Un Éléphant Qui Se Balançait

Last week amongst many emotional happenings my dearest friend Assunta was married in the Salt Lake Temple. When we were filing into the sealing room the sealer stopped me and asked my relation to the bride.

"I taught her the gospel in Montreal ten years ago." I said.

And then I felt bad because I told a half-truth in the temple. I was on the tail-end of Assunta's new member discussions, she had long since been taught the basic principles. My amazing companion had the idea to invite Assunta to teach the investigators in our Italian neighborhood. She came on many teaching appointments with us in her red Jetta.

Assunta is Italian French-Canadian , and the most exotic person I had ever met. A couple years ago she wanted get a PhD at BYU and I found her an apartment in my ward. It was there where she met her soon-to-be-husband. Yes, I found her a place to live--by a future groom--but I didn't actually teach her the gospel. Really.

Never-the-less, the sealer decided to make me the hero (hey, his inspiration, not mine) asking me to raise my hand for all guests to identify Assunta's "special missionary friend." Throughout the day I shook hands with the groom's grateful family. "Just think if you hadn't of gone on your mission. You wouldn't be here today. Maybe none of us would be here!"

After awhile I started to feel pretty danged good about myself. Especially because Chup and I were placed at the table of honor with Assunta's family at the banquet. Specifically, I sat right next to Assunta's gregarious, bilingual niece Alex with a pretty pink skirt (reminded me of my own pretty red skirt) and Assunta's brother Pino who owns all the swanky restaurants and night clubs in Montreal. Yes, I had arrived, a triumphant RM after all these years.

Only, the feeling was fleeting because Alex started to grill me on my French. "Do you know the song 'Un Eléphant?' "

"Oui." I answered and started to sing.

"Non!" Interrupted Alex. "Not like that. It is uuuun. Not ooooon."

Then my "Frère" in Frère Jacques wasn't right. After that I attempted a simple conversation en Français but she laughed and said "Je ne comprends pas." When her mother stepped in and asked if I still spoke French after all the years, Alex answered for me by saying, "Un petite peu!" (Just a little bit.)

Ah yes, I had been humbled after my day of faux glory. I started to wonder about that year-and-half in Quebec. Apparently I hadn't learned enough French to converse with a First Grader, nor had I taught the gospel to anyone who was baptized in my presence. Was it all for not?

And here I was trying to impress (or fool) my husband into thinking that so many years ago I had mastered the language--and the hearts--of the Québécois people. I had transformed a cold nation into a land of milk and honey. Melted the proverbial ice. So help me Ophelia!

As we were leaving, I sadly stopped to say goodbye to some of my friends from Montreal, Natalie and Nadia. It was then that I was reminded of when we used to go on teaching appointments and sing vintage Celine Dion songs made famous in Quebec, before she became the CELINE DION!

So apparently, it wasn't all for not. I mean, do you know vintage Celine?

Didn't think so.

To make the day even better, Chup and I stopped by Cosmic Studios to pick up his copy of Stalking Santa. It is a little known fact that my own Chuppy makes a very fine cameo appearance as a dedicated scientist.

At least one of us is a star.


P.S. If you go to the movie Beowulf,
and you pay an extra $17 to see it 3D, you get to keep the glasses. Pretty sweet.

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