Thursday, October 4, 2012


Alcohol and tobacco were readily available while I was growing up.  My Mother and Father both smoked between one to two packs of cigarettes daily and frequently had a couple of mixed drinks at night between coming home from work and dinner time.  Just about all my Aunts and Uncles had the same habits.  I had a part-time job at a country club as a teenager, where again I was surrounded by adults who smoked and drank, oftentimes over indulging. I worked part-time after school and full time on weekends and throughout the summer.  When I was 16 and old enough to drive, my work assignment was least critical, and I was selected to drive anyone home anyone who was too drunk to drive themselves.  Kenny Henderson was a funny little old man who arrived between 9 and 10 am every Saturday and Sunday to play a round of golf with his buddies.  He would mostly wait until after he had played before he would sit in the bar in the afternoon and drink, but some days he would start right in at 10 am.  When somebody determined that it was not safe for him to drive, they would walk him to my car and send me to his house where I met his wife.  The first time this happened, she was embarrassed, but said thank you.  Every time after that, she was so angry at Kenny that I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.  This education was much more than I ever received observing my parents, aunts and uncles drink, and much more pertinent than what was covered in 7th grade health class.  One year later, my Father passed away from lung cancer.  After many years of on and off trying to quit smoking, my Mother quit on the spot after viewing the x-ray of the tumor, the size of a quarter on my Father's left lung.  These two experiences made me determined to never let any substance rule my life.  Four years later, after transferring to BYU without being a member of the church, I heard about the word of wisdom for the first time.  It was the first of many new principles I'd be learning that made perfect sense. RW