Adrien’s Many Trails – Aug. 1, 2019

I had been musing over the weekend over what to write about, and had settled on a subject when the news came Monday of Norma Matheson’s death, and that changed my mind. I had come to the conclusion some time back that life’s most productive years are between 40 and 60. Since some of today’s elected and chosen leaders were born at the tail end of that time for me, they likely were not acquainted with the remarkable Scott M. Matheson and his lovely wife (isn’t that the way wives are always described in politics) Norma.

Sam and I met the Mathesons some 50 (or more) years ago, probably at a political wing-ding in Salt Lake, way before he became governor of Utah. Although we were both deeply involved in politics up north, it wasn’t a factor of our lives in Moab.

One time he came to town for some sort of community, not political, event. We, or I, confounded his highway patrol keepers by taking him out to an event at Old City Park the back way. Had they been local officers they would have known immediately where I was going. But they were city guys, unfamiliar with the byways of Grand County. What? Did they think little ole me was going to kidnap him?

We had a number of community events then. It seems to me more then than now, but I’m nearing 80 and out of the loop.

Somewhere I have a photo of me serving the Mathesons some of Sam’s great Dutch oven potatoes. “Bowing to the governor?” I was teased.

And yes, the Mathesons were people I would bow to, but never had to.

Another time we were at some event in Salt Lake, and the middle (and crucial) button on my blouse came loose, and Norma was there in a flash with a safety pin. I still have the button. Don’t have any idea what happened to the blouse, a bright blue velveteen affair.

One year the Mathesons attended a governors’ conference, or some such, in Scotland, and he came home pleased as punch at discovering the Matheson Tartan, and brought back a bolt, out of which he had a kilt made for himself. As I recall, he then completed the regalia and looked right smart. (There is a fine Scottish shop, or was, in downtown Salt Lake on the west side of Main Street.)

When Scott died untimely, the state mourned. Sam and I drove up for the funeral, but there was no room, so we drove back home, having paid our respects. Driving to Salt Lake and back in one day wasn’t something we relished, but we did it. And paid for it with fatigue the next day.

Living, as I did and do, on the west side of town, a walk in the Matheson Wetlands Preserve was something I often enjoyed. Imagine our mutual surprise when coming nose to nose with the former first lady one day there.

Norma Matheson was one fine lady in my mind, both by American and British/Scotch standards.


I can’t leave the subject of tartans without telling the reader that while all tartans are plaids, not all plaids are tartans.

I greatly enjoyed my two trips to Scotland. While touring a mill there a good friend and I found ourselves at the end of the line. One of the people inquired our names and came up with examples for us of both our tartans. Mine is still around someplace.