Guess who has Internet service and two thumbs poised over the space bar in proper typing position? This guy!
Shortly after I wrote yesterday’s post, my boss called whatever people needed to be called, those people then did whatever thing needed to be done, and voilà—Internet service is restored to the Sidney Rigdon home! It’s a good feeling, and good for the whole family, all of whom were suffering from at least a little bitty bit of Internet withdrawal. Going without it was a bit too 1844 for our tastes.
Yesterday, I had a very interesting tourist among my first tour of the day. The guy was incredibly enthusiastic about everything on the tour and absolutely fascinated by Mormon history in general. The funny thing is, he’s a lifelong Baptist. Despite that, he was familiar with more Mormon history than the average tourist. He mentioned several early Latter Day Saint groups that he had studied, such as the Rigdonites, the Strangites, etc. In between stops on our walking tour, he and I were engaged in constant conversation during which he asked about my own spiritual journey and, as with everything else, was quite taken in by it. He apologized numerous times for asking so many questions, but it was the highlight of my day. It’s enjoyable to talk about these things, and the man’s enthusiasm was amusing in a charming kind of way.
Last night was our Fourth of July celebration here in Nauvoo. Now before you spit your Postum all over your keyboard and scream, “Whhhhaaaaaaaatttt?!?!!?”, let me explain. About 15 or 20 minutes south of Nauvoo is a city called Keokuk. My understanding is that Keokuk puts on a large fireworks show every year. In order to avoid competing with Keokuk, Nauvoo does its fireworks on July 3rd. But it’s not just Nauvoo. Montrose, Iowa is directly across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo. Montrose and Nauvoo take turns setting off the July 3rd fireworks, since no matter which city does it, people on both sides of the river can enjoy the spectacle. This year, Montrose was responsible for the fireworks. Before heading out to watch the fireworks, Melanie, the boys, and I attended a dinner at the Nauvoo Community of Christ. We had hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, chips, pasta salads, etc. We had a good time. After the dinner, we followed the crowds to park alongside the Mississippi River and wait. We worked our way through the relentless flocks of mayflies coalescing along the water’s edge and ended up in a great spot to watch the fireworks. It was one of the most calm fireworks displays Melanie and I can remember. It probably helps that, being in Nauvoo, we couldn’t hear whatever music Montrose might have been playing as part of the show. It was just the visuals and a bunch of families sitting relatively quietly around us. It was quite pleasant. This is the first year in who knows how long that we didn’t gather up a bunch of treats to have on hand for the show. That’s fine, because we had just had dinner and dessert at the church. But it seems worth noting, since it was a break from our traditional Independence Day shenanigans.
Today happened to be my day off, so we did have some 4th of July fun. We saw a 1:30 PM showing of Terminator Genisys at the movie theater in Keokuk. It’s quite a good deal. Tickets are $8 per person, but all tickets come with an individual-sized popcorn and a fountain drink. If that weren’t exciting enough, they have Diet Mountain Dew on tap! The theater itself is nothing special—it’s old-fashioned, but not in a cool way. They don’t have stadium seating, so if it’s crowded you can have a hard time seeing the screen (so I’ve heard). But we didn’t have that problem today as very few people were in attendance. Which is awesome, considering it’s a holiday and that movie just came out. Here’s to living in small towns!
Another small-town, movie-related part of our day was renting movies from an honest to goodness video rental store. They still exist out here! Perhaps because video rental stores are nearly obsolete, the deals are incredible. For the first 30 days of our membership, we get half-priced movies. On top of that, they always offer “rent 3, get 1 free.” On top of that, many movies are only $1. On top of that, they have a decent-sized selection of kid movies that are 100% free to rent. We actually signed up a few days ago and came home with seven movies, four of which were new releases, for just over $4. Take that, Redbox! The rentals the other day were primarily for the kids, so today Melanie and I stocked up on movies, once again spending under $5. We have five days before we have to worry about returning the videos, so we’re in good shape. It’s quite wonderful.
Tonight, we went to my boss’ house for a 4th of July meal that was extremely similar to last night’s meal—grilled burgers and bratwursts, baked beans, pasta salad, chips, etc. At the behest of my 18-year-old tour guide buddy named Shad, Melanie, Eddie, Creegan (sort of), and I played a round of croquet with him. I won the game but lost to the mosquitoes, who absolutely devoured my ankle by game’s end. At one point I looked down and had maybe five mosquitoes on my ankles all at once, drinking away like a team of thirsty horses stopped at a stream. I enjoyed my time at the party, but I was more than done by the time we left. As I write this, I am less itchy but much more exhausted.
Need I include a “fun fact of the day”? Oh, alright. The stars, moon, and sun symbolism depicted on the Nauvoo and Salt Lake City temples are unlikely to represent the Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial Kingdoms, respectively. No records indicate that such was the thinking among the early Latter Day Saints, and the order in which these symbols occur on the temples (with the sun in the middle and the stars at the top) likewise suggests that they should not be interpreted as representing the three degrees of glory. Instead, these symbols are likely used for their significance in Freemasonry, which Joseph Smith joined a few short weeks before introducing what is known today in the LDS tradition as “the endowment.” As for the order in which these symbols appear on the temples, it is likely based on the relative nearness of each celestial body to the Earth: the moon is closest to us, the sun is the next nearest, and the stars are the furthest away.