Monday, July 3, 2017

Fifty Years.....It's Only a Moment...
                                                 or So it Seems

    Long before I was standing in front of the Salt Lake Temple on June 30, 1967 kissing my bride for a picture, a seed had been planted in the front seat of the IH Scout I was driving.  I had been dating Marilyn Nance for three long months now and never (really...never) kissed her. She was different and special and I knew it.  Finding a secluded spot and working my way through the chit-chat I made my move....and something magical happened that cannot be explained...only felt.  And with that kiss we were on our way on a journey that has lasted fifty years.
     Eight Months later and  standing in front of the temple  doing a posed kiss I can tell you I was the most relieved person in the world.  We had been married all of two hours.  I can't recall all the thoughts that had gone through my head to get here....but I can say with 100% surety that  there was never any doubt, at least on my part that I was doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, with the right person.  Kneeling over the altar in the temple during the ceremony, when we got to the part where the bride is supposed to say "yes"...there was  a pause that seemed excruciatingly long.  It was probably a mili-second...or maybe even ten...but when the audible "yes" sealed the deal I was relieved beyond belief....  I had pulled it off!  I was now married to my dear all I had to do is live up to all those expectations I knew she had of me....
     And so the journey began.....We spent the next three years enjoying the time oblivious to the expectations of others, especially my parents who continually raised the question..."When are you going to make us grandparents......we're getting tired of waiting?"  Our children started arriving with Marc in 1970 and ended with Kimberly in 1979.  Arriving in between were Eric, Christie, and Stephanie.  Each was different....each were special.  We soon were caught up in raising them and immersing ourselves in their lives and preparing them for the future.  School events, athletic contests, church callings and assignments which we were always (at least almost always) glad to attend. 
We lived their lives with them....the ups and downs....their successes and missteps.  We lost so much sleep and felt so much worry.....we stayed strong together but our time together diminished and waned. 
     Soon they were leaving the house seeking education and adventure away from the nest.  Missions followed for most at soon they returned home and to continue their education.  It wasn't long before they were married and we became grandparents to fifteen wonderful grandchildren.   There was a time we raised Jaustin and  we found ourselves  back in the parent game. Grandma struggled between her role as grandmother and mother...and yet there was Christy there to help.  What a blessing it was to have here there to help.   It was a special time for us that sometimes required much more than we thought we could give and yet oblivious to everything else we found it kept us young.....and sometimes made us old.
      Through all of this we remained close as a family with countless activities centered around our home and away.   We found ourselves together on most holidays....sometimes spending them away from home in Park City, St. George, Heber, Bear Lake, and Eden. The houseboat on Lake Powell, the wave runners and boat.   And then........
     One day I felt that it was time to do something again for us......together.......alone.  It was time to go back to the beginning......when it was "us" instead of "them".  Sure...we still loved them and wanted to be immersed in their lives and watch them grow....BUT...  we needed an adventure...together.  And so it soon presented itself when, with a little effort on my part, .......Nauvoo called.....we answered when Sister Gibson pressed the "send" button and soon...."away we went".       And so....
          Our new adventure began.....and continues.  We have missed a lot.....we have gained a lot. 
It's fifty down...... and eternity to go!! 
The Carthage Commemoration......
                                        ...............June 27, 1844 Remembered
     On June 27 the mission closed all sites as the missionaries traveled to Carthage to remember and commemorate the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  Many others assembled there as the crowd swelled to several hundred.  It was a typical Nauvoo mission gathering....I should have seen it we arrived an hour early planning on getting a good seat.  Well, I can say this, we did get a decent seat as it was the same as everyone else, plastic with a back, but it was just back about thirty rows from the podium.  The program was about 45 minutes long and included musical numbers from the YPM's (Praise to the Man) and the Young Sister Missionaries (Oh, How Lovely was the Morning) and readings of the events that let up to the afternoon of June 27th.  President Hall spoke briefly and bore strong testimony to the prophets mission and his life. 

Much Ado about Something.....

            .......Is Really about Nothing!! 
     Well...I guess it started at the beginning of Sunset when our opening tribute to our veterans included all the seniors marching and saluting.  Seemed harmless enough to me but to two or three veterans it was a shabby disrespectful gesture.  It was a disgrace.  Only the military in uniform are allowed to salute.  It had nothing to do with saluting the was a gesture of respect...or so we thought.    It was a tribute to the military and those who had served our country.....that included me. It was never done in conjunction with the  Stars and Stripes.  Loud voices soon drowned out any sense of reason and   we were no longer saluting and so  we moved on...putting it behind us. 
     Then this week an new uproar began.  On the previous night Sister Rober had felt it would be nice to dip the military flags in unison as we all joined together and sung "God Bless America"  To reference this the flag bearers dip the flag of the service they represent during the opening number and then return them upright as another service branch is honored by the singing of their song.  So it isn't like the flags haven't been dipped before.  Apparently it really looked impressive and so we were asked to do the same for our Sunset presentation.  And then all hell broke Elder started a rant that would have you thinking we were throwing the flags on the ground and spitting and stomping on them.  "It was totally disrespectful."  If we did it.... he wasn't going to participate in the opening ceremony...."fine", I said, "Works for Me.....we will miss you".  He was adamant and soon drug another into the fray as they stormed the Rober's and made a big issue of it.  Peace prevailed....harmony flags were dipped.  The loud mouth obnoxious bullying marine prevailed
      It didn't seem right to me....his information.....his take on the situation....and his bullying to get his way.  This was the same elder that told Sister Moench that the teamster whistle was too loud in Rendezvous and it made him deaf and his ears ring....he wouldn't put up with it.  He doesn't have to  any more...she gave him a new place and role...won't miss him a bit.  Cheers to Sister Moench!!
     So anyway I did a little research and really couldn't find a protocol for "Military Service" flags except for their relation the Stars and Stripes.  But what I did find was a picture and an article from the Langly-Eustice News Blog.  Langly-Eustice is a large air base that frequently sees the president and his comings and goings.  This was a military tribute to fallen soldiers......seems pretty clear that is acceptable to "dip" the flags to those we honor.  How often do we listen to the loud bullying obnoxious voice.....failing to take a stand and waffle in indifference? 
     So by our next performance on Saturday the issue was researched....the solution  worked out......the flags were dipped.....and one Elder was missing....presumably as a protest but the reality is probably a bullheaded stubborn bully not getting his way....
     So what started out as a well intentioned tribute to our veterans and their service,  evolved into someone's ego disrupting and casting a pall on what is supposed to be a tribute presented by a group of thankful citizens to rouse patriotism and stir our souls.

