Monday, October 22, 2007

The Second Amigo: Janell Cerva Fluckiger

Janell and I on one of the last days of the Washington Seminar in April 2000 (Jeff Moss is the other guy in the bed)



Above: Josh and Janell; Below: Janell with her boys Joshua and Jacob






On Sunday, 14 October, after Janell shooed me away from visiting her at the appointed time of 2 PM so she and her family could get a well deserved nap (due to her just flying in the night before), I got to drive around Salt Lake City blasting my music (one of my favourite pasttimes when I owned a car). The CD of choice was Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape". I still never tire of the song "4 in the Morning", which will most likely be my favourite song and music video of the year. Anyhow, I drove down State Street to the Capitol hill area and went down a side street until I couldn't drive any more due to some cool looking park with monuments to veterans of various wars. I decided to park and walk around, taking pictures. It was beautiful with the different colors of leaves, the newly built monuments, and finally a hike up the hill to the Capitol building, which was unfortunately under renovation. But there was a visitor's center across the street worth checking out.

I didn't realize the time while I was in the Visitor's Center. 4 PM. The time I was supposed to be at Janell's. So, I rushed to the car and drove down State Street until I caught the Interstate. Then Janell called to see where I was, which was close. She was only 2 miles from the Community of Christ church.

It was nice to see her again and to meet her husband. I've only seen her husband and children through pictures she has sent me, so it was a bit like meeting celebrities after seeing them in magazines. Okay, not quite...but the same surreal effect. When I knew Janell, I never knew what kind of guy she was into. I often teased her about hanging out at our apartment because she liked Matt more than me. Who knows? But, based on only what little I knew about her husband Josh, he sounded like the typical business major: conservative, would've been a frat boy if BYU had Greek life, primarily focused on finance, probably a cutthroat capitalist. Well, what a relief that he wasn't any of those things. One cool factor I was glad to hear more about was his experience as a missionary in Mongolia, the only person I've ever met who has been to that remote country. Those are some amazing bragging rights, but he's not a bragger. Granted, he works for the prestigious Goldman Sachs (if a non-business guy like me has heard of that company, you know it's prestigious!), but from talking with him, it sounds like he found a good balance and partner with Janell. I can see some of her influence rubbing off on him (for instance...does he really like Hillary Clinton or was he just saying that to make Janell happy?).

When the boys got up from their naps, I could definitely see the resemblance in little Joshua. He was a "mini-me" of his father. That they share the same first name is interesting and will probably be a major influence later on life (if following in the father's footsteps is considered to be a good thing). He was an excited little guy (4 and a half), wanting to tell me about his favourites, like Spiderman (he has good tastes!). But, he had to compete for attention with his 18-month old brother, who was the family comedian. It was fun just to hear him talk, calling even his father "ma-ma" (I speculated that he liked the way the "mmmm" sounds on his lips). I was shocked by his near genius in being able to say repeatedly "basketball." Such a big word for a toddler with a small vocabulary. Jacob is adoreable with his puffy cheeks, big smile, and big words. Janell was right in saying that her boys are at the fun age (between babyhood and the age when onery becomes a test for discipline and resolve).

After dinner, we went to "This is the Right Place" monument site. I hadn't been there since I was a kid. It offered a great view and part of the place reminded me of the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa. I've always found it an interesting parallel between the histories of the United States and South Africa, including the inward trek of the Afrikaner pioneers (and members of the Dutch Reformed Church) and the Mormon pioneers into Utah. I didn't realize that there was more to this historic site, such as a pioneer village along the lines of Williamsburg VA. But everything was closed and I ran out of film, so I couldn't take as many photos as I wanted to. The view was awesome, as we caught the sunset over the valley when the mountains became purple. Josh and Janell led me into sneaking into the pioneer village part to walk around and see the various animals. It was fun just to walk and talk about religion, Portland, China (which is an interest of both Josh and Janell), and whatever else came to mind.

It was a short visit. When it was time to put the boys to bed, that was my cue to leave, for the journey south to Provo. The visit was altogether too brief for the time elapsed since the last time I saw Janell. But, it was nice to have 4 or 5 hours to visit, and to meet her family finally. I'm especially grateful for Josh's good will in letting me take a photo of him in full Mongolian wear. I haven't developed that roll of film yet and not sure when I'll get around to it (I have 12 rolls of film to develop, from various activities all year long), but he was a good sport about it. They are a good family and of course, I have a deep respect for their personal values. I'm glad that religion is not an issue between us, because as I told Janell...the only way I could ever be LDS is if I were born into it. Part of the reason I remain RLDS (or Community of Christ) is because it's my family heritage. To leave it would be to lose a big part of my identity, so I think it's great to be able to be friends, despite the religious differences our two churches represent. I admire a great many things about the LDS Church and of course, love my LDS friends, but I also believe that there is no one true religion, which would put me at great odds with their belief in the one true church. I'm just grateful and appreciative of the friendship, and look forward to where life will take them in the next few years (Boston would be cool!).

1 comment:

d/b/c/m said...

what a fun trip to see janell and mandy and actually hang out with them. (i'm beginning to feel like my only friends lie in my laptop! i need more free time...)

what a great trip and what great people!