Sunday, July 5, 2009

Michigan America, U.S.A.

If a child had any idea of how much of his adult-hood success he owes to his teachers, he might take a different attitude toward schooling. Example: Last night (Saturday, July 4, 2009) at this time (8:00 p.m.), Ranelle and I were standing in the vicinity of where Father Marquette marked some of the history he is credited with making. And who is Father Marquette, you ask? He is one of the very people Miss Anna Krause brought alive to her sweaty-skinned "recess freaks." Yet somehow she penetrated that mis-direction, with some of it sticking in our brain--even to this ancient date! My sincere gratitude, Miss Krause. Unthinkingly, I fear I was too pre-occupied with the prospect of summer vacation to even say "good-bye," and certainly I did not say, "thank you."

Father Marquette, in case you do not remember, was/is real. So too was/is the vital history that occurred in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA. And last afternoon and evening, as Chris and Neil Barncard, and Julie and Eric Hancock, and Sister and Elder O'Dell motored along, here and there a roadside sign gave us terse glimmerings of the perfidy that once transpired in that sacred (and magnificently beautiful) land. Example: One marker hailed some famous treaty that is still unknown to me. There on that supposed very spot, the French magnanimously deeded back to the mighty Chippewas an entire three square miles of a vast area they once freely claimed--and roamed. Why? So that that once-great people could hunt and fish there, just in case they might need the food to feed their families! Once the extortion was complete, I have a feeling the French never even considered saying "thank you."

Re-crossing the five-mile-long Straits of Mackinac bridge, we looked down on three-city-block-long ore ships passing on the waters there beneath us. It took some concentration to imagine match stick-sized (by comparison) birch bark canoes that formerly plied those same waters. Once again back safely on mainland Michigan, we paused and witnessed Fourth of July fireworks before arriving sleepily back "home." (which, Saturday night, and the night before, was the lakeside family cottage of our hosts Chris and Neil Barncard.)

Next morning, church. All the way to Cheboygan (MI) we went. Fast and Testimony meeting. As I sat listening, something prompted me: "1959?" "And this is 2009?" "And which day is this--July 5th ?" So consulting with a note I carry along, I had "inadvertantly" verified that it was exactly fifty years ago, to-the-very-day (maybe even to-the-very-hour!) that I was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! So there marches I up to the pulpit announcing to a roomful of strangers that this was the golden anniversary of the second-most important day of my life. I also testified to them that I firmly knew that on that day fifty years ago, that I had joined the Lord's only--and own--true church!

After church, and it being Sunday, and it being Chris's day to cook, she fed us sumptuously on roast pork loin, fat potatoes, and delicious salad. With our bellies full, Neil and I covered their jet-ski boat anchored out in the bay, then Ranelle and I changed into travel clothes. We heartily thanked out hosts and the Hancocks for such a glorious weekend and left for Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A. Many times during the next few hours of driving, I mentally contrasted the verdant greens and blues of this great state, with our lizard-skinned west. And I thanked Heavenly Father for the unspeakable privilege of being an American. May God bless America--and may He also bless Chris and Neil Barncard, and Julie and Eric Hancock for being our friends.