Muddy Memories

GT1Seeing the Golden Toaster reduced to rubble this month broke my heart a bit.

It was historic.

It was iconic.

It was funky in a conventional community that is rather low on funk, so I’m sad to see it go. I have a couple slices of Toaster history that pop up in my mind when I drive past it, offering that intoxicating tingle of nostalgia.

The corner of 650 North and 1200 East is the scene of my all-time favorite home movie. As kids, my siblings and I sprawled across the family room floor beneath the movie projector as Dad played the reel we begged for . . .

It was a lovely Cache Valley summer day when my newlywed parents returned to their alma mater college campus as chaperones for a youth conference. As they were guiding kids around campus, they came across a mob of students crowded around some sort of attraction. Upon closer observation, they saw a huge mud hole filled with people rolling and splashing around like giddy piglets.

The foundation for a new church building had been dug out, but recent rains had delayed construction and created a massive temptation that no rope boundary or “No Trespassing” sign could restrain. Never one to miss out on adventure, Dad handed his movie camera to a kid and seized the opportunity to waller in the squaller.

We giggled with delight watching the retro footage of our mud-immersed young father doing belly slides and mock backstrokes in the muck. Then the camera lense turns from my father’s goofy antics to a sweet admirer standing on the far outskirts of the action. Mom is a vision of 60s summer loveliness with her perfectly teased bouffant, light blouse, pedal pushers and strappy sandals.

Oh yeah. You know what’s coming.

The reckless mud monster barrels toward Mom, scoops her up in his arms and, without a thought of the marital consequences, tosses her in the mire. Mom tried to be a sport as Dad splashes mud into her face and hair, but even in black and white we could see the blood in her eyes.

The best part off all was when Dad would run the movie reel backwards showing the mud splashes disperse off of Mom like magic as she leaps back out of hole and into Dad’s arms where he walks backwards and sets her gently on the sidelines all clean and prim.

Then he’d run the reel forward again.
Then backwards.
Then forwards.
Then backwards.

We kids laughed until we choked on the popcorn we were snarfing as Mom pitifully begged from the nearby couch, “Stop it, Larry! Just stop it! I can still taste the grit between my teeth I had for weeks afterward!”

Now the church site of that classic memory is toast (pun intended). I called my parents to tell them the sad news. Mom responded to my lament, “That is a shame, but the mud hole incident wasn’t from the Golden Toaster foundation. It was some other administration building down the street from there.”

Whoops.

I guess a few of the facts got jumbled in my memory. But hey, they can tear down buildings, but not memories and I’m keeping mine just the way it is!

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