My Good Trek Family Children,
Daughters: Hope, Faith, Charity, Grace, Mercy, Harmony and Felicity
and Sons: Lehi, Ammon, Mormon, Mosiah and Nephi
I trust this letter and package finds you each in good health and condition. Three short weeks ago we packed up the family handcart and tent and crossed the bridge out of the valley as a trek family. I know it seems like an eternity ago, but even after all this time, we still we think of each of you often.
This past weekend your trek Ma and I traveled to Brigham City, Utah to attend a family wedding (back to the other 'valley'!). At every turn I pondered, how long would this trip have taken in our trusty handcart? With all these modern conveniences today, do we appreciate the sacrifices made by our pioneer forebearers? On the way down we stopped near the Idaho Falls temple and purchased a talk on CD to listen to in the van. All the while it was playing we kept getting reminded of you and of our wonderful trek experience with you in our trek family. I suggested to Ma that perhaps we needed one more trek Family Home Evening, using this CD.
We briefly considered attempting to get everyone together again for a family meeting, but time and distance constraints prevent us from doing that. You all have your own families now and new priorities and schedules. Instead, we plan on passing this package from trek sibling to sibling, starting with our family captain Hope. We are enclosing it, in the same trek brown parchment paper and string we received back then, along with this letter from your old trek family parents.
We invite you to listen to the enclosed CD 'Come Unto Christ by John Bytheway' (60min), as seemeth you good and as your time permits, on your own or with your family members. We hope you will think of our good trek family as you listen, as we did, and take some time to write down a few thoughts and impressions or even just memories of our trek experience.
When you are done, let us know and we will arrange to pick it all up and have it delivered to another of your trek family members. It may take some time for everyone to get it, but that is typical of pony express mail service.
Also, if you desire, you can let us know what is going on in your lives! Family, work, school, mission, vacations? We would love to keep in touch.
Siri, how did we do? ...
With much love from your trek Ma and Pa.
Safe journeys and be Good!
Now that you are all so much older now ..
Ma was mad at me on the trip back home from Brigham City. She refused to talk to me all the way from before Helena to past Great Falls. Her frustration with me seemed to start when I joked how well I had stayed awake during family scriptures this time (I happened to be driving through the windy winding Montana mountain roads at the time). That somehow progressed to mutual accusations – you always choose to fall asleep when we read vs you always delay the time for reading until I am too tired to stay awake (meanwhile I was managing to stay awake while driving). I wasn't able to get her to forgive me until after we neared the border into Canada. She was hungry by then. Why didn't you tell me you wanted a sandwich back in Great Falls? Because back then, she wasn't talking to me yet ..
Your trek parents are not perfect, but we love each other and all of you as well. In any family, there may be bumps along the road, times when feelings are hurt, but apologize and continue on together and you will find joy in the journey.
Some things I remember from trek: When I look at our bread knife, I remember trying to cut those loaves of bread back on the trail. We ended up mostly just tearing them apart as we passed them around the circle. When I see food we ate on trek, I remember you all – carrots, apples, oranges, summer sausage, cheese, jerky and dried fruits. I also remember how good it all tasted to us back then. I think of Grace when I see the honey pot – sliced bread, no butter, drizzled with honey. I think of Mormon when there is one last slice of cheese or one apple left. When I need wood for the campfire, I think of Mosiah and Lehi. Remember Nephi's sleeping bag falling off the handcart just as we were crossing the creek before our first lunch stop. We neglected to get new water that was sitting right there for us in big blue jugs in that same creek. I think of Hope and Grace when I dig a hole in the ground or see a large flat rock and think – that would line a fire pit nicely. I remember Ammon being amazed at our fire starting skills – just a bit of hand sanitizer will do the trick! Hope and Mercy and Charity pushing the handcart from behind and Grace and Felicity often pulling up front on the rope harness. The 1,2,3, Go countdown rings in my mind. Remember the mud? The washed out several foot deep ruts. The long muddy puddles? The poor handcarts behind us who started through before the way before cleared up, who ended up getting stopped in the middle of a long puddle with water up above their boots? The river crossings .. are these my dry boots or just my other wet ones? Remember the circle of boots around the fire? The smell of the campfire? Going up the hill was hard. Going down even harder.
All those physical things at trek remind me how it felt spiritually. Remember our family council talks? Family prayers on the trail and around the campfire. Passing the hat for family testimony meeting around the fire. The group testimony meeting under the 'tree of life' in whatever shade we could find. Sunday School lesson with our kin family in the sunny grove and along the cooler pathway. Remember how it felt to see all the brethren stand immediately ready to go out and rescue our lost family members. How we found Faith for our family. Bro Zobell asking for a representative from the Davies Family to come forward and accept the call to include her in our family? Remember our return to the valley and all the girls running out to meet us as we turned that last turn on the pathway back into the valley? Remember our family tarp and blanket with the 'rock of salvation' in the middle to anchor it down and the wildflower to remind us of the beauty all around us. Elder and Sister Spackman's talk to us. Pres Dudley and Pres Bennett and Pres McMahon's instructions to us along the trail and in the valley. Remember how Ammon seemed to be able to predict or cause the weather for us?
Listening to the Come Unto Christ CD seemed to have more meaning to me because of our common trek memories. What do you remember?