Monday, December 29, 2008
We have been visiting for the past few days in southern Utah. Today we went shopping at Walmart and I saw some polygamist women. My son had never seen polygamists before, so I quietly pointed them out to him. He questioned how I knew they were actual polygamists. I told him that I lived and worked here when I was a young adult, and I had become familiar with them then.
My son was quite surprised by the women he saw. But the look on the face of one of the women was like she thought we looked odd too. We didn't really exchange any words, and we didn't make eye contact. They soon moved to a quicker check out line. I have to admit that part of me would like to sit down and talk with them and ask them questions. I have always heard people with physical handicaps say that they wished people would ask questions rather than stare, so I wonder if the polygamists feel the same way. I for one would love to talk to them, but I don't know how they would take it.
After we checked out, I stopped to go to the restroom, and sent my oldest kids out to the car. When I got in the restroom, I saw that a couple of women were standing waiting in line. One of those women was an elderly polygamist woman. I was so surprised at the difference between her and the two women I had just seen. This older woman smiled at me and made eye contact. She had a long red braid. I wanted to compliment her on her beautiful red hair, and also on the fact that despite being older than me, she had much less gray hair. But once again, I know that my inquisitiveness might be more than they can take, so I didn't talk much. I did speak to her a little.
She had two little boys with her. One of them couldn't have been more than 7 years old, but he had a nice leather sheath with a big pocket knife inside hanging from his belt. I was standing drying my hands under the electric dryer and as one of the little boys was coming up to wash his hands he pointed towards me and said, "That's the one I want to use". I smiled and said, "Yes this is the good one!" (referring to the electric dryer.
I may not agree with their lifestyle, and we may be universes apart culturally, but something about that old woman's warm smile made me wish that I could talk to her more. I wonder if they feel the same about me.