My limited time back in the States was split between three regions. The first several days were in Utah to celebrate the baby blessing of my new nieces. It was wonderful to gather with family for this special event.
My trip happened to coincide with General Conference, the semi-annual worldwide gathering of member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be inspired through the messages from church leaders, prophets, seers, and revelators. Living in China makes it a little more difficult to participate in this in real-time, so I was excited to be in Utah during the conference and made a special trip for one of the sessions to Salt Lake City to attend in the 21,000-seat Conference Center. As always, it was a wonderful experience.
The rest of my time was spent with family, catching up with old friends, and going to the temple.
The Wasatch Front, Utah’s corridor of valleys from Ogden down to Payson, is made up of dozens of smaller cities and towns that over the last few decades have merged together. However, many of them have retained their small town quirks making some times of the year feel different from the normal suburbs. This includes Halloween time when pumpkin patches open up with more than just pumpkin choosing. Instead they have many activities for families to enjoy.
I accompanied my nieces and nephews to Jakers in Springville. We buried each other in a pool of corn, went through a hay-bale maze, and rode a wagon through the pumpkin patch. In the end, they each chose a pumpkin for the season. That experience also stoked my writing juices inspiring a poem about picking the perfect pumpkin. More about that later.
My last day in Utah was spent at the temple in Salt Lake City and Logan. It was my first time inside the Logan Temple, a historic pioneer edifice. Why Logan, you ask. I wanted to spend time with a friend who lives in Idaho, so Logan was a good meeting point. After attending a temple session together, we wandered the small city’s downtown as we waited for “Thriller” to begin at the Eccles theater.
Having lived in Utah, I was familiar with “Thriller,” but I had never seen it. This Halloween-themed dance performance is a season staple. I knew it played for several shows at the University of Utah, but I didn’t know it traveled. Odyssey Dance Theater is a talented group and the show is fun. I’m not sure I would make a tradition of it, but many people have.