Sunday, February 26, 2017

Are You Kidding Me?...............
                      ......The Brady's were in Nauvoo!!
     What started as a curious look into the many internet lists  that are available to missionaries in the Illinois Nauvoo Mission has now opened up a whole new world of discovery for the Gibson's. A story submitted in 2016 by the mission doctor, Kent Rasmussen with and account of Lindsay Anderson Brady, his ancestor, jumped out at me.    Now you have to understand that all of the Nance's (Marilyn's maiden name)  are the proud owners of a large book of the lives of their ancestors. The single most spoken of person in the book is usually Lindsay Anderson then the bells rand and the whistles blew...maybe even lights flashed.  
     This book is referred to in family circles as the "Brady Book" as it gives history and ancestry to the Brady line.  I never did bother to look into it.....and apparently not many of the Nance decedents have.  Ok....maybe they did read it and are just now too old to remember what is in it.....or maybe.....just maybe....they didn't or it is not there to find.  At any rate not a one of them has ever mentioned to me the importance of Nauvoo in the lives of Lindsay Anderson Brady and Elizabeth Ann Hendrickson........So for those of you who have never heard this (like me) here's the crux of their early church experiences  and Nauvoo history synthesized......Details come from a story written by Rensman Christopherson and is found the LDS church Family Search Website.
      In 1835  Wilford Woodruff and his companion brought the message of the restored gospel to Lindsay and Elizabeth as they resided on a small farm near Damon Creek, Kentucky.  Elizabeth was impressed with the men and immediately wanted to attend a meeting with them.  Lindsay would have none of it and told her to go by herself as he threw and axe over his shoulder and headed off into the woods to split rails.  After a short time and uneasy feeling encompassed him and soon he distinctly heard a voice.  "Lay down your axe and attend the meeting".  Obediently he went and a few days later on November 15, 1835 he and Elizabeth were baptized in Damon Creek.  Disowned by their families and eager to be with the main body of the Saints they soon settled in Missouri...eventually near Far West.  Ultimately the persecutions and finally the "Extermination Order" written by Governor Lilburn Boggs drove them out of Missouri.  They found themselves pinned between the Mississippi River and their persecutors in the dead of winter with little or now possessions or food.  It was only through the miraculous and amazing efforts of the good people of Quincy, Ill. that they were able to survive that winter of 1838-1839.  The population of Quincy was somewhere around 1600 souls and yet they took in and gave aid, assistance, and employment to the suffering and starving Mormons who numbered around 5,000.  Imagine that!!  Without any hesitation the harbored the whole kit and caboodle and provided a very Christ like service. 
     Joseph Smith remained imprisoned in Liberty, Mo.  until it was believed that all Mormons had been driven from the state and their lands, possessions, livestock, and worldly  pleasures they enjoyed were stripped from them without recourse. 
     Eventually they would move north 50 miles and again begin to build a new city.  The word Nauvoo meant beauty and soon a beautiful city grew.  Lindsay and Elizabeth soon arrived and so did the heartache of the passing of their oldest son Simeon in September of 1840.  He is buried here in the Old Pioneer Cemetery (somewhere).  Marion Hendrickson Brady, who is Marilyn's 2nd Great Grandfather, was now  the oldest son.  While in Nauvoo four more children were born.  They eventually purchased a farm   of almost four acres and also built a home a short distance from the farm. (This land is only about a block away from our residence on Parley Street).   For a time it was peaceful but soon the misunderstandings and persecutions began until they were again driven from their homes and lands in 1846.  They again crossed the Mississippi in February of 1846....leaving behind most of their possessions and memories.  Not taken from them were their testimonies, faith, and beliefs in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They were there when Joseph and Hyrum were martyred as well as the day that a large discussion was held for the members of the saints as they listened to many men who considered themselves to be the rightful successor, prophet, and president of the Church.  When Brigham spoke many, including Lindsay and Elizabeth, saw in him the personage and voice of Joseph  It was clear to them who they should follow......and they did.  They remained in Nauvoo long enough to secure their endowments in the partially completed temple.
Driven out they crossed much of Iowa, settled in Mosquito Creek, and crossed the plains in 1850.
     It is their story, as well as the Stallings, and of others I speak of as I reprise the role of Editor in our little Rendezvous production.  I know I am guilty of passing on the comedies that occur on a nightly basis but the story we tell is happened....and because of the faith of our fore fathers we now enjoy the blessings.  I hope I can make it real so those who come can feel the courage, faith, and strength of our forefathers.
     So when and if you come.....don't be surprised that part of the tour will be a constant retelling of their stories as well as a tour of the very places they lived, loved, worked, laughed, and cried.  It will be my pleasure.
What a Deal..........
            .......$2 Bill Ends Unofficial Party Week
      Monday brought the Sara Granger cast party...and the best was actually saved for last. It marked the end of the party marathon that had started the week before.   It was a Mexican theme and so we had Mexican food with Sister Gibson supplying a pan of her famous enchiladas.  One of the Elders made a superb Flan which went fast.  Three of our singing elders sang a son about a poor Mexican peasant who was stuck with a hat that was too big for his head.  The highlight of the evening was the missionary version of Let's Make a Deal emceed by Sister Rassmussen and Sister Andrus.  It seems Sister Rassmussen had been collecting things for a year out of the missionary DI.  That is where departing missionaries leave items they no longer need and so they just leave them thinking someone else might (LOL).  It wasn't as much "make a deal" as "you got what you chose".  Sister Gibson went safe and took and envelope with a $2 bill.  I, on the other hand took a little sack (knowing it would be easier to get rid of) and ended up with a "cheesy" 10' tape measure.  President Purcell (Mission Counselor) was the big winner as he got one of those cute animated Christmas toys Sister Gibson so likes......She will be relentless in pursuing him until he gives it to her.....Maybe she will accept a "golden ticket" from him if he throws it in?

