Sunday, October 4, 2009

College, Conference, Collision, and Happy Ancestral DNA

We are on the far-left-center, where the tiny little arrow points Steve out. I saw the photographer but didn't quite know the scale of what the picture was going to be and it is not even all of the 21,000 or more people that were there on Sunday afternoon.

It was a bit of a slow-go when we arrived in Las Vegas, right as the sun was going down. Traffic was terrible. But we made it to St. George about 7:00 p.m. or so.

Kiely's Choice

Conference weekend and we finally confirmed that we were going to try and attend one session of Conference. We were going to be in Utah looking at Kiely's college pick. Okay, so why not try to make Conference? We had no tickets, but my daughter Bree assured us that the stand-by tickets are available if your group arrives early. We were excited about Conference and the chance we had to show Kiely that there is more to Utah than gray, brown, black, and white. Our family always traveled to Utah in the winter, the season when our business was at the slowest time.

I still can't believe that in the neighboring town where Grandpa Doug's parents were married the cattle passed right by the Temple down one of the main streets. The cows were wondering all over everyone's yard and eating flowers and NO ONE is watching this... but us three and the SUV guys. And "TA DA" Here we are taking pictures and being cheerleaders along the way. I so felt like "Duhr, Big-City, California." All of us were embarrassing ourselves.

We couldn't see how the Norwegians made this an upside-down boat. Maybe when the Visitor Center is open we can come back and revisit and really learn the details of the architecture . Kiely loved the Temple and it was just beautiful. This is Kiely's picture from the road below.

The beautiful St. George Temple. We picked cotton right outside the Visitor's Center. I had never done that before and was excited about it because we raise wool sheep. No one else thought the cotton was that interesting especially my husband, who served his mission in the Central States. It's still in the pocket to feel in my Toyota FJ.

Oh St. George! We had so much fun. Kiely and the Knapp family hiked all over Snow Canyon and we tried to take pictures. The names on the cave were made by early settlers to the valley and are written in axle grease. All of the Knapp Family and Kiely went to the Petrified Sand Dunes and the caves.

All of us went together to eat and meet a missionary were knew from our mission. The picture is my son-in-law Dave, Larin and Finlee. Below, I have a couple pictures of the boys, Jaxon and Dean. Why does Dean always think he's a pirate? Pirate grandchildren. I have a lot of them. Huh, Jane?

I think the restaurant was very, very popular place because it was so crowded. Yummy.... and We met the recent, former Elder missionary at the restaurant and was able to meet his beautiful Fiancee.

Grandma Dune's house that she helped her family build. The original was taken down at the same location. This is in Payson, Utah. The Patten family lived there and were some of the first to settle the area.

Peteetneet Grammar School. It's now a cultural arts and historical museum. It has this center foyer and all the rooms on each floor are like petals of a flower. Steve's mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins and probably even more ancestors went to that school. It's a mighty structure in honor of a Chief of the Native Americans that were near the town.

My picture came out a little fuzzy. I couldn't see much it was raining and I was crying.

This is a picture from the Church News and it shows the people pouring out of the Conference Center. It's the same view of the front only, way up high and and a little right. You can see the same four columns in the front. I have no idea where we are in this picture. hahaha

We were blessed to visit with Aunt Margaret, just a few blocks away. We had to stop and say "Hi" and give hugs. I have to admit I was glad to stop and catch my breath, too. Now there was light rain, but it felt like sunshine to us. Kiely said, "Man, she's spunky!" "I wanna be like her at her age!" Steve told her that your Grandma Dune is the same way and she said, "No...she's more direct." (Aunt Margaret)

Back To The Beginning from my Journal

We started late on our "trek" to Utah. Kiely was still in class and we didn't leave Santa Paula until about 1:00 pm. There is no way to explain the excitement Kiely had over seeing the college. She was just as impatient as she was when she was six years old. "Are we off the road yet?!" Her constant baby saying, that we heard over and over. Kiely was in what seemed like a repeat. Deja vu, only grown-up. We took my mother because my Aunt Eileen and Uncle Terry O'Connor that now live near St. George. Mom wanted to see him a lot and we really wanted to stop and see them--we don't know Hurricane at all, but we found their house. We love them so much! They are really fun couple and Eileen is the same age at I am.

