Happy Pioneer Day!

Today I honor my pioneer ancestors! I am standing in the picture above by a real covered wagon that was left at the home of my ancestors at Pipe Springs National Monument, Arizona. My maternal grandmother’s great-grandfather, Anson Perry Winsor Sr. heeded the call by Brigham Young to go to Arizona after coming across the plains. I wonder what he thought about this dry hardscrabble desert as compared to his birthplace of lush, upstate New York. Yet he had faith that Brigham the prophet knew what he was doing. He built a fort over the spring there and managed a cattle ranch. His wife, Emmeline Zenetta Brower, made 60 lbs. of cheese and butter a day from the resulting milk. They used the spring to keep the food cold. No wonder I love dairy so much! They shipped these dairy products every day up to the workers of the St. George Temple. Yes, these hungry early Saints were fortified by dairy products to build a house of God out of the barren wasteland. I don’t think they could have survived on a vegan diet.

We went to Pipe Springs a few weeks ago and then to Zion Canyon for our family reunion. For a bedtime story one night while we there and all sleeping in the same room at the family reunion lodge, I read this picture book aloud, shown above. It’s called Grandfather’s Gold Watch by Louise Garff Hubbard. It was a great way to settle my little kids down after being highly stimulated by playing with cousins and having a theater room at the lodge with surround sound, stocked with lots of DVDs. We read the first half the first night and the second half the next night. I highly recommend this book with 5 stars! It’s all about a pioneer family coming to Utah. The little boy gets a watch from his grandfather along with two questions that help him get through all the ensuing trials. I used one of the sad scenarios in the book to point out a good and bad example of what a real man is all about. This book has some sad parts to it but has a very happy ending! I encourage you to get it from your library (if your library doesn’t have it, then ask for it through the interlibrary loan system) and read it to your kids. It will make you cry so have some tissues handy.

Here is a great series of downloads by the LDS church about the legacy of early saints. These would be great listening for car rides with your family when you have a captive audience! I also encourage you to watch these videos below with your family to remind your children about the sacrifice of the pioneers. As President Faust says in the last video, “What else would  but a divine restoration prompt such a sacrifice?” After spending just a few hours in the hot Zion Canyon, walking, not even hiking, much, I agree!

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