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This week in Church history

25 years ago

President Spencer W. Kimball welcomed 83-year-old Ruth Arviso Polacca in his office in Salt Lake City, renewing a friendship that began 30 years earlier on a Navajo reservation in Crystal, N.M., reported the March 3, 1978, Church News. President Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, had recuperated at the home, Sister Polacca and her husband, Howela, in the summer of 1948 after suffering a heart attack.

"While reminiscing, Sister Polacca asked him if he could still sing the sheep herding song he learned 30 years ago from her youngest daughter, Francis. He said, 'As a matter of fact, I recently sang it to a group in my ward.'

"Then he cleared his throat, put his arm around her, and began the song in near-perfect Navajo. He made a little mistake and started over — this time making it through the difficult pronunciations with ease, much to the delight of the visitors."

In 1948, when mission president Golden Buchanan asked if Elder Kimball could convalesce in the quietness of their mountain retreat, the Polaccas were delighted with the opportunity. "They brought a tent-trailer and parked it about 100 yards downhill from our large hogan," Sister Polacca recalled. "But he stayed with us most of the time because he liked to be with the family of nine children and four or five grandchildren who lived next door in two other houses."