We made it.
After driving all morning and a nightmare scene with our hotel, we had about two hours left in the day to spend in Nauvoo.
Without recapping the whole bad event, suffice it to say, the reservations I made in July were not being honored. They were trying to put all nine of us in two single rooms. Two beds for nine people was not going to work out and I really had to go to battle for my family. This kind of struggle is difficult for me, but we do what must be done, right?
When we got to the visitor's center, we came to this place called the Monument to Women Memorial Garden. There are several statues depicting traits of righteous women. My husband had wandered through first, then came and pulled me to this statue.
"This is you," he declared.
It is called
I was touched that he would have found me in this, of all of the statues in the garden, on that particular day.
After the visitor's center closed for the day, we had a few minutes before the sun set to drive around the town. When I was a sophomore in college, in the Spring of 1997, I spent a semester in Nauvoo. Because I went to college in far away places, I've never been able to visit or bring my family to any of those places that are so dear to me. This was my first chance to introduce my family to the where of my young adult days. It was fun to tell the stories, some memories long dormant, and recount adventures and favorite friends.
This was my house.
When you go to Nauvoo, be sure to give yourself plenty of time--as in DAYS. There is much more going on in the summer, but even in the off season there are lots of things to fill your time.
A nightly play, in which senior couples play all the parts, is absolutely adorable. Completely worth going.
There are narrated wagon rides and oxcart rides that are fun and a good way to see much of the town.
Nauvoo is full of homes and business that have been either restored or rebuilt. Each one has a missionary guide who tells the story, bringing history to life.
Once again, this guy was having a hard time in the tour we were taking as a family. Dad took him out of that house and they went on their own tour somewhere else. This sweet missionary gave a tour carefully tailored to our three year old.
|With the rocking horse John Taylor rode back to save for his young son.|
|Our Lucy at Lucy Mack Smith's home.|
Every tour is a little bit different. The tours highlight some general historical bits, but also tell about the lives of the home's previous owners. These were the pioneers we set out to honor.
|Heber C. Kimball home.|
One of the points I tried to bring home was that the pioneers weren't just pioneers when they crossed the plains. No, it started much earlier than that! The heritage they passed down so that our parents and grandparents could learn about the gospel began the moment they dared to ask whether the church was true; the moment they had the courage to believe when the Spirit testified to their spirits that it was.
|Brigham Young home.|
Some of the tours are fascinating even without historical context. There is a working blacksmith shop, not as working as it would have been, of course, but they do heat and form metal!
Here is the pharmacist in the pharmacy. The church was very careful in what they place in the stores--stocking shelves as closely as they can with preserved records. Super interesting to explore the old remedies.
It used to be set up quite differently, but now there is one giant building that shows many useful skills of the time the saints were in Nauvoo. They show how to make candles, barrels, rope, rugs and more. One thing I especially enjoyed was how a bustle oven was used. It may not be terribly efficient, but it works!
|Always trying to eat her whole fist.|
We took one evening to walk down Parley Street. When the saints were being expelled from their homes . . . again . . . this was the route they took to the river. Once they reached the river, they crossed either on a ferry or, if it was cold enough and the river had frozen, they walked across.
There is a path along Parley Street with signs with quotes from pioneers who were taking the journey.
This was a personal favorite. Strong women are a part of the culture of my church.
At the end of the path, is the Mississippi River.
It is very wide and would not have been easy to cross!
|The muddy Mississippi. We take our clear rivers for granted.|
There is a gazebo with the names of the hundreds of pioneers who died crossing the plains to get to Salt Lake Valley.
So many names.
There was even an Eliza Sanders who died on the journey.
But more lived! They lived and prospered. They lived the gospel and taught their families.
They served missions and trusted their lives to the Lord.
Because of that faith, dedication, trust, and hard work,
I know my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now it is my turn to carry on that tradition.
It is my turn and I am teaching my family.
To the very best of my ability.