Journal entry 31 Aug 2126

I hate Fifth Sundays. Especially when I'm in charge. The Rennact went well, despite Bro. Tellic being an emotional mess. This is his third pregnancy and you would think he would be used to it, but I found him weeping in the baptismal font like a silly baby. He was curled up on the tiles watching bcasts to his visual cortex of his last birth. I talked him into joining us and finally he did, but I wish his wife would keep a better eye on him. We all know what he's like when he forgets his Natalex®.

Getting the children into position after the two-hour block is nearly impossible.  We lined up on the Willy on the north side of the chapel. The children are so adorable. Sis. Wendle had programmed the bcast of a cold Wyoming winter and when I checked into what the children were seeing it was very well done, but about half the children were off-channel going to places like Blandals Snoobles, or that new one, Titan's Wacky Revenge (which my kids can't seem to stay away from). After seizing their input streams we finally got them back under control and lined up for the procession on the Willy. Bro. and Sis. Candle have done a wonderful job cleaning the path of debris so when we are walking we don't trip. I’m still a little chagrinned how shabby our Willy has become. I saw a chapel in Rio that had a Willy nearly fifty feet wide and surfaced like an Olympic 400m track. I guess that Arkansas will have to grow more before we get the good stuff.

It's always one thing or another. I asked Sis. Smith to lead us around the Willy so she got to pick the song and at least that was ready to go on time, but Old Widow Thissle (who really doesn't look her fifteen decades) started a harangue about how in her day the Martins were actually pulled by hand and attached by a rope not bcast-controlled plastic automatons. As can be imagined, the children were quickly bored and I could detect some of the kids switching channels because she was going on and on (it's amazing how some parents have such poor control over their kids streams!).  The trouble worsened when Sis Wendle's Wyoming blizzard got so bad that literally Sis. Thissle was starting to whiteout and the last of her words were being drowned by the sound of the wind. When she finally finished we were standing in a foot of virtual snow!

She finally concluded, and we down spun the bcast and came back to reality for the judging of the Martins. Bishop Kim in full pioneer regalia was in rare form! He acted and maneuvered just like a real person from the 19th century. Very funny. I love when he judges the Martins rather than his councilors. No offense to them, but he really sparkles the plasma red and gold. The kids had done some flatel work! Some of them, I should say. Of course, Carlos Moretta's was stunning. His family, very traditional, had stuck to the guidelines brilliantly. They had done a classic wagon with a team of four oxen harnessed and pulling. The oxen were 3D Printformed in reddish brown plastik and as they walked forward lowing and swaying their great heads you almost felt you were seeing what the pioneers saw. Bravo Morettas for setting the tone for the Fifth Sunday Rennact! Others were not so 'traditionally rendered.' There were some sleighs pulled by reindeer, and such, but the worse was little Jim Cahill who I swear receives no supervision at all. He had the Pluto International Rover being pulled by a dragon. It was nearly a sixth of a meter long, with a quarter meter wingspan. The PIR was another sixth of a meter, but that's not the bad part. The worse thing was the dragon attacked little Missy Jang's Rainbow Unicorns pulling a 'Little Red Wagon.' Sure enough a quick look at the dragon's instruction set by Bishop Kim and it was clear the beast was programmed for combat. It was thrown into the recbin. I must say Jimmy looked repentant, but his parents just shrugged it off like it was a cute wimstickle. You can see why he acts the way he does. The Ward Clerk ran into the office and Printformed another of Missy's Unicorns and wagon, but still.

The Bishop picked, of course, the Carlos wagon and team to lead the Martins around the Willy. Sis. Littleton then did the recitation.

Westle Prim sifted wheat flour over the Martins as Sis. Littleton said,

We brought wheat that we may not be hungry.

Then Bro. Tellic said,

We brought whale oil to light our way.

And Missy Jang poured the genetically manufactured humpback oil over the Martins.

Sis. Littleton, again,

We brought scriptures to open the heavens.

And Doghin Kimball scattered the confetti made from old print scriptures over the Martins.


Then everyone said together,

We brought our Faith, to share with the world!

Then we all bcast up to the Wyoming winter and started walking through the virtual blizzard, our Martins, now rendered digitally in the simulation, strode beside us. The Willy-actual rendered in the bcast was a blue ghost stripe that showed the path. I wondered what the pioneers would have made of this precession. The classic oxen was one Martin they would surely recognize, but the unicorns, dolphins, apes, Doberman pincers, bears, and wasps, pulling covered wagons, sleighs, space shuttles and doughnuts would have been a strange sight indeed. My husband said that the procession around the Willy from outside the bcast looked very solemn and dignified and he thought it was well done. He especially liked the bears pulling a pumpkin carriage. The little rendered plastik bears would stop every few feet and bow, eyes closed, as if praying.

But I worry. The Fifth Sunday Rennact is just not my cup of tea. I know. I know. It is a sacred tradition within the church and I ought to do it with a better attitude. Watching the little kids and their excitement rounding the Willy almost was enough to help me remember why we do things like this, but it was really the old primary song that finally got to me.

When we came to the Rock of Remembrance, we opened our digital song books, and sang the old pioneer ditty:

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,

And my spirit is crying for leaving.

In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,

And the voices of those who stand looking.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,

Ooh, it really makes me wonder


And so on until we finished with,


And as we wind on down the road

Our shadows taller than our soul.

There walks a lady we all know

Who shines white light and wants to show

How everything still turns to gold.

And if you listen very hard

The tune will come to you at last.

When all is one and one is all

To be a rock and not to roll.


And she's buying a stairway to heaven.[1]


And suddenly I found tears in my eyes and the spirit and promise of those old pioneers who lived so long ago seemed to come upon me and I remembered why we do these Fifth Sunday Rennacts.



[1] Stairway to Heaven. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Children's Hymns and Songs, 2112. LDS. 


Pioneer Day gets update and then some
Science fiction
Short (1001 to 7,500 words)
Average: 5 (1 vote)



Although the story certainly comes together, I can already tell which terms and technologies are going to age more quickly than others. It was a strange experience---I almost felt like I was reading this from ten years in the future and finding some of this not so futuristic anymore and other bits still far far away.

Always a challenge though, being pov-pure and still trying to balance actual future talk with enough stuff that the reader can find their way inside.

My favorite bit was the pouring of things like humpback oil and scripture confetti.

But overall, the Pinewood Derbification of religious ritual seemed perfectly plausible. Even if I'm choosing to quibble over details of the telling.

Theric Jepson

Mark Penny's picture

Mark Penny


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