In 1958, I was hired by Ward McGinnis Oil Co. in El Dorado, Kan., to go from Chanute, Kan., to Beaver, Utah, to core drill for uranium in the mountains with an Acker drill mounted on a jeep pickup.

Bess and I traded in our 1949 Cadillac convertible for a new 1958 Ford 1⁄2-ton pickup to pull our 35-foot Great Lakes mobile home to Beaver. We had to travel through Monarch Pass in Colorado. It took us almost half a day to get to the summit, and only about one hour to get down. We had to go up in low gear, and come down in low gear – stopping along the way to cool the brakes.

While there, Bess and I had our first child, a daughter named Cindy Lynn Cutter. Cindy lived only 30 hours, never leaving the hospital in Cedar City, Utah. Bess and myself only saw Cindy once before her passing.

I had been deferred from the draft at the time, because Bess was pregnant with Cindy. Almost immediately after notifying the draft board of Cindy’s passing, I was inducted into the Army.

We return to Beaver every few years – to visit Cindy’s grave and our old friends there. Unfortunately, each time we return, we find that more of our old friends have moved to the cemetery.

Bess and I often reminisce about how our lives may have been different, had we had a girl in our lives before we had our two sons. We wonder how much different our sons may have been, had they grown up with a sister in their lives. Perhaps we all would have taken different paths with two women in our lives instead of just Bess. I’m sure that we wouldn’t have lived in a 35-foot mobile home for so many years.

I think that with daughters around, a family usually grows with more class, and the men (boys) are required to look more presentable and pick up after themselves much better. I’m sure there would have been much more space required in the closets for a girl’s clothes. She would have had to have her own private room. Had Cindy lived, our boys might have been kept busier looking after a sister rather than building and riding motorcycles, go-carts and dune buggies. I’m sure that I would have been sharing more of my time with a daughter.

Once they leave home, most girls seem to be better at staying in touch with their family, while boys seldom have the time. Armed with computers, e-mail and cellular telephones, though, our boys and our grandsons are pretty good at staying in touch with us.

Bess and I don’t talk a lot about Cindy today, probably because she was with us such a short time. But she always is in our thoughts and hearts. We do talk about how much our lives would have been different today had Cindy lived.

I turned 71 years old back in February. That’s almost 20 years longer than my grandfather, father, uncles and cousins on the Cutter side of the family were able to go. I’m in reasonably good health, and plan to stay around for several more years – if for no other reason than just to aggravate Bess.