“Consequences,” Friend, May 1989, 38
As Cami gazed across the valley toward the mountains, she thought that the Flathead River Valley in Montana was the most beautiful spot on earth. She grinned, remembering her Arizona cousins’ argument that Arizona was the most beautiful spot.
From the porch she could gaze across the emerald green of the grassy valley and beyond to the deeper green of the tree-clad hills. In the distance, blue mountains crowned with white framed the picture. There’s no doubt about it, she decided, the Flathead is the most beautiful spot!
“Hi, Cami!” her friend called, interrupting her thoughts.
Jenay lived next door and had been a friend ever since they were old enough to walk. She joined Cami on the porch, and together they gazed at the beauty beyond. But Jenay soon broke the silence—she was for action, not views!
“A bunch of us girls are going to the water slide!” she said excitedly. “Do you want to go?”
“Sounds great!” Cami replied. “I haven’t been there yet this year! I was wondering what I’d do today. Now that Dad works on Saturday, we never do anything!”
“Oh, we’re not going today,” Jenay explained. “I’m going shopping today. We’re going tomorrow.”
“But tomorrow’s Sunday!” Cami wailed. “I can’t go on Sunday!”
“Sunday’s the best day at the slide,” Jenay answered. “Maybe your folks will let you go just this once. There’ll be lots of kids there, and the price is cheaper on Sunday. Besides, we’re having a picnic afterward in the park. Mom said that she’d make fried chicken. Mandie’s mom is making potato salad, and Kendra’s mom is making a chocolate cake. It’s going to be the greatest day ever!”
Jenay hardly noticed Cami’s dampened enthusiasm. The party sounded like great fun to Cami, but her family had a firm rule against doing things like that on Sunday.
As her mom drove into the driveway, Jenay jumped up and said good-bye to Cami.
The beauties of nature didn’t seem so attractive anymore to Cami, and after Jenay left, Cami got up and went into the house. “Hi, Mom,” she said.
“That wasn’t a happy ‘Hi.’ Did I hear Jenay out there?” she asked.
“She didn’t stay long. What did she want?”
“She invited me to go to the water slide with her and some other kids.”
Mrs. Craig smiled at her daughter. “That’s wonderful. I know that you’ve been wanting to go, and we haven’t been able to.”
Cami had two younger brothers and twin seven-month-old sisters. She knew that it would be too much for her mother to take them all to the slide by herself.
“I’m not going,” Cami said, trying to sound happy.
“Why not?” her mother asked, puzzled. “You love to swim, and it looks like it’s a perfect day.”
“Yeah, today’s perfect, but the girls are going tomorrow.”
Sister Craig looked at the sad face before her. “I see.”
“Mom?” Cami asked. “Would it hurt just once to break the Sabbath? Couldn’t I go just this once? It’s after church.”
Pouring a glass of cool milk, Mrs. Craig placed it in front of her daughter with a slice of warm cake. “Well, Cami, you’re almost twelve now. I think that you’re old enough to start making your own decisions about such things. As a family, we’ve decided that we’ll keep the Sabbath day holy, but you can make your own choice this time. As the scripture says, we are free to act, or choose, for ourselves.” *
“That’s no choice!” Cami said wryly. “The rest of the scripture tells us that the real choice is between ‘everlasting death or the way of eternal life.’”
Her mother began to laugh. “Well, you still have the choice. But remember every choice has a—”
“Consequence,” Cami finished for her. She’d heard that ever since she could remember.
With Jenay gone and nothing special to do, Cami decided to help her mother. “Who’s sick?” she asked, watching her mom cut more cake slices and arrange them on her best glass cake plate. Whenever Mom did that, it meant that she was taking it to someone.
“Granny Thomas. The Relief Society has asked me to take her a meal tomorrow, and since tomorrow is Sunday—”
“We prepare today!” Cami declared, finishing her mom’s statement. “May I help?” Cami asked.
“Sure,” Mom said. “Why don’t you make the chicken pasta salad. The recipe’s on the counter.”
Cami put the pasta on the stove, then poured hot water over the peas to thaw them. She chopped celery and cut up the baked chicken into little pieces. As soon as the pasta was ready, she mixed everything together with sour cream and mayonnaise. It looked so good that she took a taste. It was good! She was proud of how well it turned out.
She put the salad into the refrigerator as her mom pulled fragrant hot rolls from the oven. “They’re not quite done,” she told Cami. “But that way Granny can reheat them.” Granny Thomas wasn’t really their grandmother, but everyone in the ward called her that. In fact, everyone who knew Granny had never called her anything else!
Seeing how tired Mom was by the time they had finished, Cami took her brothers down to the creek so that her mother could rest. She helped Matt and Josh bait their hooks and watched to see if they caught anything. There were fish in the creek, but the boys rarely caught them without Dad’s expert help.
Tired that night but happy, Cami quickly fell asleep. Early the next morning she got up and helped her mom and dad get the boys and her twin sisters ready for church. It was a big task to get everyone dressed and fed before church started.
When church was over, the family got into the car and headed for home. They passed the water slide, where laughing children screamed as they slid down the chutes. Cami turned her head away. She had made her choice.
As soon as the twins were fed and put down for a nap, Cami went with her mother to take the food to Granny Thomas. It was fun to visit Granny, who lived in a log cabin tucked away on a pine-clad slope. The pines and ferns there smelled good, and the cabin had interesting little nooks and crannies.
Since Granny had arthritis and couldn’t get around well, they let themselves into the cabin. Granny was resting in bed, and Mom helped her get up. Cami washed Granny’s face with a warm, wet cloth.
“Thank you, Cami,” she said, her wrinkled face blossoming into a smile. “Mmmm. I can smell your mom’s whole wheat rolls. That makes me hungry. Have you eaten?”
“No,” Cami admitted. “Dad’s taking care of the kids. Mom and I thought that we’d eat with you.”
“Company always makes food taste better,” Granny said happily.
Cami had to agree. Mom and Granny praised the chicken salad, and they all enjoyed the rolls with butter oozing down their sides. It was a wonderful feast, topped by Granny’s laughter. She had the quickest wit and kept them laughing while they ate.
Granny brought a jar of fresh cream and poured it over Mom’s chocolate cake. Never had Cami tasted anything so good!
The next day Cami hurried over to Jenay’s to see what the party had been like. She knocked on the door, and Mrs. White answered. “She’s in her room, honey. Go on up.”
Entering her friend’s room, Cami was surprised to find her in bed. “What happened to you?” she asked.
“I got too much sun,” Jenay said, obviously in pain. “All of us forgot to use our sunscreen lotion. I didn’t get any sleep last night!”
Cami told about her day at church and about visiting Granny Thomas. She shared a funny story that Granny had told about when she and her husband had homesteaded their land. As she talked, she realized that she hadn’t really missed going to the water slide. She knew that she’d get to go there another time. Her Sunday had been a happy one, and she felt good about making the right choice.