UNION — It was a small step, taken quietly without fanfare.
Thirty-seven years ago, Denny Langford of Union picked up a plastic black ink pen and began writing a daily journal.
That pen soon disappeared, but not Langford’s growing passion for writing. Now, 48,000 pages later, he has an inspiring tale to share with fellow journal writers.
Langford, 81, has written almost every day since March of 1982. His prose is rich in detail about his life, his family, local history, wildlife, the two bands he plays in, local rodeos and more. Langford speaks humbly of his work.
“I am not a writer by any means, but I like to keep a record of events,” he said.
The records he has kept now fill 96, 250-page spiral notebooks. Both sides of all of the pages are filled, all with printed words. No cursive words are to be found.
“I print because my handwriting is like a pharmacist’s. Nobody could read it,” Langford said.
The only days Langford has missed writing since 1982 were during hunting trips. His journals do not reveal this, though, for he filled in the details of those days upon returning.
Langford began keeping a journal when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged him and the rest of the membership to do so. He had never written extensively when he was younger.
“I didn’t like writing when I was in high school,” Langford said.
Now, though, he sees the benefits.
“It helps me unwind,” he said. “I feel fulfilled after writing.”
His journals often come in handy when his family is debating details about things, such as where they went on trips together years ago.
“The journals have solved a lot of family arguments,” Langford said.
Denny and Colleen Langford, who have been married 61 years, have four children, 11 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
His journals also provide a look at wildlife and traffic in the High Valley Road area. For 17 years, the lifelong Union resident walked 2 miles almost every day on High Valley Road and recorded how many deer and vehicles he saw.
“Sometimes I saw cows chasing coyotes,” said Langford, who worked for Union Pacific Railroad for 35 years before retiring about a dozen years ago.
Information about major national events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon building, also are in Langford’s journals. Langford said he was talking to a neighbor when the man received word of the World Trade Center attacks from a phone call from his wife. The neighbor he was talking with was not alarmed at first.
“He said his wife thought it was probably an airplane that had gone off course,” Langford said.
Langford’s journals also are a treasure for information about the two bands he has played in for many years, the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers and the BlueMountaineers. Both groups play old-time country music and give a combined total of more than 100 performances a year.
He recalled when someone conducting an event the BlueMountaineers were performing at tried to pay the band, but Langford, one of its leaders, refused.
“I said the applause and smiles we get is our pay,” he said.
He also writes extensively about Dottie Brown & Co., another old-time music group he played in. It became the BlueMountaineers after Brown died several years ago.
Langford’s love of writing is stronger than ever, but he admits there are times when he has to battle fatigue at the end of a long day to make sure to get his writing in. The Union resident does not foresee a day in which he will not be penning journal entries.
“If I don’t write,” Langford said, “something is left out of my day.”