The "Ugly Duckling Begins a Transformation....

                               a Swan
    The Packard house reminded me of a story from my childhood about the ugly duckling.  Although the structure of the house will always be the old dilapidated timbers and stone they soon will be covered up with a totally new exterior and interior and the house will finally be transformed into a beautiful residence.  It was a week of progress enhanced by the unseasonably warm weather that allow us to work on the remaining exterior issues.  The old termite rotted timbers were replaced in the window area and new ones were put in their place.  The gable end was reinforced with new wood and then the entire exterior was covered in 1/2" plywood and wrapped in plastic sheeting.  So good was the weather that Elder Sims removed the furnace......I think he may have forgotten it's still winter around here even though if felt like spring. 
     We removed the last two original windows in the gable ends as they were old and rotted.  It was also the only way we could get sheetrock to the upper floor after hoised 12' pieces up to the garage roof to carry in through the window ....and with that they would  barely fit.  We framed new window casings in with the hopes that the new replacement windows would be the thermally efficient windows we had replaced all the other windows in the house with. Every other decision has been made with the minuteness of detail to make the house look better.  But this..... Nope....they have to be "period correct" for some inexplicable reasoning by someone...somewhere.  It's not my house and I am here to serve......that being said, I need to add  my 2 cents worth.......It doesn't make any sense.....nor does leaving the  narrow steep turning  stairway which will someday be the source of a serious injury for someone trying to get up or down. There has never been a handrail since it is so narrow....I hope that this time it gets one for safety's sake.   This will be a  residence now......not a historical building (which it apparently never  was anyway) was just an old building with three poorly added on additions .   So now I said my piece....maybe for the last time (LOL)
     On a positive progressive note we have now insulated all the exterior walls and we have two rooms with sheetrock hung.  Depending on the weather we will probably start the taping on the inside as the remaining sheetrock is hung (not after).  I am not quite sure if the electricians are done....that's the way things go here in Nauvoo....we can always tear things apart if necessary.
The Family Living Center......

                ....Never Looked so Good!

