I've been behind the Zion Curtain for the past week on a business/family trip. Here are some photos from the journey through the Beehive State.
A Sneak Peek
I had the opportunity to see some sets and personalities of an upcoming full-length stop-motion film. Soon, these characters will be everywhere. The secluded warehouse in the old industrial part of Salt Lake is filled with lots of impressive miniature sets and elaborate mobile camera mounts on tracks that will make it all come alive.
My dear old dad hadn't been feeling well, and had been praying all week that he'd be well enough to attend the wedding dinner for his granddaughter, Michelle, the first of his grandchildren to be married. But God had other plans for my dad that night. About three hours before the dinner, his heart was beating irregularly, at about 140 beats per minute. I followed him to the hospital, and checked him into the emergency room where I was impressed with the promptness at which the Tooele Valley Hospital staff attended to him. They provided exceptional service and were successful at shocking his heart back into a normal rhythm. They released him later that night, but unfortunately, he had already missed his granddaughter's wedding dinner.
On Yom Kippur, my niece, Michelle, got married to her fiance, Carson, in the Salt Lake Temple. While the bride and groom attended a private wedding ceremony within the walls of the Mormon mishkan, the kids and I toured the downtown area. What a surprise. Everything in Salt Lake is different now. The freeways have all been replaced and changed since I moved away fifteen years ago. There were lots of things I wanted to show to the kids, but every place I tried to take them, was no longer there when we arrived. Much of the city looks like a war zone with all of the construction going on. The once bustling Trolley Square was like a ghost town. We saw only about four shoppers there as we strolled the empty corridors looking for a place to buy black socks. Most of the stores were gone. I bought a Polygamy Porter T-shirt at Cabin Fever, one of the few stores that was open.
Temple Square in Salt Lake is always impressive. The Salt Lake Temple is one of the finest examples of nineteenth century architecture anywhere in the world. Every stone is a work of art. I've spent hours contemplating the exquisite construction and accompanying symbols.
One of my favorite things to do while in Salt Lake, is attend the daily organ recital inside the historic Tabernacle. It was so moving to experience this king of instruments again. There is really nothing like it. The acoustically friendly Tabernacle allows this powerful instrument to be experienced at it's fullest. Every tone sharp, crisp and audible. We had time to hear the first couple of selections before we had to leave to rendezvous with the wedding entourage for photographs in front of the temple.
Michelle looked beautiful as she posed for photographs with her handsome new husband, Carson, on the steps of this magnificent edifice in the heart of Great Salt Lake City.
It was entertaining to watch the photographers work so hard to get the perfect shot.
This was the first time I had been close enough to get a picture of these amazing door knobs. My key didn't work.
Later that night, at the wedding reception, I got to see my my Aunt Mae and my cousins LaRee, Jan and Bette. I hadn't seen any of them for ages and it was a nice but short reunion. I got to see lots of other folks I don't get to see very often. It makes me realize how far away I truly am out here in California, and that I need to spend more time with my family who live behind the Zion Curtain.
Park City Snow Storm
We spent the night in Park City, and woke up to a blustering snow storm. The snow that makes Utah famous was accumulating fast. There was already two inches on top of the Prius. I grabbed a broom and swept off the fluffy almost weightless snow, and began loading the car in hopes of getting off the mountain before more snow fell. By the time I had finished loading the car, another two inches had fallen. I swept off the car once more, and it was time to find out how the Prius would perform in slippery conditions. It didn't.
Most of our descent from Parley's Summit was a controlled slide. There was no way we could stop, and we observed many close calls before we had dropped in elevation below the snow level. Mason said that "Driving down Parley's Canyon at 20 MPH was much more intense than driving fast across Nevada."
Historic Salt Lake's Unseen Backside
The Rio Grand used to be where Amtrak stopped. Now the passenger trains stop at a cheesy mobile trailer unit a few blocks southwest from this beautiful historic building which used to house one of my favorite restaurants (Rio Grande). Maybe it still does. I didn't stop to find out.
A half block east of State Street on 1st Avenue, there's a place you won't find on any tourist map. The grave of Brigham Young is relatively unknown and almost invisible to passers-by. Only a handful of people know about it. I hadn't been there for years. I used to like going to this spot because it is so quiet, and no one else ever goes there. It's a great place to be alone. Ironically, this small cemetery is only a couple of blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Temple Square where tourists come from the ends of the earth to see historic Mormon sites.
This life-like bronze sculpture of Brigham Young and three of his children seemed almost real. It was like being next to real people.
Go West Young Man
Saying goodbye to my aging parents is always the most difficult part of traveling to Utah. I remember how my Mom would cry when she would leave her own sweet mother standing on the porch of her Pang Town home. Now I understand her angst. On Sunday morning we set out to travel west to our home in California. Native American music on KRCL's Living the Circle of Life program* helped to create a nostalgic ambiance as we rolled across the Salt Flats listening to the radio. The Tree of Utah bid us farewell as we passed by on the cold stormy morning at 75MPH. It was a long drive.
Twelve hours on the road is too much too much too much too much!
* I had listened to the program regularly before I moved away fifteen years ago. Now, I can hear it on the Internet, and I get up early every Sunday to listen to the program.