Shouting of the Spirit

Every person’s life is worthy of a book. I hope you are writing yours, or saving and collecting the material to one day write it.

I am in the midst of mine.

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled, Live Long*,  Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

I believe in the whispering of the Spirit to guide us. I also believe in the shouting of the Spirit for those who don’t listen to whisperings.

That would be me about age twenty three, returned from my mission, and pursuing an education, and my greatest mission, to become a husband and father. This was not an easy project. Looking for a desirable companion at Brigham Young University was like fishing at a hatchery, swarms of marvelous potential catches. Lest that sound chauvinistic, the catcher wasn’t always the man and the catchee the woman. I saw many of my male friends take the bait and jump happily in the matrimonial net.  Nevertheless, for me BYU was a bachelor’s embarrassment of riches.

According to legend, the indomitable Winston Churchill, former prime minister of England was at a pub with an old friend. The friend looked around them and said, “Winston, by my calculations if we totaled the bourbon you have consumed in your lifetime, it would fill this pub two thirds of the way to the ceiling.”

“Churchill sighed and answered, “So much to do. So little time.”

Churchill and I shared the same challenge except that I was inebriated by the desirability and goodness of my coed fellow students instead of alcohol. Within the limits of my available time and financial resources, I was pursuing the task, but it seemed wonderfully impossible.

Then one day I knocked on the door of a women’s residence hall looking for my sister Diane.

Diane answered the door, but she was another Diane; blond hair, fetching smile, dark eyes, with a hint of the Gibson Girls, the standard of beauty in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. In the words of Shakespeare, “Her voice was ever soft, gentle and low, an excellent thing in women.” (King Lear Act 5 scene 3)

She said, “Hello, can I help you.”

I said something. I don’t know what it was because the voice of the Spirit was thundering in no uncertain terms, “This is your future wife.” He may have also said, “Don’t blow it.” Or maybe that was the voice inside my own head speaking.

I said, “Is Diane here?”

She said, “I’m Diane.”

I thought, “Great she thinks I’m an insurance peddler working out of the student phone book.”

We settled the Diane confusion and chuckled about it. In our short conversation, I looked for clues that the divine messenger had brought her the same announcement. That would have shortened and simplified a lot of things.

He hadn’t, and it didn’t. It would take a year and a half of serious wooing to complete what he could have done in ten seconds. But I suppose if you are keeping time with an eternal clock and calendar as they do up there, a couple of years is less than an eye blink. He had delivered his message, now it was apparently up to me to work out the details.

Actually I wasn’t starting at square one. It was square one minus one. Diane and I had been on a date before, only I was with someone else, and she was with my friend Ross. I didn’t remember the occasion. That must have impressed her. Nevertheless, she accepted my invitation to go for a walk, and to take in a movie the following Friday. If I had any qualms about the Spirit’s message, Friday blew them away. Unfortunately for me her next two weekends were booked. That was a long fortnight for me.

In tough competition it’s good strategy to separate yourself from the pack, and bend the game toward your strengths. I showed her the newspaper whenever I got a byline on a front page story of The Deseret News, the Salt Lake City newspaper where I was working as an intern. To a journalist a byline is a big deal if you’re a cub reporter on a big newspaper it’s a really big deal. But for the average reader it’s just a few letters in small type for a day; half a step above having your name in the obituaries.

The Three D’s would one day make a modest contribution to the entertainment world. But at this time we were just students singing for fun, a few bucks, and an occasional free meal. Often when Diane accepted my invitation that was our version of a “dinner and a show” date. But we had fun.

Another challenge was that she was serious with an exemplary young man from a fine family who had a bright future in business waiting for him when he returned from his mission.

I had been fortunate enough to win a few prizes and trophies in my life, but nothing remotely as important as this. But even my saintly mother had her misgivings about my chances.

“Troubles, Duane?”

“Hi Mom, no just life.”



“You know you’ve had a lot of good things come your way. Maybe this time…”

“Mom that doesn’t sound like you after you spent twenty-four years convincing me I could do anything I set my mind to.”

“It’s not just your mind this time. It’s hers too. If you do get hurt, just try to get through it and grow from it. Sometimes we have to learn how to come in second.”

“In this contest Mom, there is no second place.”

In games of sports, life, and love it’s best to play to your strengths, but it can also help to work on the other persons vulnerabilities, such as her sympathy.

“Hi, Diane? Duane here. Do you have a minute? Thanks. I need your help. It’s my week to cook in the apartment and I’m making this kind of chicken stew thing for the guys. It looks pretty ghastly, and I thought if I threw some dumplings on top of it that would help cover it up in case the board of health raids the place. How do I make dumplings? Ok, yeah, mmhmm. Hey thanks. I really appreciate it. You know so many things. I mean not just things, but wise things. You’re so mature and understanding and fun and witty, and pretty. I don’t know what I’d do without your help.”

And sometimes you just hang in there and give it your best shot over and over again.



“Fancy meeting you right here on this corner of the quad.”

“And fancy meeting you here.”

“And fancy meeting you here every day this whole semester.”

“Fancy meeting you here red faced and breathless from running up the field house stairs to get here before I pass on my way to class.”

“Fancy you coming all the way from the other side of campus and then going back again just to pass this corner.”

“Fancy us.”

“Yeah, fancy us.”

George Bernard Shaw successful playwright and political activist once said,”To win a debate, don’t argue, just restate your premise.”

“Diane, a future in the entertainment business isn’t exactly your high percentage shot. I don’t know if we’ll be rich or poor, live in a mansion or a cottage. But I do know this. I can make you happy and I will make you happy. I love you.”

“Give me some time to think.”

“Of course. Take what ever time you need. I love you.”

“Let’s see about it next summer when you get out of school.”

“Sounds good to me. I love you.”

“I’d like to be a June bride.”

“You would be a beautiful June bride. I love you.”

“April is a pretty month.”

“A beautiful month; spring, things coming alive; April is a great time to launch important and eternal things. I love you.”

“Shouldn’t we wait until the Christmas semester break?”

“Excellent planning; good thinking, a winter wonderland wedding; I love you.”

We pooled our resources, and came up with $30 for a marriage license. Diane insisted she didn’t like diamonds, so we got a gold band. I was uncomfortable with that, but she convinced me.

And thus on December fifteenth in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Diane and I gave ourselves to each other for Christmas. The night before the big day she was a little nervous, but I was “calm as a summer’s morn.” That’s why on the way out I enthusiastically closed her heavy oak front door and forgot to pull my hand out first; almost ended my guitar picking career.

It was the perfect day for us to get married as would have been any other of the 364 days that year or any year. December 15 dawned bright and cold. We rode to the temple with my parents because we weren’t sure my ancient Plymouth had 110 miles left in it. The Salt Lake Temple didn’t rent my size (14) white shoes. I squeezed into a pair of 13’s. We said the right words at the right time, and came out of the temple as man and wife forever.

Our wedding night was spent in beautiful midtown Springville Utah in our basement apartment for which we had scraped up a month’s rent. It was festively decorated in daubed honey, short sheets, whoopee cushions and rubber spiders from my younger siblings and others who had somehow broken the code and found the place. After we had cleaned up the rubble a little we stumbled exhausted into bed, blissfully happy and eternally married.

“Did I mention I love you?”

We honeymooned in our basement apartment. We told each other truthfully we could do scenery some other time. We just wanted to see each other forever. That was life in living color. Anything else was pastel pabulum.

Oh yes, the wedding; Diane wanted a quiet wedding reception at home. This also fit her widowed mother’s situation. But our families were determined that we should have a memorable wedding.

They succeeded.

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Your next installment is: Memorable wedding