If I back-date it to Tuesday, then it count’s as a Tale for Tuesday, right?
When I was sixteen I spent one wild adventurous semester living with my aunt in St. George. Activities included Saturdays spent branding cattle at the Esplin family ranch, working on my ever-popular cousin’s student body election (win), going on some of the most disastrous dates, and this little story . . . this week’s Tale for Tuesday.
Tamie lived on the left, and Kami on the right. And the three of us were the exact same age. So naturally, our friendship was fast.
And what do sixteen year old girls like to do best of all? Daydream about super-romantic-super-hero-husband-to-be’s that would someday come into our lives . . . someday.
And go on walks.
Well, I’m not actually sure if Tamie or Kami enjoyed the walking so much. I tell myself that all the blessed souls I’ve met in my life all happened to enjoy walking as a legitimate pass-time as much as me.
But it could be they just humored me.
But anyway, take the two aforementioned activities, throw in a Temple as the closest public location, and what do you have? An adventure waiting to happen of course.
We would walk – all around St. George actually. Up the road, past the boulevard and further on to the post office (to mail letters to Andi of course), or sometimes down the way, around to the high school for a baseball game. Every once in a while we’d even bypass the Temple and keep going on to the park. But usually our rounds took us to the grounds of the St. George temple.
There we would sit in desert gardens alive with color like a Monet. We’d lounge on the bench beneath the lilac trellis, along the rose walk, and bear our souls to each other in the way that only young girls do.
And of course, there was laughter.
A lot of laughter.
I wouldn’t say I’m prone to “loud laughter,” but one more serious than I (yes, I’ve met some. Can you believe it?) might disagree. For more than intellectualizing the gospel, or projecting theoretical politics, or even crafting the afternoon away, I love to laugh.
And so we often would find ourselves embracing the silliness that was the birthright of our age. And sometimes we just wouldn’t pay attention.
Now, it must be said, on this particular evening, as we sat on the bench in the far corner of the Temple grounds, I do not remember if we were laughing, or if we were being serious. I don’t remember what we were talking about. I do remember a lot of laughter with those two. And I remember our fair share of serious discussion. But on this evening nothing comes to memory until the moment we all looked up, and saw the lights that lit up the glow of the alabaster temple turn off.
That’s odd, we all thought. They usually kicked us out long before the temple lights went off – the grounds closed before then . . .
We got up to leave. Only to find that the green iron gate – 8 feet tall at it’s shortest point, was firmly locked shut. We made our way around each plane of the fence, checking each gate, finding each locked.
We looked for someone to let us out, peered, faces pressed against the glass of the visitor’s center. No one was coming to help us.
Finally we back around to the gate at first, the one closest to home, the one that bordered the back side of the temple.
(And now, it must be said, there was a great deal of laughing going on as we contemplated our predicament).
And there by the dumpster, behind the temple, we found a wooden palette, surely used for some food supplies or something delivered.
We dragged it over to the gate, leaned it up, and used it like a ladder, it hoisting us just high enough that we could use our own body strength to climb the rest and throw ourselves over.
We ran . . . ran, all the way home, giggling all the way, mortified of the trouble we’d be in if we were caught.
I remember I did tell Aunt Draza this story when I found the courage a few days later. She gave me her famous “you are a total idiot, but you don’t need me to tell you that” look that I always loved her for.