Sometimes, reflecting upon the vast amount of funny junk in my life yields a truly unpolished gem; a moment in history that suddenly becomes funnier when I unearth it and shine it up NOW…vs. not very funny THEN.
Have I ever told you about the time that I set off a fire extinguisher in a loaded school bus wearing a pioneer dress and standing next to Joseph Smith? No? That’s a shocker.
So, the school bus, pioneer dress and the fire extinguisher are all true. The one minor detail is it wasn’t really Joseph Smith, but my friend James. And no, his last name isn’t Smith.
I had a great time re-telling this story to a bunch of co-workers/friends tonight at dinner. So much so, I almost spewed cupcake crumbs all over the table top. Sigh. That would have been a waste of perfectly good cupcake. Anyway, in reliving that moment over again, I found so much more humor in it than I did when I was standing face to face with the school bus driver some 19 years ago. It’s wasn’t quite so hilarious when it happened.
This is how it went down. In 1991 I had the opportunity to be a part of the famous (or infamous–depending on how you look at it) Manti Pageant down in Sanpete county, Utah. Being a city girl, I knew that an opportunity like this would come along only once in a lifetime. What opportunity is that, you ask? Why–the opportunity to dress as a pioneer and be a part of Mormon spectacle. The story this pageant shares is a mix of LDS church history and scripture from the Book Of Mormon. For many of us, it meant dressing up in pioneer dress and trekking up and down the hill which the Manti Temple rests on. (Note: when I say “hill” I mean an “almost-mountain” which scares the be-jeebers out of you as you run down it in between scenes in the pitch black, hoping that you don’t trip over one of many electrical cords sprawled across the hill-side, er, almost-mountainside. Thoughts of me, face down, skirt up over my head in my pantaloons as the lights came up were very real and very scary. Had a few close calls, though.)
This pageant has a cast of dozens which are shuttled to the temple grounds from Manti High School via school bus. Alright. So. We have the school bus, we have the pioneer dress, we have me and we have 1.2 million cast members that had been hurtling themselves up and down that almost-mountain in the dark. Hoping they don’t end bottoms up in front of the thousands who come to watch this Sanpete tradition.
All of us are on the bus bobbing up and down like Fisher Price Little People back to the school. It just so happens that James and I are the last 2 on the bus. We have no seats and are left to our own wits standing at the front of the bus. I am standing–facing backward–with my pioneer dressed hiney lurking in very close proximity to the fire extinguisher. Mr. Bus Driver puts on the brakes and since i didn’t have anything, or anyone, to hold onto, that means that my buttocks, very lightly, move from their close proximity to the extinguisher. They are now ON the extinguisher. But alas, gentle readers, I didn’t realize this. Too many pioneer layers. Or something.
Since it was a warm summer night, I remember thinking to myself “Gee. This bus has a great air conditioner!” I could feel the coolness of the A/C–and what a sensation it was–my butt had never been so cool. Sweet relief!
All of a sudden, Mr. Bus Driver starts yelling at me. Something about a….a what? The millions on the bus were visiting with each other at a deafening roar and so it was quite impossible to hear what he was saying, let alone hear any strange swishing, whipped creamy sounds. So he yelled again. At me. And started pawing at my skirts. Sheesh! What does he want? I’m not that kind of pioneer dame.
James, in his wisdom, pulled me away from the extinguisher so that Bus Driver Guy could shut off his beloved extinguisher. I looked down at my dress. It was like snow in the Rockies, I tell you. A fine, powdery layer covered my skirt and the front of the bus. A winter wonderland in June, it was. But it just happened to be in a school bus and chances are I wasn’t going to let anyone ski my slopes. No matter what.
By this time, Mr Bus Driver turned into Mr “You Violated My Fire Extinguisher” and became one ornery cuss. He looked at me like I was some sort of idiot. Like I thought to myself–“Hey! I’ve never set off a fire extinguisher with my ass before, why don’t I try it tonight? In layer upon layer of skirting?” Yeah. That’s EXACTLY what happened. *eye-roll*
If I had been a smarter girl, I would have asked him what happened to the PIN that goes into the extinguisher handle and keeps it from spraying at unsuspecting young women. Unfortunately, at that time in my life, I was not acquainted with those types of things. Who thought about fire extinguisher pins or even knew they existed? Not me.
Well, 19 years ago, it ended up as a somewhat funny yet highly embarrassing moment shared by me and a bus load of pioneer imposters. Tonight it became a belly laugh. The kind of laugh that you wish you could have more often. A real gem in an otherwise dull day.
1. A Slow Workday.
2. Good, long (and loud) belly-laughs!
3. My favorite holiday, coming right up!
4. Sleeping in–tomorrow morning–followed by yard-work therapy!
5. Knowing I go home, at the end of a long day, to a family I adore. Even the dog.