Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pioneer Day: Two Addenda

(I would have guessed 'addendi' for the plural, but then I never studied Latin.)

I forgot to mention a few things in honor of pioneer day.

First, I found this flyer, pinned to the bulletin board of another ward, very disturbing:

"Ward Social! Come celebrate Pioneer's Day on Saturday, July 25, 2009, at the home of Brother Jones, 111 Martin's Cove."

(A student of LDS history will understand why any pioneer party in Martin's Cove would seem more maudlin than merry.)


This reminded me of another story from 2002. I was an advisor to the young women of the Raleigh 4th ward at the time. I have changed the names of both seventeen-year-old girls.

[The movie Handcart was about to hit theaters, and Milly and Shanna were discussing it and the novel (historical fiction) upon which the movie was based.]

Milly: The book was sooo good! Do you want to borrow it?
Shanna: I don't know. How does it end?
Sister Berry: [quipping] Everybody dies.
Milly: [Shocked] Sister Berry!! How could you? You just ruined the ending!
Sister Berry: [laughing] I haven't even read it!
Milly: [baffled] Then how did you know how it ends?

Jon frequently asks me "What is [insert famous story] about?" and my standard reply is "Everybody dies." Of course, in the case of Hamlet, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a host of other tragedies, it also happens to be true...

I still haven't read the book, but my prediction is that, in fact, almost everybody dies, leaving one or two characters to straggle bedraggedly into the Salt Lake Valley, suffer some amputated toes, then go on to marry and produce nine stalwart children.

Yes, of course I respect the sacrifices of the pioneers, even when the suffering resulted from preventable human errors. But with every human experience, there's always some humor mixed with tragedy.

What I can't decide is whether the girls' ignorance of church history is more tragic or humorous.

4 comments:

Mom said...

Gail,
The "everybody dies" line was a favorite of one of my seminary teachers. He used it when kids wanted to know the ending of the Bible before reading it, for instance.

He clearly should have made an exception for Moses and Elijah, I always thought.
Mom

Krenn said...

to be fair, only what, 2 parties out of 20 took catastrophic casualties? so they COULD have made a movie about the other 18, although there wouldn't have been as much drama....

THE NORTH CAROLINA CHRISTENSENS said...

I loved your comment, and I'm planning on using it much more in my interactions with people. By the way, I have gotten your email, and I'm not ignoring you, but the last we has been insanely busy with me teaching a cake decorating class at enrichment, and doctors appointments (that lasted 2 hours!), and dentist appointments, and a ward social, and Stake enrichement stuff. Oh wait, that is now called Stake R.S. meeting. :o)

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