Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Winter Quarters and Sunset on the Mississippi (June 23, with thoughts by Alexander)

Winter Quarters was a slight deviation from our route to Nauvoo of the Sioux places (I can't really remember whether we stopped in Sioux City or Sioux Falls, though I do remember that it was dark and storming and the roads were slick and completely dark because they'd recently been repaved but hadn't yet been repainted and we were just so glad to reach the hotel alive), but we though it was worth the extra half hour of driving to make the stop at the visitor's center. 

As one of Andrew's friends commented on Twitter—they have better bathrooms than any gas station around! They're clean, they're fully functional, and you'll be greeted by no fewer than six smiling faces on your way in!

We didn't stay long, in part because we still had five hours left to drive to Nauvoo (and we wanted to be sure to get there for the 'Sunset on the Mississippi' show), but also because Alexander had just thrown up in the car the day before, if you recall, and we were nervous about whether any other kids were going to...also be sick. 

Fortunately, it just seemed to be a him-thing. Everyone else was just fine!

Here are the kids exploring some pioneer things:

Another reason we probably weren't too worried about really soaking in everything at the Winter Quarter's visitor center was that we knew the kids would get an even better exposure to pioneer life in Nauvoo. For example, here's everybody gathered around a model of the Nauvoo Temple in the Winter Quarter's visitor center:

And here we are in front of the literal Nauvoo Temple just a few hours later:

Nauvoo has practically everything Winter Quarters does...but bigger and better and...boisterouslier (that is, there's a lot of singing and dancing in Nauvoo, including a literal bandwagon (that Emily spent a summer playing on/for/with)).

I asked Alexander to write a little bit about his experience in Nauvoo. Here's what he had to say:
We wacht a piner show. It was very cool. An then we lernd how to u a printing pres and then we went on a wagen ride throw hiterik navwo. Main street was ready bsy in the pineri times. Wagen roling. Horseys troting. Milking cows. Just imagin how byse and brave the piners war!

We watched a pioneer show. It was very cool. And then we learned how to use a printing press and then we went on a wagon ride through Historic Nauvoo. Main street was really busy in the pioneer-y times. Wagons rolling. Horses trotting. Milking cows. Just imagine how busy and brave the pioneers were!

He drew a lovely picture of the outdoor stage to go along with his writing. I think the 'Sunset on the Mississippi' performance was influential for several of our young travelers, just as it was in the past! I remember coming home from Nauvoo in 2011—Rachel and Miriam played "performing Sister missionaries" for weeks and weeks! Zoë is now quite positive she wants to be a performing missionary, so we'll have to make sure she gets some dance lessons or something.

Here's Alexander and Zoë (and Phoebe—I almost didn't see her down there!) after the show, with the Mississippi River behind them (along with a statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on horseback):

That statue is right across the street from the temple:

Last time we were in Nauvoo (in 2011), we planned enough time that all the grown ups had the opportunity to do a session inside. We didn't have enough time for that this year, but perhaps we'll head back sometime and spend a couple of days so we can do that (and have the older kids do baptisms).

Here's a busy bee at work in the sunset; I love these bees that work the last shift of the day. We have zinnias up by our mailbox—the bees love them—and sometimes in the evening while the kids are the sun goes down...Phoebe and I will check the flowers for sleeping bees, too tuckered out to return home (or without a home to return to at all). 

Anyway, I guess I'm working through these pictures in reverse because we went to the temple grounds after the 'Sunset on the Mississippi.' Before the show we went through the visitor's center, since it was due to close soon after we arrived. Here are the kids learning about temples and pioneers:

After breezing through the visitor's center, we spent a few moments in the Monument to Women Memorial Garden (after reading this brief history on Wikipedia I was curious about the original monument, which was erected in 1933 and it turns out...isn't all that glamorous):

The sculpture garden is a much more thrilling installation, even if its purpose was first and foremost to remind women that their place was in the home (and I say that from inside my home, so simmer down all ye who would tell me to learn to embrace my role of mother). Here's Phoebe holding hands with the baby statue:

Here's Alexander playing "ring around the rosy" with this mother and her children (before I told him to maybe get down from the sculpture):

And here's Zoë standing with a "Compassionate Woman":

We still had a few minutes to while away before the show started, so we walked down temple street to admire the view. Benjamin loved these fences:

And then we walked back to the stage to find our seats, front and center (well, actually, front and to the right, which worked out well when Phoebe had to be taken out screaming when she fell and hit her head):

Here are some pictures of us getting (hot and) ready to watch the show:

Having watched the 'Sunset on the Mississippi' show and then having watched the actual sunset on the Mississippi, we headed to our hotel to make some late dinner and get to bed. Zoë snapped this very flattering picture of me clutching my cup of instant macaroni and cheese:

We had to get to sleep so we could get up in the morning and play our little hearts out before piling into the vehicles to (once again) drive and drive and drive!

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