We were planning on leaving to Palmyra on Saturday morning and going to the Pageant on Saturday night. On Friday morning, Sam said we should just leave when he got home from work so we could stay in Ithaca that night and then go to the Palmyra temple and do endowment sessions before the Hill Cumorah Pageant on Saturday. So when he got home from work, we packed and drove (3 hours) to Ithaca. Our friends (the Dredges) are gone on an internship and they were so kind and let us stay in their apartment. It was kind of fun to eat oatmeal for breakfast and soup for lunch. I felt like we were camping or something. Camping in a really nice apartment.
On the drive to Ithaca, my wonderful, amazing, most-beloved car got to 100,000 miles. I have been driving that car since before I turned 16. Then my parents gave it to me as a wedding present. I love it. We are trying to sell it so I will probably post a long, tear-filled goodbye at a later date.
Sam and I had to alternate going to sessions in the temple so one of us could be watching Alex. I am not sure how Sam dinked while I was in there, but while Sam was in the temple, I went on a tour of the Smith farm and then walked around the Sacred Grove. I met a Deaf couple and they were so sweet. I was signing to them and we realized we were both from Mesa, Arizona. Turns out he is the Bishop of the Deaf Branch! It is a small world! It was cute because they were making a narrative movie. He would sign to the camera about the First Vision and then wave the camera to follow him as he walked into the Sacred Grove.
After Sam got out of the temple, we went on a tour of the Grandin Printing Press. We ran into friends from Ithaca, the Asays! It was fun to see them and go on the tour together.
Before the show started, many cast members walked around and met people. Lots of the people we talked to were from Utah. It got to the point that I noticed they would shrug their shoulders and say, "Oh, I'm just from Utah." I was like, "Hey, wait! I'm the one who's supposed to be shrugging my shoulders and saying it's not a big deal that I am here because I only live a few hours away!" Oh, Utahns are crazy. The Hill Cumorah Pageant was amazing. Alex was so entranced by it. The set was incredible and I had never seen anything like it! I would highly recommend for everyone to see it. One day, I think I would like to be in it.
Across the street from the Hill Cumorah Pageant, there were many anti-Mormon demonstrators. They were calling us sinners and yelling rude things. But then one of them said something that really stood out to me. He said, "You are all leaving here so happy and goofy..." Even he noticed that we were happy, and yet he condemned us for it. Being happy should be a good thing.
On Sunday morning, we went to our ward in Ithaca. The time has changed from 9am to 11am and I am not happy about it. I had to feed Alex solids and make him take a nap at church! That is not going to work out with his schedule! Also, I was starving because church went right through lunchtime! Whoever decided to change times needs a thorough kicking in the shins! After church, we drove to Cornell to see the status of the perpetual construction projects. Then we realized we went to Ithaca exactly one year ago to find an apartment there!
I found out while I was at church that Brother McInelly, a man from my home ward, passed away. When my mom told me Brother McInelly had died, I was confused. Who is Brother McInelly? To me, he was always known as Grandpa. And he really was a grandfather to me. I would spend hours at his home while Hillary (his grand-daughter) and I played together. Hillary and I would have sleepovers and Grandpa was always there with the occasional joke or attitude adjustment (which was surely necessary). He would tell us to be safe as we jumped off the wall onto the trampoline but it seemed he warned us more out of duty than concern: he trusted us. He was so hardworking and he expected everyone around him to be as well. He wanted to see us do our best. I just saw Grandpa last month at a fireside while I was in Arizona. He came up to me, held my hand, and asked me how my life was going and what I was up to; so sweet and selfless, as always. I don't think I asked him how things were going with him, but I am sure he would have said everything was great. He was always happy and that was the main reason I was so drawn to him. I could always count on him for a smile and a kind word; that's why he will always be Grandpa to me.