Pops is Tops

Last week, I made a last-minute decision to jump in the car with my family and head to Rexburg, Idaho. My father-in-law (also known as Pops) was the BYU-Idaho devotional speaker, and I didn’t want to miss it — despite being 38 weeks along with his 22nd grandchild. You see, Ron Bennett is not just my children’s grandfather and my husband’s father. He’s also the man largely responsible for my love affair with journalism. He was my newspaper adviser and mentor through my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. He taught me AP Style. He had me read “All the President’s Men.” He took me to Boise to testify in favor of student press rights. And he let me walk to the front of the room at Columbia University in New York City to claim our national award for high school newspapers. You might say he’s the “Mr. Holland” of journalism in southeastern Idaho. And I love him for it. We can talk for hours — and we do — when he comes to visit five of his six children who live in Utah. He was nervous and a bit under the weather the day of his big speech in the new BYU-Idaho Center, but Pops gave a fabulous talk about not looking back. We need to forgive others as well as ourselves and look forward with optimism, he said. Of course, he had already taught me these lessons by example. But it was a personal highlight for me to sit on the stage and hear him verbalize this peaceful topic.Fortunately, my water didn’t break and my baby didn’t make an appearance during this 12-hour road trip. However, there is evidence of her existence in this photo taken just before our pre-devotional lunch with President Kim Clark and other dignitaries. Motherhood is humbling. (Exhibit A: Compare the photos in this post, which were taken over the past couple of years.) But it’s an honor to be raising my own brand of Bennetts — and to look back just long enough to appreciate the lessons and legacy given to us by Pops as well as our other parents and grandparents. My nearly-born baby has a lot to live up to.

Meeting Mitt

Mitt Romney and I go way back. In 2004 I sat knee-to-knee with the well-dressed book author at the Grand America for an interview about his writings, his Olympic memories and his Utah County opinions. I must admit we haven’t spoken since, but I won’t forget that day – nor the hours I spent with his wife, Ann Romney, for her Utah Valley Magazine cover story in 2008. Mitt couldn’t believe the speed of my typing, and he commented on my skills throughout our interview. He was easy to talk to and open with his thoughts — two traits not always common with the famous and the fortunate. Unlike many journalists, I’m not a political junkie. But I do know a good person when I see him, and Mitt Romney is good to great. I wish him luck today on “Super Tuesday.” I’m sure if the voters could sit knee-to-knee with him, the choice would be pretty clear. Here’s a glimpse at my Q&A with the front-runner to the Republican nomination.