     It took nearly the whole week to get it done.  Every day Sister Gibson would attack it with
Sister Lee Master full of vim and vigor and return around 4:00 pm with the look and feel  of an old worn out dish rag. During the process she got to clean Heber C. Kimballs carriage as well enjoy a little of the famous bread which is cooked daily in the Center.  You will notice Sister Pennock resting in the background as the making of the bread is a rigorous is!!  There are no mixing machines employed is literally hands on work from the wood fired stove to the hand kneaded bread.  Those pioneers were stout and hearty folks.
 The $2 View from the Ft. Madison Bridge

      ....or Watching and Waiting on a Barge! 
      The two nearest ways to cross the Mississippi from Nauvoo is the Keokuk bridge 18 miles to 
the South or the Ft. Madison TOLL bridge 12 miles north.  It is a toll bridge because it was built by the railroad many years ago and they charge $2 for the ride across from Iowa to is free if you are going the other way, however.  This particular barge is near 300 feet long and 50 feet wide and the tug pushing it adds another 60 or so feet.  If your timing is right you get to hear the siren blare, the barricade raise, and wait twenty or so minutes as the barge approaches and passes through 200' section of bridge that turns in place to let the barge through.  All this is done with precision and timing and the barge plows past at cruising speed.  It's not the first time nor will be the last time that we made the perfect approach........... I think I'd prefer to spend my time and $2 elsewhere!

My Father Always Wanted me to
                           Work at the Post Office.......
...But I Don't Think This is
                               What he had in Mind!!
     Our assignment Sunday was the Post Office/Merriweather Dry Goods site.  We hadn't been there before so we took a tour on Saturday and then read up on the history and presentation for the site.
Our main message was two fold: 
     After explaining the importance of letters in the early history of the church....remember Paul and Peter who wrote the epistles that eventually ended up in the New Testament as well as many of the revelations of Joseph Smith that were originally written in letter form?  Then we throw in our importance and reliance on e-mail today and then follow it up with "knee-mail" as an important way of communicating with our Father in Heaven.  After that we explain the early postal system and how unreliable and costly it was but it was very important to the Saints in Nauvoo who relied on it to get even the smallest bit of news from the areas and countries they had left in order to be with other members of the church.
     Our second message focuses on the dry goods store owned by Fredrick Merriweather.  This is not the original store but it does portray the typical type of establishment.  Our message is the importance of using tools and implements for ourselves to enable us to become self sufficient.
     Sister Gibson and I took opportunity to learn about the site but also were afforded some time to
contemplate other things as it was a very slow day at the site.  The bright spot was two Canadian brothers and their sister who had come to visit Nauvoo for the first time.  They explained their parents were away serving a mission in Africa while leaving them to run the farm they would soon inherit. 
      We did a little exercise walk around the other site buildings nearby explaining we had been asked by the president to do a "sleep check" and make sure everyone was resting comfortably since there was so little activity.  I don't think they believed us....


Monday, February 20, 2017

 Sister Gibson Joins the Millennials........
                A Multi-Tasker Emerges

     It just seems like yesterday........I can still hear the words clearly....."I've got so much to do I'll never get them done".  Not any more.  The other morning  I noticed her in swift precision as she had arisen at 5:15 (she now knows 5:15 comes twice a day), cleaned the dishes, made the bed, checked her I-pad for the latest posted pictures, made her lunch, got ready for the day, and read(listened) to her scriptures and even found time to put on her shoes before flying out the door at 6:45 for the FM prayer meeting.  Then the day really begins as she and Sister Lee Master  go to work on their Conservation assignments that will take them all over Nauvoo and Carthage doing so many different things it is impossible to count.  All of this is happening while the site missionaries are still getting ready for their day to begin at 9:45.  It's a tough job and I know somebody has got to do it.....thank heavens for Nauvoo it is Sister Gibson.
     I can only believe that her dear parents are running through the he heaven's bragging about their once shy and quiet daughter.....They were such an amazing example to me.  I know they gave me a perfect model and for that I am appreciative. 

