During the 18 months that I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I lived with several different sister missionaries who had a variety of personalities. I got along well with the majority of them and we had many enjoyable and memorable moments serving together.
Perhaps my all-time favorite companionship was when I served in a threesome with Soeur Pamela Green (now Lemmon) and Soeur Melissa Poirier. Our personalities blended well and we spent a lot of time giggling. Those two sisters made a lot of sacrifices in my behalf and went completely out of their way to show me how much they loved and appreciated me. We spent the majority of our time in Nîmes working in the neighborhoods above the city and as we made our way back home through the winding streets, Pam would turn to me and say, “Soeur Porter, tell us a story.” So I’d tell the pioneer stories that my great Aunt Rhea told me as a child and the awesome Church history stories that Susan Easton Black recounted in my religion classes at BYU. Those cobblestone streets of Nîmes gave way to the wagon trails in the plains or to the temple block in Salt Lake City. We’d journey back in time to Palmyra, New York and Nauvoo, Illinois and in our mind’s eye we’d see Joseph Smith interacting with the Saints.
Other times she wanted me to talk about my childhood, so I’d tell about my grandparents’ farm, the horses, working in the garden with my grandma, having pillow fights with my cousins, playing in our treehouse and swinging on the rope swing on the edge of the woods. Other times I’d re-open the door to my grandpa’s wood shop and walk through the sawdust, listen to the high-pitched scream of the saws cutting through wood, and breathe in the smooth, warm, sappy aroma that permeated the shop. I especially enjoyed describing my amazement as I saw Grandpa transform rough blocks of wood into intricate, well-crafted creations that felt as soft as velvet when I ran my hand over them.
I’m not sure why Pam always asked me to tell stories, but she did. And now as I look back on the time that we spent together, I have to say that those are some of my favorite memories. Now whenever we have contact she’ll ask me to tell her a story or she’ll make reference to some aspect of storytelling. If we had the opportunity to see each other today I know that after catching up on schooling, jobs, family, and things that have made us laugh, she’d turn to me and say, “Lark, tell me a story.”
So this post is for you, Pammy. I started writing this when I was quarantined to my house during the month I was ill with mono. I couldn’t concentrate on anything academic, but my mind was weaving the framework for a new story. The following pdf is just the first few pages of a long plot and I hope that after I finish my language training down here in Florida, I’ll be able to pick up where I left off.
I’m not going to tell you who or what the main character is… leave a comment with your guesses and we’ll see who is right!