When we first arrived at my church building, we noticed that there weren't that many cars in the parking lot. Taylor was skeptical that I had the right time and date, and I was astonished that he thought I could be wrong. After all, I had diligently sworn to bring a pan of homemade cornbread for the party, so I had prepared for the time and date. (I didn't prepare the actual cornbread though, so... #diligentmenot) Taylor and I have an ongoing discussion whether or not the wife is always right, and then we do something to prove or disprove our opinions. We debated (kindly) up to the door about whether or not we should call someone, until we opened the gym door.
Utter chaos of costumes and children and orange and black was everywhere. Everywhere. There weren't enough table and chairs, so the cute little Relief Society women were rushing around setting up more places. Apparently, the entire population of Salt Lake had come to participate in the chili cook off. That's a serious thing in Utah, you know. The best part of that was that it didn't even matter I didn't bring the cornbread. So many other people had brought extras, that they were prepared for fools like me.
Taylor and I were amazed that so many people could fit inside a gym and in so few cars for transportation. We admired it, actually.
But then again, maybe we shouldn't have been surprised. Mormons do rock the minivan style.
We frantically searched for a familiar face, and found ourselves next to one of Taylor's partners in his "calling". (A calling is a responsibility in the church. Taylor's calling is to be the secretary to the men who oversee the families in the ward and make sure that they're all taken care of in their immediate needs.) Our friend is from Vietnam and has a name none of know how to pronounce. Usually I just call him "brother" or "Hey! How's it goin!" Next to him were his two cute daughters who were quietly coloring on a pumpkin cartoon.
As we all sat down to eat, I asked our friend, "Oh! Is your wife coming? Should I save a seat for her?" This was important knowledge to have, since the population of the next city over was now pouring in through the doors, and chairs were limited.
His young daughters looked right at me, with a very startled, and very sad look in their eyes. Instantly, dread and panic filled me. I frantically searched my memories for who the wife is. I realized I don't know her name or that I've even met her.
"My wife?" Our friend asked slowly. He looked at me in the eyes. My eyes dropped his gaze to look at his left hand, and I realized that there was no ring on any finger.
"I don't have a wife anymore." He said sadly, but continues boldly, "I am divorced now."
I stared at him for a few seconds, trying to figure out how to respond. His daughters continued to stare at me, as if somewhat shocked I didn't know. Words sort of fall out of my mouth, and I think I said something like "I'm so sorry; I didn't know that... Taylor should have told me." Taylor, who had comfortably been avoiding any participation in the conversation, jumped slightly and fumbled for words.
Luckily, the emcee of the party, dressed as a giant flower, started to make announcements that the chili cook off was ready to begin. Everyone bolted for the food, and we all slowly made our way back to our table.
To be continued...