We Celebrate our Anniversary.....
         .....and Dinner With the Super Sisters
    For most folks who survive to the big "Five-0" there is a massive celebration thrown by the kids and paid for by the "Oldie Weds".  Here in Nauvoo it is a little different story....if anyone finds out you are supposed to provide treats for your cast and get little more than a thank you for the pleasure.  Our celebration started off with a full day of work.  Rushing home we hurriedly clean up and charged off to the temple.  While we didn't renew our vows we did enjoy the spirit of serving and remembering what we had signed up for in the beginning.....It was a time to remember and reflect....even though we were both tired from our day's work activities.
     Wanting to do something special....with someone special......we invited the four fabulous  sisters in our cast (Wright, Eppic, Shumway, and McNeil).  There is only one good place to go in Nauvoo and so it was......of course.....The Hotel Nauvoo and their scrumptious  buffet, salad bar, and prime rib (for me).   The laughter, stories, and hilarity continued well past their closing time but that did not deter the hotel from offering us a free buggy ride around the block by the temple.  All in all it was pretty much a side splitting night.....all were pretty much had by a good time.

The Trailer Moves......
                ....Let the Pageant Begin....Almost!
      The Pageant trailer was moved early on Wednesday morning as we were in a training meeting.
We moved the work trailer and set up shop.  Things were in stride.....we finished the FRP panels on Tuesday as well as put two coats of paint on our newly textured ceiling...Texture isn't necessarily Marcus' favorite but we all agreed it saved us a lot of time and is great for the bathroom.  We laid a plywood sub-floor, filled in the cracks and sanded it.  As you can see, Elder Van Horn was more than willing to lift a finger to help with the fact he did most of the work getting it down.   Then it was time to start installing the partitions. It took most of the morning getting a layout and in packing and it was just going great until we realized that we didn't have all the parts for the partitions and so it would be the first of the week before we could finish them.  Elder Sims surprised us all when I handed him the camera to take a picture of the partitions, with me in it, of course.....the next thing I know is he is taking a "selfie".  I think I got the last laugh as I posted him front and center in the weeks picture gallery.

Pottery Glazing at Bonaparte......
         .....Something to Get Fired up About!!
     Our weekly escape from Nauvoo took us back to Bonaparte.  The Lindeburg's hadn't been there and there was a Raku (a high temperature glazing technique) firing and at Bonaparte Pottery where we had visited earlier in the year.  This time Lee Burningham was there with his expertise and kilns.  Lee is second cousin to one of our missionaries here and has had a life full of experiences centered around his pottery skills.  He has come here for the last three years to spend the summer working with Marilyn, the owner of Bonaparte Pottery.  I chronicled a the story earlier how she and her husband had come to Bonaparte and found the treasure trove of pottery molds and pieces that he been buried there over the years.  He died in 2006 and Marilyn had given her whole life and soul to keep the place alive and continue to tell the story.  And now, as has often been said....This is the rest of the story......
     As Lee and I were talking and I had told him I had been here before and Marilyn had related her history with the building he asked me if she had told me that he had been prayed here.  "I don't recall that detail", I said.  "It's a great story", he related and with that I was on my way.  I found her and began a little chit chat with her and then I sprung it on her...."Lee tells me you prayed him that true?"  Marilyn, who is probably eighty + and has thinning red hair started to tear up and dropped her head for a moment.  Regaining her composure she related the following:  "Do you believe God could talk to you in a dream? I smiled as I affirmed to her that we can have answers to our prayers....and yes we can hear voices on special occasions (and we are not crazy, either) She continued;  My business had been struggling to the point that I could no longer see the future.  I was despondent and heartbroken.  I felt that Bonaparte Pottery was nearing and end and my lifelong work and dream was going to vanish.  I had prayed long and hard but there was no answer.  Finally, one night in the spring of 2013, I had retired after a particularly disheartening day.
I was dead asleep when a voice said loud and clear.  "Don't give up....Help is on the way."  Startled I laid there wondering what had just happened.  As I dozed off again the same voice....the same message: "Don't give up....Help is on the way."  This time I was more awake but still unbelieving what was happening.  And then again.....a third time: "Don't give up....Help is on the way."  A few weeks later Lee showed up unexpectedly and spent the summer helping her and revitalizing her business.  He as returned now for two years, bought a property, and plans on retiring at some point.
When Lee and his wife are in Bonaparte they are the only two Mormons in far!
     So we probably didn't need the pottery.....but we did need to hear the story.  And that my friends is another "Nauvoo Miracle".

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