|The sisters being funny|
|NPS Photo by Peter Jones|
|Photo Source: Aggie Speleological Society|
Timely Twenty One
The year I was building up to twenty-one, I was on the second year of my LDS mission. I was just overcoming the heartbreak from my Dear John letter and surviving a short hospital stay for food poisoning.
I also become really good friends with one of the sister missionaries, Sister Lane. She teaches me a little Navajo and I like the way she laughs. Maybe when I get home... but I can't think those thoughts right now.
The Wrath of God
I learned a valuable lesson on my twentieth birthday: don't tempt God.
See, I'd always wanted to see the Carlsbad Caverns and El Paso was a short, 3-hour drive from there. I expected to head North sometime during the next few transfers, so I got permission from the Mission President to go to the Caverns on my birthday. Nine of us set out that day and it was a blast! The caverns were more gorgeous than I remembered and we had all the fun of a road trip.
The tempting God part? Well... while I was in the gift shop I was getting some souvenirs for my family and the clerk, in fact ALL the clerks, were jerks. Geez, I thought, these people are jerks. I'm glad I'm not serving in this area.
So guess where I get transferred to? Yup. Carlsbad.
Areas of Service
I was transferred a couple months after my birthday, so I ended up only serving in two more areas during my last year: Carlsbad and Taylor Ranch.
Carlsbad is a small town in south eastern New Mexico. The nearest towns of note are at least an hour away, and Roswell is two hours. I meet some wonderful friends in Carlsbad and figure out that it must be the people in the National Park gift shops that are jerks. I also get to spend my last Christmas here, which is a plus because I have some lifelong friends here. I'm made a district leader, but the district is so small it's just our companionship and one other in a satellite town. I never get to go there. For all I know, it's bigger than Carlsbad.
My first companion in Carlsbad is named Casey and I felt like his older brother. Sometimes it felt like a love/hate relationship, but he was such a great guy the good times easily outweigh the bad. He's an outdoors man, and with my love of caves, we spend a lot of our time off out in the desert. Carlsbad has some really pretty country, especially if you like the desert. We hike a labyrinth cave and get lost. We drive out to Sitting Bull Falls and hike every trail there.
After New Year's, I get transferred to Taylor Ranch. It's a suburb of Albuquerque and lies on the west side of the Rio Grande. I'm five months late for the balloon festival in Albuquerque, but there's almost always a balloon in the air there. Sunday mornings I usually wake up to the roaring of a balloon passing over our apartment.
|Photo Source: Kathy Teston|