Tag Archives: Pageant



I’m unsure what’s worse getting a cold while on prednisone or getting a cold and having MG.  I’m sure the three together are working to keep me down this last two weeks.  The last two weeks have been the absolute worse since I contracted MG — short of when Elizabethe and I had the flu earlier this year.

Balancing Act

It’s a balancing act.  One medication has this effect, while another one is supposed to deal with that problem.  The doctors have their work cut out for them.  It must be quite the dilemma trying to decide if someone should be treated for high blood pressure or taken off prednisone.

I can only wait and see.

Hill Cumorah Pageant

An announcement Sunday was made concerning pageants in the church.  It appears the Hill Cumorah Pageant will wind down by 2020.  For many of the people in this region, that will be quite a culture change.

I hope people will now spread out their visits to Palmyra.  The Pageant windfall is nice, but I think if all the locals play this right, they might seel blessings come more steadily throughout the year and years to come.

People will still flock to Palmyra to see the sacred sites.  It just won’t all be mid-July.


We are facing many decisions.  We’re leaning towards selling the house and building here in Palmyra, and finding someplace closer to the girls in Utah.  There is no way I can physically manage the house.  I can barely do the bare minimum each day without totally exhausting myself.  Myasthenia Gravis is quite debilitating.

I read that men who contract MG lose about 50% of their income on the average.  While I don’t remember the figure of those who become completely disabled, the research paper did say that a large majority find they cannot work at all or very little.

In my Myastenia Gravis for Men group, it is a very common consensus that there is a lot of down-play about the disease.  I conducted a little poll and asked, “Do you have pain associated with your MG?”

Now, you’ll find website after website that says there is no pain associated with MG.  However, my little poll says about 67% have pain (50% most of the time + 17% some of the time).  That’s only 1/3rd who say they don’t have pain.  It’s unscientific, but it confirms my suspicions.

Another comment you hear is, “Many people with MG go on to live productive lives.”

We got talking about this in the group.  We’re all kind of laughing about how they define “productive”.  They definitely don’t mean “active”!  Most of us say our productivity is cut drastically and activity even more so.


I know before I caught a cold a couple of weeks ago, my “productivity” was about 30-60 minutes a day.  For the last two weeks, it has been about 1-2 hours a week split between 2-3 days.  In other words, this cold dropped me from 3.5-7 hours a week down to 1-2 hours a week.


The activity I tolerate most is walking slowly.  Even then, I must be careful to avoid overdoing it.  When my legs aren’t all weak feeling, it is nice to walk a little.  When I overdo it, the results are the pain, weakness, and fatigue.

Even typing my blog is fatiguing.  (Hence, so few entries this year.)  Brain fog makes it worse.  I’m constantly getting red-lines under words because my fingers aren’t hitting the right keys.  Then, it’s difficult to think, “What word was I trying to type?”  That only makes things worse because I find it upsetting when I type something like, “zyjod od s yrdyz” when I meant to type, “This is a test”.  (I’ve never had a problem with my hands being shifted until this brain fog thing started to happen.

Talking is pretty much a no-no.  That’s one of the first muscles to be affected.  Paralyzed vocal chords carry with them a double-whammy.  The first whammy is losing your voice.  The second is the reflection that coughing will solve the problem.  It doesn’t.  It only makes it worse, but try telling your subconscious that.

My Hope

My hope is the doctors and I will find a good balance of my medication that will allow me to have the stamina to at least feel like I was able to get some exercise in.  It may not be the stamina needed to mow the lawn, shovel snow, fix a broken faucet, build a shelf for Elizabethe, etc., however, it would be nice to know I’m able to do something for my heart.  It might be riding my stationary bike for 15 minutes a couple of times a day.  (Right now, the doctor has told me to not attempt any exercise program until we get my medication stabilized.)

Reality tells me there will be good days and bad days.  Hope tells me there should be a way to lesson the bad days (which have been all too frequent lately), and know my limits.

A Month Away

A Month Away

It’s hard to believe pageant is only a month away.  They have trucks staged in the big parking lot at Hill Cumorah.  It looks like the stage construction will begin soon.

My workshop classes for photography are during pageant this year (again).  This means I’ll be in school from about 8am to 5pm daily.  I’ll miss much of the daytime stuff that accompanies pageant, but I’ll be able to watch the show one of those nights.

