Rich LaRocco

If you need a heating and air service in Utah, please support my friend Mike Spurlin of Spurlin Heating and Air

Scrapbook: My life in bits and pieces
Scrapbooking has never been one of my hobbies. Perhaps it's because dwelling in the past takes time from building future memories, or maybe because looking back unavoidably reminds us all how quickly we become old. My failure to make a scrapbook is largely the result of procrastination, something I've become very good at with years of practice. My friends are getting tired of hearing that someday I intend to write a book about procrastination. If I haven't got around to it by now, will I ever? I hope so because I'm a self-proclaimed expert in the subject.

Deep within my file cabinets lie half a dozen folders that are individually labeled identically, "Scrapbook." I've been stuffing these folders for decades with items such as Father's Day cards, photographs, memorable letters, tickets to events and paper souvenirs from places I've visited. My hope is that instead of jamming new things into one of those folders, I'll just digitize the tangible items that spark memories and put them on this site for all to see.

A recent Reader's Digest article suggested that a person can tackle the biggest task by working in small increments. Weeks and months and years of procrastination have left me with some huge projects that I want to accomplish, and so I've determined to tackle them all — one step at a time. A proverb I learned in Japan said that even the longest journey begins with a single step. So with the same resolve that I've adopted to clean out my garage, update my Quickbooks account and catch up in my correspondence I'm beginning this humble scrapbook.

Someday this digital scrapbook might be organized. For now it will be a repository of images and blurbs that represent moments in the space-time continuum known as my life. I hope you enjoy it and learn the easy way some of the hard lessons I have learned.

As I was filing through a few papers today I came across some notes from last year's high school reunion. Unlike my brother Craig and my good friend Dennis Delquatro, I am quickly losing the connection between faces and names and memories of what they once meant to me. Probably about 150 men and women attended a banquet the evening of the reunion. I was assigned to ask the others sitting at my table for something interesting to say about them.

Alan Cooper said he ended up graduating from a different school, long-time rival Granite, but always had fond memories of his time at Murray High School. Met his wife when he was working part time as a bingo caller.

Wendy Simper Anderson said she was extraordinarily ordinary. She lives in a southern Utah town where she enjoys visits from her three children and 11 grandchildren. She has rescued three Doberman pinschers.

David Anderson said he works with computers and makes airplane parts.

Joy Miller said she met her husband, my long-time friend Theron Miller, in a seedy bar in the middle of the Arizona desert. Neither was in the habit of visiting bars but happened to cross paths because one was a designated driver and the other was there to drop off a friend.

Beverly Stump said she had two children, six grandchildren and a greatgrandchild on the way.

I admitted to the group that, just as another classmate had confessed, I also was an unindicted and unarrested felon. My tale involved a fantasy that my neighborhood buddies and I had nurtured for years. In it an enormous thunderstorm would strike just as the city firemen were preparing to light the annual Fourth of July fireworks display at the county firegrounds near my house. One summer when I was probably 16 years old that prayer was answered as sheets of water, accompanied by lightning bolts and almost instantaneous thunder slammed into the fairgrounds just after the fireworks show had begun. Our hope was that the storm would cause the firemen to flee the site so quickly that they would leave the rain-soaked fireworks for us to pilfer. As an ardent pyrotechnimaniac (don't look that word up in the dictionary because it's not there), I had long fantasized about gathering up an armload of free and powerful fireworks for my personal consumption.

About 2 o'clock in the morning a couple of my friends and I dressed in our darkest shirts and pants and ventured into the fairgrounds. Lo and behold, our dream had been realized: Before us, arranged magnificently, was an assortment of rockets, aerial bombs, flares and other fireworks, the like of which we had seen only in our visions.

Each of us filled out arms with contraband and began to walk out of the fairgrounds. My friends crossed a road, but I absentmindedly watched as a car approached. I was too tired to think straight and stood there like a deer in the headlights as the car approached, finally stopping with its headlights shining on my figure, standing on the outside bend of a curve, my arms full of fireworks. It was about then that I noticed some red and blue lights, still not illuminated, on the car's top. That woke me out of my early morning stupor. Throwing the fireworks in the road, I ran for the closest trail, a footpath through high trees. At one point there was a low, sagging fence, which I cleared easily in the moonlight. I was hoping the police officer chasing me was unaware of the fence. Behind me were heavy footfalls and suddenly a thud and a groan. Into the darkness I fled, never again hoping for that thunderstorm of a lifetime.

My goal is to add a little something to this scrapbook every week.