     Cultural Hall Closes........
                                        .....The Parties Begin
     As part of the annual cleaning and inventorying the Cultural Hall closes for a week.  It is a "sad" time for the missionaries as they are unable to perform their storied roles in Rendezvous.  A few weeks ago in training, President Hall announced that he would change the date of the closing to coincide with the Valentines Day celebration.  (Cue the standing ovation).  Apparently one, or a few, of the sisters had suggested this.  When he did it he was told that his heart was softening.  Being a little taken back he responded "It's the same heart I have always had".  I'll bet that would bring a roaring laugh to all those young men that played football for him.
     The week soon became a myriad of parties and activities.  Tuesday's was Valentines day and our MTC group, thanks to Sister Beecher, arranged to dine and celebrate at Angelini's in Keokuk. We also added the Moench's who have now returned from Carthage.   It turned out to be a great night and we discovered a new place that serves great food. 
       Wednesday we were at the Temple.  After the session we inquired if we could visit the upper areas of the temple as they are usually not accessible.  For some reason it usually requires a member of the Temple presidency a special approval. A member of the Temple presidency was gracious enough to take us to the top floor and the sealing rooms where we were able to look down the magnificent spiral staircase.  What a view....What a staircase!  After that we walked down those spiral stairs (what a work of love and labor they must have been).  Looking up there is a totally different view equally amazing.
     Thursday the FM group put on a Chili Cook Off and a Cake Decorating Contest in the Pageant Building.  While the chili and the cakes were amazing the best part of the evening was the games.  After dinner the group retired to the large spacious area in the rear and had a paper airplane contest to see who could fly the farthest.  Meanwhile, those well trained and organized missionaries who didn't want to participate in the airplane event dutifully took down all the tables and chairs that were to be used for the games.  Best part......NO GAMES!
     Friday dinner in Fort Madison at the local Chinese place.  The Lowe's had planned for twelve....and ended up with twenty on the same table.  As we say here in Rendezvous "You'll make a new friend.....if you'll just move over.
      Saturday it was lunch at Perkins in Burlington........Hidden Figures movie was a real treat...and then we went into survival shopping mode with Sister Lindeburg. 
      Sunday is District Meetings which is really more of an opportunity to get together as a dinner excuse with a little mission business discussed.  BUT WAIT.. (as the info-mercial says) there is still more to come as we have a scheduled cast party on Monday with another party.....Woooooopeeeeeeee!!
                                                   ........AND THE FUN BEGINS
     The first of the week found Sister Gibson and Lee Master cleaning and inventorying in the Family Living Center when Elder Andrus strolled in to get a little nourishment from the baked bread.  Things had been a little lonely on the wagon ride as we hadn't seen many folks in a while and he asked if any of the sisters might want to go on a little wagon ride.  They jumped at the chance and enjoyed a ride a round the block (so to speak).  The best part came when he handed them the reins to the horses.  Fortunately they were under control and it just became a great picture opportunity.
     It's been a long time since we saw temperatures in the sixties.  They started the middle of the week and the forecast was for several days.  As the days passed and the temperatures rose so did many acute cases of Spring Fever.  It is a dreaded malady the effects the young and old......especially the old.  The president with his "new and softer" heart gave the missionaries a chance to ride.  And so on Friday morning and afternoon the teamsters provided rides and photo opp's for the missionaries.  A Rod and Chuck are one of the teams of horses here.  The Limo, as it is known here, is really a long surrey with a fringe on top.  The teamsters drove around to the sites and picked up the missionaries who wanted to ride.  The FM folks just horned in where they could.
     We received a second opportunity on Saturday as Sister's Lindeburg and Hunter had been in Quincy visiting a very sick Sister Crandall.  Sister Hunter is the veterinarian's wife here and I am pretty sure she expressed his disappointment to him about missing the opportunity.  So, on Saturday morning she and the Lindeburg's had their own ride......we basically "horned" in as the Lindeburgs invited us.  So we got a second opportunity with Tom and Mark as our horses.  They are really big and impressive animals.
Progress with Destruction.....
                            ...Prepares for Re-Construction
     The removing of the siding on the south side or front of the house went extremely well and we looked forward to more of the same as we turned the corner and went to the west.  It soon became apparent that our optimism was a little premature.  It didn't take long to figure out our work would not only require tearing out but also rebuilding a lot of poor construction, termite and insect damage, and several layers of remodeling before we could even think about rebuilding.  As you can see we are now a team of four least this week. 
      If there is a plus here it is the fork lift.  The previous elders have made a platform which can be hoisted up on the fork lift and we can work for there.  It means that we don't have to continually climb ladders and it makes the tasks somewhat easier.  All of the exposed 2x4's on this side of the house have to be removed and replaced so they will actually support the gable end.....something that has been extremely sketchy for years....fortunately it didn't have any bad effects.  All of the insect and termite damage will be replaced next week and hopefully the house will be wrapped so we can move inside and begin the sheetrock.  Their is still a hope....held out by very, very, few......that the house will be ready for the new doctor to move into a finished interior while the exterior is finished.
     As for the picture of Elder Sims.......he was taking a picture of me when I suggested to him that it was time he jump into the "tech" age and learn a few things......"let's start with a selfie" I suggested and handed him my phone.  A little coaching later he took his first one.  I thought I would "post" it so he could say that he had posted pictures before.......I don't think I showed it to him before, however.

