Monday, July 31, 2017




The Trail of Hope Ends....
     As the saying goes....all good things must come to an end.  So it is with the Trail of Hope project.
As I took the liberty of throwing the last post from the old fence it is also fun to fascinate about the pile we have created in the FM yard of all the pieces that were in the old fence.  Some were in reasonably good shape but for the most part the fence had served long an faithfully...it was just time to get some fresh lumber in in to straighten it out and improve the look.  It did not necessarily go easily as many times we had to dig out posts that had rotted on the bottom and had broken off as we removed them.  The fence saved it's best treat for last as we were digging the last post hole.  Elder Van Horn had struggled with breaking through a rather difficult layer and was elated as the drill broke through and was again going down.  That joy was temporary as soon it stopped cold and sheared the safety pin.  There sat the drill embedded to it's hub and no easy way to get it back out.  
     Fortunately we have Elder Hunsaker and his trusty back hoe.  He was the Elder who dug the infamous 3X4 hole at the gate...trying to find the edge of the bedrock (thinking it was a footing).  Like ever project here it requires spectators and a committee to find a solution.  Elder Van Horn was convinced he could pull it our by reversing it with a large pipe wrench....I doubted but with a little help digging around the embedded drill by Elder Hunsaker Elder Van Horn provided the muscle and the drill was extracted.
    
   


  Last but not least I leaned on the last post at the sign board at the end of Parley Street.  It was a great project as not only did we get to accomplish a worthwhile goal that beautified Nauvoo but we also were able to meet and talk to many people who made the trek.
     Take a group of youth from Florida, for example.
They stopped to talk when I asked them if they could show me the correct use of the hand held post hole diggers I was using.  Before I knew it they were grabbing poles and setting them in the holes.  It reminded me of Tom Sawyer and white washing the fence in Hannibal.
     Soon their leader tracked them down and they were led away.  Seems they wanted to do something more than just visit the sites.





    .............And So Does the Legend
                                of the Prairie  Diamond
 
     
     One of the things we are learning here is that change is inevitable and sometimes comes with
great questioning and audible gasps of "Really?......Why?" Such is the demise of The Legend of the Prairie Diamond that is a beloved story told in the Blacksmith Shop.
     The short version of the story is as follows:
"A young man on the pioneer trail westward is drawn to a young woman.  Over the journey they begin to spend more and more time together and soon they are wishing to be married.  The girls father has always been protective of her and brushed away suitors as they appeared.  Looking for a quick exit for the young man he asks him  about his ability to care for his daughter.  He is the son of a blacksmith and accomplished in the trade and he can read and right. So the father 
moves on to a second question.  How does he feel about the gospel and his church worthiness.  He is doing all the right things.  Now it has become a perplexing issue as he is a doting and protective father.  With his last query he is sure he can delay the inevitable...and maybe put an end to it.  "All right", he says.  You can marry her as soon as you can give her a diamond.  Disheartened the boy returns to his home and despondently tells his father of his dilemma.  Long story short..the father takes a horseshoe nail (manufactured by Diamond) forms it into a ring.  Son presents a "diamond" ring and father is bound by his word and the boy and his sweetheart are married on the trail.
    Apparently the Church History Department can find no documentation as to the participants, where and when it happened and so it can no longer be used.  What are they thinking?  It's a story, a legend, a myth, I have never heard it explained any other way.  It's cute...it's funny.  It tells us that sometimes we have to rely on ingenuity and creativeness...and sometimes...where this is a "will" there is certainly a "way".
     What's not funny is giving folks a ring made from a horseshoe nail without the story.  That's my story.....and I'm sticking to it.

     The Oxen Get a Visit.....and Name Tags
     It's a tough job...but somebody's got to do it....and with that Sisters Van Horn and Gibson made the drive down to the Oxen site to deliver new name tags to a couple of the boys.  Dan and Ike toil daily carrying visitors around the oxen yard for a pioneer experience in wagon travel.  They now have new name tags that identify them.

Lincoln's New Salem....


