Day two of the Space Center’s two week vacation. Day two of no responsibility. Day two of not having this uneasy feeling hanging over my head that I need to be at the Space Center dealing with scraped elbows or vomit or the occasional foul child whom everyone in his /her life caters to morning, noon and night.
You know, I haven’t had one bout of acid reflex since this vacation started. It is fantastic. Take away a bit of stress and my body stops torturing me. Who knows, I may decide to spend a year in some Buddhist monastery in a far distant land on a religious year long retreat. I’ll chose a monastery built on a cliffside accessible only by rope and ladder. I’ll return once I’ve accumulated the knowledge of the ancients. Oh, I want to learn how to levitate as well. Anyone else interested? Perhaps we can put a group together.
Today I had the privilege of going to a double baby blessing. How lucky can a guy get? My two nieces had baby girls and decided to bless them at the same time in Nicole’s ward in south Provo. Jasmine lives in California and is here for a month or so and thought the idea was fantastic. So, there we are - let me guess - nearly two thousand family members here from all the families related to my nieces and their husbands. I have my sister (the grandmother) and her husband staying with me. The others are spread out all over northern Utah, southern Idaho, western Colorado and eastern Nevada.
My Sunday started with my mother’s recognizable call. “Victor!,” she shouted. She wanted to know if I had crazy glue. I wondered why my 70 year old mother wanted crazy glue. Perhaps to mend something broken due to her failing eyesight or lack of concentration (or both).
“I broke the tooth off my denture and need to glue it back on.” she said matter of factly. I looked out the window wondering if I had mysteriously and unknowingly been transported to some alternate reality during the night. But all seemed normal here at Wits End.
“I don’t have super glue. I still have all my teeth,” I answered.
“Would Jilane have any,” she asked. I could tell she didn’t have her teeth in by the way she spoke. You know the sound someone makes as they gum out words.
“I don't’ know mom, here let me ask her. Jilane, do you have super glue? Jilane won’t answer me. Could it be that she doesn’t live here. You’ll have to call her to ask her.” I said.
Now I don’t want to sound like a smart A and a rude son so I changed my tone and took a more apologetic approach. “I’ll call her for you.”
I called my sister. She had crazy glue. I told her why mom needed it.
“Whatever,” was her answer.
Now a word of advice for all. Don’t ever follow a grandmother who thinks she’s going to be late for her grandchild’s blessing. We had a small caravan stretching for twelve miles following first my sister Annette and then my sister (the grandmother) Janice. None of us knew where the church was, and being like most blessings, it would be at church located at the very center of an elaborate labyrinth of streets and dead ends. You’d think we’d use Google Maps or something and get the directions ourselves but not the Williamsons. We need to do things the old fashion way - we play ‘follow the leader’.
Annette lead for the first part of the journey from Pleasant Grove to Provo. Her choice of streets to get to the freeway was interesting, perhaps creative would be a better way to describe it. She lost us a few times because of traffic lights but was considerate and pulled over each time to wait. Once we got on the freeway Janice pulled into the lead. She saw the time and decided my estimate of the time needed to get to the blessing was way off. She pulled ahead in a cloud of blue smoke. The race was on! She had us all weaving in and out of lanes traveling 85 mph in a 65 mph zone. The Battlestar had no problem keeping up but I thought we’d lost my dad several times. We exited the freeway near the Provo Mall and sped east on Slate Canyon Road. I noticed the posted speed limit was 35 mph. The Battlestar’s speedometer read 65 mph. I prayed the Provo police had better things to do than clock cars on that road at that time on a Sunday morning.
We found the church. That’s a stroke of luck. Finding a specific church in Utah County can be difficult. There are LDS churches on every corner and they all look the same. We’ve all had the experience of attending a blessing and thinking you’re at the right church only to find you’re not after sitting in the pew and working your way through the opening hymn and then straight into the Sacrament hymn. Isn’t that embarrassing having two entire pews stand and exit the chapel while the hymn is being sung whispering to row after row of total strangers that you’re in the wrong church. Its fun to tell the deacon usher at the door that you were looking for the Baptist Church and did he know where it was.
