Monday, November 28, 2011


Happy Turkey Week Last Week! Happy Birthday on Saturday, De-De!

Thanksgiving was a good day. Scared of being foundered, Sister Clemons and I wore our stretchiest skirts and went to Bro Maguet's house at 1 and ate a very refined, beautifully cooked, well manicured meal. They have a gorgeous home and so many things there reminded me of home. It was a wonderful meal. We enjoyed our time there, especially our time with our friend Charlene, but we didn't allow ourselves to eat any seconds because we knew we were heading to Sherry's afterwards and she was expecting us to EAT when we got there. After the Maguets we went to Barbourville and ate at Sherry's son's trailer. Goodness, I love those people. A month or so ago I had mentioned to Thomas (Sherry's son) that I wanted to try squirrel and he told me he made pretty good squirrel so when we walked in he pointed to the table and pointed at me and he had made a whole bowl full of squirrel for me to try. All the sections of the squirrel were fried and in the bowl. I first ate a leg and it was pretty good. Then I ate a couple more pieces. Then Thomas asked me if I wanted to see him do something really Southern. You know me. I not only wanted to watch it, I wanted to do it, too. So, he dug around in the bowl for a second and found a head. Then I dug around and found a head. Then he showed me how to place my hands to crack the skull open, which I did. Then he took the end of a fork and popped out the brain, which I did. Then at the same time we popped the brains into our mouths. Wasn't too bad. Wasn't too good, but it wasn't too bad, neither. Now I can say I ate squirrel brain.

Me and Grubb at Thanksgiving right after I ate the squirrel brain and he thought I was crazy
As soon as we started filling our plates, all the hillbillies (Willard, Grubworm, Sherry, etc) started at the soup beans! They didn't start at the turkey or the ham or the taters or the sweet taters, they started at the soup beans! Haha. (You all know what soup beans are, don't you? It's THE staple here in Kentucky. It's a HUGE pot of pinto beans. You usually eat them with cornbread. And the cornbread out here isn't sweet like it is out west. It's cornmeal and water.) Anyways, it was hilarious to watch them all start at their roots. The food was great. My jello was a hit. I couldn't find any black cherry so I used blackberry instead and it wasn't as good, but no one else knew the difference. The only sad part about Thanksgiving was that we didn't all go around and say something we're thankful for. So, I'm taking my chance while I have your attention:

In Mark 7:11 it reads: "But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is aCorban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free."

Did you catch that? Corban (otherwise spelled as Corbin) means GIFT. Haha! That's what I'm thankful for this year: Corbin, KY.

Speaking of Kentucky, Sister Clemons and I are becoming so Kentucky. When I used to live in China, my friends and I would flatter each other by telling each other how Chinese we were if we did something that the Chinese did or said or ate or anything Chinese. Well, here I'm not so sure it's a flattering thing to be told you're Kentucky. But, to me it mostly is. As I'm sure you can tell, my grammar and speech has completely gone to the dogs. There's many times where Sister Clemons will say something and stop and pause and wonder if that was grammatically correct and she'll look to me and I'll just shrug my shoulders and say, "I have no idea. It sounded alright to me."

Haha. Today we were at Willard's tying his shoes for him and he lives in a house where they rent rooms and random roommates all share a common area. Well, one of his roommates is crazy and has what the people out here call "Old Timers" pronounced "auld timers" meaning Alzheimer's. There's this lady that was cleaning up and couldn't find the garbage can and asked Grace (the one with Old Timers) where the garbage can was. She said, "I put it outside because there's a dead rat in it!" Of course this scared us two missionaries. The other lady said she'd take care of it and went outside to find it. She came back in a second later, laughing, saying, "Gracie, honey. That wasn't a rat! That was a leaf!" We all started laughing and then Grace said, "Oh. That's my paranolliea getting the best of me again!" Haha. Paranolliea. No, that's not a flower. To her that means paranoia. Out here all you have to do is get in the vicinity of the right word and people can figure it out. It's kind of like the other day when I thought Clay was talking about a stereo but then I listened a little harder and realized he was talking about Moses and Pharoah. He just kept saying Pharee-o.

People use comparison phrases here. If something is cute it's as cute as a speckled puppy under a shiny, red wagon. If something is feeble it falls apart like a dollar watch. If you've been drinking you're drunk as a skunk. Those are just some common ones but you can make them up and say whatever comparison you want to fit whatever situation you're in. You all should try it. It's fun to have imagery like that in your conversations.

Also, pet names. I used to get a little weirded out when people would call me honey or sweetheart or sugar if they didn't know me. Now I love it. I've even started calling people sweetheart. It's just a really nice way to talk to people instead of treating them like just anyone, if you add honey or sugar on the end, then you're recognizing that they're a special person, even if you don't know them. You don't have to know them to know that they're special.

