We moved into our home in the Grandview area on February 15, 1957. Dick and Myrth were some of the first people we met. They were long time residents of the area. They were fruit farmers and lived on their farm located on Columbia Lane in Orem, Utah.
Shortly after we moved into our home, I was called to be a chorister in the L. D. S. Seventeenth Ward Primary in West Sharon Stake. Coinciding with my Primary calling, Myrth was given the call as President of our Seventeenth Ward Primary.
When I first met Myrth, I was in a class room ready for our Prayer Meeting preceding the start of Primary. Myrth walked into the room with little Barbara in her arms. I let out a gasp and realized from knowledge beyond my earthly being that Myrth and I had been dear friends in heaven. We had known each other before this life and we had learned to love one another before we came to earth. So, here on earth, we just picked up our former friendship and moved forward.
Our street on 1350 West, Provo, Utah ended at the south boundary of the Burr farm. Everyone along our street enjoyed the seasonal difference of the orchard. It was a wonderful and beautiful sight to see the changes that came to the fruit trees as one season changed to another.
The Burrs were good fruit farmers and raised premium crops of apples, peaches, pears, and other fruits. Dick was an educated and experienced farmer. He graduated from the Utah State Agriculture college in Logan, Utah with a Bachelors degree in agriculture. Dick added this book learning to the practical experience of growing up on his father’s fruit farm in Orem, Utah. Put together these educational areas gave Dick skills and abilities seldom seen in fruit farmers.
I am sure no one equaled his skill in raising Bartlett pears. The flavor was superb and soul satisfying. He took great care in raising his fruit. On a particular fall day he said to his wife, “Myrth I told you I was going to pick pears tomorrow. But, I tasted a pear I picked this morning and the sugar level is not high enough. We will wait three more days before we start to pick the pears. By then the sugar content will be up more and they will be good pears.” And, so he did wait and hence, so the pears did have a marvelous flavor. These pears were unparallel by any other pears I have ever tasted.
Dick and Myrth were a great team on their farm. In their agricultural endeavor, Dick would oversee the care of the trees and orchard, irrigation, and farm worker management as well as numerous other obligations.
Myrth, on the other hand, was to see to the house, meals, payrolls of the workers, management of the packing shed, and the health of the Indians. She also took on the charge for the public education of the Indian children. She was adamant that the children attend school and the young people were expected to do their best during their time in school. Any child who was earing in their education duties would answer to Mrs. Burr. And she was a formidable foe to be reckoned with. She covered all of these areas and various other sundry duties.
Over the years, the Burrs have had many Indian workers who helped with the picking, sorting, packing, and shipping of the fruit. Most of the farm workers were seasonal and started work with the picking of sweet cherries, Bing and Lambert in July, and these seasonal people worked on through the end of the harvest season in the fall.
However, a few of the Indians were permanent, year-round workers. These permanent workers were capable and efficient, knowledgeable and well trained. Some of the permanent workers were tutored and taught by Dick from the time the Indian boys were young men.
Dick was a patient, but demanding, and he was an exacting teacher. Work was to be done right the first encounter. Naucho, was one of those workers that Dick had tutored and trained from a young teenage boy, and Naucho was very adapting in the various and many areas of work. At times he was, almost too, adapt. Let me give you an example.
One late summer day, Stacy Johnson came to the packing shed to buy peaches. Mrs. Burr was gone away from the farm on an errand and that left Naucho and Dick to conduct business. Stacy stated his need for peaches to both of them as they stood there together. Naucho stepped forward and in an authoritative manner said, “Well, we have several varieties. The baskets along this row are Lemon Alberta peaches. They are $8.00 a bushel and they are very good for canning. These over along this other side are Hale peaches and they have red flesh around the center by the pit. Hale’s having a lovely taste and are more firm when they are ripe. They are also very fine for canning and they cost . . .
“Naucho! ,” Mr. Burr said as he finally moved closer and interrupted the conversation “Now Naucho,” Dick said, “when Mrs. Burr is gone, I am the boss. I will help Stacy.”
Stacy told Dad and me of the incident and he laughed and laughed. It really tickled him and he has enjoyed the memory through the passing of many years.
As the years have come and gone, many, many, Indian families have lived in housing provided by the Burrs right there on the farm. The families were all intact and complete. And, since they were complete families, there were children on the farm. Sometimes, there were quite a few young people. The various children found a built-in play ground in the open yard between the cold storage building on the south side of the opening and Dick’s shop and the cold storage building on the north.
This big empty space had a hard tramped down, flat, dirt-surface. It was an ideal place in which children could play ball, ride tricycles, or bicycles, romp, play tag, and in general have an active happy time. The children only had to be careful of the large tractors and wagons that occasionally pulled in with heaping full bins of fruits that were loaded on the wagons. The tractors pulled up to the packing shed for unloading and then the wagons and tractors would exit back out to the field.
Mr. Burr knew the names of most of the children and the families to which each belonged. However, Juan Garza had a little child with her when she came to pick fruit this particular spring and summer. The youngster appeared to be about two years old. At any rate, the little child was old enough to be skilled at riding his tricycle around and about in the yard among the other children. The children talked, laughed, and had fun at their play. Dick liked to watch the children go about their fun as he went about his work in his shop. And, this was easy to do since the doors of the shop opened out giving a good view of the yard and he could observe the children in their activities.
One thing, however, puzzled Dick. What was the gender of Juan Graza’s young child? He asked Myrth, “Is that little child, of Juan Garza’s, a girl or a boy? I can’t tell. Its hair is longer, so it could be either. I just wonder?”
Myrth replied, “Why, I don’t know Dick. I have never heard the other children call it a him or a her. I certainly do not know either?”
Dick kept wondering as the summer wore on. And, one morning the children were again congregated in the yard and the child in question was riding his trike among them. Dick spoke to one of the older boys, who was playing with the children. “Pedro,’ he said, “ is that little person right there, on the trike, a boy or a girl?”
“I don’t know,” the youngster replied as he hunched his shoulders up and then down. The older boy then walked over to the little child and lifted the smaller one off his trike. And with one deft, swift, hand movement the young man reached over and pulled the front of the little persons’ boxer shorts down, almost to its knees.
After a complete unobstructed view, the young fellow turned to Dick and said. “Mr. Burr it’s a boy!” The young man then pulled the shorts back up just as matter-of-factly as they had been pulled down. The problem was solved and they all went back to their previous activities. The question was answered and it was known from that time on that Juan Graza’s child was indeed a boy! In fact, his name was Reinaldo Garza.
This incident startled modest Dick, but it also tickled him and he just laughed and chuckled when he shared the experience with us.
The Burr’s are such dear friends and mean a great deal to Bob and me!
We have enjoyed the delicious fruit they have raised and we have spent lovely enjoyable visits to their cabin in the American Fork Canyon.
They have enriched our lives, valued our family, and oh my, we are glad we met them! And, we have extended out friendship, which started in heaven.
This story was given December 27, 2003 at an open house in Myrth’s new home.