The Cultural Hall gets a New Look.......
                                      ......and The Brickyard
     Along with some work done on the inside of the Cultural Hall the outside appearance also took on a new look.  To the right of the Cultural Hall in the picture once stood a large majestic tree similar to the one that still stands in the photo.  We were working on the Packard house when a piece of the large trunk was transported to the sawmill where it would be cut up and used in various projects.  It left a void that will take many years to fill.  It has also been rumored that the remaining large tree is diseased also and will soon meet the same fate.  Such is life......I love majestic trees!!
     Rounding off the week Sister Gibson and I worked in the Brickyard.  It was indeed different than our past assignments on sites......with President's Day Week end and Stake Conference we actually had visitors......and they brought children!!  Not only was it perfect weather but it was like an energy drink with steroids.  It is inspiring to talk about the Nauvoo brick makers and be able to liken it to our lives and Christ's message of stability in the Gospel.  I do have to repent, however, as I gave out more bricks to the children than I was supposed per family is the command from the site.....1 "misunderstood" and gave one per child.  So much happiness!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Crowbars, Catastrophe ....
                    .......and a Good Friend to the Rescue
      Forrest Gump's mom always explained life as "a box of chocolates" never know what you are going to get.  That's pretty much been the case as we serve our mission.  We are enjoying our time here and we are having some wonderful experiences.  Then again there are some not so wonderful things that happen that we must learn to deal with and trust in others for their help.
     A text from the rental management company who is handling the renting of our Eden property indicated that our renter was complaining about water in the basement.  It soon became apparent that this was not a small problem.  The 160% above average snowpack was being rapidly melted away by warmer than normal temperatures and heavy rain.  As a result the ground water was rising to a level that started the flooding in the basements of several of the homes in our area.  Our renter could only sit by and watch as her husband was out of town on business. 
     A check with my intrepid insurance agent revealed we had no coverage for ground water....more good news.  I said a little prayer(well a big one)  for help.   Who did I know that could and would help?  I immediately knew the answer....Eric Gottschalk.  I was hesitant to call...he was always so busy....Reluctantly I called.  Without hesitation he jumped to our aid.  He grabbed one of his workers, hitched up the trailer, and went to the rescue.  He braved our unplowed roads in Eden and got as close as he could.  Not only did he remove the furniture and built-ins but also pulled out the carpet and pad.
To him I owe by undying thanks.
     As the ground water continues in the basement I can only sit and worry.  Words of an old Glen Yarborough song soon came to me...."Worry's like a rocking goes back and forth and gets nowhere"  With that in mind and faith that things will work out we will go forward and search for solutions at the appropriate time.  We will tear out and repair the damage.  I could always send my crowbar and hammer is well experienced!!

Carthage Gets Two Visits from the Gibson's.....

