After our session, we rejoined our families waiting outside.
And then hurried over to the Zion's Mercantile for a dinner of sandwiches, salads, lemonade and cookies. Afterward, we went around the room and shared our memories and advice. I can't remember very many of the gems of wisdom shared that night, but I remember Greg Mecham encouraging them to enjoy every stage and not miss the now because they're looking forward to something better in the future. I liked that. I've thought of it many times since then. All the family had warm memories of Kristen.
It had been a long, happy day. Time for bed. All of our family stayed in a historical (if somewhat creepy) old house called the Daugherty Mansion. Every family had a bedroom and there was a fully furnished kitchen, dining room and parlor. Only the bathrooms left something to be desired.
Kristen and I got up early in the morning and took a walk to the river. We were staying in a little town called Keokuk--about 15 minutes from Nauvoo and it was what you might call a "has been" town. It might have been something in its day--but its day had passed. We walked along the streets lined with dilapidated mansions and talked. Once again, I experienced that bitter sweet feeling of something ending and something beginning. Just like with Marlee, I was flooded with memories--little moments. I remembered the day a few years before when we walked down to the mailbox as we had every day and there finally, was the big envelope from Salt Lake--her mission call. I'm not sure why but we both started running and we didn't stop til we got to the middle of the alfalfa field across the street. We knelt down and she started to open it. I remember the sun shining behind her and the beautiful day that it was. She opened the letter and started to read, murmuring the words until she got to the one every perspective missionary wants to find--the one that identifies the adventure ahead. For Kristen, it was "Finland".