Social Media Fast

President Russell M. Nelson asked the youth to do a 7-day social media fast.  If the prophet asks the youth to do it, it must be good for others too.  But, like any fast, there are some things to consider.

  1. Do it in private.  Christ warned not to be as the publicans who disfigure their faces and dress in sackcloth and ashes.  In modern terms, I would take it to mean, don’t post stuff on social media like, “Okay, I’m going on a 7-day Facebook fast.  I don’t know how I’m going to manage, but I’m doing it okay.  Starting right now.”
  2. Social media is more than just Facebook.  It’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, chat rooms, message boards, etc.  A 7-day social media fast must include all of them.
  3. A fast isn’t complete without an offering.  What will be your offering at the end of your 7-day media fast?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  I think it would be appropriate for 7 days worth of internet or phone charges donated to the fast offering fund.
  4. It should start and end with a prayer.  You should have in mind what Heavenly Father wants you to learn from the experience, and you should pray for understanding and strength.

I guess one learning might end up being that people can do with out so much social media.

Angel Attendance

Angel Attendance

I can with assurity say angel attendance happens in the Palmyra Ward.  When it is pageant time there are angels present.  There is no way our tiny choir sings like that.  I hear the basses, altos and sopranos during practice.  That’s not them singing during the closing hymn on pageant Sundays.

The cultural hall in addition to the chapel was filled during Sacrament Meeting.  Many of those people leave after Sacrament Meeting, while a good number stick around and attend the rest of the meetings.  It’s always fun to hear where they come from.


Workshop starts today.  While they start on Sunday, a few years ago I decided to start attending Sunday evening so I could get in the group picture.  It’s kind of a bummer to get a group shot of your class and you’re the only one not in it.

Someone commented, “I thought you couldn’t go places on Sunday.”

I explained that I believe in keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  The choice is mine as to how I do that.  I went on to explain I want to be in the group photo for myself, and also for others.  I make friends during these classes and I’d be disappointed if one of them weren’t in the photo.

While I wish they would do away with the Sunday night group photo and take the group photo on Thursday night, it would be a long uphill battle.

Dance Practice

Dance Practice

Watching the Hill Cumorah Pageant cast practice for a battle scene is like watching a dance practice.  The well choreographed moves are synchronized like a ballet.  With a cast of hundreds, I guess they would have to be.

copyright 2017 db walton

Dance Practice

See Pageant

If you have never seen the Hill Cumoraph Pageant, and you live in Western New York, you owe it to yourself.  It is FREE, and it is held on Friday, June 14th and Saturday the 15th.  It resumes Tuesday the 18th through Saturday the 22nd.

Arrive around dinner time and buy dinner from the Rotary or Lion’s Clubs (look for the big tent south of the seating area).  The pageant (play) starts around 9pm.  There is plenty of seating.

What to expect

Expect to be greeted by cast members while you are waiting for the pageant to start.  Ask them who they portray.  They will also have printed programs for you.

Expect a musical theatrical soundtrack that accompanies the actors on stage.  You will see pyrotechnics and bursts of water that add to the realism.

You can expect to get an overview of a 1,000 year history (600 B.C. to A.D. 400) of what lead up to Hill Cumorah being a pivotal  landmark.  There will also be a tie in to local history in the early 1800s.  As a result, you get a basic understanding of what is covered in the Book of Mormon.

Expect a clean, family environment.  You’ll want to dress modestly (i.e. shorts are okay, but not short-shorts, t-shirts are okay, but I’d avoid crop-tops and tank-tops.)

What not to expect

Don’t expect to be proselytize.  You might be asked if you’ve seen Pageant before, or if you’ve read the Book of Mormon.  As a result, you might be asked if you want a free copy of the Book of Mormon.   You won’t be pressured in to anything.

Don’t expect to be asked for a donation.  The ONLY place you’ll be asked for money is when you buy food.  Nobody will come and ask you to donate money.  (And, if they do, you might let security know.)


Week Summary

Week Summary

I’m not going to attempt to catch up with blog entries.  I’m just giving a week summary as I have too much else to do.

Hill Cumorah Pageant ended last Saturday, and we attended the last performance with some friends from Penn Yan.  My friend Mark brought his camera too.  I’m sure he got some great shots too.

copyright 2016 db walton

Mark Griffin Takes a Shot

Sunday was the 2nd “Pageant Sunday”, and again, the choir did an awesome job.  As soon as church was over I was off to PPSNYS Workshop.

