Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Pioneer Day!

The following conversation happened yesterday:

Dad: whatcha doin' tomorrow?
K: going to work. why?
Dad: why ya workin' tomorrow?
K: um, 'cause it's thursday.
Dad: yeah, but it's pioneer day.
K: remember, dad, we don't celebrate that holiday here in arizona. that's only a utah holiday.
Dad: oh, yeah.

Pioneers sang as they walked and walked and walked...

Today is Pioneer Day for all of the members of the LDS Church. Today is the day we commemorate the arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake valley - July 24th, 1847. I have a very strong pioneer heritage. I have ancestors who walked the plains with a handcart company. Some of my ancestors were some of the very first members of the restored church. My great, great grandmother's brother, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, was the personal secretary to the prophet, Joseph Smith. Their brother, Joel Hills Johnson, wrote the words to "High on the Mountain Top." My ancestors were present when Brigham Young was speaking to the members who were disputing that he should be the next president of the church and they witnessed the physical transformation that took place in him that confirmed to those present that he was to be the next president and prophet.

I am so GRATEFUL for my pioneer heritage. I have read The Work and the Glory series of books as well as the book, Handcart, and although I do not like to read, I LOVED these books and could hardly put them down. Now, to say that I read the entire W&G series, that is amazing because that is about 5,000 pages! For me...again...amazing! I attribute those books to helping build and strengthen my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. Although the story of the main characters in the books is fiction, the real people and their actions in the book are based on real accounts of their lives. I felt so close to the Spirit while reading them. I cried often at the tragedies and trials these people had to endure. It has made me who I am - knowing that these people went through so much to give me a life that I enjoy.

I love the picture above of the trekkers pulling and pushing a handcart. I would love to do this sometime in my life. A few years ago, when the Church was getting ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the pioneers arriving in Utah, someone came up with an idea to do a wagon train arriving in the valley. Shortly thereafter, youth groups started doing a 28 mile trek with handcarts in real pioneer dress. They had to leave all of their worldly belongings home such as their iPods, watches, gameboys, etc. They trekked all 28 miles - I think in just 2 days - in the heat. I would have to do it when it was cooler because I would get really sick and be one of those that dies on the trail since I have my heat aversion issue. The trek is a real testimony builder. At the end of the first day, the handcart company stops at a campsite that has been set up for trekkers and they have a testimony meeting that night. It's amazing how the trekkers share their feelings about what they've been through that day and how ancestors did it for thousands of miles. This is definitely something I want to add to my "Bucket List" (the things I want to do before I kick the bucket).

So, today, I worked. Worked hard. Left early though to come home and meet the fridge repair guy. Wally, from Reliance Appliance. Very nice guy. Had it fixed in a jiffy. Literally 10 minutes. That was a fast 90 bucks out the door. But, I won't complain: 1) Whirlpool paid for the part - even though the fridge was 7 years old and out of warranty, and 2) $90 is a heck of a lot cheaper than $1,700 for a new fridge!

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