Monday, August 7, 2017

What Goes Around.....
                                        ..........Comes Around!!
     Most often when it comes time to put together the weeks activities and my thoughts I ask Sister Gibson for some pictures .....and the response is "Oh, I didn't take any....I guess I should have".  Well, last week was a banner week.  I found two pictures on her phone.  Proof that she does know how and can take them.  One of them, however, was not so flattering, but in all fairness I earlier posted a particularly poignant picture of her collapsed on her favorite chair after a hard day's work.  So when I found her picture of me snoozing.... I should certainly get my due reward...and yes...she does look a lot better "crashed" than I do.
Her second offering came from our day at the John Taylor home as we served there a week ago.  As we were giving multiple tours I didn't see here for sometime but I certainly noticed the parade of antique cars that streamed down Main Street.  She had been outside talking and hoped for an opportunity to  get a picture of her sitting in the car.  Didn't happen but she did manage to get a picture and a video of one of the cars along with a the sound of the old horn honking as they left Nauvoo.  Kudo's to her...I am sure there will be more in the least I hope so.

The Pageant Comes to a Close.....

     Three weeks ago on July 11 the first Pageant performance began.  Since that time the streets and venues have been inundated with people.....both visitors and those who come on a weekly basis to perform in it.  It has been amazing to see the bus loads who come...some in tours and some as youth groups from the surrounding states.  50,000+ people attended this year.   We attended four performances and appeared in the British Pageant twice as singing missionaries....which was a powerful experience.  
     Our friends and fellow missionaries, the Beecher's, were in charge of organizing and staffing the casts who come from all over the country.  It was a busy time for them and soon they will relax, take a breather, return to missionary life here as Thomas and Elizabeth in Rendezvous and begin the process all over for next year.
     The Pageant still maintains a handcart experience as part of the Country Fair that goes on before each performance.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity we grabbed one for a photo op and pulled it the 100 yards allowed.  There was a family standing by to go and they offered one of their children up for the ride....gotta luv it!!
     Watching the Pageant come to town and set up was amazing....but even more so was them leaving.  By midnight all of the chairs had been taken down, a lot of the venues and parts of the stage had disappeared, and it almost looked like nothing had happened.  Where the audience sat, however, and where those pesky chiggers found morsels on those who were unprotected, was a matted down, dry and discolored patch of lawn.  I am told it will return quickly once it receives some needed moisture....from the skies.  There is no irrigation or sprinkling in most of Nauvoo. least....the Protestors.  Seems there are eight to ten protestors floating around the outskirts of the pageant as they are not allowed on the grounds...but they can be on the fringe where the streets run....These two spend every night on the North entrance yelling and screaming and antagonizing just about any and all who pass.  Their message is hate, dissention,  and deceit.  Those who stop to talk to them are the victim of their unruly and overbearing attacks on them.  The goal is apparently to embarrass, discredit, and humiliate the unsuspecting and then post the exchange on the internet.  They pass out a flyer that is of the same layout and nature of the Pageant brochure.  The low light of their rants and antics was taking a pair of sacred garments and flaunt them before throwing them on the ground and stepping and spitting on them....and for what?  Certainly this is not intended to turn someone from their chosen spiritual path but rather incite feelings of hate and anger.  They picked the wrong group for this tactic...."We have endured many things....we have yet to endure many things and we hope to endure all things"  
     We know what we stand for......What do they stand for?

Rendezvous Moments....Cherished Memories...

       I have had many a good laugh at Rendezvous and yet there are great memories.  Several months ago the Wayments arrived and received the "opportunity" to play the George and Agatha vignette.  Sister Gibson and I spent several evenings and afternoons with them rehearsing.  It was pretty slow going and  I would often sneak attack Elder Wayment with "you know Jimmy's a fine young man"
After startling the daylights out of him several times he soon responded with his  "you'll get no  argument from me" line...and the scene was off and running.  It didn't hurt either that he got his hearing aids he could really hear.  Sadly, when it came time for them to perform they were not in the rotation to do it with me.  We were both disappointed.  This week that all changed and we had  that opportunity.  What a great experience.
     Elder Hughes and I seem to be somewhat partners in off beat humor which when done to loud does get us noticed.  For the most part we share those moments privately, however.  Somehow we ended up with this selfie while standing outside after the "Willingly" segue at the end of the show.  He is a comedic bright spot that brightens my day (or night)!  Next week is his debut as Editor as Elder and Sister Brown say farewell to Nauvoo this week and return to their home in Lake Arrowhead, Ca. after attending two weddings for their grandchildren.

