Pagan Prohibition

May 23, 2011 | no comments
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On the sweetness of Mormon life–

Your alarm sounds in the dark of the early morning. It’s 5 AM. It’s Saturday. It’s your birthday.

You put on your scout uniform and swing by the bishop’s house to collect the coolers he stacked outside. They are dirty. You mutter imprecations, turn on his faucet, thumb the hose exit, spray them out. You, your wet pants, your dripping coolers, continue on to the church.

The church parking lot. Dawn. Boy scouts, scout leaders, a smoker–fire already hot–, 300 pieces of chicken. Chicken on tables, salt, pepper, seasoning, load the smoker, watch the temperature, boil beans, chop jalapenos, line a cooler with foil, put cooked chicken in, more chicken on tables, repeat. Run to the store for more ingredients. Run home for an ash shovel. Its the Boy Scout fundraiser barbecue.

The smiling faces trickle in. Then a flood. You serve, boy scouts serve, take the money, more chicken on the table, we’re out of lemonade, quick! Hurry, hurry. A pause, wander over to the tables to chat. You end up in deep conversation with the most liberal member of your ward, the Scandinavian who insists you call her by her Native American name, the kind who believes Mormonism is a variety of Wicca. She tells you that she misses the small-town Mormonism of her youth. Prying eyes kept you out of trouble, she says. At some length she expounds on the need to ban alcohol. The scouts beam when she sincerely thanks them on her way out. Your smoker catches on fire in this golden afternoon.

You scrub grease. The day winds down to evening. At home, finally, you eke out the dying light to plant the last of your corn. Your daughter watches. She announces that you got a snow cone machine for a birthday present. It’s a sharing present! she says. You get to make snowcones to share with us because that’s fun, she says.

You are deeply, profoundly happy.

——

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