The Thompson Ranch sits at the bottom of 600 West, near 2700 North. Years ago, the lane heading north up to Pleasant View City Building was just dirt. During Shorty Thompson’s daily walks all the way up this dirt lane to pick up his mail and paper, he liked to make wild gestures like throwing his hat up in the air or flipping the birdy to people who passed by. It didn’t matter if you were the bishop or the mayor, he liked to make you laugh.
600 West in today’s Pleasant View was commonly known as “Shorty’s Lane” long before the city ever changed the name of the street in honor of Shorty Thompson. Friends, busses of school children, and other locals often went out of their way to drive past “Shorty’s Lane” to see the next crazy thing Shorty would do in front of the crowd.
His son, Sonny, remembers his dad frequently throwing his shovel or his pitchfork when a car would drive by. The street was officially changed during a Pleasant View City Council Meeting last year. Sonny’s fond memories of his dad and the heritage he left will always be cherished.
For 62 years, Sonny Thompson of Pleasant View worked side-by-side with his dad and local funny man on the ranch running cattle and cutting hay. Still today, Sonny keeps the memory of his late father alive by helping run Shorty’s land and Thompson Ranch. He, along with his mother, Joan “Jo”, reminisce about the good times they had together with Shorty.
They hosted rodeos and bucking contests and worked to help all the youth in the area learn to ride. Jo, Shorty’s wife, smiles widely as she talks about Shorty’s kindness with the kids who came to be a part of Shorty’s extended family. Jo would set the kids up with fresh grilled hamburgers and drinks while Shorty taught the kids how to rope and ride.
Jo remembers the fond times with the kids that would frequent her Ranch. However, she and Shorty would not put up with any reckless behavior. There was no smoking, drinking, or fighting to be had at the Ranch. Shorty and Jo hoped to teach the youth manners and respect.
Once, Jo heard a woman screaming in the field just north of her home. She grabbed her shot gun and headed up toward the field. The man took one look at her as she loaded her gun and ran off quicker than a wink. Jo then got the woman help immediately. For her unselfish service, she was awarded the North View Fire badge, as well as the Pleasant View police badge with her name and the title of “Mrs. Pleasant View” inscribed on it.
The legacy of Shorty and Jo Thompson lives on through their children and grandchildren. For instance, Sonny Thompson, their son, exemplifies the humor, kindness, respect, and work ethic that his parents taught. Throughout his life, those who know him would say that Sonny is a great father, outstanding cattleman, and a knowledgeable glass man.
In his teenage years, his work ethic stood out. Those who stopped in would find that he had helped to maintain quite the establishment. Two individuals in particular, Cal Grant (pictured) and Jerry Naylor (pictured), became influential mentors and great friends to him. For instance, Jerry Naylor, who frequently transported glass into Pleasant View and North Ogden, noticed Sonny’s skill and personable demeanor. Jerry decided to offer him a job at his glass shop, Valley Glass. Sonny accepted and has now been at Valley Glass 47 years.
Sonny started as a glass installer for Valley Glass, but today focuses mostly on sales, which is a perfect role for such a people person. He loves his customers and often shows up on location when their windows or glass are being installed, just to make sure everything goes alright.
Once you have met Sonny, you are a forever friend. He also seems to know just about everyone and everyone knows him. He has become an area icon just as his father was. With the family owning and renting out multiple areas of land strictly for raising and grazing cattle on, residents both old and young are also grateful for these open, beautiful spaces.
As warm and welcoming as he is, Sonny invited us out to see the land where the Ranch sits. We were able to take a few pictures and to meet the influential mentors to Sonny. Cal Grant who owns Grant’s Bulls, and Jerry Naylor, chatted with Sonny as if they were brothers.
It was clear that these three friends formed a bond that can only be forged over the period of many, many years. Cal has taught him so much about running a ranch and has helped him breed his cattle for many years. And Jerry has been there every step of the way with his growth as the head salesman for Valley Glass.
So, next time you drive up “Shorty’s Lane,” notice the open cattle land and far-reaching alfalfa fields. You may even see Sonny’s white Valley Glass truck or his dear mother, Jo, walking into her lovely home. Then, see if you can picture a crazy cowboy throwing a pitchfork wildly in the air, and just try not to smile.