                                                 .....One For A Cleaning!
                                    .....One for the Tour!

      Carthage called and Sister Gibson answered.  It was time to make the trip there and do the annual cleaning and inventory.  Delayed slightly by a snowstorm, she and Sister Lee Master loaded up the trusty van and headed over to do the cleaning and inventory.  In her role in Conservation she is one of the few people who are allowed to go into special areas of great historical importance as well as handle the numerous artifacts.  She had the opportunity to actually be in the Carthage jail cell, complete with it's tick mattress and shackles while she cleaned and removed dust and such (that would be spider webs and the like also).  It's probably a good thing I wasn't there as she would have probably lured me into the cell and shackled me.  Later on in the day she moved to the "martyrdom room" where the assassinations of Joseph and Hyrum took place.  She is near the window where the prophet Joseph fell from.
     Saturday morning brought the usual Lindeburg/Gibson shopping trip.  This week we decided to go to Quincy, and since you can pass through Carthage to get there, and throw in the fact that the Hughes were serving there, it became a great opportunity for us to we did.  There are many amazing and interesting stories that circle around the Carthage Jail and the circumstances and hostilities that prevailed in Hancock County, Ill.  at the time.  One needs to be there to not only see it but to also feel it.  It has and amazing feeling.....not only for the sacredness of what transpired there but also for the miracles that took place that day.  Books and stories abound....but they cannot due justice what you feel as you walk the grounds and buildings.      

One Good Day........
                                                       ........A Door and a Pour
     It was announced Monday morning in FM meeting that the Shenck (or Doctor's) house is now going to be the top priority for least this week.  With that in mind we will be  Elders Van Horn and Hacking have been delegated to work with us.   At least that's the way it started out.  By Tuesday Elder Van Horn was now working on completing another job....not to mention that his wife would have and appendicitis attack on Wednesday night and he would rush her to Quincy for and operation or that he would "bark" is knuckle .  That was the last we saw of him for the week.  Elder Hacking had other things to complete so he wasn't available until Wednesday.  Elder Sims got sick and by Thursday he was gone for the week. 
     We were invited to help pour the slab that anchors the ship mast and temple that rise at the ends of each of the summer  pageants.  It required 14 yards of concrete loaded into a skidster and poured to the front and then moved to the back by hand.  We also took a load of concrete up to the handcart barn and over poured the forms so we had to take the excess out by hand....and I mean by hand.  We caused it...we solved it!
    We did get the burned out damaged rafters in the upstairs room shored up so they are pretty well supported  two of the rooms in the house insulated.  It snowed 3-4 inches on Wednesday....warmed up a little and melted most of the snow by Thursday and on Friday we tore out the front door...moved it over...and replaced it with a new door all the while adjusting and modifying the jambs like we had to do on the door from the garage into the house....which we did on Tuesday.
     Next week the weather looks pretty good and we may be able to start tearing off the siding, putting up new CDX plywood and then the new siding.  Wow.....wouldn't that be amazing?  My guess is we'll wait until the weather turns cold before we try that!  That seems to be the way we do things in Old Nauvoo.

.......A Saturday in Quincy

                                                              .......and then a Store
       I already let the secret out of the bag that we went to Quincy on Saturday.  Along the way we saw the eagle sitting around out in the Mississippi and took a shot with a almost looks like the same bird in the same place....but who can remember?  In Quincy we went back to the museum where we thought we would inquire about the video of the Mormons in Quincy.  They actually had it along with a detailed book.  Sometimes life surprises you.  While we were there we took a picture and toured some of the exhibits.  It was in Quincy that the famed Lincoln/Douglas debates took place prior to Lincoln's ascendency to the presidency.
     The highlight for some of us was, for some of us, a trip to Sam's Club.  I think the picture of Elder Lindeburg says it all!  At this point we had no idea where Sister Lindeburg was....presumably she had two other carts.....   😛😊  She didn't..... but the truck did have a full load for our return.

Music and The Theory of Relativity.....

             ......Things I Really Don't Understand!!

