Saturday, July 24, 2010

Days of 47 - Pioneer Day 2010

19th century wood cut of a Mormon pioneer wagon train from one of my favorite old books, Wife No. 19 or A Life in Bondage, (published and printed in 1875), by Ann-Eliza Young... Brigham's rebellious wife.

Micro Historique

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Protestant bigotry and oppression forced tens of thousands of persecuted Mormons to leave their homes and find freedom outside the borders of the "land of the free". The
forced exodus sent the indefatigable Latter-day Saints on a mass-migration, (nearly their entire population), halfway across the North American Continent. On July 24, 1847, that huge undertaking came to fruition when Brigham Young, and a company of Mormon pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake Valley. The 24th of July has been a celebrated day in the territory since.

The Parade

Since 1849, a festive parade has been held on 24th of July to commemorate the enduring pioneer spirit of everyone who has put his/her shoulder to the wheel, and worked to establish a kingdom in the tops of the mountains... and beyond.

People begin arriving as much as a day early to stake out a good spot to situate their lawn chairs, where they can have the best view of all the floats. On the day of the Days of 47 Parade, tens of thousands of western-appareled, US-flag-waving spectators line the parade route. Forget about driving in downtown Salt Lake on July 24th. Most of the downtown area is inaccessible, and police roadblocks seem to be everywhere.

Personal Experience

When I was a courier for Pony Express back in the 80's, I was responsible for the downtown Salt Lake route. I recall that on the 24th, there was no way that I could get my van to the majority of the destinations there, especially those located on Main Street, (the parade route), so I parked as closely as I could, and used my skateboard to shuttle parcels to and fro. It was actually rather effective and efficient, and I didn't have any difficulties getting parcels delivered to the few business that remained open on the official state holiday.

Two videos in celebration of Pioneer Day

I discovered this amazing video by Baby Bam Bam Bumkin on You Tube. Most folks will think that it's pretty silly, but Baby does make some pretty insightful comments... and it's pretty dang funny too. My favorite float is the "Tree of Life" bearing fruits in the form of graven images of past and present Latter-day prophets, and Mitt Romney, of all people.

The second video is something I threw together last year, and is somewhat thematic. I was worried about all of the expired and old prescription medications that had accumulated for decades in my aging parents cupboards, so I decided to take on the task of cleaning it all out. It was really quite shocking to see how many medications my parents had been taking over the years. There was even one still in the cupboard from 1978. I was happy that there weren't any narcotics, but all pharmaceuticals are dangerous and come with a list of terrible side effects. "No wonder mom and dad are in such bad shape", I though to myself as I removed one child proof lid after another, deep into the night. Contrary to my dad's view, medications can't be disposed of in the garbage because they are classified as toxic waste, therefore the whole shebang was eventually taken to the hazardous waste receptacle at the Tooele County Sheriff's Office, and disposed of properly, but not before I shot this video. I wish I had taken more pictures, especially of the containers... there must have been fifty of them... probably more.

Happy Pioneer Day!


Dave said...

You're offering up a sacrifice to the great pill god.

Writermama said...

neckties in outer space!? i miss that whakadoodle parade. :-(

meow meow meow. said...

for a millisecond those dolls looked very delicious...

that video was unsettling in a way that i liked. strange and good.