Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 25, Day 23

We crossed the Mississippi again this morning, into Illinois! We drove to Nauvoo through a chilly, misty morning to attend the 10 o'clock session at the Nauvoo temple. The drive took us along the "Great River Road" (which we did drive on last night but it was too dark to notice) which hugs the banks of the Mississippi. The big river just makes you think big thoughts. Most of mine were actually about Huckleberry Finn. I felt so American, watching this great river roll past through the window. Colby was busy exceeding all reasonable speed limits on wet roads to get us to the temple on time, but I really enjoyed the view.

The temple was wonderful. What a beautiful place! You can almost imagine that it's the very same structure the early saints built and loved. I love that it has been built so exactly like the original. The inside is beautiful, so regal in its simplicity - plain and precious, I would say. My favorite. We loved the session, and, as usual, came out feeling peaceful and centered. How grateful we are for temples! It was hard to imagine building this large, stately, sacred building at such great sacrifice, and then having to walk away from it and face the west, as the early saints did. What a heartbreaking duty that must have been, for so many!

We didn't plan on spending much time in Nauvoo, but once we got started, we were hooked. We ended up wishing we had days and days to spend there. We started with the Joseph Smith homestead, red brick store, and gravesite. It was so thrilling to think we were standing on ground the prophet himself must have walked! After that, we saw Brigham Young's home, John Taylor's home, post office, and printing press, and Heber C. Kimball's home. When we only had time for one more, I wanted to go to the Family Living Center, which apparently talks about baking and textiles and other interesting aspects of pioneer life, but we settled on the Jonathan Browning gunsmith shop. You can guess which of us had his heart set on that! The gunsmith shop was actually SO interesting, and we loved learning about the guns. Did you know Browning (yes, THE Browning) was a Mormon? We didn't!

Anyway, Nauvoo was so wonderful. We were sorry we had to leave and miss a single bit of it. Even though it had been pouring rain ever since we came out of the temple.

We drove to Springfield through LOTS of rain. By which I mean, COLBY drove to Springfield through lots of rain. He's such a good husband. I think he's driven like 97% of this whole trip. We arrived at the Super 8 just in time for me to watch the General Relief Society Meeting broadcast. It was just wonderful, as always. It made me so excited for General Conference that I can hardly stand it. We even got to hear from the prophet himself!

One of the great treats (for me) about being back in the Midwest is seeing things I remember from my childhood. Some of them are super familiar, like Meijer and Dunkin Donuts, but some I haven't thought about in years (like Bob Evans), and so I have a great time yelping and pointing things out to Colby from the passenger seat as I see signs and storefronts and even native vegetation that I recognize. It's been so much fun, and Colby's done really well not getting us in any accidents from my squealing and startling him every 5 minutes.

We had dinner at Steak'n'Shake, another friendly name from my childhood. We used to go camping at Warren Dunes, on Lake Michigan, in the summers with some family friends, and we'd stop for lunch at Steak'n'Shake on the way there. Another thing I haven't thought about in years but suddenly came rushing back last night.

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