Sunday, June 04, 2006

The faith of a pioneer; the courage of a hobbit

At church a few weeks ago, during a lesson on pioneers that may have rambled on a little too long, the Coach and I discussed a thought-provoking question: Which is heartier, pioneer stock or hobbit stock? Coach said hobbits. ("Mordor is tough terrain.") I said pioneers. ("Dude. Handcarts.") And then we wondered what would happen if the two were crossed? Could we create the ultimate in diminutive fortitude? A pioneer hobbit? A hobbit pioneer?

And then I realized: That miracle of genetics has already occurred in my own family. My youngest sister, Daisy Sandybanks of Frogmorton (also known as Teresa the Bookie) is just such a specimen.

I remember when Daisy was born. She was the most beautiful little girl, and her name (the real one, I mean), a combination of two grandmothers' names, just seemed to fit her. Her pioneer heritage showed from the start. Everything she did seemed prodigious. As a preschooler, she astounded people with her use of words like "actually." At 5 or 6 she memorized a three-minute talk and bravely recited it during the yearly children's primary presentation in sacrament meeting. As a child, she touched ward members with her earnest testimony, which she bore often. A few years later, she started writing sweet notes of encouragement to anyone she thought was having a hard time. Through the years, I've received many of those notes. I'm grateful for each one.

As an adult, Daisy's faith and fortitude are no less remarkable. Daisy spent last summer living in our basement--a situation which required all the courage she had to combat both the giant hobbit-eating spiders who shared her room, and my ever-changing moods. At the time I was seeing a therapist for depression, who recommended I make a list of things I'd enjoy doing and find a way to do as many of those things as possible. When I dragged my feet on the assignment, Daisy gently prodded. She made a list of her own. She coordinated outings to the Shire. She took care of Sam. She saved me from spending the summer hiding under a blanket. I was so grateful for her faith and patience as she eased me out of that dark period.

I wasn't the only one she helped last summer. For the few months she was here, she was called as a ward missionary for the student branch. She didn't know the area, the branch members, or the individuals she was asked to work with, but she threw herself into their service. She did everything in her power to share the gospel. Since that time, several members of the single's branch have moved into my ward. Upon hearing that I am of Frogmorton, each one has asked about Daisy, and expressed their great admiration for her. In one summer, she made an impression. She changed lives.

Yesterday we went to City Park. As we played on the swings and rode the train around the park, we couldn't help but reminisce about a similar outing with Daisy last summer. Her effervescent optimism made every activity fun. We miss her.

Daisy and Sam became great buddies last summer. She was a fun and doting aunt, and he was her eager little shadow. Sam has changed a lot in the last year, and sometimes I'm sad that Daisy isn't here to see her little buddy eagerly shout "Daisy" when he sees her picture. But near or far, I won't let him forget her great example of sacrifice and service.

Of course sacrifice and service are a way of life for a hobbit pioneer. Just as Jesus ministered to the sick and the afflicted, Daisy will spend the better part of the next couple years helping those less fortunate both temporally and spiritually. And when she returns to the USA, it will be more of the same as she cares for the sick and afflicted as a nurse.

We are blessed with many examples of caring and selfless family members, but Daisy Sandybanks of Frogmorton is remarkable in youthful faithfulness and generosity. (She is not entirely remarkable in her shortness. Or her hairy feet.)

I love you, Daisy! Happy birthday!


Anonymous said...

Boss sure has a cute sister. Any chance I can get Daisy's number?

Ree said...

Daisy's Hobbit-like stature proves that the best things really do come in small packages. Even though she is the youngest of the Frogmorton clan, Daisy has been showing the rest of us the meaning of courageous pioneering practically since birth. We're proud of you and we love you, Daisy!

Peanut said...

You said it, Boss! Daisy, you are fantastic and I love you! Happy Birthday little sister.

Plus, that second picture reminded me a little of me. I guess I see now why people asked if we were twins.

John said...

I object to giving my sisters' numbers to anonymous people, so sorry dude, no.

Daisy has had a special influence on my life. Being the closest in age we had our good times, but also some troubles (mostly because of my pride). I am very greatful to have a sister like her and for her to always set a good example of what I should be doing.

Boss said...

Hey, anon, I'll give you her number. It's 924-829-3277 (WAIT-2-YEARS).

Peanut said...

Oh yeah, I remember when Daisy was like 7 and used the word "inane" (correctly, of course). Some of the teenagers who were there were like, "Huh? What's that mean?"

Crazy Horse Lady said...

You Henrichsen sisters ROCK! Happy Birthday!

On the rambling of pioneers -- here's a little story about Peanut (aka Sonnet). Sonnet knows a song for EVERYTHING, and I don't think it's much of an exaggeration.

For example: "Hey Sonnet -- so you know a song about green Thanksgiving Day monkeys?"

Sonnet: "Hmm...not green ones, but red monkeys."

OK, so maybe that's a little exaggeration but one song I do remember is a song about pioneers that goes "walk walk walk walk walk" for a think about an hour. Was that the song that was being sung when you digressed into your hobbit thoughts?

Tarimisu said...

I fondly remember meeting Daisy when ya'll moved to Arkansas and she was only seven. That little hobbit would crawl up into my lap every time I was over at your house. And, yes, she was always trying to help me with anything she could, I suppose because I was a guest in her house and because it was just part of her nature. She would read books to me, bring me snacks, bring me towels, whatever. She was always telling me about her faith, which was strong even as she was a very little girl. At Boss and Coach's wedding reception, though I had not seen Daisy in many years, she hugged me anyway and said, "Yes, I remember you!" and she hung out with me and we laughed and had fun. This is a lovely tribute. I hope I get to see Daisy - and all the Frogmortons - one day again soon!

Sue said...

Boss, after actually reading this, I want to thank you. I hope you older Frogmortons realize so much of little me was simply an effort to grow up and be as much like my amazing siblings, and parents, as possible. Summer 2005 was an awesome experience for me, just getting to be with you guys.
Thanks for making such a difference in my life and reminding me that not even the little things, or people, are forgotten. :) xoxoxo

Pooka said...

There are certainly some lucky ones of us who get to know Daisy, and more are coming up the next two years. Happy birthday, big D, and thanks Boss for the super pictures and stories about her!