     We pretty much knew what we were getting into when we were called to the Illinois Nauvoo Mission.  Even though we secretly hoped we would qualify as the exception and be exempted from things like singing and such.  No such luck.  When Elder Gibson met Sister Gibson she was singing with a young adult choir on a regular basis.  She later admitted it wasn't necessarily because she liked to sing (even though she has some pretty good abilities) but rather she was there to meet boys (which is an entirely untold story).  Now Elder Gibson has a voice but has not idea how to use it....except for maybe yelling at someone when the don't understand "the look".  It may be on key or off key....he has no clue. 
     It wasn't until my many "storied" joust's with Margaret Taylor during Sunday School song practice that I finally even tried.  My efforts to avoid singing....and hers to get me to try  became legendary in the ward.  She even titled me as "Johnny One Note" a title which probably described the situation best.  Undaunted she jabbed at me until I finally gave in and may not have been pretty but I sang.  Coming to Nauvoo and singing  has a level of public performance that many, including myself, never thought would ever be seen.  Listening to Sister Lowe talk about music, notes, and what she hears is mystifying at best.  I'm sure she would feel the same way if Einstein talked to her about his Theory of Relativity.
I can't even understand what she is trying to get the cast to do...or why....or how.  Octaves, notes, scales, pitch....sure they are terms heard.....but not a one of them is really understood.  Even when she says she sings two different notes they often sound the same to me
     The only way to really survive here, I have found, is to sit as close to Elder Hopkin as possible.  He knows what is going on and if I at least try to follow his voice I have better chance of sounding a little better....otherwise it is the "watermelon" abyss for me!!  (Watermeolloning is the term used here when you don't know the words or tune you just keep quietly say "watermelon....watermelon...." while smiling along in ignorant bliss.  You get the picture
      Sunday our cast sang as the choir in Sacrament Meeting. a choir....who would have thunk that.   I made sure I saved a place next to me for Elder Hopkin.  Unfortunately it was on the top row near the middle and as other Elders took there places I was forced a little over into the Sister side of the choir.  When this little problem was noticed I was asked to sit more on the front row far....far....far away from my security blanket.  Not to worry....I just told the sisters I had got there early and secured seats for myself and Elder Hopkin and nothing short of a Papal Order was going to get me to move.....Case closed......Song sang!!

Monday, February 6, 2017


The Past Comes to Life in the Present.......
                .....Remembering the Nauvoo Exodus

On February 4, 1846 the Mormon people began their exodus march from Nauvoo on a journey that would take them to the Great Salt Lake Valley where they would begin to find some peace from the continual harassment they had faced for years in Missouri and Illinois.

     On February 4, 2017 Descendants and missionaries marked the 171st anniversary of this event.  My 2nd Great Grandfather, Joseph Stallings, was the reason I was here today.  I was honored to walk Parley Street with Sister Gibson as we proudly wore the names of Joseph and his family.  Standing on the edge of the Mississippi where they stood waiting for their turn make the crossing brought to mind the many feelings that poured over them as they were saying farewell to their home and temple that they had worked so hard for.  It was a cold and bitter day as they left....but ahead of them was the hope of a place where they could find peace and be able to live and worship as they chose.  They were dedicated and committed to their faith and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  I for one, am honored to be a part of their legacy!!
     The celebration began a week earlier with a fireside that told of their stories.  I was a little disappointed that my story of Joseph was not one of the twelve that were selected.  Shortly after the stories began to be read I realized that there were many, many, remarkable stories that were submitted and committee that selected stories to be read had a daunting task.  We were all inspired at the stories of dedication and sacrifice that night....who could even imagine that hardships and persecutions the early Saints had endured.
     Saturday morning we gathered in the Family Living Center and had muffins and milk as we realized that this was more than a missionary tribute.  People had come from all over to take part in the walk.  They all proudly displayed those who they were walking for.  Heading the parade was a color guard and carrying the American flag was Lon Simpson who I had worked with in the cabinet shop.  I volunteered and joined the Nauvoo Legion and got to wear the red and blue scarves and carry a fake gun and empty ammo bag.  Elder Lindeburg was selected as the Sargent  Major and got to bark out cadence.  He is soft spoken so his bark is a little muffled. 
     Once we reached the memorial another tribute was read and taps were played.  It was a great day!!
A Work in Progress........
    Work for Sister Gibson and myself was pretty much the same things we had been doing.  It was decided that we hadn't torn enough of the Schenk (no longer the Packard ) house apart.  You see, Salt Lake had determined that there was not enough evidence to officially call it the house where Noah and Sophia Packard lived so it reverted back to the name "Schenk", since it was the people who had owned it before the church.  At this point it really didn't matter because we had pretty much covered up any evidence the house by burying it behind new walls.  The last vestige of lath and plaster was in the upstairs room and our fearless leader directed we tear it out. Tearing out lath and plaster in a fire charred room is about as fun as wrestling with a pig in the mug.  The pig might enjoy it....I didn't even though I could smile for my selfie.
     Sister Gibson, on the other hand, kept up with cleaning the artifacts and accounting for them.  She made a stop in browning gun where she grabbed the hammer to show how the gunsmith beat flat iron into a barrel of a rifle. 

