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Gift for Gary

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FC: A Fun | FAMILY | HISTORY | Remember When?

1: GARY | We love you! | RITA

2: The Family Christmas of 1977 was special as we all once again assembled at the folks house, this time in Visalia. That Christmas we received a most unusual present from Gary and Rita. My husband, Gerald, thought it was all a great joke until Gary DID bring in from the folk’s garage, our very first Wilbur, complete with a ribbon around its neck! Yes, a Yorkshire Piglet the runt of the litter I was told, but I was in love. Gerald, not so much! Gerald truly thought we were going to leave Wilbur at the folks house and Gary and Rita would take him back to the farm. Not in their cards. Gary said, “a gift is a gift!” Well, we took little Wilbur home to the LA area, Tujunga to be exact, to live on our 1/3 acre piece of land and we raised him there. At first, we had no place to put the darling-squealing-little-pink-oinker! Gerald had to finagle some sort of pen in the basement of the old house until we could get a proper pen set up in the back yard at which time Wilbur could join our chickens, dwarf rabbit, and other animals. Until the pen was built, we would take Wilbur out on daily walks, Yes, seriously!; our German Shepherd, Toby wanted to eat him at first, and Moses, our Manx cat wasn’t quite too sure WHAT to expect. Of course, Gerald also had to take care of Wilbur’s needle-teeth very soon; he told me that was my job, since Wilbur was mine. He relented and we even have a commemorative picture! Little Wilbur was only the beginning of 3 pigs we raised in the LA area; no complaints ever from the neighbors! For the subsequent ones Gary shared with us some of the different types of pigs, Hampshire, Hamp-Duroc cross, etc. and we tried one of each.

3: I will never forget when we butchered our first Wilbur, and I discovered how very different not only in color but how simply delicious real ham and bacon tasted! We were never going back to store-bought pork chops, hams ever again. When we moved to the Tehachapi area, we continued to raise Wilburs and each and every time had wonderful moments and thoughts of that very first Christmas when Gary “surprised” me no end with a most unusual, thoughtful, edible, first-of-many Wilburs. -Nancy | I remember our trip down for Christmas vacation to get away from the rain on the Oregon Coast. We decided we would all go out and take a bike ride together down in Phoenix. Wow, even though Phoenix is flat and is a relatively new town, they certainly did not make it biker-friendly. We had a group of 7 or 8 of us who risked their lives out on the road. We wound up at a restaurant in a mall and fortified ourselves to get back to Gary’s house. We put the ones with flashing lights on the back of the bike group and the most daring – like Gary up near the front. A little excitement never stopped him! -Lois

4: For Christmas in 1981, Joe and I hosted the very first Christmas that was not at Mom and Dad's home. We had it at our house in San Fransisco. At the time the only children belonged to Bob & Helene and Rita & Gary. Since they were only born in March of that year, the twins were not even walking yet and we both remember how protective and proud Rita and Gary both were of those tiny, twin boys! -Mary & Joe

5: Brother-in Law Bonding. Cruising the Victoria's Secret in San Fransisco. -Chris

6: Remember When... | When our parents got married, Rita and Gary took us! during their honeymoon. We went on a road trip to their house AZ. We saw a scorpion for the first time-so scary! It was such a great week! -Erin & Richard | Thank you, Gary and Rita for over and over giving us a place to gather as an extended family, making it fun and memorable, and reminding us that is truly important in life: FAMILY! -Patty | Gary was such a help at Casey's wedding. He instantly jumped into help. Chauffeur, shopper, valet, camera man like no other! He responded that is what uncles are for – but I don't know of ANY uncle who would have done half of this. Nothing was too much to ask and he was always one step ahead of the group. -Lois | How you shared with Mandy that you wished she would have stuck it out with her piano lessons, and she and Brian could play duets! -Nancy

7: Gary can fall asleep anywhere, even in the midst of loud laugher and talk! Of course, this is probably because he works so hard. -Jean | I remember when I toured Gary's pig farm and learned many intriguing facts about pigs; how strong they are, how clean they are, why they need to keep cool, so they roll in the mud, but a spray of water will do them just fine, how you can heat a barn using the waste of the animals, and how interesting it is to watch pigs learn eve more about them. -Jean | The "events" Gary and Rita instituted in Weed: the horse shoe throwing, the fishing contest (where Steve proudly won a tackle box he still uses), and the dessert contest (which I unfairly did NOT win)! -Patty | The surprise 50th birthday party Gary threw for Rita in Mt. Shasta. -Patty | At every family event, Gary would make a big effort to be there, whenever he could. He ways always in the thick of it too, telling stories and listening. -Mary & Joe | For Rita and Gary's wedding, the band playing the Sultan of Swing. Gary was gliding around the dance floor. I remember thinking: dang, that guy's like velvet. I wish I could do that! -Chris | In 1994, a very warm (hot) visit to your place in Phoenix for Rita’s birthday and my tennis shoe getting stuck in the hot asphalt of the mall and you pulling it out! -Nancy

