This is a story about moving, service, friendship and how what goes around comes around.
In August of the year 1970, our little family of four children — ages 8, 6, 4 and baby Tom who was 7 months old — made the adventurous move to Greenwich, Connecticut, from Salt Lake City. Eight years later, we were lucky enough to get one more child, our Jim, who was born in 1978 when our eldest son Steve was 17.
Flash forward many years later to 2014 when Jim, his wife Shamberlin, their family of four children — 8, 5 and 3-year-old boys and 2-month-old Emeline — made a similar move from Farmington Hills, Michigan, to Gilbert, Arizona.
It was a bit of déjà vu but in reverse.
The really big difference is that our company paid for our entire move, including shipping a car, while Jim, trying to save money out of his pocket, hired an ABF truck that needed to be self-loaded and self-unloaded.
In other words, we his parents were enlisted to help, and they had to humble themselves and accept the kindness of friends and potential friends.
For my part, I was the one who flew to Michigan to hold our new granddaughter, try to keep the three boys busy and help pack. I spent one whole day packing up the kitchen and not much was broken because I learned from the master.
When we moved from Greenwich back to Utah in 2005, we used a moving company but did most of our own packing. We planned to have the movers take care of our good dishes and breakables, but our good friend Norm Merritt said not to trust them. He had worked for a moving company back in the day and claimed he knew better than anyone how to be sure not one piece was broken.
He and his wife, Armenay, showed up on a holiday when everyone in town but us was having a fine time. They stayed all day while Norm packed all our treasures and Armenay helped me pack other things. Not one item Norm packed was broken, and we will never forget their kindness and friendship.
Jim and his wife, Shamberlin, were recipients of friendship as well. It came from Jim’s medical school study buddy Chris Evensen, whom they followed from Nevada to Farmington Hills for their residencies.
Chris and his wife, Lindsay, are moving to Virginia later in the summer, so Chris showed up in his green scrubs (he is an orthopedic surgeon) to mow Jim’s lawn. We ate dinner at their home on Sunday, and Lindsay took the boys for the last two days while we packed.
After Shamberlin and I left with the kids to stay in Provo on the way to Gilbert, other good friends and the local missionaries showed up to load the truck, scrub walls and finish up.
Jim’s college friend from Brigham Young University, Jason Mandelaris, flew from Utah to Michigan, then each drove a car to Utah.
Now it was Grit’s turn to help our son. He and Jim drove from Utah to Arizona in one of their cars. The truck unloading was lessened when 15 people from their new Gilbert ward showed up and five sons of friends — 20 people helped unload. It took 90 minutes for every box and bike and thingamajig to be put inside the air-conditioned house. That left time for Grit and Jim to put up beds and ready the house for the family before flying back to Provo for Fourth of July fun.
Author Zig Ziglar claims, “In the game of life, before you get anything out, you must put something in!”
Many hands make light work. That can be said for much of our lives: taking a pie to a new neighbor, listening to a friend unburden or mow their lawn and best of all, seeing potential friends and neighbors show up to unload a truck on a hot day in Arizona.
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