Economics 101, a Novel, ch_05 - the First Semester

[JMR20170225: The second draft of this chapter starts here:
(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

Introductions and characterizations begin here:


In the previous chapter, Bobbie and Karel and Dan and Kristie become very close friends: I left some letters home out of that chapter, and they are here:


If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:


Glossing over only two years is still not very satisfying, so I'll tell you a little more about the the things they did during those two years, starting with the remainder of that first semester.

Now, in the previous chapter (, we saw that Bobbie and Karel and Dan and Kristie began to establish a very close friendship. We can see a bit of how close they already felt from the letters they sent home:

And we also got a bit of a sense of how it might have happened that Bobbie and Karel were still not married to each other when they went to the islands for their fieldwork.

So skipping all the work I put into setting up the characterizations is probably not going to impede your understanding of the rest of the novel.

Not too much, anyway.

On the other hand, you might find their years at university interesting. It could almost be a separate novel, if a little thin on plot.

And, especially if you are interested in a little story about what some young Mormons might experience at a Church-run university, read on, and maybe I can tell you a little more about Bobbie and Karel.



It was during one of the study sessions during the first fall semester, that Kristie started talking about missions.

They were talking about different ways to get teaching experience.

"Does church teaching count for teaching experience?" Kristie asked.

"Of course!" was Dan's reply.

"Well, yeah, " Karel thought more needed to be said. "it counts as informal experience. So what you learn from the experience can be useful in the classroom and in discussing teaching methods, but you can't use it to fill degree requirements. In church, we don't keep the kinds of records that schools and school districts and management can refer to."

"No grades?" Kristie postulated.

"That would be one of the problems."

"Grades in Sunday School. That sounds terrible." Bobbie said.

Karel continued his explanation: " [JMR201609042140: It's that That's the ] dichotomy. The value of what we do for God often can't be directly transferred to the world around us. That's part of the sacrifices we make I[JMR201609042141: when we engage in church service ] ."

"Even missions?" Kristie was thinking. "I've been told it's okay to put our missions in our curriculum vitae."

Dan took a more positive view. "We can definitely tell people about what we have done in church. Whether they accept it as meaningful to them or not is up to them."

"Right." Karel concurred.

Bobbie was not satisfied with leaving things at that. "We definitely shouldn't hide our missions or our church service. [JMR201609042142: Jesus Himself said, ] 'Let your light so shine.'"

Karel replied, "I didn't say anything about hiding anything. We just shouldn't expect that teaching Sunday School will fill student teaching requirements or things like that."

"It'd be nice if they did." Kristie said wistfully. Then she changed the subject a little. "Say, Dan, you said you went to the Swiss-Austrian Mission, right?"


"So you spoke French and German?"

"Y también español."

"¿Es Verdad?"

"Si, si."

And Dan and Kristie started talking in Spanish about their missions.

Karel complained, "¡Yo no hablo español!"

Everyone laughed.

"So, Kristie went to the Spanish-American mission, but how do you speak Spanish, Dan?" Bobbie asked.

"I took some in high school, and the Swiss-Austrian Mission pretty much was called on for all parts of Europe that didn't have Church organizations. So they asked me to prepare to teach in Spanish as well as French and German."

"So you speak three languages besides English."


Kristie said, "I only speak Spanish and English." Then she asked, "Do you guys still feel like you have a testimony?"

This testimony thing is basically a conviction or a strong belief. It could be called a witness, as well.

Outside the religious sphere, [JMR201609042147: it a testimony ] might be compared to a mathematician's conviction that the concept of a unit vector has fundamental meaning. Less abstractly (though not a perfectly parallel example), it's similar to the confidence that we have that one plus one is two most of the time.

We may not be fully able to define the contexts in which adding one to one gives two, and we may not be ready to fully understand the concept of a unit vector, but we know that those contexts are important to us in our day-to-day lives.

A testimony is the kind of belief that gives people the confidence to do things, and especially to keep going when things get hard. It's the kind of belief that is expressed as faith.

Dan said, "Well, yeah!"

