Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Day Two in Palmyra
Yesterday we spent the morning in the Smith homes and the Sacred Grove again--this time with Patrea and her family. It was just as wonderful the second time. We spent the afternoon in the Grandin building where the first Book of Mormon was printed. The fact that a press the size of that one was in a small town like Palmyra is nothing short of miraculous. But what doesn’t often get mentioned is the long involved binding process. The folded signatures of each book had to be cut open. First each signature (a paper with 16 pages printed on it) was cut in half with a bone knife. Then the two halves were folded, stacked with other signatures and the edges planed off so the pages could open. Once the signatures were compiled, each book had to be hand sewn together! And each leather cover had to be glued to cover board and then to the book. Then each book, again by hand, had to have the gold lettering that formed the title embossed on the spine one letter at a time. It took years to get all 5,000 books finished. Again, it is amazing a bindery that could handle such a large printing order was even in such a small town. So many miracles!
Palmyra is in the Finger Lakes region of New York which is still small towns and breath-takingly beautiful. Rich green corn fields abound broken occasionally by brown fields of grain. Homes on large lots with sweeping green lawns surrounding them stretch on for miles. No one fences their yards. There is no sign of cement—no sidewalks, no curb and gutters—only nature at her comfortable best.
We are staying in Canandaigua which is about 20 minutes south of Palmyra at the northern tip of Canandaigua Lake. Last night we took a dinner cruise with Patrea and her family around the lake on a real paddle boat called the Canandaigua Lady. Fantastic food. Brilliant sunset. Beautiful clean water. Friendly, accommodating crew that even let me steer the boat for awhile. In short, an amazing evening. We invited two of the crew members to come to the pageant with us tonight. We’ll see if they show up!