I wandered into the special collections in the basement of our wonderful library, fumbling with my words and sweating - nervous from the cleanliness and order of the place. The lady at the desk helped me learn how to fill out a request form (I'd assumed it was like the bank where deposit slips are just formalities that the teller always fills out for you - incidentally if you still fill them out prior to a transaction, you are living in 18th century France) and checked my backpack into a locker. You can't take notes with pens, so I put them away and borrowed a pencil. After waiting for two minutes I was handed a fresh copy of the Fall 2011 edition of the journal "Dialogue - A Journal of Mormon Thought." I sat and read for 30 minutes. I enjoyed seeing Scott Abbott written across the top of each page, with the title "Immortal for Quite Some Time" next to it. The narrative jumps right to the point with a series of breathtaking sentences about Uncle John. Letters from his mission follow, with Dad's feelings and emotions and confusion and logic pouring through the pages. The most piercing letter was a long apology John made to Grandma and Grandpa about how he hadn't lived up to the abilities he had, but was lazy and confrontational for no reason. Dad's desire to talk to John, to talk about all the things they never talked about, to love honestly and let all the familial formalities we cling to drop to the ground and just be there for each other made me shake and almost cry. And it just ends, leaving me in the spotless basement next to a king's throne of a chair with a huge beehive carved into the top of it and a display of the skull of Old Ephraim - the biggest bear on record in Utah. It just leaves me alone, so connected to Dad and wanting so much more.
Dad, you are amazing in your commitment to truth and goodness in life. It twisted my whole day up, making writing and thought and learning the most important things. Thanks for writing. I love you and everyone needs to read it.