Tonight I talked to one of my oldest and dearest friends who is in Hawaii going to school. We reminisced and laughed about the dumbest memories we made in our 20 years of knowing each other. One of the fondest and most unique was the time we went to Colorado City, Arizona.
While going to school at BYUIdaho, Molly became friends with an apostate polygamist. The majority of his family still lives in Colorado City even though they no longer follow the FLDS lifestyle or practice polygamy. It took me a while to understand why they stayed living there, but the main reason was to stay close to their family (not to mention they had a few sweet houses there and deluxe property). Brief family history so it makes more sense. Husband to 4 and Father of 41 finds the church through missionaries, tells main FLDS leader he's leaving the church and polygamy along with the willing members of his family. FLDS head guy shuns the family. Family gets divided by religion and way of life but for the most part still totally happy and loving.
So.. we stay with one of the oldest brothers family in the heart of Colorado City. The neighbors were very faithful followers of the FLDS faith and didn't love waving at me and Molly even though any time we saw them we'd wave uncontrollably. It was funny noticing how the girls would refuse to acknowledge us but the boys and men who were out in the fields working or riding horses down the streets were more than happy to wave and even give a little wink to either of us. I mean... wouldn't you want us as a sister wife?
of course you would.
Any chance I felt comfortable I asked as much as I could to find out about this religion and lifestyle that I knew so little about. Sure i knew about the unflattering long sleeve pastel dresses that go so perfectly with AVIA tennis shoes, or the lack of makeup and any 'beauty' product to make a girl look like, well... a girl, and i knew about the perverted senior citizens who marry and impregnate teenagers. I didn't understand so much of it so i went ahead and did what Lisa Ling would do in my situation.. i asked the hard questions.
Me and Molly took a walk with one girl with 3 moms and tried to figure out what her life was like. She was a polygamist but didn't belong to the FLDS faith so she wasn't dressed like the typical polygamist. She was fairly open and didn't hate talking to us and loved how feminine Molly and I were. I point blank asked her, "isn't it weird having 3 moms?!" she responded, "isn't it weird only having 1?!" touche little polyg, touche.
My brother just so happened to be staying the weekend in St. George so I invited him to come hang out with us one night. He just knew I was staying in Colorado City but didn't know that the family I was with wasn't polygamist and I didn't feel the need to correct his way of thinking before he got there. So we all came up with a plan of how we were going to freak my brother and his friend out and even had the help of this old, large, intimidating grandmother. So the second they showed up, two of the girls immediately go latch on to my brother and his friend. They were creepy enough in their ways of flirting that made their interest in them seem believable. They invited the boys on a walk just the 4 of them and were super affectionate and wouldn't leave their side the rest of the night. When they got back to the house where we were all waiting, two of the girls seduced my brothers friend into one of the bedrooms and shut the door. My brother had the most panicked look on his face and demanded I tell him if it was a joke or not. As much as I love to watch my gay brother squirm, I let him in on the joke. He went into the room to try and save his friend as best as he could. After 10 minutes in the room, the old, large, intimidating grandma came into the room and gave a speech that had these main points..
-These are Colorado City's finest girls.
-Don't offend us by refusing to have them for the night
-We've saved them for you
-DO NOT OFFEND US
VERY successful practical joke. Another highlight of the trip was getting the chance to spend the 4th of July at the all day celebration in the city's park. Imagine, polygamists of all shapes, sizes and pastel colors just running around and celebrating their 'freedoms' (if they only knew the joys of a pedicure...)
I wanted to find the sister wife who thought to bring a karaoke machine to the celebration because she deserves a million thank you's. Now i have sweet memories whenever i hear the songs, "I'm Proud to be an American" "Achy Breaky Heart" and of course, "My Heart Will Go On". Those polygamists really know how to get down and sing.
I'm proud to say that Molly and I stole the show when we sang "Cowboy Take Me Away" and got those polyg's swayin side to side. Magical moment.
I miss that place. I now feel like anytime anyone says something that is even remotely related to polygamy or Colorado City I have to tell my story. It's a right of passage that very few people have. Truthfully, I'd love to go back there someday.. but next time I'm only packing floor length dresses and tennis shoes.