Karel asserted, "I haven't changed my mind."

Bobbie thought a moment. "I definitely have a testimony now, but it isn't the same one I had when I was a missionary."


"When I first went out, I wasn't sure the atonement and the redemption would do me any good. I just went to be a nurse where they needed nurses."

"Well, those are good desires." Dan was encouraging, and Karel nodded in agreement.

" [JMR201609042203: Important, saving desires. ]  How did you feel when you returned?" Karel asked.

"I was beginning to believe I could also be saved. That's part of the reason I started saving up to work on the PhD."

"So your testimony is stronger now?" asked Kristie.

"I think so. How about you?"

"I'm not sure. I saw a lot of things that I didn't expect when I was a missionary."

Dan guessed at her thoughts. "So, were you disappointed in people who weren't perfect?"

"Yeah. I guess so. I just thought things would be so simple. Some of the elders behaved pretty badly."

Simplifying things a little too much -- the men who serve as missionaries are called "elders" -- even the young men.

On the other hand, women who serve as missionaries are called "sister missionaries" or just "sisters".

But members of the Church in general, in the consideration that we are all part of God's big family, are all called brothers and sisters, no matter what our other callings are.

Dan looked down. "I made a few mistakes when I was a missionary, too." Then he looked up at Kristie. "Don't hold it against them. Some of them will have changed their ways, anyway."

And Bobbie and Karel concurred. Karel said, "I know if I'd had to be perfect, I wouldn't be here now."

"Thanks. I tried not to judge them, but it's hard."

"Hey," said Bobbie. "I find that, when I go to the temple, it's easier to forgive people. I've set a goal to go to the temple at least once a month during school. How about you guys?"


And we discover again evidence that I am working within an alternative history. If the university were BYU, the temple up the hill from the university would not be built operating until something like ten years later. They would have had to travel an hour north by car to the nearest temple.


And everyone agreed. None of them had classes the next Friday morning, so they decided to go together then. Several of the other students who were studying with them also decided to join in.

[JMR20170225: The second draft of this chapter continues here:


(Whether we speak too seriously or too casually about the temple, we tend to be misunderstood. And what is too serious in one context is too casual in another.)


[JMR20170225: The second draft of this chapter continues here:

Karel and Bobbie were waiting in the Anthropology department office, to talk with their professors. While they were waiting, they were talking about their recent visit to the temple.

Melissa Burns was not eavesdropping, in particular, but she couldn't help overhearing them. She said, "So you two went to the temple together last week?"

"Oh, yeah." Bobbie replied. "With some other friends of ours."

"Did someone get married?"

Karel said, "No, we just went to do some endowments."

Bobbie gave Karel a meaningful look, but Karel didn't immediately read her meaning.


Whether we speak too seriously or too casually about the temple, we tend to be misunderstood. And what is too serious in one context is too casual in another. So we tend to avoid talking about the temple, except in the temple.


"Do you mind if I ask, what's an endowment, and how do you do it?"

Karel seemed surprised, but Bobbie asked, "You've heard of baptism?"

"My husband keeps asking me when I'm going to listen to the missionaries and get baptized."

Now Karel understood. He said, "I hope he isn't pressuring you, ..."

"Well, yes, I do feel pressure about it."

Bobbie said, "That's too bad."

"It's my own fault. I should have asked more questions about the Church before we got married."

Karel tried to commiserate. "I wouldn't necessarily lay blame. Falling in love does make people feel adventurous."

"Thanks, I guess. So what is this endowment thing? Winn tried to explain it to me once, but I don't really follow his explanations."

Bobbie and Karel looked at each other, non-verbally negotiating who would start. Bobbie started.

"Baptism is a covenant. It's a promise to God."

"I think I understand that. But what exactly is the promise?"

Karel picked up the thread: "It's a really simple promise to believe in God and Jesus, and to follow Jesus' teachings."

And Bobbie added "It's an assertion of faith."

Melissa asked, "Well, I was baptized when I was a baby. Doesn't that count?"

Karel asked, "Is that your assertion of faith?"

