Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Days of '47: You (weren't) there!

The buzz had been growing around town: The days of '47 were coming! People were talking about the event; families were gathering, plans were being made.

I asked Tiggie and Hart about it...they said they didn't know anything about it, and what ever it was, it wasn't their fault.

I had been told that people arrived down town in the wee hours of the morning before the big Days of '47 parade to stake a claim on the "best" spots. They slept in lawn chairs through the night, and cooked breakfast on the spot in the morning.

This kind of dedication and fervor I just had to see. I asked the boys if they wanted to come along, the offer was declined by both the feline and human household males.

The day's celebration actually had begun several days ago. Families throughout Utah had taken ahold of a handcart, dressed in 1847 era clothing and proceeded to walk for days along the original trails trod by the Mormon settlers on their way to the promised land of Zion, aka Deseret aka Salt Lake City.

Upon mounting the crest of Emigration Canyon above the Salt Lake Valley, the Mormon leader Brigham Young famously announced to his weary followers: "This is the place!" This year, the announcement has been researched and the quote is now changed to "This is the right place, drive on." The "restored" version doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but oh well.

The Mormons have celebrated that defining moment ever since.

When Jeff arrived in SLC, he was informed that the 4th of July celebrations were a poor second to the celebration of Days of '47. He didn't believe it until he saw it to be true himself. He still shakes his head at the memory of the first Days of '47 that he beheld.

It was my intention to settle for a really poor parade viewing location. The celebration's events actually kicked off at 7 am with a Mormon Tabernacle Choir rejoicing time in the Temple Square Tabernacle.

I slept through that. My bad.

The parade was to begin at 9; for some reason, I thought it would begin at a reasonable 10 am.

It wasn't until 10:45 until I finally left the house on my own trek to "this is the place". Still, I drove on....

Floats were randomly heading away from downtown...clearly I had missed the parade proper.

Every street corner was filled with families toting chairs, coolers and umbrellas. Guess the party really was over!
It must have been quite a cute parade.

Now I did plan to not only see the parade, I also had an errand to run: a library book was on the verge of being over due. I planned on dropping the book into the outside book drop and then being on my merry way.

I had been warned, but I just didn't listen. Ever heard the expression: You can't get there from here?

Well now I have lived it. Even though the parade had finished up and the crowds dispersed, EVERY east/west road was blocked off with police cars and barricade. Grid lock: accomplished! I rolled down my window at one corner and asked the police officer how I could get to the library. He suggested a course that was equally blocked.

Eventually by going waaaay outside the downtown boundaries I was able to target the N/S library boundary street, and secure a parking space. Parade vendors were walking along with the jumbled remains of their wares. I asked if I could buy some cotton candy from one man. For a dollar, he gave me one and another one just because.

The library seemed a bit dark...

Pioneer Day, the politically correct term to be all inclusive of ALL pioneers who came to SLC at one point or another.
How PC funny is that?
My book would have to accrue fines; the outside book drop was also closed for the day.
Next year, Bernie later told me as we watch fireworks light up the sky in every direction, we WILL get up early and see the entire parade.
Jeff tells me that the most interesting part of the parade is seeing floats of models of the various LDS temples.
Can you imagine a parade on a Christian holiday (say Christmas for example) that would include floats of the various churches in your community?
That your town would shut down in honor of the date of the establishment of the first church in your community?
Sounds good to me.
Wonder where we Christians lost the zest for that kind of celebration?
It wouldn't be PC to do so now.
I also wonder: How long will the term "Day's of '47" last, before the demand for inclusiveness will hijack the celebration to being for Pioneers "of all times" as I heard one radio person say.
I suppose there could be floats for modern Pioneers from say...Houston?
Sure...I can see it now: the float will have Bernie and Jill in twice life size sculpture, complete with airline tickets and cat carriers in hand. We personally would be riding along, waving and throwing candy at the crowds, while the cats would be hunkered down in complete horror beside us.
Poor Tigs and Hart.
Next year, boys, you may not get to stay on the deck and snooze the Days of '47 away.


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I think Tigs and Hart might find a good place to hide next year and avoid the parade...now that you've warned them.

Vicki said...

I agree with Sara! The boys make attempt a little getaway to visit Miss Kitty or Spooky next year!