This past week started off with some changes and we all know that I am not a huge fan of change....Our friends, Elder and Sister Wilson from Boise, Idaho, will be leaving to go back home on Monday, March 2nd, so the Mission President asked one of the other couples serving here to come take their place in the office. The new couple, Elder and Sister Shaw, are from Linden, Utah and are very nice....and catching on very quickly! They started training with the Wilsons on Monday and I think they have it down pretty well. I sure am glad they will be there to help us in the office but I will really miss the Wilsons. They took us under their wing when we first arrived and have been great to help us learn the ropes of what we are supposed to be doing. Those of us who work in the office wanted to have a going away dinner for them and it was planned for Tuesday evening. The mission secretary lives in the area so she agreed to make most of dinner and I was going to take an Angel Food Cake with creamy chocolate frosting. I left the office about 4 to go to the apartment (2.5 miles away) and frost the cake. I was planning to meet everyone back at the office about 4:30 and we would all go to Sister Stoecker's house together. Almost immediately after I pulled onto the main road, I could tell something wasn't quite right......it took me 30 minutes to go 3 blocks and when I got to the last intersection before the bridge that crosses the James River, the policemen were turning everyone back. It had been snowing a little that afternoon and there was an accident on the bridge so they closed it down....Well, I had no choice but to turn around, stop at a grocery store to buy a cake and head back to the office. Just as I got there, Sister Stoecker called and said we needed to cancel dinner because the roads were just terrible! OK - still not a big deal - we'll just eat leftovers for dinner. At 5:05 we left the office for home but we couldn't got the way we normally do because the bridge was closed and we had to take a little longer way in order to find another bridge to get over the water. The longer way was about 13 miles instead of 2.5 and because of the streets that were like glass it took us a full hour to get home. Oh, no! Sometimes the best laid plans must bow to mother nature ;-)As we drove to the office on Wednesday morning, I commented to Elder Ashton that I felt like I was part of "Frozen" and should change my name to Elsa because all the snow that fell on Tuesday evening looked like it was embedded with crystals - especially if the sun hit it just right.
It stopped snowing and we didn't get any more snow on Wednesday, but the prediction was that we would get 5 - 8 inches that night. I had been trying to get by without any boots but finally decided to cave and see if I could find some. I think I waited almost too long because the only thing I could find that would fit my feet and had zippers in them so they would go over my high instep were the fashionable boots seen below.
I told Elder Ashton I felt like I was ready to march into combat....but at least they kept my feet relatively dry. As I looked down at them I thought of a time in the early nineties when it was a fad for girls to wear "combat" boots aka Doc Martens. I bit my tongue quite a bit about those shoes and now I feel like I am wearing them ;-)
When I got up on Thursday morning, I was glad I had purchased the boots because the predicted 5-8 inches of snow did fall. And, I decided I would do my "Frozen" act for you, sans the music :) By the way, I think Elder Ashton thought I had lost my mind when I asked him to take my picture pantomiming that song. Soooooo, even though I don't look or sound like Elsa, here's my weak attempt.
I like this part of the lyrics.....even though it may be a little fib to say "the cold never bothered my anyway" ;-)
St. Mary's Catholic Church - looked very well-kept and is in use today because the schedule for mass was posted on a sign.
This building inside the fortification is identified as the quarters of Robert E. Lee and indicates that his first child was born there. Across the narrow street I am standing in while I take this picture are the outer walls of the fortification and some of it has been turned into the CaseMate Museum.
Note the GIANT icicle coming down from the drain pipe.....it was frigid cold outside!
Another icicle and a placard indicating this is where Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy was incarcerated for two years following the civil war.
An outside walkway just before entering the Museum.....note the stones and brickwork and all the archways.
Inside the Museum.....again lots of brick and stonework and low archways. I learned that the large number of archways used in the construction were to help stabilize the fort which was built on mostly sand. They would use an archway above and then an inverted arch in the same place into the ground to help stabilize the building.
This is the room/cell where Jefferson Davis was held. You may see leg irons on the bed. The placards indicated that there are several stories about them trying to place Jefferson Davis in those leg irons but they conflict - however he indicated that he was placed in leg irons and he felt it was a huge disgrace to him.
This would have been a typical room that a military family would have lived in at the Fort.
As I indicated earlier, this Fort stayed in Union hands throughout the civil war. In 1861 or 1862 (I can't remember which) 3 run-away slaves showed up at the Fort. Their owner came and indicated they were his personal property and that he expected to have them returned to him. The chief officer at the Fort at that time (I think his name was General Bernard) informed the owner that since Virginia (where the owner lived) had seceded from the union, the slaves were contraband of war and would not be returned to him. Word of that spread and soon many run away slaves showed up at the fort. Some of them trained and joined the union army and fought in some of the battles. Following the war, the freed black people stayed in the area enjoying their freedom and attempting to get an education to enhance their freedom. Some of the first classes were held under the sprawling oak on what is now Hampton University campus. Can you imagine sitting under this tree and beginning to learn and gain an education that had been denied to you? What a great thing for those people! It was under that same oak that the Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time in the South in 1863.
The days and weeks are flying by and we are busy, healthy and happy. We have been gone from Arizona for 4 months and I saw some pictures on FB of the Phoenix Marathon today--- sure made me miss that warm weather!