I thought I would share two stories from other people about President Monson and invite others to share their stories.
Here is the first:
His life was filled with acts of service, and goodness.
He was a childhood friend of my father in law, Charlie Renshaw, and the following story is recorded in his book, ‘To the Rescue’. He also shared it from the pulpit in General Conference, and at at least one Area Conference that I attended, where he invited Charlie come out of the audience and stand at his side.
My father in law came from a home where his mother struggled to put food on the table for her children every day.
This is the story:
“What Does Turkey Taste Like?”
The following story is from ‘To The Rescue’: The Biography of President Thomas S. Monson written by Heidi S. Swinton.
“The family always gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. Gladys put the turkey in the “big oven” over at Annie’s, and the sisters took turns checking its progress. Spence had charge of setting the table after he got home from four hours at the print shop and before he and the boys went to the annual University of Utah versus Utah State football game, which started at noon. Rusty, Spence, Rich, Jack, Tom, and Bob scrambled to get there for the kickoff. The Monsons were Ute fans, and in 1940 they cheered Marge’s new boyfriend, Conway Dearden, on the football team and then watched as she marched on the field with the “Spurs” club at halftime.
One year, the home was buzzing with Thanksgiving preparations when Charlie Renshaw, a friend from over the back fence, stood outside, as was the custom of these young friends, and hollered, “Tom-my!”
When Tommy answered the summons, Charlie said, “It sure smells good in there. What are you eating?”
Tommy told him it was turkey, and Charlie asked what turkey tasted like.
Tom responded, “Oh, about like chicken,” to which Charlie asked, “What does chicken taste like?”
Tom ran into the kitchen, snatched a piece of breast meat, and handed it to his friend. “That’s good!” the boy said.
When Tom asked what Charlie’s family was having for dinner, the answer was, “I dunno. There’s nothing in the house.”
Tom pondered. He knew his mother always found something to feed those who came to the door. He had no extra turkeys, chickens, or money. But he did have two pet rabbits, a male and female, the pride of his life, beautiful New Zealand whites. He motioned to his friend and headed for the specially constructed rabbit hutch built by one of his uncles. He reached in and grabbed his two pet rabbits, put them in a gunnysack, and handed the bag to Charlie.
“Rabbit meat tastes better than chicken,” Tom said. “Their hide makes really good knuckle pads when you are playing marbles. You know, you can sell the hides for a quarter each over at the hide company. These two rabbits will give your family a good dinner.”
Charlie was on the fence—the boys used the fences like sidewalks in his neighborhood—and heading for his yard before Tom could close the door to his empty rabbit hutch. He realized he had given all he had. He had met someone else’s need and did not regret it. The pattern was in place: “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat. . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
His life has continued to be a tangible expression of the Lord’s words.”
He gave his 2 pet rabbits to a neighborhood friend who’s family was not going to have a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Love and blessings to the Monson family as they celebrate a life well lived and full of service and good deeds.
And here is the second.
President Monson, when he was still Elder Monson, used to eat at the Amber in Salt Lake, which was where my Grandpa Cimmers was a regular. Sometimes he waved at Grandpa, or other people he recognized from the local old folks’ homes he visited all the time.
But my favorite memory of Thomas S. Monson is a borrowed one, from Elder Holland’s beautiful talk “Are We Not All Beggars”:
In that regard, I pay a personal tribute to President Thomas Spencer Monson. I have been blessed by an association with this man for 47 years now, and the image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then–economically devastated East Germany in his house slippers because he had given away not only his second suit and his extra shirts but the very shoes from off his feet. “How beautiful upon the mountains [and shuffling through an airline terminal] are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.” More than any man I know, President Monson has “done all he could” for the widow and the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.
What memories do you have?
If you could, share them with us.