This week has been very interesting, when we weren't having rain we were having hail. Needless to say this has been a week that the cowboys pray for. The grass gets greener, the cows get fatter and so the cowgirls are able to get a higher limit on their credit cards. Seriously though, we have had a series of thunderstorms to equal any I have ever witnessed. Its knocked out the power a number of times and night before last one large bolt hit our transformer about 100 feet away. That certainly got our attention as well as took out our power for about 12 hours. That's when you really appreciate the beauty of a self-contained RV. But even then, the wells don't pump, the laundry facilities shut down, and the neighbors get cranky, and most sadly, the poor trekkers get soaked. We were supposed to assist them with square dancing the other night, but the rain soaked trekkers, 7 or 8 hundred of them wouldn't come out of their tents. Thank goodness, its just not my idea of special evening to be dancing around in the mud and the rain.
As trail manager I have had to repair a number of wash-outs. To some this was a crisis, but to a dirt guy (or should I say dirty guy) this was just another days work. Its been fun coming out of retirement. Anyway, after a few hours with a good tractor, and drag, we have them all up and running again, and if I might add, better than before.
Its amazing to see how many people want to come and have the pioneer experience even in bad weather. Its inspiring to see young couples with small children pulling them in handcarts even when its raining. I guess when you've made the effort to get all the way out here, you don't want to miss the opportunity. We even see many senior citizen defying the elements to in some small way experience what the pioneers experienced as a daily routine.
The other night we had a very special experience as two of the sisters of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, the wife of our late Church President, Gordon B. Hinckley, came by to tour the Cove and speak to us. These two lovely ladies are in their eighties, but are sharp as a tack. Besides giving us a very interesting history of their family which crossed the plains on this trail with the Hunt Wagon Train, they showed us the actual grave marker of of one of their relatives, a new born baby who died in 1856 on the trail somewhere near the Cove. It was constructed from what appeared to be a thick board from a wagon side, and appeared to be engraved by burning into the wood using some sort of hot rod or poker. It had a heart engraved at the top, and the words " Our baby Edith Gobel Born Sept 31 1856 Died Nov 4 1856". November 4, 1856 is the same date the Martin Handcart Company was taken into the Cove for protection from the elements. The miracle is that it was ever found, as they only came across this artifact last year. It was found in the mountains by a hunter and has been authenticated by experts. The baby is the sister to one of the featured pioneers in our Cove stories, Mary Gobel Pay the grandmother of Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley. How this special marker survived 154 years intact is any ones guess, and then to be found by someone who was willing to research the name and deliver it to one of the babies descendants is a miracle of epic proportions.
Yesterday the re-enactment of the Pony Express took place at the cove. This is a National Assoc. of Pony Express Riders which every year rides the trail that the original Pony Express took which goes right through Martins Cove. Tonight several of the express riders who had finished their portion of the trail entertained us with songs and music. One of the daughters is a concert violinist and could she ever play.
Well enough information from me, so I'll turn the computer over to my beautiful companion.
Love Elder Leavitt
As Elder Leavitt has said, this has been quite a week, with the weather being a big part of it. So far, the last few days have been better w/ little rain but with the usual wind. Today we hit a high of 68 -- it felt wonderful !
I don't think we have told you about Oscar -- he's a huge white dog who lives at a ranch 10 miles from Missionary Village. Every summer he shows up to accompany the trekkers. However, he stayed here with us "old folks" for a couple of days. What a neat dog! He is so big, but very gentle. I was told he was 10 years old so I was thinking that maybe he had lost a little bit of his "get up and go" but I saw him chase a truck through our Village and he took off like a bullet. I was also told that he was a picky eater, but I gave him some of a hamburger casserole I made and he had two helpings :)
I'd like to share another spiritual experience we had this week. One of the Sister Missionaries was scheduled to help one of the trek groups with the Woman's Pull -- this is when the women pull the handcarts over a hill by themselves without the help of men. This is done to honor all the single women who had to pull handcarts alone over those 1300 miles and to impress upon the young women how much strength, physically and spiritually, they do have. As part of that, a Sister Missionary always prepares a little talk about one of the women pioneers who was at Martin's Cove and tries to make that pioneer's story relevant to the young women of today.
The Missionary prepared a story about the family of her great grandmother who was a "babe in arms" while at Martin's Cove When she was getting set up to give the talk, another woman from the trek group approached her and said that she had prepared a talk about one of the pioneer women who had greatly impressed her. She said that she had studied about her for months and had gotten very close to her. The pioneer woman she had chosen lost her husband and some children on the trail, but when in Martin's Cove, still had 4 small daughters. So when she started speaking - you guessed it - the pioneer woman she had selected was the mother of this Missionaries great grandmother. This is not a coincidence but a tender mercy of our Lord who allowed these two women who had come to love and admire the same pioneer family to find each other.
I twisted Elder Leavitt's arm and he very reluctantly agreed to give a haircut demonstration with the flu-bee. One of the sister Missionaries volunteered to let him cut her hair -- she wears her hair real short, so it should turn out cute. My hair still looks good and everyone is so impressed that Charlie cut it. If nothing else, it should be a fun get-together :)
As usual,Elder Leavitt has done a great job of summarizing the week, so I'll sign off for now. Keep those emails and letters coming. We love hearing from all of you.
7 hours ago