     Twenty Steps to the Top.....
          .....Twenty Steps to the Bottom

      The bathroom remodel in "The Big House" is more than a is also an exercise program.  Counting steps or time on the Stairmaster has no equal to the dual tasking opportunities presented by the upstairs location of this project.  There opportunity is enhanced by the weight of the materials and debris that we carry with us.  Physical fitness and service....just doesn't get any better than this!!
     Two  people working in the same small space provides for some creative solutions.  Fortunately it all works fine for Elder Van Horn and myself.  I was still hanging sheetrock as he launched into setting the first of the tile.    Last week was the structure...this week will be the glitz as we put up the tile and put the bathroom back together.  We have been instructed to tile the ceiling in the shower...a task neither one of us has attempted.....look out below!!  
     We had the welding shop build us a pair of brackets for the bench....then we had them cut them down so they would fit.....Elder Duvall was a great help on both ends of this project.  We are pretty much a self contained unit and as an FM group we can just about handle any long as we are kept on it and can get the materials ordered and here.
     In keeping with the spirit of FM the pile of wood we created from the Trail of Hope Fence was dismantled by Elder Hill and the majority of it relegated to mere obscurity in the burn pile.  We had suggested this in the beginning but told to stack it in a pile near the river.  The pile soon became a challenge as I could see a very large bonfire...hotdogs and marshmallows  could then be cooked with twenty to thirty foot sticks.   It could have been a blazing beacon on the Mississippi....and probably burned a few trees next to it on the way.   Sometimes.....I just want a little more excitement! 

Threshers and Tractors.....

                  ....Western Illinois Thresher Festival
     This is farming country.  It's corn and soybeans or soybeans and corn.  Some even refer to driving down the roads as corn tunnels.  That's all you see here as we travel Illinois and Iowa.  So it's not hard to imagine that the big events around here revolve around farming.  We had heard from the beginning and planned on attending the Thresher's festival in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.  Then we heard of a smaller version just a little south of Nauvoo in Hamilton.  If this is the small version....the Mt. Pleasant one will be gi-hugious!! (Giant and Huge).
      There were rows and rows of tractors from the beginning of tractors to the present.  I saw one with a 600 number so I am pretty confident there were at least that many.  Then there were tractor games and pulls.  Who ever thought the winner in the tractor contest would be the one who never crossed the finish line...or how about pushing a barrel with a tractor around two markers to the finish line.  Be calm my beating heart!!
     There were junk sales, tons of food vendors, and a guy selling a really slick vegetable peeler.  Sister Gibson bought two.  Nauvoo on the Road was there so we stopped in and said hi to the group. 
     What was the most fascinating to me was the old time threshing machine powered by horses and the sawmill that was set up and powered by a tractor.  In both cases, while I could see the benefits of those machines while the risks and dangers of the operation were astronomical.  The men encouraging the horses to keep moving as well as the horses themselves were required to step over the power take off (PTO in farmer language) that turns the thresher as they went around and around and around.  It was a physical endurance contest for sure.  One mis-step or trip and you would be trampled before it could be stopped.  My guess is, based on the time we watched, that these men and horses would be going at a pretty good walking pace for over and hour to complete the load of wheat.  And then there was the doting mother was patiently explained to her child that this is the way they turned straw into hay....and I thought it was to get the wheat separated.
     Watching the sawmill in action was like a horror movie.....something's going to get lopped just don't know what or when.  After watching a worker pull boards away from the saw and get within an inch or two of the 36" blade I couldn't stand the suspense....and away I went.  It was interesting and informative.....and scary. the End

OMG(osh) another Moench connection.

     Chad Kartchner was never little....even when he moved into our Wasatch Ward when he was ten.  He had watched our Rendezvous on Tuesday night and then ran into Sister Gibson down by the Mississippi on the Trail of Hope.  Turns out he had married one of the Moench girls.  We had a great time talking to him and his family as they also attended Sunset on Friday.

     It's my assumption that these guys wanted to be here...
but who knows?  I just couldn't pass up the picture.

    So it has never been a secret that I want to lead the Children's parade at Sunset.  There are only two performances left and I certainly enjoy my part in carrying the Army flag during the opening military it isn't going to happen.  The two foam hats we are wearing are YPM stuff used in "Stomped on my Heart" segment.  They are not to be touched or used by anyone is forbidden per Elder Schultz (director of all musical and stage the king of all)
     Then again where there is a will...there is a way.  The Grand Baton (power duster) that leads the children's parade need a minor repair.  When Elder Rober asked me to repair it I was glad to oblige...with a condition.....that we get to wear the hats for a picture.  Baton fixed....Hats worn!!
Not necessarily a Nauvoo miracle...more a tender mercy.
     We also experienced  some sadness and concern this week as the Director of all the Nauvoo Stage Productions, Elder Shultz,  was struck by a stroke.  Rumors did fly as ambulances were seen early in the morning Friday at his residence.  It didn't take long to realize that he was seriously ill and he was transported to Ft. Madison and quickly put on a chopper to Iowa City.  The exact severity and nature hasn't been disclosed but it appears to be of great concern at present.

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