Lost in Sugar City, Idaho

Shortly after my wife and I got married, her grandmother passed away. Since my wife and her family were from Port Angeles, Washington, and we lived in Provo, Utah, I did not know her family very well. I had only met most of them once or twice and had not really met many of the extended family.

We had a nice drive up to Sugar City, Idaho and went to a funeral service at the LDS church. Afterwards, we then drove a short distance over to the cemetery for the graveside service. We decided to just take one car and ride with Jen’s sister Laurel, and her husband Jim, who had been married not long before us.  After the grave had been dedicated by a family member, we headed back to the church. There was a luncheon waiting for us which the relief society had prepared.  When we got back to the church everyone was sitting down and the food looked great. A blessing was said by someone and we started eating.  Jen and Laurel were both a little surprised that they hadn’t waited for their parents before beginning, but it was a big group and I was sure they just wanted to get things going.  Before eating, Jen and Laurel had been chatting it up with some ladies in the restroom and in the kitchen.  I had been shaking hands and explaining to people how I was related, having just married Jennifer, Ruth’s daughter.  They would nod and say how nice that was and ask where we were living and if we were students at BYU, which we were.

As we were eating, Jim and I were quite content. We had navigated a family get-together and I was thinking about getting back home. Jen and Laurel, however, were wondering what was taking their parents so long.  Could they have gotten lost in Sugar City, Idaho? It is not a big town.  In fact, it’s a very small town. In 1995 when this happened, there were 1,364 people. Today there are 1,361. So technically it’s even a smaller town today. Well as they were discussing how weird it was that it was taking so long, I said, “Could we be at the wrong church?”  Like a flash, everyone’s mouth dropped open at the same time. Jim, my brother-in-law who is normally very boisterous and outgoing, put his head down and whispered, “What do we do?” Laurel said, “Let’s just calmly get up and leave without making a fuss.” Jen’s face was turning red.  I was absolutely amused by the whole thing. This was too good. So as we tried to look normal, getting up without finishing our yummy cheesy funeral potatoes and green jello, I started smiling, nodding, and shaking a few hands thanking people and telling them we had to run.  Jen was giving me the look of unbelief that I was speaking to anyone. It was hilarious! But nobody was laughing at the moment. I told everyone in the car that someday this would be a funny story to tell… and so it is!  So, yeah, I’m a funeral crasher! The exact same food was being served at an identical-looking church a half mile down the road. Take note of that folks in case you find yourself in Sugar City, Idaho at a funeral. But if it does happen to you, thank them for those potatoes. Those were really fresh and tasty!

sugar-city-idaho-rocky-mountain-sunshine

P.S. This is how I remember it happening. Jen agrees that this is how she remembers it as well. I don’t have a journal entry to verify every detail, but I’m pretty confident that this is accurate. 

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