"I've always felt that I accepted it. And when I was a teenager, I took the catechism."

Bobbie nodded. "I can see that."

Karel thought for a moment. "I think that saying it doesn't count would miss something important. But it wouldn't really get you ready to attend the temple."

"Why is that?"

Karel replied: "Well, when we get baptized, the promise we make allows God to teach us more than if we never got baptized."

"More? What more is there?"

"What promises do you consider yourself to have made to God?"

"You want me to recite the entire catechism?"

Bobbie picked up the thread: "For us, the covenant of baptism is simple. We promise to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to repent of our sins. We promise to obey the commandments Jesus gives us."

"Commandments? How many of those are there?"

Karel answered. "That's what we mean by God teaching us more. He gives us those commandments through the Holy Spirit."

"Does that mean there's no official catechism?"

Karel said, "I guess that's right. We have Sunday School manuals and the like, but we don't have a specific catechism."

And Bobbie added, "We each learn what we need as we go, so to speak. It's a lifetime process."

"How do you know what to believe?"

Karel answered: "Study the scriptures, pray, attend church. When we do what God tells us to do, He teaches us what the next step is."

"But, how do you know that, at some point, at the next step, God doesn't turn into a soul-eating monster?"

"That would not be God, would it?" Karel responded.

"Of course not."

Bobbie explained. "If we find ourselves facing some conflict of belief, we can always return to the basics to figure out what we've misunderstood. God wants us to be happy."

"Ah hah! How do you know that God wants you to be happy?"

Bobbie and Karel looked at each other and laughed a quiet laugh.

"Indeed, indeed," said Karel.

"Experience!" asserted Bobbie, "Repentance is so that we can quit doing the things that make us unhappy."

"You mean that repentance is not all about suffering?"

Karel explained a bit more: "Well, some sins do require us to suffer, or to pay at least a part of the price of what we did. But the purpose of repentance is that we can leave the sin behind and move forward."

"Okay, okay, so we aren't all that far apart, so far. What are some examples of these 'more things' that God teaches you?"

Bobbie said, "I was recently reading Mosiah 18 around verse 8. It talks about mourning with those who mourn, rejoicing with those who rejoice, helping each other with burdens, standing as a witness for God, and such things. And the sermon on the mount is so important that the Savior repeated it when He visited the Americas, so we have it recorded in the Book of Mormon, as well. These are easy things to say or read, but it takes a long time to understand how to do them well."

"I guess it does sound like a rather different approach to what should end up the same."

Karel said, "I think that's a good way of looking at it."

"So, what is this endowment thing?"

"More instruction," said Karel. "But it's easy to misunderstand, so we leave the world behind and go into the temple to receive it."

"It's very peaceful in the temple," Bobbie explained. "You can feel really close to God." 

Melissa looked up at the door, where Professors White and MacVittie were standing patiently, listening. "Oh, dear. I think I've kept you from your appointments."

"Not at all!" said Professor White.

"I'd better not keep you any more."

Professor MacVittie said, "It sounds like you're having a nice little chat."

Bobbie said, "We can definitely talk about this again."

Professor White said, "We can wait."

Melissa said, "No, that's okay. It's time for me to get back to work."

Professor MacVittie said, "If you think so."

And she nodded.

Bobbie said, "We'll talk again, okay?"

"I think I'd like that."

"I do think there'll be more opportunities to talk. Well, since you two are both here," Professor MacVittie suggested, "let's all talk together in my office." Professor White agreed, and the four of them went to Professor MacVittie's office, where Bobbie and Karel discussed their progress towards becoming PhD candidates.

[JMR20170225: The second draft of this chapter continues here: 
and here:
and here: .

Several weeks later, Bobbie and Karel made sure to arrive a bit early for their next appointments with their professors.

"Hi! You're early." Melissa greeted them. "On purpose?"

They all three laughed and, and Karel said, "Well, yeah."

"Thanks. I've been able to get past the 'When are you going to get baptized?' question with my husband."

"That's good to hear."

