12-19 Jan 2020
On the weekend of January 11-12 we experienced our second snow storm. This one was less intense than the weather before Christmas, but we were reminded of how seriously the folks around here take the threat of a storm. I suppose it has to do with the abundance of hills and valleys and the relatively few plows to address a snow fall. That didn’t stop us from making our Sunday visit to Annie Stewart, our favorite 93 year old member in the Pagedale Branch, or from venturing out to bring the Pagedale missionaries home for dinner. The seemed to enjoy our family favorite of chicken divan. It’s funny, RaDene and I have discovered that when we are feeding the sister missionaries, I stay home and cook while she goes to get them, and when we are feeding the elder missionaries, RaDene stays home to cook while I take care of transportation duties. So, we both get the chance to display our culinary skills.
This was a big week for moves, even though none of them were far. President Bell has decided that having three assistants really helps with the training of other missionaries. But where the APs have been living in Lindell (near St Louis University) is really too small for three missionaries. One has been living out of a suitcase, and their beds are literally wall to wall in the bedroom. The decision was made to move them into a somewhat bigger apartment which the senior CES missionaries recently vacated. Naturally, it was full of senior missionary furnishings, including a king size bed and some really nice furniture. Somewhere along the way, a senior missionary couple had decided to buy furniture, rather than settle for mission hand-me-downs. Of course, this nice stuff was entirely unhelpful for the APs. Meanwhile, we were anticipating two more senior couples to arrive in the next two weeks, one to handle vehicles and nurse duties, and the other to work in the CES. So we had to divide the past CES furnishings into two senior apartments, and then move the APs and their furnishings from Lindell to the former CES apartment. Then we had to take a deep dive to finish the outfitting of the first arriving senior missionaries, named the Evertons, who will be our near neighbors for the next two years. RaDene has been a great help in visualizing what needed to be moved where. The young housing assistants provided most of the back strength. There will be more on this another time as the domino effect of moving the APs works through the mission.
On Tuesday the 14th, I took a pretty big step into real retirement, giving up my active status in the Washington State Bar Association. I am no longer authorized to practice law there. It was mostly to save a few hundred dollars in fees and to avoid the hassle of reporting continuing legal education in a state where I haven’t really worked in a long time. But it turned out to be more uncomfortable than I had anticipated, thinking about how hard it was to earn that first lawyer license, and realizing that although it needn’t be permanent, the chances of going back and reactivating in Washington are small. I haven’t given up my Utah license though, at least not yet.
Wednesday morning brought a small delight. We saw out our back patio window our first cardinal. The iconic red bird was beautiful. We are thinking about how to put out a feeder to attract more birds, which are reputedly plentiful around here.
That night we met another icon of St Louis—Rock and Joy Erekson. They have Utah roots, but long ago became a big part of the St Louis community. They know all the fun things to see and do in the area, and are well connected with the city movers and shakers. But they are very unassuming, just altogether friendly and charming. We sang prayed, ate, and told stories until well past our bedtime. Rock is the Just Serve service organization sponsored by the Church. RaDene and I have been asked by President Bell to serve as mission representatives to Just Serve. I should be quite interesting working with Bro. Erekson. I understand that Just Serve was very helpful last year placing sandbags as the mighty Mississippi overflowed its banks at record levels.
I took a solo trip to St Peters to deliver desk chairs and lights to missionaries who had requested them weeks ago, maybe longer, but had been neglected. So I found a window in my week and took them what they needed to help with making their studies productive. I found there old desk chairs so broken down that the backs laid down almost parallel with the seats, so that the chairs were effectively stools. This job is going to be an interesting mix between the necessary tangible things that missionaries need to make their homes livable and functional, and the necessary administrative things like watching lease expirations, negotiating new leases, and paying rent on time.
Friday the 17th brought another weather event. The threat of freezing rain caused schools to cancel, the temple to not open for the day, and almost all businesses to close by noon. Temperatures hovered around freezing, and by late afternoon icicles were forming on trees. But maintenance crews put out salt and antifreeze solutions on the roads to keep them in good condition. As it turned out, the temperatures stayed just warm enough that the feared ice on roadways never materialized. I suppose that officials have seen enough trouble in the past that they take a better safe than sorry approach to freezing rain.
Luck for us, RaDene and I had been invited to dinner at the home of Paul and Patty Heinze and had the benefit of a wonderful meal, warm fire, and hearty conversation. Paul is an Area Authority and Patty is a childhood friend of Annette Bowen. So although the connection wasn’t all that close on paper, we really connected with the Heinzes, and had a grand time swapping stories with them and the Bowens on a conference call. We find ourselves talking frequently to people about our family, of whom we are very proud.
Saturday the 18th, the Evertons pulled into town and we welcomed them, gave them apartment keys, helped them unload, and told them where Costco is, necessary information for setting up house in modern America. They are kind, gentle people and will serve the mission well.
Except for the Everton move-in, our Saturday P-day was spent mostly in the office. I was tutored in Elder Erickson’s file labeling. It takes quite a bit of effort to stay organized! RaDene worked on the mission news letter. We did have a few interesting interludes, like Nanna Dene’s chaotic, hilarious conference call with her grandkids. Finally, we got to go with the Ericksons to Sugar Fire, our first taste of authentic St Louis barbeque. We got there too late for ribs, which we hear sell out early (we never seem to get to dinner early), but the brisket was delectable and the sides satisfying. I’m going to enjoy that place.
Sunday the 19th we took the Evertons to church meetings with us since they haven’t had the chance to be assigned anywhere yet. The Lisonbees, who the Evertons are replacing, gave farewell testimonies. They have done such good ministering here in the Pagedale Branch. RaDene and I have big shoes to fill. I’m afraid I’m just not social enough to be a fair replacement for Elder Lisonbee. The branch will need to lean on RaDene! We loved meeting Bro. Nehring, the St Louis Temple recorder who lives in the St Louis Stake and is assigned to attend and support the Pagedale Branch. He had some fascinating views on Pres Nelson’s work to prepare the Church for the coming of the Savior. After church meetings, we went to see Annie Stewart, as has become usual. The Lisonbees said their goodbyes to her, too. I hope we can keep us with some of the good ministering they have been doing.