Did I mention that our brother, Drew, was also on the trip? I do have a brother. Just one. And he falls right in the middle of his four sisters ... lucky guy.
My parents live in a town called Pittsford, which is just about 15 miles or so from the town of Palmyra which is where the Mormon church was organized by Joseph Smith in the year 1830. Every summer at this time of year, the church puts on an outdoor pageant depicting events from the Book of Mormon. It takes place on the Hill Cumorah which is where Joseph Smith found the buried golden plates on which the history of the people who lived in ancient America was engraved.
People come (quite literally) from all over the globe to watch the pageant, both those who belong to the Mormon church, and those who don't. It is a free event and truly spectacular.
Well - one summer, Drew and a friend came home from college and realized there was money to be made at this event. Thousands of people attend and converge on the otherwise sleepy little town of Palmyra. So they came up with the idea that they were going to sell t-shirts to the tourists and make boat loads of money.
They started selling in the year 1987 with one t-shirt design on a card table which grew to a few more designs on about 3 or 4 banquet sized tables ... and eventually into a rented store along Main Street, which they rented for just one month each summer, until Drew came to the conclusion that clearly it involved way too much work with the set up and break down and wouldn't it just be easier to have his own store to keep lots of merchandise in and maybe even keep it open longer and just see if that would work!?!?!
Well - that is what he did. So during our fun "sisters time" in New York, we didn't really see too much of our brother Drew. He heads out pretty early in the morning and usually doesn't get home until late at night, and when he does get back home he falls into bed from exhaustion because clearly being the owner of a store during a busy tourist season is way too much work.
Through the years Drew has enlisted several members of the family to help him sell. Back in the beginning, he would pay our two younger sisters (who were local) to help sell from the tables. My sister Leslie and her girls have helped on different summers too when they were visiting from Utah. And one summer, not too many years ago, I thought it would be fun to go and help as well.
Now, in hindsight, thinking that retail would be fun is kind of an oxymoron ... but what was fun was spending day after day with Drew. Because he is hilarious, and I know that about him, but what I learned on that particular trip was that he does impersonations.
Drew, myself, and two of our nieces would be driving in the old family station wagon each morning heading into Palmyra and he would tell stories in actor's voices, or sing just like the artist on the radio, or immitate the local vagabond who would ride his bike up and down the street in Palmyra asking for free stuff. We laughed until the tears streamed down our faces every single day. I told Drew if he ever wanted to make a living as an entertainer, he totally could.
And he really does come up with great shirt designs ... he is an artist ... a fine artist, actually. That is what his degree is in. He is just pretty talented all the way around - and we all think he is a keeper - for real.
(the original design ... happy 24th!)