We Need YOUR Help!
By Clive Perry Ririe
(From NETWORK, the family newsletter,
volume 2, December 11, 1996)
This Christmas might have been
the most significant one of the Ririe family life, but we just lived
it. Some of us couldn’t have appreciated the uniqueness of
our circumstances. Elaine hadn’t yet arrived but would make
her appearance in four days, two days after mother turned 45. Jimmie
5, Wayne 11, and Carma 13, were all aware that David was a prisoner
of war in Germany and Max was a soldier stationed in the Hawaiian
Islands but I doubt they could have realized that both were in some
danger. Our neighbors, Alf and Vivian Bush had probably received
the dreaded message that Dean had been severely wounded in the infamous
Battle of the Bulge. David’s’ situation was immediately
serious but Max and another ten or eleven million faced the potential
of deadly danger as participants in the invasion of the Japanese
mainland; a prospect universally accepted, even thought unavoidable.
It may be that none of us had actually faced up to the gravity of
the situation. Certainly at age 17 and a college student itching
to get in to the military, I didn’t have anything close to
a clear view.
While we were shielded by the optimism
of youth, surely mother and dad must have realized how bad things
were and I am amazed that Dad simply continued farming, participating
in state politics and church work. He, like everyone, kept up with
the progress of the war through radio and newspaper but didn’t
let world conditions deter him from his immediate responsibilities.
I think theirs might have been the real heroism. Mother, a few months
earlier had performed what now appears to me a minor miracle when
she accompanied the visiting general authority, Elder Spencer W.
Kimball, as he sang, “Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?” Many
years later, Aunt Velda reminded me of that performance and wondered
how Verna, whose son’s situation was so much a matter of anxiety
and doubt, could have been so brave when all she could do was weep.
I don’t specifically remember
that Christmas but I suppose we all went to Aunt Velda’s house
where dinner was a couple of hours late but was worth the wait. Uncle
Hy started by piling his plate full of mashed potatoes, forming a
reservoir in the center of the pile, filling it with gravy and then
consuming all of it as a prelude to the fowl, etc. that formed the
rest of the feast. He could eat more than any one I ever knew but
he worked so hard that he never got fat. We all ate and were filled
and hardly thought of anything negative. At least that was the way
it was for me but Gail had a couple or three boy friends in the war
and I seriously doubt that much time passed in mother’s life
when she wasn’t thinking and praying for her prisoner son.
When Dave was first reported missing
had been the time of our greatest anxiety and in those days mother
looked into all the places where she stored important papers and
finally found a Patriarchal blessing, the words of which told the
end of our greatest family ordeal. True to those prophetic words,
David did return rejoicing and has since along with his noble family,
been the source of inestimable righteous family pride.
Return to Clive
Return to Family History Main Page