"But he's never been to the temple, so he can't tell me much about it. His bishop gave us a little book, but it really doesn't help me much."

Karel said, "It's a little hard to explain unless you've gone through it."

Bobbie added, a little dryly, "And it may be even harder to explain afterwards."

"Well, that's more than a little frustrating. How am I supposed to be confident about joining you guys if I don't know where I'm headed?"

Both of them thought for a few moments. Then Bobbie said, "I could tell you some scriptures to read. But I guess, in the end, it's a matter of trust. You get used to the Holy Spirit teaching you things, and you get used to the peace, and the impressions that tell you it's true."

"I know something about that from the church I'm going to now. Can't you tell me anything about what happens in the temple?"

Karel said, "Well, after we go in, we change clothes."


Bobbie quickly added, "The guys have their changing room and we women have ours. We have individual lockers, too, so we change in private. Are you sure this is okay, Karel?"

"Why not?"

"Why do you change clothes?" Melissa asked.

"It helps us remember to leave the world outside," Bobbie said. "I guess we can explain this much."

Karel added, "Since we all wear simple white clothing, it also helps us remember that we are all on equal standing before God. Oh, and, white reminds us that we are trying to be pure before God."

"Okay. Then what?"

"Usually, we wait for a few minutes in a chapel room. Sometimes someone is available to play hymns, so we can listen quietly while we think and pray."

"Thinking and praying and listening to hymns is not bad."

"For the endowment, we go to a room where we watch a sort of play."

Bobbie added, "It's kind of like a dramatic reading of parts of Genesis and some other scriptures."

"Parts of Genesis? I've heard rumors that you 'do the Adam and Eve thing' or something."

"Yes, part of the presentation is about Adam and Eve," Bobbie said, "but no nudity or sex, if that's what you've heard."

Melissa was still doubtful. "I was told that it was all implied."

Karel asked, "What was all implied?"

Melissa thought for a moment. "Good question. Even the Bible comes right out and says they were, uhm, didn't have any clothes on. But you say there isn't any of that?"

Karel nodded. "Having the people taking Adam and Eve's parts literally without any clothes on would be too distracting, and not instructive at all. That's not the purpose of the temple."

"What about eating the apple?"

Bobbie said, "Do you mean, eating the apple as a metaphor for sexual intercourse?"

Melissa looked a little shocked. "You came right out and said that."

"Sorry," Bobbie apologized. "I guess it's because I'm a nurse. But, no, that's not a good metaphor. At least, I don't see it that way, about the apple."

Karel said, "People argue about it. They shouldn't. Neither the scriptures nor the temple ceremonies say anything that requires one to believe it that way. If people insist on believing that, they have to have other reasons."

"My husband wasn't sure, but he said if there was anything like that in the temple, it wouldn't be pornographic or worshiping sex."

"Well, there isn't any, so that's not something we need to worry about."

"He says that his Dad told him once that the temple teaches that the wife has to always do what the husband says."

Bobbie said, "No."

And Karel said, "That's not right at all. There is a part, where, if a person's attention slips, he or she might miss the part where one or the other spouse is instructed about their own responsibility. But both are given pretty much equal responsibility for the family. It's mutual."

"The husband is put in charge, in a sense, but I think," said Bobbie, "that the point is that the husband and wife shouldn't be fighting each other, should not be trying to control each other."

"My thoughts, exactly," said Karel.

"Uhm," Melissa hesitated, "can I ask a personal question?"

Karel and Bobbie looked at each other and exchanged wry smiles.

"Oh, never mind that. But you're both single, right?"

It was probably Bobbie who said, "Uh, huh."

"You know pretty much everything that goes on in the temple?"

Karel answered. "Not everything. I haven't yet been asked to be a temple worker, for instance. Have you, Bobbie?"

"No, not yet. It would be interesting."

"But you aren't worried about the secrets?"

"No." was Karel's response.

Bobbie said, "No secrets. If you can believe in a God who loves all of His children, there are no secrets."

"Bobbie, can we talk about this without the guys sometime?"