PPSNYS Workshop

PPSNYS Workshop this year is well attended.  I’m taking a class taught by Michael Mowbray.  The workshop started out with his talking about the equipment he uses.  I felt validated as he too has gone with Godox flash equipment.

As the week progressed I learned a lot about shooting outdoors in full sunlight with a speedlight.  The instruction was great.  My only complaints are I wish we had either a few more models, and I wish the instructor would have taken control of the group shooting time to facilitate it moving along.

We shot in the worse possible conditions (purposefully) to learn how to control the light.  Here’s the instructor demonstrating…

copyright 2016 db walton

Michael Working with Model

Full sunlight is horrible for taking pictures.  Mix that with trees and you get spotty lighting, but not after taking Mowbray’s class!  See for yourself…

copyright 2016 db walton

Class Model at Belhurst Castle


The workshop ended with a big dinner as it does every year.  This year Elizabethe attended the dinner.  I don’t think they change the menu from year to year, but that’s okay.  It is always good.



I pulled double-duty at Pageant today.  My first duty was security on the hill from 1 to 6pm.  It was hot, but thanks to a friend I made the other day, he kept bringing me cold water to drink.  (For which I’m truly grateful.)

They put me at the crosswalk to Zion’s Camp.  I had shade and a chair… and cold water.  The first hour went so very slow, and then things picked up as people began to return from lunch.  After the lunch rush, it slowed down again as people headed off for dinner.


After completing my shift I went home and picked up Elizabethe and then returned to the Hill.  We enjoyed dinner at the food concessions.

copyright 2016 db walton - Double-duty

Salt Potatoes


The heat was too much for Elizabethe.  Our seats, like all of them, were in the sun.  She went over to the Visitors’ Center to keep cool.  I wandered around taking photos, but even I got tired of the heat and had to take one last trip to buy a soda.


We had two friends plus three house guests last night.  Whew, just under the 8-seat-save limit.

I ran in to quite a few folks last night.  The most interesting one was the daughter of a fellow CSM Photographer.  He e-mailed me earlier in the day asking if I would look for his daughter at Pageant.  I just happened to find her and a friend.

I also ran in to my dear friends the McBrides too.

copyright 2016 db walton

Adam and Brenda

Adam’s actual role is that of the angel in the Lehi’s Dream scene.  However, during the pre-pageant walk around the audience they wear a different costume.  It makes sense not to have people dressed as angels walking around.




Imagine sitting in a restaurant while demolition is going on… on the restaurant itself.  Yeah, it was actually kind of comical.  They are remodeling the Burger King in Williamson.  There I saw with my friend Tom while just outside a guy was breaking the outer wall of the building with a sledge hammer.

Tom and I got quite a laugh out of it.  I commented that I was glad they were using a sledge hammer and not a wrecking ball.  I was also impressed that the guy never once hit the window, yet he was striking just inches below the bottom of the window.

It’s not often lunch at Burger King comes with entertainment…. even if it is demolition of the building you’re sitting in.

The first day of June, 2016.  Time is flying too quickly.  To think the year is approaching that 1/2 way point.

Early this morning I got a heads-up call that they were raising the lighting towers on Hill Cumorah.  I shot out there to get a picture of the big crane holding a tower.

copyright 2016 db walton - demolition

Hill Cumorah Lighting Going UP

Palmyra New York Lodging

And, if you are looking for lodging during Hill Cumorah Pageant, try the Beckwith Mansion and Estate here in Palmyra.  It’s an 1830’s Federalist Greek Revival Colonial located right on Main Street, Palmyra.  It is walking distance from the Grandin Press building, Alvin Smith’s grave, several bookstores (including an LDS book store), and a few restaurants.

Palmyra New York lodging is scarce during Hill Cumorah Pageant.  Call us soon to get your reservation.  If you go to our web site you can see the rooms and prices.


Armington Road

Armington Road

I learned that Armington Road is exactly 3 miles from my house.  I guess that’s always good to know when giving people directions, but it is also good to know if you’re planning your exercise route.  It is also the road you turn on off Stafford Road if you’re going to Hill Cumorah from the Smith Farm.

Hill Cumorah Pageant

Speaking of Hill Cumorah, Pageant is not to far off.  It will be here before you know it, and as usual, people will think they can just show up and find lodging.


