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Buzzing around Salt Lake City with a stranger

On June 14, my husband and I boarded a charter bus to Salt Lake City, Utah. I was to attend the Young Living Essential Oils Grand Convention while Dan hoped to do research on his family history at the Family Genealogy Center. After a very, very long bus trip, we arrived safely at our hotel.

Usually I am overwhelmed when I am out of my element but SLC didn't seem to intimidate me. The city is mapped out on a grid system with Temple Square in the heart of the city. From Temple Square, the massive 132 foot wide streets run north-south, east-west and intersect as right angles. A gigantic landmark, the Wasatch mountain range, is to the east.

Our hotel was at the coordinates of 300 West and 400 South so we would walk two blocks east then two blocks north and reach the convention at the Salt Palace on 100 South.

There were about 5,000 people from around the world at the convention. The featured essential oil was Frankincense, as in the frankincense, gold and myrrh given to the Christ Child by the three wise men.

We watched a documentary titled "The Gift" where the founder of Young Living, D. Gary Young, dangerously traveled to the Middle East in search of the ancient healing secrets of frankincense.

Wednesday night was the Arabian Marketplace celebration. I sampled the festivities and near 10 p.m. and decided to walk back to the hotel. I began walking next to a beautiful, well-dressed woman down the corridor. We started talking and found out we were staying at the same hotel. She asked if I wanted to go back with her. Sure, I said. She informed me that her daughter walked back to the hotel earlier and left her with the car. So we went down to the underground parking to look for her daughter's new red car. We found a red car but it wasn't it. She spoke in this sweet but high-toned, fast, worry-some voice. "Ohhh, this isn't it -- no --no, it would have Vancouver plates." We looked around and found another red car. She began to verbalize her nervous uncertainness. "Oh, which button unlocks ...?" As she pushed the keychain and unlocked the doors.

"Oh, which way do I go?" As she accelerated to the exit. Before I could get my bearings, she flew up the ramp to the street. "Left? Do we go left?" she asked as we were already headed into the street to the left.

Calmly and quietly I tried to reassure her. Two blocks down and two blocks over to 300 West. We could not find the hotel. Around and around we went.

Finally, we found the hotel but the lot was full. She quickly accelerated down the steep parking ramp under the hotel and stopped. The gate did not open. Other cars were coming into the lot so she reversed at a high speed. We watched the other cars pause at the left side of the entrance to somehow open the gate.

We followed their lead. Perhaps we needed the room key card to open the gate. "Oh, oh, where's my key, my pocketbook, it's behind the seat ... the white one, my pocketbook is the white one." I handed her a purse. She found her key but it would not open the gate.

I got out of the car and discovered how to slide the card into the reader. The gate opened, I returned the key, she thanked me and she was gone.

Thursday after workshops, I went back to the hotel to find out Wadena was just hit by a tornado. Dan and I both got on our cell phones and called family and friends. My mom was frantic. My 12-year-old daughter was at a birthday party in Deer Creek and mom couldn't get a hold of her.

We felt so helpless. Should we find another way back? Mom found she was safe. My home in southwest Wadena had a tree limb on it. But we decided to wait and go back on the charter bus.

Friday was the farm tour. We rode a school bus out the D. Gary Young's farm with fields of lavender, coriander, sage and more. We learned how the workers distill using steam, to extract the resin from the plants.

The resin of a plant is its life force and the use of distilled resins (essential oils) is pre-pharmaceutical.

We ate a delicious lunch, all prepared using essential oils, pure enough to eat.

We got back on a school bus and I found a seat with the woman from Wednesday night. For the half hour bus ride we chatted. She told me all about Vancouver, Canada and its demographics. Much about the Young Living and more.

When we reached SLC, she introduced herself as Lynn and I told her we had already met.

Saturday night was the grand finale, the Extravaganza, and our charter bus was departing immediately after. Dan escorted me to the Salt Plaza. He planned on venturing out until our departure. But there was Lynn, and she ushered both Dan and I into the party with such grace and hospitality. Dan felt like a party crasher and decided to leave me with my new friend. For a few moments I forgot about the destruction at home while Lynn helped me have a fabulous time.

Of the 5,000 people gathered in SLC for five days, Lynn and I were there for each other when we both needed a friend. Coincidence? I think not.