"Oh, well, I'm supposed to be meeting Professor White right now," Karel said and stood up.

"Tell Professor MacVittie I'll be along in a little bit, okay?"

"Sure." Karel said with a grin as he left the room.

They watched him leave, then Bobbie turned to Melissa and asked, "So, ..."

"Are you and Karel dating?"

Bobbie blinked, and she let out a quiet laugh. "Well, yes and no. My roommate and I and his football buddy and he seem to spend a lot of time together. The four of us, sometimes with other friends, too. It's very comfortable to be with each other."

"Oh. I was kind of hoping that you'd tell me that I could get that kind of relationship with Winn if I got baptized."

"Wow." Bobbie had to look down.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked."

"No. It's okay. It's just that it has been so easy, this last couple of months. But I know that if I start seriously dating either one of those guys, it's going to quit being easy like that. But that's not what you're asking. No. Being a member isn't magic. Relationships still take work."

"Oh. Are all the Mormon men supposed to be like him?"

"I think Mormon men are, on the average, more considerate than the average, whatever that is. But none of them are perfect. I mean, if they had to be perfect, we women would have to be perfect, too, right?"

And they talked a little more about men and relationships and church and such, and then Bobbie went to her appointment with Professor MacVittie.

[JMR201606031650 More important details that I forgot:

A couple of weeks later, on a Sunday evening at Kristie and Bobbie's apartment, they were looking at schedules for the winter semester.

Bobbie said, "Karel and I have three anthropology classes together next semester."

Dan responded, "Oh yeah?"

"We have a class in island culture we are talking for credit, and then he's the teaching assistant for a math class in methods of analysis for anthropologists that I have to take."

Karel explained, "They've made me the TA because it doesn't make sense for me to take the class, but they need to make sure I've seen the approaches used in anthropology. And Bobbie is the TA in the 'Medicine and Physiology in Other Cultures' class that I have to take."

"For basically the same reasons," Bobbie added.

"So you probably don't want to do a cross-discipline class with Kristie and me?"

"What class would it be?" asked Karel.

Kristie said, "We've had an interdepartmental class in linguistics recommended to us."

Bobbie and Karel looked at each other inquisitively. Bobbie said, "I think I could do that."

"Me, too. As I recall, it's one that is recommended for us, as well. By the way, what religion classes are you guys taking?"

"Haven't decided," said Dan.

"Let's all take an in-depth class on the Doctrine and Covenants together," suggested Kristie.

"Is that the one where they also study Lectures on Faith?" asked Dan.

Bobbie said, "Yeah, that's it."

Dan said, "Sounds interesting."

Karel was less enthusiastic. "It's going to be discussing an awful lot of things that we're going to have to specifically ask God how to understand. Some of it is not appropriate any more."

Bobbie was insistent. "But it will be interesting!"

Karel scratched his head and said, "Okay, I guess I'll have to take it with you, to keep you all out of trouble."

Then he asked, "Are we going to take a dance class together?"

Kristie suggested, "How about folk dance? That should be fun."

And they all agreed on that.


Several weeks later, [JMR201606031720: About a week after that, ] when Bobbie and Karel came to the Anthropology office, Melissa gave them an update.

"I told Winn what you told me about mutual responsibilities, and he was surprised."

"Oh? What happened?"

"He called the home teachers. They came over later in the week, and brought their scriptures. They had us read where it says the man is the head of the woman, and where Paul says women should not speak in church."

"Uh oh." Karel said quietly. Bobbie did not seem to be worried.

"Then we read where it says that men and women need each other. And then they pointed out something I hadn't noticed where Jesus told the twelve disciples that the greatest has to be the least, and the servant of all."

Bobbie nodded her head, and Karel said, "Good."

"And we read some other scriptures about how leaders are supposed to behave, and about how contention is not compatible with the Holy Spirit."

Karel asked, "Did they talk about what 'counseling with each other in righteousness' means?"

"I'm not sure about that. But they did read some scriptures about how being in agreement when we pray is a key to getting answers."

Both Karel and Bobbie were nodding. Bobbie asked, "Did they read a scripture about 'without compulsory means'?"

