Today we bid adieu to Kulani at the airport. He was called away to Washington D.C. for an import/export conference.
I traveled with my four young girls to visit a friend in the Sugarhouse area who, at the age of 36, gave birth to her first boy. As my friend told me, motherhood is for the young. She appeared heavily burdened with the duties of a new mother and a husband out of work for these two years.
I left her a small gift and short greeting, as my 1-year-old girl was want to destroy all her belongings.
We traveled east toward Emigration Canyon. I was want to show the girls This is the Place State Park, a place my mother took me when I was young. It's a park dedicated to honoring the memories of the early explorers and Mormon pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley.
Across the street from This is the Place is the Hogle Zoo, and young Nohea, who is only 4 of age, expressed a desire to go there instead. But my oldest, Lilia, would not have it. Being Sunday, she didn’t think it appropriate to go to the zoo. However, she thought visiting a monument dedicated to Mormon pioneer settlers was a suitable activity on a Sunday.
She begrudged me when I bought a few trinkets from the Visitor’s Center: rattlesnake poo and Utah rocks. In honesty, the snake poo is chocolate-dipped sunflower seeds and the Utah rocks are made of chocolate. I thought they would be great trinkets to send to Grandma and Grandpa Christenson on their mission in Texas.
I also purchased four tickets so we could ride the train that travels around the pioneer village. It was a great replica to my liking. Every story of pioneer hardship made my eyes tear up with great drops of water. The girls did not share in my profound affection for these early Saints.
I asked the girls if they would like to have their wedding receptions in one of the recreated buildings. “Gross,” is what they thought of the act of marriage. Lilia is age 8; Lissy is 7; Nohea is 4; Lehua is 1. Perhaps they are still too young to think of marriage.
I could have stayed there all day reading all the stories and plaques. It amazed me completely to think of those early explorers traipsing over the vast western land of America, especially considering the hot mess that is the Salt Flats and Wendover area. How did they do it without even a 7-Eleven with which to quench their thirst? In my heart I said a little prayer thanking the Lord for his tender mercies such as the 44 ounce Big Gulp.
At times I could not read the plaques detailing the sorrows of those early settlers, as my voice would be choked with emotion. I received funny looks from the girls, as if I was wearing my garments upon my head. In time, they will take their girls to This is the Place, and we shall see who's weeping then.
As a seed becomes a tree. And on it goes.
Writer’s Note: After visiting the monument, my desire to learn more about my ancestry was peeked. I did a quick search for Edward Partridge, one of my great-great-etc. grandfathers and first bishop of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remember my mother telling me stories of Edward Partridge, and she even helped me prepare a talk for Primary about him when I was young. I found this great article from the 1979 Ensign, written by Dean Jesse. Dean Jesse, coincidentally, was a next-door neighbor to us when we lived with Lani in Salt Lake City. His wife and Kulani’s mother are great friends.
Some interesting things I found about this article include:
- Edward was considered to be without guile. I love that description.
- Two of his daughters were polygamist wives to Joseph Smith, before he was killed. Later they became polygamous wives to Amasa Lyman. The article doesn’t say whether they divorced Amasa after polygamy was abolished and Amasa was excommunicated. But I get the sense that the two sisters were great friends, and especially helped each other in times of need. I love this line from the diary of Eliza (the line I am from):
“I thought my trials were very severe in the line and I am often led to wonder how it was that a person of my temperament could get along with it [polygamy] and not rebel; but I know it was the Lord who kept me from opposing his plans although in my heart I felt that I could not submit to them. But I did and I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for the care he had over me in those troublous times.”I’m grateful for her honesty in that description.
- Only one boy grew to adulthood from Edward, and his name was also Edward. He served a mission in Hawaii from 1854-57. Here’s what Edward Jr. wrote in his diary after he was called to be bishop:
“This is something that I have always had an instinctive dread of since I have had understanding sufficient to know what the office of a Bishop was.”I’ve always believed that anyone who actually wants to be bishop has a screw loose in their head.