“Andrew.” She gasped. “You are frozen! Here, let me help you?”
“Thanks, Rebecca. It is about 15 below out there with the wind off the river.”
Andrew removed his heavy winter coat and hat, depositing them in their place behind the wooden door. Andrew was a tall man, but the years had taken away much of his strength. Andrew sank down on a chair near the table, holding his hands on his head. His voice quivered. His words broken. “Rebecca, we are leaving Nauvoo. Now!”
“What are you saying, Andrew? You must be mistaken.”
“I’m very serious. We will be leaving as soon as I can get our wagon packed.”
“Andrew Moore! I want you to know, as sure as my name is Rebecca, I will not be running away in the middle of winter. You go ahead, if you think you must, but I will be staying here on our farm. Me and the grandkids. We will wait right here for you. This 49-year-old woman is never going to run away again. I’m through, Andrew. I’m not going.”
Just a minute, Rebecca. When we were baptized in 1833, you were anxious to leave Ohio and join the Saints in Zion. Remember how excited you were when we sold our farm in Brown County, loaded up everything in our wagon, and headed off for new adventures in Missouri? We walked all the way, having faith in our Heavenly Father, believing He would provide.
“Our Heavenly Father did indeed provide. Remember the beautiful farm that we purchased outside Liberty. You cherished those years of living with the Saints, Rebecca. Our farm was prosperous, and our children thrived.”
“Yes, Andrew. Those years were everything I had dreamed of. That is until the locals started burning down the barns and homes of our friends. You sold the farm in Liberty because we had to. We were there only two yearsI, Andrew. We left Liberty and went to Far West because we didn’t have a choice.”
“We had a mighty fine piece of property in Far West, I’ll remind you.” Andrew could visualize the hills and meadows of Far West as though it was yesterday. He remembered the dark, rich soil, and the log home he built with the help of his oldest sons. “I built us another home there. A two-room log home, Elizabeth. We all worked hard, and started again in a place where we were assured of peace and prosperity.”
“Andrew, you are a hopeless dreamer. Far West was full of persecution and misery. Remember the Hawn’s Mill disaster? Have you forgotten those saints, our friends, that died there? No, Andrew, Far West was filled with uncertainty. Mobs threatened our homes and lives much of the time. So soon you have forgotten how long the Prophet Joseph was imprisoned. Have you forgotten how the militia ordered us to leave everything we had or be exterminated! We lost our land, our home, the cattle, and hogs. You were forced to surrender your weapons, Andrew.
“Have you forgotten how near death I was during that trek across Missouri. Were it not for our children, Harvey, and especially Amanda, I would never have made it out of that prairie alive.”
“I understand, Rebecca. I remember how ill you were in Quincy, no doubt about it. God promised to provide for us, though. You must agree that He performed a miracle when the townspeople of Quincy rescued us from that terrible winter of homelessness.
“It was through the kindness of Reverend Emery of the Congregational Church, that we were directed to McDonough County. How blessed we were to be able to rent that large farm until we could get back on our feet.”
“You are so right, Andrew. The three years of farming out in McDonough County allowed us to heal, financially as well as spiritually. With help from our Heavenly Father and your farming skills, we were able to save enough money to purchase this land here in Nauvoo. You have built us a fine log home here on Parley Street. I thank God that all our children and grandchildren are living here in Nauvoo. Most especially I’m thankful we are all enjoying good health.
“I’m not going west, Andrew. You can not be serious. Start over? I simply do not have the strength. Pack up the few things we own and follow Brigham Young into this winter storm? I’m staying here.”
Andrew was not surprised by the fiery emotional response from Rebecca. After all, he had been married to her for over thirty years! Rebecca was a strong, hard-working woman. She was also as stubborn as any person he had ever known. Best let this conversation cool down. “You got anything I can eat, Rebecca? I’m starving.”
Without hesitation, Rebecca responded to Andrew’s request. She cut, trimmed and stirred in silence, preparing the much-needed nourishment for the man she had loved since she was eighteen. She remembered her wedding day promise, the vow to “honor and obey until death did she part.”
“Here’s your plate, Andrew. I hope I fixed enough for you.”
Rebecca sat next to Andrew, fidgeting with her apron. Then she began. “Is this also required of us, Andrew? Does the Lord require that we leave our home once more and walk across the frozen Mississippi? Does He require us to sleep in tents battered by winter winds and walk when the walking is impossible?” Tears filled her eyes.
“Yes, my dear. I’m sorry. Brigham Young says we must go. Harvey and Clarissa are packing. Sarah and her family are preparing to go. All of your children and grandchildren are preparing to leave the day after tomorrow. You’ll be rather lonely here in Nauvoo alone, Rebecca.”
“I guess when you put it like that, Andrew, I don’t really have much of a choice, do I? Get that trunk down from the barn. I’d best be getting about packing our clothing.”