Saturday, September 18, 2010

City of Joseph

So this summer I did something very uncharacteristic. I went on a vacation without homeboy by my side. Big deal you're probably thinking--and yes.. BIG DEAL, indeed! Its me we're talking about, and I dear reader, get lost on my very own street.

Natalie and her family, along with Mary and Chief, got accepted to the Nauvoo Pageant and I thought it would be cool to go see them perform. Nick and Nicholas, however, had a kayaking trip that week so I was pretty much resigned that we wouldn't get to do it after all.

Then lo and behold, a week before the performances, I grew some guts and booked our flights. I drove us to the airport, parked the car, landed in St. Louis, rented a car, and followed my mapquest paper till I turned the bend on Parley Street-- or something like that. I don't know who was in more shock that I made it.. Me or Matt Hanson! I think my little adventure sincerely surprised him and he doesn't strike me as a guy who gets surprised by much!

I had never been to Nauvoo before. Little Natalie had gone the year before with Mary and Chief and had been seriously BEGGING me the entire year to sign up for the pageant. I applied and we didn't get I figured this might be the next best thing. I really went up in her eyes after telling her we were going!

It turned out to be so much more than I expected. The whole town has an incredible energy and we all loved being there--such a small town, inviting feeling. Every night before the show, they have a few hours of pioneer activities set up that ends in a small parade that begins the pageant. The kids loved seeing all the cast and of course their cousins dressed from the past.
The pageant itself, was so much better than I had imagined it. I loved how they told the story of Nauvoo. The music, set and acting was all incredibly beautiful. We saw it three nights in a row and the kids never tired of it.

I learned a lot about church history and of course walked away with a much deeper appreciation for what the early saints had to endure. It was all pretty remarkable.

Being with family was best of all!

Nauvoo really is a beautiful spot. I just kept thinking about how unbelievable it was that those early church members created this amazing community, built such a beautiful temple only to have to close their doors, turn their backs and leave. It was the first time I truly "got the picture" I think. Really sad.

the end of the street where they crossed the icy river
(kill me now)

swamp where they all got malaria
(kill me now)

We took a little ride to Carthage jail. That was also very cool. Again, pretty sobering to be in the real place. The kids were really affected by the tour and asked lots of questions. They could hardly believe they were sitting in the room in which Joseph Smith was killed.

Something set him off. I probably said no to another gun or Davy Crockett hat or canteen...

I have never been so affected by someone's speaking voice as I was by this guy's--it was endearing, resonant, and powerful. He played Joseph Smith and was such an incredible representation. He was an excellent actor and really made the entire experience come to life for me. I was completely drawn to his voice. I am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.. this is certainly a week I will never forget.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is: "Bless your heart!" I have been there three times, and each time it was magical to the depth of my soul. The last time was at the Temple Open House with Aunt Sherie and our cousins June Arbon and Karen Breau. Hugs and kisses, Aunt Nancy

Allie Brill said...

Hey Jennifer! I love your blog. Your kids are so cute. Looks like a fun trip. I've heard its super good. Can't wait to see you guys saturday, it's been forever. :)

Mitch said...

Great post. Me and Jenni are still fuming that we weren't able to go there when my in-laws all went. Not fair at all. I've been wanting to go there for so long. I know i'd have the exact same experience that you had. It makes everything so real i'm sure. One day i'll get day.

Jayne Layne said...

I really liked Nauvoo. Sounds like the pageant would be pretty neat. I would love to go back for a few days one summer.

Jek said...

I loved all of your new posts. It is so fun to see what you all have been doing.


Devon said...

hey jen. this is funny, because i served my mission with this "guy" with the amazing voice. jeff dickamore. haven't seen him in so long and now he is joseph! such a small world.