Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A 1910 Comet ~ by Talula Nelson

Rides in straw-filled bobsleighs with plenty of quilts and warm rocks on our feet were a very delightful experience of my girlhood. Our voices rose in song and laughter as the crisp air stung our faces while the horses trotted over the snow-covered roads.

It was on just such a bobsleigh ride in 1910 when a group of us teenagers were on our way to attend a dance at Snow College, that we had an unexpected experience. Mid afternoon found us on our way. We left Mt. Pleasant, passed Hoo-Doo-Hill, on through Spring City and into Pigeon Hollow when the sun began to sink out of sight. We snuggled deeper into the quilts and sang louder as we missed the warmth of the sun.

Shortly after the sunset, a beautiful "star" with a long, fan shaped tail appeared just above the horizon. Someone said, "It must be a comet!" We all sat suddenly quiet and subdued. To us, comet meant earthquakes or the end of the world. The silence was broken only by the weird sound of the sleigh-bells as they fell on the slow-moving horses. The driver was too overwhelmed to keep his whip in action. How could anything so beautiful be a forerunner of such awful things to come?

After some concern about whether to turn around and return home, we proceeded to the dance. The atmosphere was tense. The music seemed out of place at first with so many telling strange stories of calamities to come.

The night passed. The next day came and went with no hint of destruction. As evening came, the beautiful comet reappeared just above the horizon in the western sky. For days it returned. Then one day, it did not show and we felt a bit relieved that the world was safe again.

On november 2, 1985, I was invited to join the Halley's Comet Club. We met at the Lafayette Ballroom of the Hotel Utah for our first club party. We enjoyed a nice program, saw Edmund Halley pictures in the 16th century costume, and were tested on our ability to identify cars of 1910, dry goods of that year, and advertisements. Prizes were given. After refreshments a group picture was taken which was published in the December 16, 1985 edition of Time Magazine. We were then escorted to the Hansen Planetarium where we enjoyed the history of Halley's Comet. It was a thrill to be there after 76 years and to be reminded of that eventful night when I saw Halley's Comet in 1910. (note: the next appearance of Halley's Comet is 2061)

1 comment:

reed russell said...

Talula Nelson was my grandmother's older sister. Thanks for posting. Great story!!

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