There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. -John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery
Yesterday while looking for something else (sometimes my lack of organization does pay off), I came across the history of my great grandfather, Thomas B. Brown (27 December 1824 – 18 June 1899). In light of the previous conference weekend, this excerpt really touched my heart:
“Thomas dearly loved to go to the semi-annual conferences in Salt Lake City. There was not transportation other than horse and buggy. Since he had neither of these, he would walk to Salt Lake City. Two days before conference, Eliza [his wife] would prepare some bread, cheese and fruit, and tie it up in a red handkerchief. Very early in the morning, he would set out. He walked as far as Farmington the first day, getting there about dusk. A fine spring by the side of the road supplied him with a good cold drink of water. After reaching Farmington, he would go to an old friend’s place, Brother Parret, who came from England also. He would spend the night with Brother Parret and his family, and arise early the next morning in order to be in Salt Lake City in time for conference. It would take him two days to complete his journey. He would attend all three days of meetings and then walk back to North Ogden. He traveled over 100 miles round trip, and did so for many years, twice a year.
Thomas said that when all the apostles and other speakers would talk, it was most grand to hear them, but when Brigham Young stood up he started in where all the others left off. His sermons were so powerful and inspirational that the other talks were pale in comparison. Thomas said that if the distance had been twice as far for him to walk, he would have done so, just to have the privilege of hearing Brigham Young speak. On his return, he always brought his children a treat of store candy. It was usually peppermints, and oh, how good they tasted coming all the way from Salt Lake City.”
And I was really happy for the faith and conviction of my ancestors . . . as well asthe modern convenience of BYU television.
Turning 14 years old was a big deal, because then I was old enough to go to Stake Dances and they were a REALLY BIG deal. The Fort Worth, Texas Stake had a very active youth program and the Stake dances were a big attraction. As newly eligible Mia Maids, my friends and I eagerly anticipated the dances and planned well ahead what we would wear, who we would see, and plotted ways to get a certain dance with a really cute boy – or avoid a dance with a dud.
An annual event in the stake was the semi-formal dance at which the First Year Mia Maids (the girls who had turned 14 during the year) made a debut into stake dance society and were formally introduced in a traditional ceremony escorted by their fathers. We felt so important to be spotlighted this way, and we were convinced of our maturity and obvious grace!
Shopping for my dress was great fun. This would be my first formal, and my mom was great about making certain that I felt well dressed. As I recall, we found the dress in a little boutique, and I was pretty sure at first view that it was “my” dress. The formal was white satin with a chiffon overlay embroidered with long stemmed pink roses. The pink ribbon around the waist set off the flowers perfectly and my proper white gloves completed the outfit. When I tried it on, I knew I was a picture of loveliness and couldn’t wait to wear it.
This picture is actually a re-enactment of the corsage pinning, staged on Sunday afternoon
When the big day arrived, my dad was the ideal date, showing up with a beautiful corsage of pink baby roses that were perfect with my dress. He looked especially handsome in his dark suit and unlike many of the boys my age, he was taller than I! I was proud to be escorted by such a good looking gentleman.
I can’t believe I still have this rose – 41 years later well preserved in my “Treasures of Truth” scrapbook.
My dad has escorted me through many milestones in my life and has continued to support me through much of the everyday routine. He deserves my respect and admiration – I was occasionally a challenge to him and he kept his cool most of the time. He’s still handsome, he’s still taller than I am, and I’m still proud to be seen with him.