Yesterday, I spent the day with my father and good friend Candace traveling down to a family reunion in Blanding. When I first received the invitation to go, I didn't think I was going to be able to - my son is getting baptized tomorrow, it's also my daughter's birthday, I've been working on projects for work ... on and on and on. The organizers of the reunion had really hoped that I'd come and speak about Benjamin Perkins, the great-great-grandfather upon which my novel "Season of Sacrifice" is based, and they asked me again if I would come. It all seemed impossible, and the roadblocks were pretty significant, but then a whole lot of miracles took place and I was able to be there after all.
We left Orem at 4:00 am ... yes, that is correct ... and hit the highway. The sun came up and lit on the gorgeous rocks that begin to speckle the landscape the further south you go, and we really had a nice drive. We reached the Blanding stake center right on time at nine, I gave my presentation (which went well) and had the honor of meeting many family members I never had before.
Me and my dad in front of the Blanding stake center. No, I'm not falling over, although I was tired enough to ... I'm leaning toward my dad.
From the stake center, we headed down to Bluff, where the Hole in the Rock Foundation has been hard at work refurbishing and reconstructing the Bluff Fort, where the pioneers lived after reaching the area. Part of the family reunion activities included reconstructing the cabin that belonged to Benjamin Perkins, so we were especially excited to see that.
This is the cabin from the outside.
And the inside. A fireplace will be put against the wall.
This is the beautiful monument built to commemorate the pioneers on that trek. Here are Ben and Mary Ann, and their children.
Sarah was not yet married to Ben at the time of the trek, so she's listed under Williams, her maiden name. Thomas Williams, listed right after, is her brother, and Mary Ann's too, of course.*
After leaving Bluff, we headed back north to the Monticello cemetery. I haven't been there in years, and it was good to return and pay my respects.
John and Thora were my dad's parents. I was very close to them, particularly my grandma.
Here is the Perkins plot, with Ben, Sarah, and Mary Ann.Dad and I do both look a little bedraggled, but it had been a long day.
Close-up of Ben's headstone.
And of Sarah's.
The cemetery was our last major stop. Tired and warmish, we headed home. We were worn out, but the day had truly been meaningful.
My dad, pointing out some sights.
Candace was part of the miracle in our being able to go - she lent her car, her driving skills, and her support to us all day.
I got home, said hi to my family, and then went to bed for fourteen hours. :)
*It occurs to me you might not know the story of Benjamin, Mary Ann and Sarah ... well, for goodness' sake, buy my book!