Most true blooded Williamsons sit in the back of every chapel they visit. We automatically seek out the last row of chairs and set up camp. Of course, we are always ready to move to the new back row of chairs if the curtain into the chapel overflow is opened. We do this as an act of Christian charity - always willing to give up the better seats (those closest to the front) in church to those more righteous and deserving. The back seats are good enough for our kind. Of course, that only applies to church. You should see us at a buffet - or better yet at Disneyland. We will fight and claw out way to the front of any line in all matters non religious. It’s every man for himself in those situations. Many a younger Williamson has found himself in a row of bushes after getting elbowed out of a better place in a line by an elder Williamson. Imagine the cheek of taking a better spot in a queue and leaving someone like me one or two places further down the stream. I won’t have it. Respect, that is all I ask for anyone that has peaked in life and is on the slippery slope into oblivion.
The Sacrament Service started. The first hymn was announced. The chorister stood before the congregation to lead us in the hymn. I loved her. This grandma, judging by her appearance, must have known Joseph Smith personally. She waved us into singing with one arm. Her other hand held her spit rag. Her method of leading music reminded me of someone trying to keep a wasp at bay. I’m positive the congregents in the front row enjoyed the breeze created by those exaggerated arm movements. I also loved the fact that she never looked up once. She probably couldn’t see us anyway so why bother. I guess we were fortunate she stood facing us.
I really got a chuckle because the music stand kept slowly dropping in front of her, thus forcing her to stop waving away the wasp and pull it up. It was great.
You know, I wonder what the record is for the number of priesthood holders used to bless a baby. If there is one then I’m sure we shattered it today. I felt it best to stay out of the fray and kept to my encampment at the back of the chapel. From my distant vantage point the crowd of white shirts surrounding that poor helpless child resembled the photograph of an Atlantic hurricane in full force just before slamming into Cuba with the baby at the calm surface. It was amusing watching family members jostle and squeeze and shuffle and grunt as they circled and then inched forward closer and closer to the baby in an attempt to get at least one finger into the scrum. My poor frail 73 year old father was sandwiched between two gentleman with rather large girths. I could see by his distressed look that half way through the prayer he was struggling to breath. I wondered if they kept spare oxygen in the pulpit for such an occasion. Luckily my great niece's blessing was just short enough for the circle to break just in time for him to get enough air to bring color back into his face. Two people were carried back to the front pew, the baby and my father.
I was concerned for my second great niece blessed that day. Her father (giving his first baby blessing and rightfully nervous) blessed her to have a good husband that would teach her. He didn’t elaborate but I thought I could hear my sisters, no matter where they were in the world, squirm at that instant. Most females with Williamson blood rule their homes. It is a fact that can be looked up in any reference and history book. It is just one of those things their husbands learn to live with.
After the blessing and sacrament my mother and I slipped out of the chapel and secretly met inside the Battlestar (my house sized Lincoln) which I had parked in the furthest parking place possible. I listened to the radio while mother performed surgery on her dentures. I couldn’t watch so I kept my eyes focused on the steeple and mind on the radio. She pulled out her mini surgery kit and set it on the arm rest. She held out her hand for the super glue my sister gave me to give to her when she arrived late for the blessing. She reached into her purse and pulled out a knife which could easily be used to skin a bear. With tools in hand the repair started. I remember her grunting a few times followed by this sickening scraping sound. Half way through the procedure my curiosity got the best of me and I looked. Her top plate was in her left hand. The missing tooth in her right. She was preparing to super glue it into place. That was enough for me and I refocused on the steeple. Fifteen minutes later I heard a clamp and a slober and the deed was done. Her smile was nearly normal. She was good for another 10,000 chews.
Pictures followed the blessing and then another multi family picnic at the park. There was a another feeding of the five thousand miracle with a few muffins, cantaloupe, and a squished croissant or two and then everyone retired to their homes.
It was a good day 2 of my two week summer vacation. I may stop by the Space Center tomorrow to get the deposit ready and answer a few emailsl or I may decide to sleep in until 3:00 P.M. (if that were ever possible). We shall see.
Volunteers and Staff. I’m hoping your summer holiday is as eventful as mine. All of you be good, mind your manners and eat your peas and carrots.