What a crazy week for the Evans family of Brunswick County, Virginia!
Just as we were getting excited about the Virginia Board of Dentistry beginning a reversal of the COVID-19 restrictions on dental offices and starting to give appointments to non-emergency patients, we get a call from our son in Utah, who was engaged to a girl from Utah.
Their marriage had been planned for the middle of April, but due to COVID restrictions, it was canceled. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, members have the opportunity to be married, and then sealed together for time and all eternity, in one of the two hundred special temples across the world. We consider the temple to be the House of God and only special ordinances for the living and the dead are performed in those holy buildings. The prophet of the Church, who, like Moses, speaks with God, announced that the Lord would like for all of the temples to be closed for a season to prevent the spread of the virus.
That announcement came back in April, two days before the wedding. Our son and his fiancé were so disappointed. Unlike many in today's world, they were not living together already. They were keeping themselves pure from the sin of immorality so that they could be worthy to enter the House of the Lord. Being morally clean is a requirement for entering the temple.
Of course, they could have been married civilly, but they chose to wait, not knowing when the temples would open again.
We all prayed that the Coronavirus would be rebuked and that the temples would open soon.
“Could they and only six members of a wedding party be at the temple in 4 days at 1 p.m.?”
They would be the only people in the temple besides the man with the same priesthood authority given to Peter and all the early apostles, the power to seal in heaven that which was sealed on earth. Brian immediately called us. “Can you be in Utah on Monday at 1 p.m.?”
“Yes, we'll find a way!”
At first, Cindy and I thought about flying. But, the thought of going through two major airports in areas with high numbers of COVID made us uncomfortable.
So, the next morning we threw some food and blankets and changes of clothing in the old RV we bought last summer on EBAY that has a dental operatory and X-Ray unit in the back and says “SMILE MOBILE” on the front.
We “Stayed Home” all the way to Utah.
Of course, we got out and pumped gas about every 400 miles of the 4700 mile round trip. And wore masks whenever we got out. And gloves.
We stopped and slept in the Smile Mobile at truck stops, rest stops, Walmart parking lots, and my mother’s front driveway.
Gas prices ranged from 1.31 to 2.14 dollars a gallon.
We traveled over some steep mountains and on some long, endless stretches of nothingness.
We ate out of the coolers and a small fridge.
I scanned the radio stations there and back and heard country music, Navaho singing, Spanish, NPR, and static.
Because we love each other, it was a great trip.
And the very best piece of smooth road that we drove on was right here in Brunswick County on Highway 58!!!
Thank you VDOT!!!
By the way, I did end up going inside a Dollar General one time in Topeka, Kansas and found shelves and shelves of toilet paper! They must not use it there like we do in Brunswick County.
Yes, I bought some and brought it home. I thought about buying all of it and setting up a stand in front of the office to sell it but ….
And the wedding itself? Just great! It lasted about 20 minutes. There was great joy. We got to meet her parents. They were nice. Her dad is an attorney for a big waste management corporation. We talked trash.
When we came outside, there was no crowd. No reception was held nor was there a wedding breakfast.
It had been arranged for well-wishers to be in their cars along the sidewalk just down the street, so Brian and Hannah walked along smiling and accepting congratulations with no hugs, handshakes or backslapping.
I kind of wish all of my children had been married in that way!
Another blessing was that we were both able to spend 24 hours in Utah and stand six feet away from our mothers on Mother's Day for a while.
And we never had to leave home to do it all.
Still, there is a heavy price to pay for riding 6 days in the saddle. We were grateful to be 'Home in Lawrenceville' instead of 'Home on the Range.'
And we're back in the office with regular hours again (though there is more spacing between patients and we are asking that only one patient be in the building at a time).... trying to catch up with a hundred or so of patients we had to cancel during the last month.
And even though the Coronavirus has not yet been eliminated from the planet, Cindy and I are still hopeful that we will still be sent to Japan for an 18 month Church mission trip this September. Ganbatte imasu ne!