After writing my "Dwelling in a Tent" post a few weeks ago I remembered that I promised I would tell you the story about how Jon lived in a tent for a few month while we were engaged. It is a good one.
Jon and I got engaged in August while we were both going to school at BYU in Provo, Utah. One of Jon's friends was moving to Arizona for a job in September. Jon decided that instead of renewing his contract at the place he had been living for the last few years that he would do his friend a service and take over the rest of his contract in September. That meant that he didn't have anywhere to live for a month. He'd always wanted to live in a tent for an extended period of time and he figured that, since he was getting married soon, that this would be his very last chance to live that dream. The only problem was that at BYU all students must live in BYU approved housing (mostly to ensure that unmarried men and women aren't living together in the same apartments). So Jon actually went to the housing office and filled out the application for a housing exemption. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Jon explained to the housing director that he wanted to live in a tent up Rock Canyon. Surprisingly enough they gave him permission for his tent arrangements fairly easily. They just told him that he couldn't run a brothel out of it and other than that it would be fine.
Now that he was legitimate he began riding his bike every night up Rock Canyon and pitching his tent. In the mornings he would ride his bike down to the school gym to go swimming-- and to take a shower. He had several lockers around campus where he would stash his stuff and his sister (who lived on campus) and I would often end up feeding him dinner. Needless to say, it was a strange arrangement. I am sure I am just about the only woman in Provo who in the evenings would drive her fiance up the canyon, give him a good night kiss, and then leave him there! But he was loving it, and I figured that it was better for him to get the 'living in a tent bug" out of his system before we got married rather than after:)
The best part of the story though happened about October. I had just auditioned for a modern dance group at BYU and the audition went horrible-- like I went the wrong direction and knocked over two other people horrible. I had to go to work right after the audition and I was so upset about it that I was on the verge of tears. I didn't think I could talk to anyone without crying and so when I got to work I went straight to my office without talking to anyone and put my head on my desk. I had a window in my office and I noticed that people kept walking by to look in at me and that they would whisper and then look with concerned faces in my direction. I tried not to notice and just focused on working and not breaking down in tears. Eventually one of my co-workers timidly stuck her head in and asked, "Heather are you okay?"
"Yeah, sure. I'm fine."
"Was that your fiance?" she asked in a tender voice.
"The guy who was attacked by a bear this morning up Rock Canyon? Was it your fiance? "
I'd just talked to Jon minutes before on the phone and so I knew that it wasn't him, but I hadn't heard anything about there being bears up Rock Canyon! I quickly assured her that Jon was okay and a look of pure relief spread across her face. I guess that they had heard that morning about bear attack and they knew that Jon was living up there in his tent. The man who was attacked had a short three letter name and they couldn't remember how Jon spelled his name. Then when I came into work all flustered and upset they figured that it must have been him. Once we got things figured out it actually turned out to be fairly comical and made me forget all about my botched audition.
Yet after the news of the bear attack (and run in with some teenage hooligans) Jon decided that he had had enough of living in a tent. Yet his friend, who was suppose to move in September ended up not moving until the end of October. It was starting to get cold and Jon was starting to be tired of being homeless. When our student ward bishop found out Jon was sleeping in his car in the parking lot he gave him an official church calling "to come sleep in my basement." Jon said he would never turn down a calling and so he slept at the bishop's house a few days, until his friend's apartment opened up.
It was a wild time in our lives, but such a good one. We have so many good memories from being engaged and a lot of them revolve around Jon's hobo life style. Luckily I think that he got most of his tent living seeds sown and has been content with house dwelling ever since-- though he still is trying to convince me that I need to sleep in snow cave. I am not quite so sure about that one :)
I know Memorial Day was a few weeks ago, but I wanted to share this experience because it was so sweet. Jon and I decided (or more accurately were prompted) last minute to go find the graves of my maternal grandparents. I knew which cemetery they were buried in but hadn't been to their graves since my grandmother's funeral, almost 10 years ago. Jon and I went to the directory at the cemetery and found where they were buried, and where my maternal great-grandparents were buried as well. We went to go see the grave of my great-grandparents first, because it was closer. We washed the grave and put some flowers down and Jon asked me to tell a story about them. I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about either one of them. It made me sad and reminded me that I really need to learn about the lives and stories of my ancestors. I don't ever want my children to stand by a grave and not know where they come from or who they are.
Asher was really tired by the time we got to the grave. At one point he stretched himself out on the tombstone and in a teasing voice, said " Look mom, I'm laying on your grandpa." Perhaps it was a little irreverent but it made us bust a gut laughing and I can't help but feel like my great-grandparents must have been laughing along with us.
Later, when we went to my grandparents grave we ran into my uncle and his family, who I don't know very well. It was such a blessing because he was able to share stories about my grandparents and my great-grandparents that I'd never heard. We were able to reconnect and it felt so good. Now I have a bit of a fire in pants about doing my family history, I really want kids to know their ancestors!
I would love to know how you teach your children (or how your parents taught you) about their family history? What has worked?
I just want to share with you an beautiful project that one of my friends is working on. It is a sweet children's book called "A Mother's Worth" by Susan Fierro Baig, which teaches about how a mother's worth isn't calculated by examining her bank account but that mothers get paid in love, not money. She sent me a rough draft of her book and it really is sweet (you can get a sneak peek here). I feel like it is such a good response to the conundrum I blogged about here and I would love see Susan's message and book get published. She is currently trying to raise enough money to self publish the book and buy the rights to the artwork. She has set up a great website where you can donate however much you can (even just $1 would be helpful) to her project. If you have a few extra dollars sitting around in your piggy bank this would be a noble cause to donate them to! Or in you don't have any money to contribute you could at least "like" her website on Facebook and get her message out there to those who have some moola :)
The LDS Holistic Living Conference is less than a month a way! Are you going to be there? If not it still isn't too late to register! I am starting to get really excited about it. All "The Gift of Giving Life" authors are flying in to be there (we will have a booth where you can buy the book), it will be the first time that all of us have met together in person! Several of us have met individually or in small groups but because we live all over the country we've never all gotten together before. I can't wait. These women have become some of my closest friends, and it is just incredible that we have been able to write a book together. Some days the miracle of it all just overwhelms me-- God truly works in mysterious ways.
Come hear me speak at the conference. It should be good. Though I have been having nightmares the last few weeks that I get up to teach and realize that I forgot to prepare anything, that no one shows up, and that I forget to wear a shirt. That would be bad, real bad but hopefully won't happen.
Thank you to all of you who have been hanging in there with the Five Things for Friday posts when I have been so behind in life. I appreciate it! Have a wonderful weekend.
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