The college was better than we ever imagined. The classes and programs, the amount of Church members, and even the weather, was way above our expectations. Kiely kept saying this was were her "Happy Ancestral DNA" was making her jump around and be like she was on a huge high of Mountain Dew and chocolate. We were at the college and the town that had been settled by the Danish. The sheep were due down from the mountains like the cattle in the town near there. Another big round-up. I would have loved to see that, too.

We went to the Norwegian town and said, "FEEL your Ancestral DNA, here, silly." We found the Patten house and tried to tell her how Patriarch Moroni Lazenby lived here, also. He is a great-great uncle to Steve. The town seems like it has thrown us back in time to the 1890's and was made like Brigham Young liked. Big wide streets, so a wagon team could make a U-turn anywhere and not have to make a "three-point-turn". That would be so awkward, I can't even imagine. If it weren't for all the SUVs and snow mobiles parked everywhere; the whole experience would have been surreal. I noticed all the architectural stars on all the houses in both small towns, like Texas. Kiely sure took a lot of pictures of just houses.

Back to the college town. She had appointments and a tour. Kiely's "bells and whistles" went-off again. This is were my "Happy Ancestral DNA" is, it's here. Steve and I in unison, "You just like the school, stop it!" I told her it was because there's Walmart across the main highway and she just wants to shop. She didn't take that well.

We stayed in Richfield and then Sunday morning took off to Conference. We had plenty of time to get there. Our pit-stop was a Stake Center in Payson and we took pictures of the family home and the museum that was once a grammar school. All the Patten family children attended school there in the beautiful building called, Peeteeneet Grammar School. It was raining so hard, I didn't even get out. Of course it was closed, but Kiely wanted to peer in every window.

The FJ was back on the road again and it started raining harder and harder. Lightening and thunder and slower traffic. We couldn't even see out the front window, our wipers weren't fast enough. Then it hailed and near Sandy almost to Salt Lake City, and then it started snowing! It was so pretty. We couldn't see the tops of the mountains, but the canyons were breath-taking with the Autumn leaves of gold, red, and green.

A wreak happened in front of us and my fireman hero just parked it in the medium and jumped-out. No words. He has done that so many times. A lot of people stopped, but he was in his working mode. Everyone standing, but the blue car ahead. He stuck his head inside and it looked like a bunch of young adults going to Church (Conference). They were all fine except they were dazed and kept going out into oncoming traffic. Steve was pulling them off the road, checking them for, I think the term is TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury.

The paramedics arrived and we just left, knowing now we would be late. I never feel bad about the prospect of postponement or "change of plans" it has been with me, all my life. Fireman's wives have to be flexible and how much more important it was to stop, then to be at Conference. It was still on the radio, loud and clear. I love new cars, not because of the shiny new paint, or the new smell, but the fact is that the car can be so totaled and yet a life-saving cage of protection. Cars rolled, truck was upside-down. Everyone scooted-out, okay. I do believe that there were guardian angles with all these accident victims. The accident could have been so much worse.

The only place we could park was way down along a neighborhood street, about a mile from the Conference Center. Steve went on ahead to the stand-by line. I couldn't catch my breath. I now realize the altitude was getting me. Kiely sat me down in the front on a rock as big as a bench right at front of the Center and took-off to see where her dad was in line. I started crying, people everywhere with signs to try and get tickets, they were like street beggars, everywhere. The protesters were behind me, but I never heard a word. The Temple wall across the street, was surrounded by young adults singing and they drowned-out any noise from the people that were there to cause a continuing source of intimidation, protesting, and religious harassment. The protesters were on private land and I believe were breaking the law. No one even looked at them or engaged them in conversation. It was like the protesters didn't exist. Latter-day Saints generally are so cool-minded.

Hundreds, if not a thousand people were in line for stand-by tickets. Steve or Kiely were updating me on their progress. There, finally.... were only about 100 people ahead of him, then only 10. The tickets were stopped, being held-back for only those in line. I wasn't there and Kiely and Steve decided that they would take me to Temple Square and we would listen to Conference on the grass and in the rain. I was soaked on the rock bench. Kiely and I had been praying hard for tickets...I think that's why I was crying. I wore my swimming mascara so my face didn't turn black.