8: Good times at the Modesto House | 1

9: Yum, Christmases with massive dessert bar selections in Modesto in the 80s. -Patty

10: Weddings Galore! | Gary, Photo Guru and Process Extraordinaire, created *the* most impressive industrial wedding photo sharing program in a matter of minutes: identifying photos sources, recruiting volunteers, compiling pictures, and the copying and disbursing discs with to guests. It was like an assembly line sprang up in the lodge! Some of the best photos are from the family members, so without Gary, I would have missed some great shots! -Catherine | Rita and Gary's wedding was memorable. It was a cold February day outside with many warm hugs and lots of laughter inside. I remember meeting all of Gary's extended family that day and just how well both families immediately blended. It seems that every Dixon wedding from ten on Gary and Rita were there, eventually with all three boys along. -Mary

11: We were at cousin Kelsey's wedding reception, hanging out near the snacks and happy to see one another. Uncle Gary remarked something to the effect of "Are you next?" I told him I couldn't be sure, it was only the day before my 22nd birthday and looking at Kelsey in her youth at 19 dancing with her new husband, I felt like an old maid! I did tell Uncle Gary that I had a boyfriend named Kyle, whom I cared for very deeply, yes, but I suppose it was too early to tell how we'd end up -- We'd only been dating for 8 months! Uncle Gary, being the playful man he is, made some aside comment about how maybe Kyle was "the one" and maybe he'd see me on that dance floor next. And while I had hopes that he was right, I really didn't want to let that out. Nonetheless, we talked about my relationship and marriage and the beauty of love and it was so sweet to know that he fell head over heels for my Aunt Rita, and of course since at one point I was a spitting image of her, and I have the love and grace of a Dixon in my lines, I thought I could find a good-hearted, strong and faithful man like Uncle Gary. I was encouraged. Well, Erin beat me to the altar, but I was so thrilled to get tell Aunt Rita (and by proxy, Uncle Gary), when Kyle proposed. I knew he would be a wonderful fit to our family, and I smiled on our wedding day, when looking over at Uncle Gary, to think he had suggested a year and a half earlier, that I was on the dance floor with the same man of whom Uncle Gary and I had spoken. Good call, Uncle Gary. Good call. :) -Aimee

12: We remember Gary cooking an entire pig for dinner at those summer parties when Rita and Gary lived in the central valley of California. -Mary & Joe

13: Rita leading the way: A walk through the field to cool down at the creek!

14: The Fresno Fillies | TURNED | Better than the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew combined! | Back in the late '70's Theresa, Lucy, and Patty were living in an apartment together in Fresno, CA while attending the local university. Rita and Gary came up with the nickname for us - The Fresno Fillies - which stuck. We think Rita and Gary thought we lived a pretty wild college life - but the truth be told - we were perfect angels and the wild Fresno Fillies worked full time, went to school, and did homework. Very little dating was done. Hehe. Well, as you know Gary was a pig farmer and he had a great huge dog - a Doberman - named Jake - who looked very scary to most. He was huge, did not wag a tail, and mostly was Gary's sidekick. Theresa was a dog lover though and had made friends with Jake on the many visits of the Fresno Fillies up to the pig farm in Hickman, CA. And that was a good thing because here is what happened. Well, one hot day Gary was driving a load of his pigs back up to Hickman from who knows where and he stopped for a break in Fresno, right off the 99 highway. Jake, Gary's Doberman, got out of the vehicle and wandered off without Gary noticing. For those of you who don't know, pigs don't have sweat glands - or that is the story Gary gave us anyways. o the day starts to heat up and the pigs are in the trailer, and no Jake to be found. Gary looks and looks, he hollers for Jake - but Jake did not turn up. Gary spends precious time looking for Jake and he could not find him. So, Gary had to make a decision - does he stay and try to scour the area even further for Jake or does he head up to Hickman so all this trailer full of pigs [and a huge investment in pig dough] don't die from the heat?

15: A DOGGY "TAIL" | The Fresno Fillies received a phone call from Rita and Gary asking if we had time to go out to the area where Gary had been and try to find Jake. Theresa said she would do what she could to find the Doberman. And by the way, Theresa had just bought her first brand new car - a white Toyota with tan seats. So the first thing Theresa did was call the businesses in the area to see if anyone had seen a big Doberman wandering around. And indeed, the local Carl's Junior said there was a big black Doberman at their doorway who would not let anyone in so they just kept feeding him burgers to keep him happy. Theresa hopped in her Toyota that had the wonderful brand new car smell and heads out to the Carl's Jr. She got out of the car and saw Jake and called to him. He was so glad to see her that he bounded over to her and slobbered his greeting. Since he had no tail his whole body was wagging he was almost walking sideways. Theresa thanked the crew at Carl's for not calling the pound and then she thought oh my - I did not even bring a bath towel or anything for Jake to lay down on in her brand new car. Oh well, she told him, let's go for a ride and in he jumped in to that brand new car. And they headed north on 99, Jake drooling in the heat, slobber drenching Theresa's shoulder, and dog spit hitting the brand new tan cloth seats in her Toyota. And oh, the smell. Yeah those burgers were going right through that dog. Thank goodness Hickman was not too far from Fresno. And that is the story of Gary, a trailer full of hot pigs, man's best friend, and the new car. All true - or as much as I can remember anyways. -Theresa

