Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcome to Utah Part 1

Posted By on September 2, 2009, 9:37 AM

I took some friends, who were visiting from Europe, down to Hildale the other weekend. They wanted a taste of polygamy so, being a good host, I endeavored to oblige.---

Margaret Cooke, whom I wrote about returning to Colorado City after years of exile in a City Weekly cover story called Once a Creeker, was in the one –time Warren Jeffs stronghold visiting family. She agreed to give my friends, former Dublin docklands pub owneer Lorcan Healy and management consultant Kanthi Ford, a tour of the dusty streets of Hildale and Colorado City on the Utah-Arizona border.

We ended up in the town’s market. The last time I was in this store almost three years ago, the shelves were all but empty and few customers patrolled the aisles. Now, with so many polygamists having returned from Texas, the store is enjoying a renaissance. There’s locally produced chicken and salmon and even DVDs on how to do that characteristic wave polygamist women sport in their hair.

When Margaret and I visited last time, we were all but run out of town by youths in trucks with walky-talkies and baseball hats chasing us around the streets. This time, it was the market manager’s turn to shxow how unwelcome strangers are. He marched up to Lorcan and asked him what he was doing there. After the two men combatively argued about their starkly different heritages and histories, the manager all but herded him out into the car park.

As we drove out of the town late in the afternoon, we passed a man out walking with a woman either side of him, the three holding hands. Putting aside the darkness of sexual and physical abuse that allegedly haunts this community, it was hard not to be struck by the curious beauty of these three people parading their relationship in the dying evening light.

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