Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tom and I try to go home again

Capital Church: 10th East and 7th South

Tom and I decided to go to a worship meeting at the Capital Church in Salt Lake.  Not because we were looking for a new church, but because this building used to be the Emigration Ward building where we grew up, and where my father was bishop for ten years.  It looks much the same as it did when it was a Mormon Church except there is a gold, clean cross on the steeple.  It hasn't been a Mormon Church for 30 years.

Anyway, we wanted to see the inside.  We hoped the chapel was similar with those white varnished benches.  Teenagers and college students sat on the left side in the back.  It was a great ward in the fifties and sixties.

We parked in front of what used to be the Goodrow's house and walked up the parking lot.  The downstairs door we used to go through was locked, so we walked around to the side door, which was close to the pulpit and was not used much, because everyone saw you when you walked in late.

The whole church had been gutted.  What used to be the chapel is now a coffee bar.  Seriously, it was like Starbucks and people bought coffee and then went to sit down in what used to be the recreation hall.  The stage had been redesigned with steps leading up to it across the front.

The band was tuning up as we sat down: Three electric guitars, one piano, one electronic keyboard and a huge set of drums inside a plexiglass room of its own.  The room filled up and the meeting began.  We were casually welcomed and invited to stand to sing.  The hymns were soft rock, the words lit up on a jumbo screen to the right.  

I liked singing with a band, if you want to know the truth.  But I didn't like standing for nearly a half an hour while we did so.  All the music was about Jesus and being saved.  The drums made you want to dance, but no one did.

Then we took a ten minute break.  Everyone got up for more coffee and meandered back.  A man in his forties, casually dressed, gave us a sermon about maintaining Jesus as the "foundation" of our "building."  He illustrated this by using a Jenga game set on a stool.  He pulled out pieces to show how life sent us surprises when we thought we were stable.  As long as we had a strong foundation we would flourish even in bad times.  It was an optimistic, Christian message.  Scriptures from a Bible I didn't recognize (casual, colloquial) appeared on the jumbo screen.

It reminded me of my electrician father giving talks using light bulbs and such as illustrations.

We spoke with one man, who greeted us and told us 1000 members from all over the valley attended church here each week.  (They have three services to choose from).  Everyone was very friendly.  People greeted and hugged each other.

Community.  That's what it's all about.  Community and love of each other and the gospel.  And drums.  I think we could include a drum now and then.  I didn't see any panty hose and I wasn't wearing them either.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Today's diversion: Shasta's Airflyte 16

After our breakfast with the other Plumskies this morning (always delightful), Tom and I needed a diversion from the mundane difficulties of every day life and decided to drive north and see this delicious remake of the 1965 Shasta Airflyte.  I'm a sucker for those aluminum wings on the back.

This red one looks terrific, but I really liked the yellow one the best--it also had the black and white tile floors which are as Dutch as the cows of the same color.  We sat and chatted with Al, the salesman, who was raised in Kaysville and was born in 1961, the year I graduated from high school.  So, it was a little like sitting in a trailer court and chatting with a neighbor.

Tom and I fantasized about driving down to Texas and through all the southern states we haven't seen.  I'm especially interested in Oxford, Mississippi where Faulkner grew up.  And, of course, the fabulous Charleston and Savannah.  I can imagine taking up a whole fall season to make this trip with nothing but levis, t-shirts and underwear packed.

This puppy costs an even $16,000.  You can take 12 years to pay with 4% interest.  Hahahahahaha.
Then you have to buy a truck to pull it. That's a lot of motel rooms.

Still the fantasy was diverting and we ended with an ice cream cone from Baskin-Robbins.

Love you, Al.  I have your card!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I am now an ordained minister.

Yes I am. I am a minister of the Universal Life Church.  I received my certificate on the internet yesterday.

I'm going to marry my grand-daughter, Rian and her true love, Tate, in mid-August.

If I want to, I can start my own church.  So tempting.  I can christen and baptize people.

I would be happy to baptize anyone out there, although I'm too weak to do the full immersion thing. But I'd be glad to baptize you with a silver soup spoon. Or a soup ladle, if you need real cleansing.

What, you might ask, does the Universal Life Church believe?

Pretty much what you want.  Certainly, we believe in life, universally.

My church will have short meetings, short talks, a little laughing, a little crying, some scripture, some poetry and music.

Panty hose are not required.

