When I worked in the National Forest parking lot, I often overheard visitors saying strange things.
One day a car pulled into the parking lot with three people inside. A young man in a green t-shirt was driving. A woman of middle age sat in the backseat. A very old, rather feeble-looking man occupied the passenger seat. I wondered idly about the relationships of those three people. A mother, son, and grandfather?Was the young man the son of the old man, the product of his late middle age? Maybe they weren’t related at all. Maybe they were friends or business associates.
The old man wanted to use his Golden Age pass to pay the parking fee. I explained I couldn’t accept the Golden Age pass in lieu of the $5. I could tell he wasn’t happy about the situation, but he didn’t argue. The young man drove the car off to find a spot to park.
Later, as I sat in my chair between approaching new arrivals, I heard a woman’s voice from behind me.
I’ve been thinking about it, she said. The Heavenly Father is a record keeper. First day…Second day…
What in the world is she talking about? I wondered. Is she talking to me?
I looked over and saw the young man in the green t-shirt. Next to him stood the middle-age woman. She was the person I’d heard talking.
The very old man was standing close to the iron ranger. He had a small piece of paper or perhaps a tiny notebook on the flat top of the iron ranger, and he seemed to be writing something. Perhpas this note-taking was something he did often?
Even a heathen like me could figure out the woman meant God when she said Heavenly Father. But record keeper? First day? Second day? I assume she was referring to the Book of Genesis where a list is given of what God created on each day of the week. Was she equating the old man and his note-taking to Ulmighty God? (Also, if God is an all-powerful being, would he really have to keep records? Wouldn’t he just know what he created and when? Is it even possible for God to forget?)
I thought what the woman had said was interesting (and weird), so as soon as they walked off, I wrote down her words verbatim. When The Lady of the House visited me at my campground, she saw the piece of paper upon which I’d written the words. What’s this? she asked.
I told her the story of the very old man and the young man in the green t-shirt and the middle-aged woman who said the words.
Mormons, The Lady said.
What? I asked, confused. What did Mormons have to do with anything?
Mormons call God “Heavenly Father,” she said. The Lady has two best friends who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so she is my go-to for all questions related to the religion.
I had no idea, I said.
Yep, she said. If you hear people refere to the Heavenly Father, they’re probably Momons.
She’d just cleared up part of the mystery. Even though I’d already been pretty sure the Heavenly Father was God, it was good to have confirmation. But why was the old man taking notes? To assist a failing memory? Was he planning to write a book?
I have a theory that if a person lives long enough, all questions will be answered, but I’ll probably die before I understand what was going on with those three people that day in the parking lot. I doubt those mysteries will ever be revealed.