When I first came out here I didn't really know if someone was a good cook or not because it was all new food to me, but now that I've been here a while I can tell just by looking at someone's supply of bacon grease or their cast iron skillets if they're a true, down home country cook or if they're an amateur that needs to go back to the city.

Something that I'm worried about with how Kentucky I'm becoming is being blunt. People here don't have much of a filter. They'll say whatever they think and it's not to be taken offensively. They don't mind pointing out someone's faults right in front of them or telling an embarrassing story about them with them right in the room or talking about their diorama or their constipation or their bra size or whatever it is. At first it offended me and now I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to sort of think that people should be able to say what they feel and I know that's not very tactful, but it's true. My skin is getting thicker, too. People will say stuff to me that would have made me cry a couple months ago and now it doesn't phase me or offend me. It's just something someone says that's usually true. People call each other dumb or lazy or fat or ugly or annoying out here like it's nothing. It's kind of crazy. But I'm also starting to forget what the big deal is if someone says that. If it's true, why does it matter? I know it matters. But I'm getting in the habit of being more blunt than I should be and I hope I get out of it because I don't want to come home and offend people all the time.

I'm also starting to give directions in terms of landmarks and mileage. How do I know how many miles it is before you turn? I don't. I just guess. How do I tell one hill apart from another? It's weird but you find ways. Now, I'm not saying I'm as bad as the people out here are when it comes to that. But I have told people to turn after the junkyard at spot on the hill where you can't quite see the top of it. I think street signs might be a good investment out here.

One thing I haven't become Kentucky on is the weather. Ooh, Buddy. I'm in for a rough go of it this winter. I bought some boots today but I have a feeling I'm going to need to get another pair once the snow really starts to fall. Why? Why do people choose to live places that get cold? I just don't get it. You have to adjust EVERYTHING. You have to adjust your driving and the time it takes to get places and your clothing and your food and your activities and your meaning in life. It's miserable. Winter is the worst.

Otis is set again for December 9th and he's the biggest BYH. We set a baptism date with Logan (the guy in the wheelchair from last week who prayed us to him) and we needed a member to pick him up and take him to church and we couldn't find any members with a truck who could and then we remembered Otie and he was happy to pick Logan up and they're already really good friends and Otis is going to go hang out with him today (he came all the way down to Corbin just to take us to lunch, BYH squared). He's doing really well. He can't wait to be able to bear his testimony in testimony meeting "once he's a member". He's adorable. Logan loved church and he's excited for baptism. Grubworm is progressing really well. He found
out that he DID break a rib and he's in a LOT of pain especially since he's trying to quit tobacco right now and his newborn grandson is dangerously ill and in and out of the hospital all the time. He's being attacked on all sides by Satan. I'm really impressed with him though. He's struggling but he's hanging in there. He insisted on buying me that pair of boots I got today. He had given Sister Clemons some money and made her wait till I went to pay for them and then she held out some money and I was like, "What are you doing?" And she told me that they were Grubb's treat. Also,

Otis cut down a large Cedar tree this morning and is making me a cedar chest that he's going to deliver to me in a year when he comes out to Vegas to visit. Are you kidding me? Too many blessings. Too, too many blessings. How did I get so lucky to meet people like this? I miss them already.

We tracted into an awesome couple that are golden and prepared and I can't wait to get them married and baptized and sealed. The woman told us right away that she was skeptical but wanted to hear what we had to say and the next time we came we taught the first lesson and she started out by saying that she didn't think that anyone but God could have written the Book of Mormon! That's one of those moments where you and your companion try not to jump out of your seats/grab each other's hands and start giggling. She works Sundays and has already put in to get at least every other Sunday off, hopefully all Sundays. Her boyfriend has lung cancer and they are so in love. They're in their 50's and met 3 years ago and can't hardly help from beaming at each other and hugging. It's adorable. They've already had plans to get married and this is going to be the last push they need to follow through on it. After only our first meeting with them they invited us to have Thanksgiving with them. Such sweethearts.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. From what Mom and Dad said, I'm assuming it was. I love you all and I was thinking about you all day. I miss you. Please pray for me. This Christmas is going to be hard on me. Not only will it be my first Christmas away from the family, but it will also be away from my Home Away From Home: Corbin. I'll have barely gotten to my new area and instead of comfort and family on Christmas I'm going to spend the day meeting people who miss their old missionary who used to be there before me and me telling them the boring get to know you questions about me and pretending to laugh as I tell them that, Yes, there are Christians in Las Vegas and No, I won't be correcting their grammar just because I'm an English Major. Can't wait...

But seriously. I'm so blessed to be here. These next few weeks are going to fly by, I can feel it. Hopefully they'll be filled with Baptisms, but as the Kentuckians LOVE to say out here, "We'll see."

Extra Blessings: Mom
Word of the Week: ort, meaning ought. I ort to be nicer to people. You ort to write me. Everyone ort to get baptized.

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

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