Welcome to Utah; Wanna Stay?

I’ve lived in Utah for most of my life. If you don’t know where Utah is: just go West of that big, open, flat area in the middle of The United States of America to the Rocky Mountains; but stop before you can gamble or make it to the beach.

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Given my druthers, I think I’d prefer somewhere like Boston in the fall. With dogs. And no dishes or laundry. Ever. Those who know me might wonder why I’m living in The West with 4.5 children and housework ’round the clock, but we’re not going to climb aboard that psychologist’s couch right now.

I bring up my location and innermost desires because I often wonder why people come to my little speck of the world. Why do they stay? What do we have to offer here?

For me, the attractions include:

    1. The Mormons. Okay; okay: the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      When I traveled with our music group in high school, other kids we met in the hotels would always ask two questions: Where are you from? immediately followed by Are you a Mormon?
      We may have stood out for lack of cussing and cut-off jeans, but mostly Utah is just known for its Mormons. I’m not bothered; there are a lot of us here. Mostly I get bothered by those who are bothered by that fact. I mean, it’s a little obvious that LDS people might live in Utah. They kind-of settled it.
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      Anywho: being mostly LDS myself and not minding the culture surrounding it, I find the placement comforting more than not.
    2. The people.
      Personally, I feel this ties into Reason #1, but I knew many people would go digging for ‘Mormons’ once I mentioned ‘Utah.’ Whether it’s because of the huge number of LDS and families or not (trust me, it is), the people here are generally friendly and kind.
      I remember watching the American Idol episode they filmed here in 2009. Contestant after contestant on the show responded to the judges’ negative assessment with a smile and a, “Thank you.” The judges were weirded out by the positivity (watch at about 15:37).

  1. The Scenery
    Since I live in the Salt Lake area, I can always see mountains. Mountains, mountains, mountains. They’re beautiful, and I totally take them for granted. It’s not till I’m lost in Oklahoma that I realize how wonderful those natural compasses and rocky beauties are.
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  2. Destinations
    Utah is also home to plenty of hiking/biking/camping/ATVing areas. There are even a few spots with swimmable water. I’m too lazy to look up what percentage of the state is Federal or State land, but it’s sizable. Utah’s home to Zion’s, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley….
    I am also not very grateful for how close and easy these destinations are, or the millions of unnamed camping and hiking areas. If we want to go on a quick hike, there are several within half an hour’s drive. There are even nice areas to walk around within walking distance of our house.
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    Utah is also known for its skiing. I haven’t had time or money for the sport since high school, but publicists are not lying when they say it’s The Greatest Snow on Earth -though I’d amend that it might be the greatest this side of the globe. I’d love to try the Alps.
  3. My family nearby
    You all aren’t going to enjoy the benefit of this; but having grandparents, siblings, cousins (lots and lots of cousins!) close enough to visit is very nice. Home is where the heart is and all that.

I was born with an odd curiosity for where other people call Home. Specifically, I often want to experience their day-to-day lives. So: what do you like about where you live? What do you see? Visit? Eat?

If you’ve lived several places, what have been your favorite aspects of some of them?

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While you consider and respond, read what I wrote this past week:
Wednesday, September 4: Discussed a bit about the fun and games of selling dice.

Thursday, September 5: “A Thoughtful Poem.”

Friday, September 6: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb!

Saturday, September 7: Announced the 42nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Do you know where your towel is? PLEASE ENTER!

Also, “I Give Myself Two Thumbs Down” over at The Bipolar Longname Blog.

Sunday, September 8: “True Grit?,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, September 9: An inspirational quote by Paulo Coelho.

Tuesday, September 10: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Three.” Sorry, Wil.

Wednesday, September 11: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “‘Work at Home,’ They Said,” “Parents, Put the Phone Away!!!,” and “The Boy Mom Poem.”

 

Photo Credit:
John-Mark Smith
Michael Hart
Justin Luebke
Mitch Nielsen

©2019 Chelsea Owens

One Country

“Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail…”

I can’t remember a time when my husband didn’t like discussing politics. Even at 16, he and his best friend would incessantly “converse” about an issue, its counterpoint, its counter-counterpoint; ad naseum.

“Stand navy, out to sea; fight our battle cry…”

Driving in the car together at 19 years young, we would occasionally listen to AM Talk Radio. Callers to the program voiced something, anything; and inevitably got cut off by Rush Limbaugh yelling. I had never seen the man; yet saw his red face, smelt his heated breath, and felt his spewing spittle.

“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea”

The introduction of social media, overall, lent a paper-thin mask to that same sort of angry vitriol I heard over a decade before. In our 30s, now, I see good people typing political observations they’d never say to their own mothers.

“From north and south and east and west, the coast guard’s in the fight…”

My own “news”feed is often split down the middle. One man literally wrote that anyone approving the separation of children from parents is a piece of shit; a relative, meanwhile, pointed out that children are being used as free tickets into the U. S. of A. I get the feeling my “friends” would start a nuclear meltdown if accidentally mixed in the same chamber.

“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder -climbing high into the sun!”

A person in the military standing next to their boots and backpack on a sidewalk

This past Sunday morning our family watched the live feed of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing from their tour in California. Theirs was a patriotic program to honor our nation’s birthday, today. Anthems played, singers sung. I typed, using it all as pleasant background music. Then, the choir began singing each song of the various armed forces. I looked up.

“Then its Hi! Hi! Hee! in the field artillery, shout out your numbers loud and strong!”

Apparently, representatives of the various armed forces were attending the concert. The front rows of folding chairs held uniformed members -but they weren’t sitting. As was standard, each was standing in respect. Each man or woman in smart, white shirt and tie was at the appropriate attention.

“…First we fight for rights and freedom, and to keep our honor clean…”

Most were smiling broadly. All were singing. The camera panned over the crowd and I saw happy, proud people raising their voices together with the choir and band. I was struck by exactly what it meant to dress a certain way and take a certain oath and stand when expected and mouth the same words: Unison.

“Sail on to victory and sing their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!”

Uniformity is often said like it’s a bad word, a disgusting one. A That’s it, young lady, we’re washing your mouth out! word. Instead, I saw it for the word it really wants to be: teamwork, unity, cooperation, selflessness, union, LOVE.

“We live in fame or go down in flame…”

Thank you, Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Thank you more, proud members of the fighting forces in attendance. Thank you all for feeling so strongly that I couldn’t help but cry in response.

One nation. That’s what we are, and the goal we always need.