Courage at Twilight: Maracangalha

They came from Texas to Utah, and wanted to stop by the rehab center and see Dad.  They had met each other in 1972 in São Paulo, Brazil, and had met Dad then, too, when they were 21 and he was 36, the President of the Brazil South Central Mission, their President.  They were serving as volunteer youth missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (misnomered “Mormons”), preaching the Gospel of Jesus and of faith and repentance and baptism and of Christ’s Church restored in 1820 through the prophet Joseph Smith.  They met me, too, in 1972, but I was only eight.  I had met Steve and Dorothy and the others many times at mission reunions in Mom’s and Dad’s basement great room, with their name tags and paunches and gray hair (or no hair), with a taste for mousse de maracujá (passion fruit mousse) and guaraná (Brazilian soft drink) and feijoada (Brazil’s black-bean stew), and with love in their hearts for Mom and Dad and for the people of Brazil, and with still-vivid memories of their formative experiences with a benevolent personal living God.  Dad served a mission to Brazil in the 1950s.  I accepted a mission call to Portugal in 1983.  And my children were sent to Oklahoma and Florida and South Korea and Mozambique and Brazil.  Missionary service is not compulsory in my Church, but every young man and woman is invited to serve.  We dedicated two years of our time, energies, and resources to share our convictions about God’s plan for the eternal happiness of humanity.  Covid-19 ended Mom’s and Dad’s annual reunions, and we felt a new emptiness, one of numerous new voids compelled by the pandemic.  But Larry emailed the group, and a Zoom mission reunion was conceived.  Mom and Dad sat at their kitchen table, looking at my laptop screen, as dozens of thumbnails popped up, of their beloved former missionaries, with whom they had labored, with whom they had been reviled, with whom they had formed strong bonds of caring, who now listened as Dad declared his convictions, evoked their common tender memories, and expressed to them his love (as did Mom).  And at the click of an icon they were gone, and we sat on the sofas, Mom and Dad and me, and reminisced about Brazil, and about how at mission reunions I had led them all in the old Caymmi songs: Maracangalha (1957): a young man so excited to attend a party in the next town; Coqueiro de Itapoã (1959): a youth missing the sand and the waves and the coconut palms and the beautiful morenas of Itapoã.

3 thoughts on “Courage at Twilight: Maracangalha

      1. Laura Denise

        I understand. I love to sing, but only a couple have ever heard me. Maybe when we meet in person, we can duet with no other mortal witnesses; I will look away when it’s your parts. 🙂 (You made me giggle: needed that.) I hope you do sing solo regularly when alone! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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