"They had us read that one, too. That scripture is almost poetry."

Karel said, "You have good home teachers."


The concept of home teachers is fairly simple. In the scriptures, we are taught to watch out for and take care of our neighbors. You may be familiar with Jesus' parable about the Good Samaritan.

When we try to be good neighbors, we have to receive guidance directly through the Holy Spirit and our consciences. Nobody appreciates a busybody neighbor on the one hand, and nobody really feels comfortable about asking a neighbor for help, either.

We are also instructed to watch over the church and visit the members regularly, teach the Gospel to each other, and help each other not to gossip and fight each other, etc.

To help us visit the members regularly, we are assigned as home teachers and visiting teachers. But we are still supposed to be guided by the Holy Spirit and our consciences in the way we go about visiting members and helping each other. It doesn't always work perfectly, but in this case it seems to have worked fairly well.


"Winn says he feels a lot more comfortable knowing that he doesn't have to decide it all by himself, and we've been talking together a lot more about our plans for the future."

Bobbie asked, "And he is listening to you?"

"Oh, we sometimes forget to listen to each other, but when we find ourselves arguing, it seems like it's easier now for both of us to back off and think and then start listening to each other again.

Bobbie said, "My parents went through this, too, figuring out that being in charge isn't being in control of everything. Figuring out that both spouses have to have freedom, or they can't act responsibly. And that the children need both freedom and responsibility, too. It really changed things for the family."

Karel added, "My family, too. I think every family has to go through figuring these kinds of things out together."

And after a bit more talking, Bobbie and Karel went to meet with their professors again.

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, Bobbie suggested that the other three could come do volunteer work at the hospital over Thanksgiving weekend.

"It's good experience! Changing bed pans, cleaning rooms, doing laundry!"

But Karel's bishop was asking for volunteers to go to the Church Welfare Center, to help in the welfare cannery and store, on the same weekend.

"I guess it's not as directly people oriented, but it's still good experience, and it's still service."

"But my family is expecting you and me for Thanksgiving dinner, Karel." Dan said.

Kristie looked a little confused, and a little worried.

Karel asked, "What are your plans for Thanksgiving, Kristie?"

"I don't really have any. My parents thought it would be too far to travel, so we're not getting together. I could volunteer either at the hospital or the cannery, I guess."

Dan thought a moment. "I think I'll ring my folks up."

Karel said, "Long distance charges?"

"We have an arrangement where I call them, and then they call back. It's cheaper to talk when they've called."

A couple of days later, they were talking about Thanksgiving again.

Dan said, "Karel, my folks say they'll forgive us Thanksgiving if we all go there over Christmas. Kristie and Bobbie, you're invited, too."

Karel shook his head. "Sorry, my family will raise a fuss."

Kristie said, "My parents, too. How about New Year's?"

"I think we could do that. I'll suggest it to them."

Dan and Karel cooked Thanksgiving dinner at Bobbie and Kristie's apartment, inviting their roommates Jennifer and Wendy, and Dan's roommate Brad, and Karel's roommate Fred. And they played the card game Pit, which Karel had brought. Bobbie was covering another nurse's graveyard shift, so they left the party around seven.

At the hospital, Dan and Karel and Kristie put in a late four hour volunteer shift at the hospital, running laundry to get a head start on the next day and helping in the emergency room.

Dan and Karel left before one, but Kristie got some sleep in an empty room at the hospital and drove Bobbie home early in the morning.

At the apartment, Bobbie and Kristie took quick showers and changed clothes. Karel and Dan came over in Karel's car, and they went together to the Welfare Center for an eight hour shift. Bobbie insisted on going with them, even though the others said she needed to sleep. Nurses, she said, know how to get by on very little sleep. Karel and Dan sat in the front, and Bobbie napped with her head in Kristie's lap in the back seat.

At the welfare center, Bobbie stayed away from the machines, choosing to take simpler, safer activities like sweeping the floor. Kristie stayed with her. Bobbie got some more naptime on the way home.

