Escaping the Heat, Day 4

July 12, 2022

Guns and Churches

Love the lightrail.
As an unworldly young woman flying into Frankfurt, Germany, in 1981, I was shocked to see the airport guarded by military personnel, guns in hand. I had never seen a gun except in the holster of a police officer. Life in Europe, though, educated me on the threats most of the world live under daily. Living in Arizona with open carry laws, it is not unusual to see someone enter a McDonald’s with a firearm in a holster. It does not reassure me. The most surprising was a guest at the Scottsdale Biltmore. Really? A bastion of the white upper class?  

On to adventures in Utah.   In Panguitch we had repacked the cooler, draining the water and adding fresh ice. A small hole in the bag holding the frozen berries had allowed water to fill the bag. I drained it and poured the fruit into a fresh bag. Noticing that the juice looked like blood in the sink, I wiped it down using the rags offered by the Purple Sage Motel owner. How nice it was to unpack everything into a refrigerator in SLC.  

We rarely do much for our birthdays, trying to celebrate life daily. Tuesday, July 12, day 4 of our escape, marked Mike’s 72nd birthday. I assembled my fruit and yogurt for breakfast and enjoyed a not very good cup of coffee from the coffeemaker. Then we headed off to the Radison hotel to meet up with the Ultimate Salt Lake City Tour.    
Mike and I enjoy city tours to get a feel for unfamiliar towns. In years past we would make mental notes of sites to return to for further exploration. Now we just enjoy the tour. We know we won’t remember much more if we return for in-depth study. Updating ourselves on the latest COVID variation, we wore masks while on the bus. We were in the minority, but not alone.    

Our driver/guide, whose name, I believe, was Winn, greeted everyone amiably and patiently. He rarely stopped talking, relating history, jokes, and personal anecdotes. Entry into the beautiful state capitol building was a highlight. Utahans (?) are very proud of their Georgia marble. The building is bright and attractive. There is no security to enter. A lone guard relaxed while chatting with the attendant at the information desk. No one else was in sight.  

Which brings us back to guns. Winn informed us that Utah has open carry laws, no permit needed. Guns are allowed everywhere, even the state capitol building, thus no security checkpoint. Although he came across as a kind, generous human being active in the LDS, he confessed proudly to owning guns. I think he said that gun safety is taught in schools. Probably a good idea nowadays. Interestingly, he did not comment on the higher than average rate of firearm deaths in Utah.  

I was delighted that we could attend the noon-time organ concert in the LDS tabernacle. The 30-minute program displayed not only the organist’s skill but the craftsmanship of the pipe organ. Disappointingly, the view of the beautiful temple was completely obliterated by scaffolding. Very European.  

Having left Iowa, Brigham Young stopped in a desolate area of Utah and declared, “This is the place.” No one recorded his wife’s reaction. A few minutes at the Heritage Park marking that spot allowed us to stretch our legs and enjoy Brigham donuts, mini sugared treats that were much too easy to eat in one bite.  

After the tour, we walked to the former Union Pacific Railroad Depot, having been told that it housed shops and restaurants similar to Denver’s. Alas, it was empty. As were the streets nearby reminding me of Phoenix just ten years ago. Having filled up on donuts earlier, we skipped lunch to grab the light rail back to the car. SLC lets people ride free within the downtown area.  

We hoped to visit the Red Butte Botanical Garden. As we entered, however, I realized my legs were still stiff and fatigued, I guessed from hiking in Bryce. I made a mental note to get back to the doctor about this. We returned to the motel, snacked on cheese and crackers while I rested with my legs elevated.  

Just two blocks away, Gracie’s boasted an outdoor patio with. . . live music. So off we went to enjoy drinks and meals while serenaded by a blue grass jam band, which was, by the way, very good. To celebrate Mike’s birthday, we topped off the meal with a shared bowl of cinnamon whiskey ice cream.  

We had enough of SLC. We looked forward to settling into a VRBO for a few days.

Author: Mary Cornelius

I am an aging woman who writes three blogs.