The Birthday Girl..........
                        .....Brownie Sunday's and Oreo's

    As mentioned last week, Sister Gibson's birthday month is upon us and the celebrations have begun.  We are so fortunate to have made so many friends here and they certainly rose to the occasion to make the celebration remarkable.  It started on Friday night when, as per Nauvoo cast tradition, we through our cast a birthday party in her honor.  We provided the brownie sundays with ice cream, brownies, toppings, and whipped cream plus a package of Oreo's and they paraded her in front of the cast, had her hold the birthday sign while they sang to her.....Here in Nauvoo the song goes something like this:  Happy Birthday to You.....Whew!!   Happy Birthday to You......Whew!!!
This comes from Rendezvous where on the opening number four lucky Elders are paraded out in front where they do a "kick" as a verse is sung...."Smile a While (Kick) and everybody by tradition says "Whew" indicating their success that they could do it.  I have had this pleasure on a few occasions already.
     As we served in the Cultural Hall on Sunday afternoon the family called at various times and wished Grandma a happy birthday.  One thing about the Gibson family....when it comes to singing
it is "SPECIAL"!!!
  On her actual birthday Sister Lindeburg invited us over for Sunday dinner, gave her a cute card, hot pads, and hand soap.  After we went to the Ugo Parego fireside she invited all of our close MTC group to share in an elaborate birthday cake she made.  The Beecher's were late of course so they didn't make the picture......but their duet of Happy Birthday was "special" as they are very talented.

Farewell to Old Friends.....
                            ......Setting a New Standard

     It has been a couple of months since a farewell breakfast honoring the soon to be departed missionaries.  It has always been a tradition that those who are leaving to present a small skit that leaves those behind laughing at many of the nuances and funny things that have happened.  Maybe even poke a little fun at the Mission President.  Well, this group was about as small as it could get...The Strouds and Sister Cluff.  It had been rumored that they were going to involve their whole cast so we all expected something really off the top.  Instead it started out with the three standing in front with music stands.....after a solo by Sister Cluff a reader's theater commenced as they told of our urpose in Nauvoo and used parts of our messages to visitors.  The testimonies of Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith were resounded by "I Do!.  As it rolled to a conclusion their cast began singing "Praise to The Man" which was soon joined in by all the other missionaries.  I, and many others, were deeply moved by this.
     I thought back to a time in the Parkway 4th Ward when our youth, unbeknownst to most, had a special fireside prepared.  and ward members were  invited.  I can't remember much about the first of the program but it was focused on Christ.  The program called for a piano solo.....I Know That My Redeemer Lives".  The pianist played heavenly through the first verse and then started on the second.
And the back of the room Kayson Eggers stood and started singing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives......eyes turned to him....and then he was joined by another voice from heaven, and then a third.....soon they youth were all standing and singing.....What courage....What a message.  I am getting chills just thinking of those youth I associated with and love and miss so much.