Bobbie was off that night, so they all got some rest before doing another full day at the Welfare Center. This time, they stayed together most of the time, Bobbie feeling rested and safe enough to help operate the machines in the cannery and handle heavy products on the store shelves. Again, Bobbie napped on the way home.

Back at the hospital, Bobbie took the full graveyard shift for work, and the other three did a four hour volunteer shift. Kristie took a long nap in the hospital again and drove Bobbie home in the morning, to get ready for church services.

Bobbie fell asleep during Sunday School, and the teacher was nice enough to just smile and ignore it. After Sunday School, Bobbie and Kristie napped at home in the afternoon while Dan and Karel made lunch with the roommates who were home.

While they were eating, Karel had a suggestion. "Hey, I've been thinking it would be fun to go skiing."

"I think I can arrange for one Saturday off at the hospital. Where do you want to go?"

Karel named a downhill run near the school.

Kristie said, "Those are too easy!" and suggested an area with advanced slopes a little further away.

Bobbie looked a little dissatisfied. "I prefer cross-country, myself. Good exercise, no lift fees, and I don't spend as much time upside down in the snow, ...," at which, everybody laughed.

Dan said, "If we weren't so busy, we could go cross-country one day, and downhill another. But I know another place, not so far away, that has intermediate level slopes as well as cross-country. And you can ski up to the top of the slopes, if you're good at skiing uphill and have the patience for it."

After a bit of talking they agreed on the second Saturday following, if Bobbie could get the day off.

For the evening services, Dan and Karel visited Kristie and Bobbie's ward. And Bobbie fell asleep on Karel's shoulder during the Sacrament meeting talks.

(Members are assigned, by turn, to give short, informal sermons after the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered, and these short sermons are called 'talks'.)

Bobbie dozed off in the car again. Karel was driving, so Kristie opened the door to the apartment and Dan carried her into the apartment, setting her carefully on the couch, while Karel waited in the car because there wasn't an open parking space.

Why do apartments never have enough parking space?

The ski trip was relatively uneventful. Roommates and members of the study groups also joined in, and they had a caravan of four cars. Dan's car wasn't quite up to the snowy mountain roads, and neither was Kristie, herself, but Bobbie and Karel both drove. And they had all rented dual-use skis, with both cross-country and downhill bindings, so they could split their time between the slopes and the trails.

Kristie demonstrated that she was a better skier than any of them, although Karel and Bobbie were none too shabby, either. Dan admitted that he was unstable on the slopes, and he was always the last one down, rolling and laughing a good part of the way. But he would get back on his skis quickly, and stayed with the rest.

On the trails, Dan was ahead of everyone, and even Bobbie had to push to catch up with him. Then they would stop and talk while Kristie and Karel and whoever else was with them caught up.

Kristie did take a roll in the afternoon, just for the fun of it, laughing as she tumbled to a stop behind where Dan had rolled out. She was on her skis quickly, helping Dan up while Karel and Bobbie retrieved his skies.

Not wanting to take the time to get coals burning, they had packed sandwiches for both lunch and dinner, and they ate in the car on the way down, except, of course, for the drivers, who all grabbed at least one sandwich before they started down.

Back off the mountain, they met at a small cafe to talk, and drink cocoa and hot apple cider (non-fermented) with cinnamon, and warm up a bit, before heading back to their apartments.

For Christmas, Bobbie rode with Kristie, stopping at Bobbie's house to spend the night and see Bobbie's family. Then they went on together, taking turns at the wheel, and Bobbie spent Christmas with Kristie's family.

Dan and Karel drove in tandem to Dan's house, and Karel spent the night there before driving on to his own house for Christmas.

To avoid being on the roads over the New Year holidays, they all gathered at Dan's house on the 30th, and spent three days with the Claymounts.
Dan's family took them snowshoeing in the canyons near his home on the 31st, and they launched roman candles and other fireworks in their backyard at midnight on the 31st.

Sheliah clearly liked both Bobbie and Kristie.

It was a bit of a rush, but they left for school about noon on the first.

The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

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