I was sitting in a Women and Music class at BYU when the most preposterous statement I have ever heard about pioneers was made. We were discussing Mormon music when a fellow classmate argued that those without “pioneer stock” could not truly sing Come, Come Ye Saints like somebody with pioneer ancestry can.
“Just like a white woman can’t sing Summertime like a black woman can.” she argued
My response: ummmm…what?
I think there is a fundamental difference in experience here that makes this argument specious at best but every July 24th I find myself wondering if there is some psychic wound that those with pioneer heritage carry with them.
I wouldn’t know about this as I am the offspring of two converts to the church. While I always enjoyed the Pioneer Day celebrations that my midwestern wards put on and the pioneer bonnets were in constant rotation when I played dress-ups as a girl, I never felt personally connected to the pioneers.
Until I had children. mr. mraynes comes from a rather prominent pioneer family and knowing the above story, he joked that bearing pioneer stock allowed me to tap into that psychic wound and appropriately sing Come, Come Ye Saints. Once again, I doubt the veracity of this wry observation. But I do feel strangely connected Patty Bartlett Sessions, who would be my children’s great great great great great-grandmother. Indeed, I feel her presence and her grit and determination in my own daughter. Though I am a little apathetic about pioneers in general, I like to take a moment on this day to honor this grandmother and the other pioneers who make my children who they are.
So what say you? Do you share a strong connection with the pioneers, whether in your ancestry or not? How do you feel about Pioneer Day?