Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Highlights: Upstate NY/Philly

Still going backwards...

Before I left DC, I finally got to take the upstate New York trip with the parentals. This one has only been on my list for about 14 years.

A couple of weeks before I was to leave DC, Mom and Dad flew into town and we piled in the car and headed north.

We saw the Whitmer Farm, the birthplace of Joseph Smith, the Smith home, the Sacred Grove, the Hill Cumorah, the Grandin Print shop, and stood at the banks of the Susquehanna River where the Priesthood was restored. How great it was to visit such sacred spots and feel the Spirit of those places.

We visited lots of the places my dad lived while he was on his mission here. We ate a Ted's hot dog. I finally met Sister Wills. And we did a quick run up to Niagara Falls.

We found Mott.

My mom has one ancestral line that lived for a time in Elmira, New York. Since we were so close, we went and spent part of a day in the basement of the County Clerk's office digging through old legal documents. She didn't find what she was looking for, but she did stumble upon a long-lost brother, Mott, no one knew existed, so we decided it wasn't a total loss. I'm betting Mott would agree.

We swung through Philly on our way back to DC to hit Independence Hall, which was the perfect ending to the trip.

Kind of overwhelming actually—to stand in the very room where all the action happenedwhere every word of the Constitution was deliberated over, finally agreed upon, and then the document signed.

It's one of those moments where you know it's all so much bigger than you and you're so grateful that there were people who cared enough to sit in a hot, stuffy, hall, in sweaty, dirty Philadelphia for days and months on end, to give the American people the best government they could conceive of
which just so happens to be the most enduring government which has ever existed in the history of the world...and, incidentally, just so happens to be the government that HAD to exist before all the history we'd spent the previous three days reviewing could happen. Before Joseph Smith could do his work...George and James and Thomas and Ben and John had to do theirs.

Being there made me wish I could say thank you. Someday I will.

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