Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday sketchbook: fried, baked, jambalaya, sauteed...

Whenever we talk about the Mormon Pioneers and the hardships they endured, the Miracle of the Gulls comes up.

In Sunday School the story is often condensed like an episode of a TV program: the crickets came and ate the crops (oh, no!), the Saints prayed (good!), the seagulls came and ate the crickets (huzzah!) and all was well, fade to commercial.

One of my ancestors gave an account in his journal that gave me insight on how desperate their circumstances were when the crickets arrived.

According to the journal, the crickets came and kept coming for days. There were millions of them everywhere and they got into everything. They tried to destroy as many as they could, but they just kept coming...and there were nasty, squished cricket guts everywhere! The pioneers couldn't sleep because of the swarms...and the noise!

When the seagulls came, they were afraid that it was yet another plague. They were beyond the point of despair. But then they saw that the seagulls were eating the crickets. And they kept eating the crickets and coming back for more. It wasn't an instant fix; cleanup took weeks.

It's no wonder that there's a monument to the gulls on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

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