I will never forget standing by my Grandmother Lizzie Thomas’s bed when I was in the middle of my years at Brigham Young University. She had just taken a fall and broken her hip and was in a care center. She looked up at me and said, “You are living the life I wish I could have lived.”
Grandma Lizzie had a hard life. She lost her mother at eight and married my grandfather, who lost both of his parents at two. They lived in pioneer times when travel was catching a ride in an old Model T Ford to the next town.
Not long after I stood by my grandmother’s bed, I took my first trip abroad. I had just turned 23, and this was the first time I was to fly. I was going to travel all by myself to Holland. I had two friends that would come over and join me a week later.
I was on my own in a strange country where I did not know a word of the language. I didn’t even have any place reserved to stay. I can still feel the fear I had as I took off to find my way for a week all alone.
When I got to the Netherlands I was able to find a small room to stay. I was so tired from the long trip and the stress of having to find my way in a strange country that I pushed the dresser up against the door so no one could get in my room and cried myself to sleep.
Now I welcome the chance to go on any excursion, even if it is to a local restaurant that serves food from another country.
This past week I was asked to go to a meeting in Las Vegas. I checked out the flights and they cost more than $400.00, so I decided to make the seven-hour drive. My next question was how I could make this trip into an adventure where I would learn, reunite with friends, and enjoy the beauties of nature, as these are three of my passions.
Dropping money into a slot machine in a smoke-filled room is not my idea of fun.
On the spur of the moment, I decided to settle my efforts on Zion National Park. It could meet my desire to learn, have fun with friends, and see the beauties of nature.
On my way home from Las Vegas, I stopped in to visit two of my friends who bought Green Gate Village Historic Inn St. George 13 years ago. I met Lynn and Ed Sandstorm on a trip to Hawaii once where I was speaking, and they have been friends ever since. I persuaded Lynn to go to Zion’s Park with me.
Even though I had been there many times, this was to be a new and exciting adventure. Lynn began by pointing out how beautiful the red rocks were in the afternoon light.
Red Rock Canyon, in Zion National Park
When we stopped at the end of the road, Lynn told me that this was the beginning of Zion Narrows. I had heard of this all my life but never knew where it was. It was not long before we were walking up the narrow path and meeting people who had walked Zion Narrows during the day.
One of our highlights was meeting three young men from Southern California. They had been on a ten-day trip, sleeping out every night in January. They shared their ten-day trip going from the Arches in eastern Utah to hiking down the narrows in Zion Park. One was a private yacht pilot, one was a professional photographer and chef, and the third was going to a university in Southern California. They each shared highlights of their life on the fast track.
As it got dark we began to drive back to St. George. Lynn continued to share highlights of this area. She even showed me where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had been filmed.
Yes, Grandmother, all of us today can live a life that is filled with adventure, fun, and learning, and I know this is just what you would have loved.