Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Unexpected Lesson

I can not believe that I drove across the United States. That has never been something I thought I would ever do, (I prefer flying as a mode of transportation) but Lindsey needed a car and supplies at her new home in Carlisle,Pennsylvania, so off we went. I was surprised at how green the terrain became once we left Texas, that Oklahoma is a very pretty place, and that they make incredibly delicious ice cream in Ohio. Did you know that "driving friendly" is the Texas way? I did not; but now I do. Once you are out of California people do not tend to speed on the freeways. It was eerily wonderful! ( This might have something to do with the highway patrol watching you at about 25 to 50 mile increments.)

After our arrival in Carlisle, where Lindsey is attending Penn State Law School, we had a bit of time to explore her new borough. One of the many things that impressed me was just 2 blocks down the street from Lu's house: The Old Cemetery. This cemetery was like nothing I had seen before, with it's sunken, crooked, and worn headstones ranging in styles from simple to extravagant. It was a very thought provoking place. Beautiful bronze medallions on sticks with flags atop, signified people who had fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. It was a place that filled my heart with gratitude for people that lived so long ago, and from so many different countries, that fought for an amazing new ideal: Liberty. And not just liberty and freedom for themselves, but for millions they would never know and who would never know them or their sacrifices.

Among the stones was a huge monument, the burial place of Molly Pitcher. As you can see from the photo it was quite impressive. Molly was quite impressive! The two plaques next to the cannon described her heroics on and off the battle field. Not only was she busy bringing water to the soldiers and acting as a nurse, when her husband was shot by enemy fire as he was preparing to fire the cannon as ordered, Molly took his place, loading and firing the cannon as the war raged around her. She was a woman who did something.

On this trip I was also fortunate to have been able to visit Washington D.C.. I love that the people of D.C. are speaking out by putting "Taxation Without Representation" on their license plates. While there Lindsey and I were able to see a new exhibit at the Smithsonian-Julia Child's kitchen. I realize that anything "Julia" is popular today due to the movie, which I want to see, but I have loved her since I was young. Like many of you, I watched her show on PBS with my mom. I liked her funny way of speaking and the enthusiasm she put into her cooking. As I grew up and learned more about her, I admired her spirit, determination and her seeming lack of the fear of failure. Her kitchen is remarkable, for several reasons. One that is most impressive is that it is not what cooks of today would deem acceptable. There are no marble counter tops. No fancy gigantic ovens or burners. The cupboards are painted turquoise. Pegboard of the local hardware store variety, painted white, hangs on most of the walls. And from this pegboard hang dozens of useful tools and gadgets. Knives and bowls and pans are everywhere in this normal, unassuming room, where the ideas of cooking for the normal people of the world were changed forever. I loved it! Seeing that kitchen brought a sense of reality to my life. In a metaphorical way, I don't need a gas stove or the latest designer counter tops to be able to make a difference in my world.

I have realized that Julia Childs and Molly Pitcher are similar in that they both went and did. They took the opportunities and supplies that were given them and did something great. They did not need pampering, or cajoling or finery. They did not look to others to do the job that was given to them, or the easy way out. They went out into the world and did something that was not just for themselves, but also for the enriching of the lives of others. I have to think that in doing this, they found a depth of joy and contentment that is a rarity in today's world.

I am grateful that I have had women in my life who went out and did. My Mother, Grandma Ruth and Grandma Hope are my greatest examples of women who know and knew how to live life well. I am pleased to see Lindsey following in their footsteps. They and all the other women of this world who do something with their lives that benefit not just themselves, but those around them, and actually generations, are the real heroes that should be admired and emulated by the rest of us who are learning to become women of action.


  1. I love your blog and I love your posts. I wish I lived closer so I could hike with you! I am SO jealous!!

  2. Very nice and very well written. But you forgot to say that YOU are someone with a Nephi attitude as well! :) -Linds