As an ordained minister, I could wear my academic gown, (or even better, Tom's red Harvard gown), but I need to remember that it's not about me; it's about Rian and Tate, so I'll stifle the need for self glorification as much as I'm able and marry them simply and, yes, legally.

Friday, July 17, 2015

I can't walk on rocks let alone on water.

I enter Boiling River Springs upright: white hair,  white top.

Then I become a crab.

Then I'm a mollusk on my back.  Erica, at left, is coming to save me.

Erica walks me out.

I am a cautious old lady.  Acquaintances of mine, in their seventies, have fallen off bikes and died and have fallen down the stairs and died. So, I've  given up bike riding and I hold onto the railing when going down stairs.

Why would I think that I could walk in a rocky river bed?  I wasn't thinking.  As soon as I was in the river, I thought what the hell are you doing here?  This is much worse than descending a staircase or riding a bike.  

Honestly, sometimes I forget I'm old.  I want to be thirty-nine like Erica.

We did find our way to the hot water and sit in the mud for awhile as little children showed off for us by splashing in our faces.  I am always pleasant to children, but really, I wanted to bite one of those silly girls in the arm.

This week at the Mary Oliver Book Club, a woman ten years my senior, told about going down a zipline high in the sky this last month. 

I don't need to do anything from a great height.

I want to die in my bed with my sons in the room, texting each other.

I'm glad I walked up the Virgin River in my forties.

The most dangerous thing I do now is drive a teeny-tiny car, which makes me feel young at heart. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Death in Yellowstone

Who can pass up a title like that?  Yes, we want to know about death in Yellowstone.  And having read most of it, I can tell you now that I would never head out in a small boat on Yellowstone Lake for an island in the afternoon.  Large swells come out of nowhere and fill your boat. Not wearing a life jacket.  You're dead.  Wearing a lifejacket?  You're still dead.  The water is freezing cold. You're dead, dead.

Or you may be struck by lightening on a sunny afternoon in your pleasant little boat. Boom. You're dead.

Deaths by falling rocks, by noxious fumes, by poisonous parsnips, cave-ins, freezing and, of course, death by boiling water.

My favorite:  one guy dove into a hot spring head first to save his dog.  Both dead.  People back up into hot springs.  People disregard danger signs.

People are mauled by bears and stomped by bison.  They think wild animals are "cute."  Dead.

A lot of this happens to young people, who work in the park.  Some of them drunk, wandering around at night. And German tourists.  And several from Salt Lake City.

What I learned from this book: while Yellowstone is called a park, it's not Disneyland; it's wilderness. Pay attention.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Two geezers and a geyser

In front of Yellowstone Lake

Tom and I spent several cheerful days last week in Yellowstone Park with Charles, Erica and Maxwell. (Murgatroyd was engaged elsewhere).  Tom's been to the park twice.  I had never been. Erica jumpstarted us last summer by making reservations for two cabins in the park. Cabins go fast.

She brought an ice chest of great food for breakfasts and lunches, and she and Charles planned our itinerary.  All we had to do was follow the red car.

I think our first stop was the Little Grand Canyon and the falls.  I said a cliched "amazing" twice in ten minutes.  Without a computer I searched for synonyms.  I picked "staggering."  

In my small mind I had wondered how good can Yellowstone be?  Utah has mountains, lakes, Bryce and Zion's Canyon. Moab. The Uintahs.  Why get in a car and drive five hours to see the same old, same old?

I was so wrong. Yellowstone was beyond my imagination: boiling rivers, brightly colored surfaces, pole pines and a vast lake.

And it had critters.  We saw bears, bison, elk, jack rabbits, a moose and one slithering garter snake. We saw butterlies and floating seeds rise above the steam pots.  And we saw that American icon, Old Faithful, rising and glittering toward the sun.  Then we had a leisurely lunch and came out to see it all over again. Gorgeous. Stirring. Spiritual.  I was lost but now am found.

At night, we played Parcheesi and Dominoes in the lodge in front of a fire.  Maxwell smirked.

Thank you Charles, Maxwell and, especially, Erica, for opening up our world again.

And thank you, Teddy Roosevelt.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On buying straws

My youngest sister, Marilyn

Marilyn bought these colorful straws for Card Night (and Janie's birthday).  I sat next to her. She plopped one into her water bottle and it disappeared. Major hysteria broke out.

I have done this myself with grandchildren's drinks, thinking I'm so cool for having remembered to buy straws.