Sundays they camped and read and prayed (and then told fart jokes)

(While Jon and I take some time to unwind on a beach very far away, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on June 23, 2005.)

While bathing Leta a couple nights ago I broke into Mormon Hymnal Recitation and regaled my precious babe with a children’s propaganda song. My mother was the local church choir director my whole life so I know every hymn in the entire Mormon hymnal archive by heart, a skill that surprisingly never helped me get laid.

I often break into Mormon Hymnal Recitation as a way to cope with the (ALERT: MORMON PHRASE AHEAD) trials and tribulations of parenthood. Take for instance Leta’s frequent arched-back temper tantrums. Whenever she breaks out into a scream I break out into, “We are all enlisted ’til the conflict is o’er, HAPPY ARE WE! HAPPY ARE WE!” at a volume much louder than she could ever bring her vocal chords to produce. It usually works because she stops screaming to wonder what the hell kind of tactic is this? It’s called I Didn’t Go To Church for 22 Years for Nothing, KID.

The other night she was in a particularly good mood at bathtime, so I started singing a children’s song that describes how jubilant the pioneer youth were who trekked across America in covered wagons to escape death and settle in the desert where there was no water or shade. It describes them as singing and singing as they walked and walked and walked. The last verse of the song goes on forever because those pioneer children walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. I remember singing it and in the back of my mind, even though I knew it was a sin and I would repent of it later, I would think, “WHY DON’T THEY JUST GET THERE ALREADY?”

Jon was helping me bathe Leta and he remarked that the last thing those kids would be doing would be singing as they walked and walked and walked. We used to be kids, and now that we have one we know that they’d do nothing but whine and bitch and moan as they walked and walked and walked. As we washed Leta’s hair we thought that more appropriate verses to the song would have been verses like:

“Pioneer fathers took extra wives, more wives, more wives, more wives, more wives.”


“Cholera spread through the camp and they died, and died, and died, and died, and died.”

So we sang those instead. And the church lesson to take away from all of this, obviously, is hey kids! BUCK THE FUCK UP! Life is hard and mostly sucks, and when Daddy dies from frostbite and Mama has to marry another man who already has three other wives? What do we do? SING!