for Ned Mitchell and was contracted to the gas plant in Altamont that was at that time Utex. Later that year, Utex hired him as a permanent employee. He worked as an operator at the gas plant for one year, and was later transferred to the field stations as maintenance. He made many friends and really enjoyed his work. Scott and Kathy purchased their home at Sand Wash in the fall of ’86. Two weeks after purchasing the house, and while expecting their second child, Utex went bankrupt and was bought by Coastal. Kathy was very worried at this time about their future. But Scott, being the person he was, was never concerned, and Coastal kept him on. Haylee was born April 3, 1986.

Scott was the first person, at the age of 16, to be certified as a SCUBA in the state of Utah. Prior to his marriage, when he lived in Ogden/Starr Valley, he assisted in many Search and Rescue operations, including in rescue diving. He was an excellent swimmer and loved being in the water. In the early 90’s, Scott discovered a dive shop in Vernal. SCUBA diving became Scott’s version of weekend golf. In order to save her marriage, despite her terror of water and lack of swimming ability, Kathy, under duress, completed SCUBA training and was certified. While Kathy was certifying, Scott earned his certification as a Dive Instructor. Because of Scott, many family members, including his daughters, are certified divers. He taught dive classes in Vernal and Roosevelt for many years. The family has enjoyed many dive trips together. They have spent Christmases on dive boats in the Bahamas and the island of Rowatan off Honduras.

Scott had another passion of helping others and studying medicine. He completed training as an EMT and volunteered with the Altamont ambulance crew. Many people received their training from Scott. He went on every run he could even in the middle of the night. He worked to save many lives and ease the pain of many people. He made many close friends and enjoyed being a part of such a caring group.

Scott had always loved teaching and when he had the opportunity to teach Petroleum Technologies at UBATC he took it. He was instrumental in developing the program that is still taught today. Even after leaving the tech he was invited every quarter to teach gas metering.

Subsequent to the Tech he went to Barry Petroleum where he has been for the past four years. He was gas plant supervisor as well as being a mentor to many Barry employees. Scott loved working for Barry. He enjoyed the people, the company and the environment.

On Friday, after working all day, Scott was looking forward to going to Alaska to see his brother. Early the next morning he was having difficulties breathing. He collapsed shortly thereafter and didn’t respond to resuscitative efforts. Scott passed away on June 19, 2010 at age 55.

Scott’s greatest quality was that he judged no one and accepted all. He was always ready to cook a meal for anyone who was there. We all look forward to seeing him once again and seeing what he has created on the other side.