Lodging is scarce in this area.  So, if you plan to go to Hill Cumorah, make plans early.

Here at the Beckwith Mansion, we’ve had some room openings.  With a long-term renter leaving, we’ve decided to keep their room available until after Pageant.  However, once the work makes its way around that room will rent quickly!

You can get more information by clicking on this link.

copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Pageant


Tonight was our temple shift.  With the summer missionaries here we have a few more workers on Tuesday night, but we also get more guests.  The Palmyra Temple is a destination temple for many.  We get people who come here to attend the temple and see the historic sites.  This makes for a busy spring, summer and fall.  (We get some, but not a lot of winter visitors.)

Pageant 2015 Ends Today

Pageant 2015 Ends Today

Hill Cumorah Pageant 2015 ends today.  We won’t be there because Elizabethe, Talise and I are going to Watkins Glen for the day.

We first headed to the NEW Sauder’s Store.  Wow, is it VERY NICE.  If you haven’t been to Sauder’s lately, you owe yourself the visit.  The sandwich department has in-store dining now, it is bigger, roomier, and so cool looking.

After a big Sauder’s sandwich, we drove out to the Whitmer Farm so Talise could take the tour.  From there, we headed to Watkins Glen.

Going to Watkins Glen on a Saturday in late July is like going to Disneyland on a Saturday.  It is pure nuts.  I don’t know what I was thinking.


copyright 2015 db walton

Talise at Wakins Glen

We had to push and shove our way by hoards of tourists.  For Talise, this was nothing given how often she goes to Brazil where the norm is to push your way through a crowd.  I just hung back and took my time in the single-file line down the canyon.

After ice cream at the Hershey’s Ice Cream parlor it was back home for the evening.

We’ve had a fun day with our niece.

Traffic Safety

Traffic Safety

I believe my job at Hill Cumorah is traffic safety.  I always get assigned to the position to keep traffic operating smoothly up and down the hill.  I don’t mind the job.  It’s a nice location to work.

I am very surprised at how few people visit the Hill Cumorah on the Monday during pageant.  Please take note at what I am about to say…



The cast is off doing other activities that day and you are more free to wander the hill.  You can spend time without feeling crowded or hurried.  Also, the other sites are less busy too.  You can visit the Sacred Grove and the E.B. Grandin building with fewer crowds.

Please, take your time when you visit Palmyra.  Schedule a few days to enjoy the sites.


I’m greatly concerned about the number of people who think Bernie Sanders is such a great candidate for president because he is espousing free college.  While this sounds like a great idea (like “free” medical insurance), he wants to finance this so-called free college on the backs of retirees and future retirees.

Let’s face the facts.  If you are poor, and you want to go to college, you can get grants and financial aide now.  We don’t need any additional laws to pay for education for low-income people.  If you are poor or have a disability, chances are with a little effort you can get your education paid for now.

If you’re middle-class, it is a bit harder, but why give away your future retirement to pay for your college.  You’ll only regret it when you get to be around 60 years old.

Sanders’ plan is to tax increases that come from stock gains and dividends.  While this sounds like a great plan to sock it to those who make fortunes on stock winfalls, those winfalls are few.  Where the money will come from to finance Sanders’ plan is from retirement plans, 401Ks, IRAs, and even 529s.  The majority of these plans are financed by, yes, that’s right, stock gains and dividends.

The plan also hurts non-profit organizations.  Organizations that are humanitarian often purchase annuities with contributions to smooth out their cash flow and to provide a buffer.  I was on the board for a non-profit that received a large lump-sum donation from an estate.  The put the money in a certificate that was based on stock performance.

I find it difficult to believe that Sanders really cares about the impact of his plan on you and me as much as he wants to buy the votes of the illiterate with this half-baked scheme.  Yes, it sounds fine and dandy, but it will really hurt anyone under the age 75.  (If you’re over 75, you won’t be alive long enough to be financially harmed by this scheme.)

The other side of this is his plan does nothing to curtail the costs of education.  I’ve worked in two private colleges.  Those colleges do something voters don’t realize:  They court the low-income students because they know if they hold their hand through the process, the state will pay their tuition, books, and other fees.  This puts more money in their pockets and by charging more, they can get more from the tax-funded programs.

Like the Affordable Health Care Act, a lot of people will get suckered in to this program.  The government is already so heavily involved in the education system, this is just a further ploy to tax you more heavily.