16: THE | The Bedoy's hosted Thanksgiving one year and the outlaws concocted a plan to go to Lake Tahoe after dinner, play for a few hours, then drive back in Gary's dad's custom van. As the outlaws concocted the plan the Dixon sisters were wondering what all the whispering and conspiring was about. Here is a list of the outlaws for this adventure: Raul, Gary, Curt, Preston Otis, and Pat. After doing the dishes the outlaws got up enough courage to broach the subject of a run to Tahoe. Little did the outlaws know but the Dixon sisters and one brother [James] were none the worse for wear without their company and bid them a grand adventure. So the outlaws, full of turkey and fixing dinner, poured themselves in to the van and headed up the mountain hoping that tryptofan from the turkey would not make at least two of them too sleepy to keep their eyes open for the drive. The outlaws gambled for a few hours, bonded, and then Raul drove home since Gary was wiped out tired and did not want to drive back to El Dorado Hills. It wasn't important about who won and who lost, it was about the grand adventure up the mountain. Rumors have it that Curt doubled his money even though he wasn't a gambler. The outlaws got back to El Dorado Hills about 2 or 3 in the morning. The noise of the Dixon sisters the next morning did not disturb them at all. What a great time and a great memory of the Outlaws: the first of many adventures to come! -Raul | Outlaws

17: TROUBLE | On June 2, 1978, after a festive rehearsal dinner with Lois, Rita, and all the Dixon girls, Gary escorted this lucky groom down to Riverside for the night before the wedding. As tradition says, it is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding day. For Gary and I, luck was one thing we needed that night. I was spirited and giddy as we got on the interstate. We headed West on I-10, hit the 15 Interchange, and headed south towards Riverside. You have to pass right by the CHP office on the way. At midnight (or later), we are pulled over by CHP. Dang!. As the lights flash, we realized bad luck may come, whether I see the bride or not! The officer asked me what we are doing. Pointing to the suits hanging in the back of the car, I explained the situation. After telling the officer I had "a couple of glasses of wine, with my priest," I was asked to step out of the car. Cue the roadside sobriety tests. Stories of getting married at 10am did not phase the officers, but then Gary came to the rescue. A certain name-dropping of "Elvis Sholer" improved our chances, and with some Sholer Mojo our luck changed! As we loaded back in the car, one CHP officer turned to me and said "this stop never happened." We felt very, very lucky. and away we went! The next morning, I felt four times as lucky as we drove back to Redlands for the wedding. -Chris

18: It was July, 2006. Steve and I had been dating for over a year, but he had yet to meet most of the extended Dixon family. So I thought it would be great to bring him along to the Mt. Shasta/Weed 4th of July Dixon party. At that time Steve was in about his 30th year of working maintenance for the school district. Each summer was some of the hardest work time of all, since the maintenance crew did really big projects they couldn't do when the students were on the campuses. I had to work to convince Steve that even though there was a big project going on at school and his boss would give him grief for leaving, he deserved a break! We could get away to Weed, bring Kaitlin too, and have some well deserved down time and build family memories. SO, we arrive at the Weed house, ready to let our hair down and par-tay! We pull up to the Weed house and the first thing we see is Gary, hard at work on building the brick patio and pathway to the house! Mike is helping, pushing the wheelbarrow and aligning the wood borders. Steve looks at me. I look at Steve. "Well, at least I'll feel at home!" Steve said, as he got out of the car and started helping build the patio! Rita and Gary were the owners of the Weed house that year, and were making some changes to make the house even better for our large crowd gatherings. But to have everyone come over, even when you are in the midst of all of the work, well, that's Gary and Rita. They'd rather have everyone come, share the work and the fun, and not worry that life has to be perfect before you can invite people over. "We're family!" And that attitude is reflected in all the gatherings they have hosted over the years, and all the efforts they have made to travel from Arizona to participate in family events. -Patty

20: July 4th Fun | Hickman Farm | VERY PROUD | July 4th barn dance parties at the Hickman Farm in the 70s. Remember the human pyramids we would build on the lawn! -Patty

21: Weed for the 4th of July seeing Uncle Gary was always Ryan and Nick's favorite thing. I remember one summer when he took them fishing and brought them home from a full day and had them clean the fish in the little stream in front of the Weed house. SO gross! But the boys adored it. Such a manly thing to do. Uncle Gary was such a sweetie to the boys. -Erin | Remember when Gary helped all the nieces , nephews, and adults catch trout on the McCloud River. -Jean | Fish "Tails" in Weed

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