Out of nowhere... a man handed the couple behind Steve two tickets and then turned to Steve and gave him three. I asked Steve if he was praying for tickets, he said, "No, I was doing the work and I left that up to you and Kiely."

Diana and Jim were there with friends and we couldn't find them.... so many people. Our seats were wonderful. Actually any seat is wonderful...Diana and Jim were way up high. I was in heaven and overwhelmed by the crowd of people in the large room. The lilac backdrop and dresses of the choir were just beautiful. And the jewels of the pipes to the organ made this place even more incredible. We were about... give-or-take.... 50 or so, rows away from the front. My picture shows Steve, who towers over us all and he stood out just enough for me to find him in the picture. I saw the photographer take it. He's under the tiny lilac arrow above.

I have never been to an assembly of people so large. I have never experienced the complete and total reverence given to the Prophet when he walked-out of the hallway. Not one peep. I sat down again and started crying--no noise, just happy to be there and see the Prophet of the Lord and get first-hand counsel from the Brethren, Sisters, and the Prophet himself. The Spirit was so strong and we all will never be the same. I knew I was in the right place. Heavenly Father blessed us, even though we were late. Were we blessed because we stopped to help the young adults in the wreck, knowing that the time spent there meant losing a seat? I have no idea, but I am so grateful for the chance that Steve, Kiely, and I attended Conference for the first time.

Funny thought came to mind: I stopped and did this silly wave when President Monson was waving good-bye and he stopped and did the same silly wave back to me.

My hair was straight as a stick. I saw myself in the windows of the Conference Center. I was a drowned, chubby, rat. My handkerchief will never be the same. I even made holes in it. What's that about, excitement? yeeaaahhh.

My Steve ran like the marathon man that he is... and he brought the car over to a parking lot to help me inside. We didn't say much, but we knew we needed to see Aunt Margaret Gasparac. She opened the door like Dune and waved us in and also apologized about the rain. We were loving the rain. I'm sure with all the hay fields just cut, we were about the only ones enjoying the raindrops and wonderful fresh smell of rain. I hope the weather quickly dried the fields and there wasn't much damage to the crops. We only stayed a few minutes, took pictures, gave hugs, and love. She stood at the door until we were around the corner, just like my mother-in-law, Dune.

I don't know where the time went. We talked about movie sets in Payson and sang a few songs on the MP3 and we were back. Kiely again talked about her dang, DNA was happy as we passed through the college town. We still continued on to Hurricane and had a wonderful meal with my aunt and uncle. We sorta' forgot to eat along the way. My mother showed me all of my Aunt Eileen's paintings that hung throughout their home. I knew she had painted a little quail on a leaf for my mother, but this all was so incredible. I was touched by the one of her most recent paintings and that was of her and her sister at the edge of a beach shoreline saying "goodbye." I know that it represented the knowledge, hope, and faith that they will be reunited again as a family, after death. I'm so glad that they like being there with Latter-day Saints around them. I think even a Bishop lives close to them. I'm grateful because I know they will be taken-care of there.

A trip to the Cache Valley Cheese Factory to get "squeeky chesse" was next. I already blogged about that fun experience! "Mice in her mouth" When we finally got to Fillmore, California. We called Tressa to be out in front of her house to get the cheese. If she wasn't there, we would throw it on her lawn. Steve had to teach a CERT class in just an hour and we were so rushed and so tired. My poor mom and Kiely in the back seats. It was not exactly cozy back there.

As we got in the driveway, it seemed Steve jumped-out almost with the car moving. j/k He took-off to his class and Kiely and I laughed at the cacophony of the animals greeting us at home. The "Rooster Donkey" cracks-me-up! Still!

I just want to add... that I looked for Steve's ancestors in Utah. Hmmmmm. They were born in Ephraim. The great-great grandmother named Stevens was also from Ephraim. The great-great grandfather was born there. The Tilby and Stevens family homes are even displayed in his records. My mind is going...let's go find them, next time. The ancestors have a lot of connection with the Prophet Brigham Young's Muddy River Mission. I understand now, Kiely's "Happy Ancestral DNA". Her ancestors were from Ephraim, Utah and she really did have this... "Happy Ancestral DNA," feeling. I am excited for her. I have to remember this experience during my "empty-nest" trial. Journaling is good.

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