                          ......The Road Trip with a Twist
     Our Saturday trip (or adventure) took us to Lincoln's New Salem.....in a round about way.  Seems Sister Van Horn had told Sister Lindeburg that the lifetime National Park Service pass for Seniors was having a price increase....from $10 to $80 that needed to be done by Saturday.  Now saving money....regardless of the cost (or even need)  to save it....is right up Sister Lindeburg's alley.  It was imperative we drive to Springfield, even though it took us out of our way 30 miles.  I figured it was no big deal if we didn't get to Lincoln's New Salem that day....there were other opportunities ahead.  We got the NPS office......and they were out of forms....and besides that we could do it on line....and last but not least....it didn't need to be done for a month.
     And with that we headed to our original destination.  Thirty miles or so North of Springfield is Lincoln's New Salem.  It is a replica of and 1830's town built around the exploits of Abraham Lincoln before he moved to Springfield.  To me it was similar to Nauvoo as it had a few people scattered in the site that would explain life there.  The real difference was the theme was Lincoln...rather than Christ.  It was quite interesting and we spent a couple of hours touring and eating in the bistro.   The visitors center was closed due to an air conditioning failure.  We did pick the best day of the month to visit as the weather was spectacular and the temperature only got into the eighties with very little humidity.

    One particularly interesting thing we noticed was the main statute of Lincoln that greeted visitors was donated by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers in 1954.  It was sculpted by Avard Fairbanks but I yet to ascertain the connection between Lincoln and the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.  It should be a story worth researching.



   
Odds....at the End
    

The Yates Come to Visit
   















One of those great times happened this week as we received a visit from our bishop and his family.     They had come to Nauvoo along with twenty one members of family to visit and enjoy the Pageant and other sites.  It was so great of them to take time from their busy schedules to spend a little time with us as we gathered near the Trail of Hope Fence I had been working on.  It's truly been a great pleasure to have him serve as our bishop and we have certainly enjoyed his spirit and testimony.  The Yates are very special in our ward.




What Makes You Think I'm a
Leprechaun?



    
    Elder DeWitt made the blog last week with a remarkable story about the power of prayer.  This week he arrived and Rendezvous and I immediately commented on his dress attire for the night.  While not necessarily offended he did question my remark...so you be the judge.....

                         Is this not a Leprechaun?

He runs, jumps, has a twinkle in his eye and is charming!!

And of course he is dressed in Irish Green!!

 
A Gift from Friends


     Sunday found us in John Taylor....telling of his house and life.....it was of course the Nauvoo version which is told in ten minutes (mission rules).  The group consisted of a family with older children.  As I finished up with a short piece from the last editorial in the Nauvoo Neighbor the lovely young lady stepped forward and told me she had a gift for Sister Gibson...turns out it was Carolyn Steven's grand daughter with a pair of walking shoes from her grandmother and her walking buddy Emmalyn.....the message here....those who walk together....stay together.  And then to top it off Judy Njord called from her mission in Hawaii.   Soon Sister Gibson was on the phone to Carolyn having one of those good old conversations....All in all it was a banner day for Sister Gibson...and as you know....if she's happy (which is most all the time) I'm happy!!


    
It's Not a Road....It's a Path
    


     Some roads look like roads.......Some don't.  Let me explain:
On the return trip from Lincoln's New Salem our trusty Google Map started taking us the quickest way back to Nauvoo.  Well, we all know that is sometimes not the case.  When we hit a road closure on the route we were re-routed counter clockwise about a mile each direction.  The last turn through us for a little loop....it was not necessarily a road but more of a gravel path through cornfields on the left and soy beans on the right with a few mud puddles in the middle to make it fun.  But there was a sign post big as life indicating this was a "road".
     It must have been a road.....after all it re-routed us back to our path home.  Sister Lindeburg was a little worse for the wear....but then after all, she was the director that took us the long way to Lincoln's New Salem in search of the NPS pass.
      I think is was karma and a payback....but then that's probably another story.


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