Jamie Harmon is a native of Utah and lives in Midway, a charming town in the tops of the mountains. She has four kids, one missionary, one freshman in high school and two squealing kindergarteners. Enrolling her girls in all-day kindergarten was a good choice this year and has led to a little quiet time to pursue other interests, such as writing.
Golden leaves were shimmering on the Aspen trees in our yard, I remember crunching the dry ones on the ground with my new, suede sandals. It was September 24, 1977, my eighth birthday.
My brothers and sisters ran past me, jumping into our Grand Prix. My mom followed, balancing a beautifully wrapped gift and a few platters of homemade cookies. She asked my sister to run back in the house and grab the apple cider. My mom had already sent out invitations to our family and friends, I knew they’d be gathered at the church to support me in my decision to be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
My Dad sat down in the chapel dressed in white. I felt nervous and excited. When the time came, he held out his hand to help me down the stairs and into the font. I was relieved the water was warm and when I close my eyes I can still smell the chlorine. Then, he baptized me and I came up out of the water, smiling.
Afterward, I got to choose the restaurant for lunch, which was a big deal with brothers and sisters who could never agree on what or where to eat. I chose Polar King, the local greasy spoon. I ordered fish and chips.
Casually, Dad told me about his. On the morning of his eighth birthday he received a phone call from his Bishop, asking if he was interested in being baptized. If, so he could go to the church at 10:00 a.m. and someone would be there to baptize him.
He hung up the phone to the sound of his parents arguing, as usual. His Dad had slept outside in the shed again, because he wasn’t welcome in the house anymore. My Dad glanced at his younger brother, then walked over to the record player to turn up the music, it was opera, but he didn’t care what it was. Anything was better than their angry words He knew they wouldn’t be supporting him that day.
At 9:45, my Dad put on his white shirt and tie. He quietly walked out of the house, alone, down the street to the red-brick church. Inside he was greeted by the man that would baptize him, and was handed white baptismal clothing. He went into the dressing room and changed, and then to the baptismal font. Two men served as witnesses. He was baptized and the man performing the ordinance shook his hand. My Dad changed back into his dry clothes and walked home alone.
There were no cookies or cider, no gifts, no family or friends there for him. There wouldn’t be a special dinner. There was just a boy, making a good decision to get baptized because he knew it was the right thing to do.
I’ve heard that we are never truly alone in this life. Angels attend us, help us and guide us. I believe that the angels that surround us are loved ones, maybe even close family members. I like to imagine the day my Dad decided to get baptized that I was one of his angels. His little girl angel, happily skipping along with him down the street towards the church. I picture myself beside him, beaming with joy, impressed with this boy, my future father.
Looking back, I realize that my father and I shared the same joy on our baptism days; a warm peaceful feeling that came from following Christ. We shared the same encouragement and support from loved ones, seen and unseen.