Deep In The South

So this two weeks ago Alina and I left on a trip together driving the 26 hours from Salt Lake to Baton Rouge Louisiana. Our daughter Laura and husband Taylor are getting ready to move from Louisiana back to Mexico where he is from. We thought it would be a good time to come and see our grandson and spend some time in an area we have never been before. We just got back. While I had a great time it got to where I was really missing the family. I have never been two weeks with one wife my entire married life. It was hard being gone from Vicki and Valerie and the rest of the children so long.

Alina and I finding an old cabin deep in the swamp.


However, we have had an incredible time spending time with our grandson and his young parents whom we miss so often. I thought I would share some pictures of our experience and talk about our trip. Being grandparent is an amazing experience, though it seems a little surreal to me as I feel too young to be a grandpa.

Grandma and Asher getting ready to go to the beach

Our first day there Taylor’s family tended the baby and we went on a swamp kayaking tour with Laura and Taylor. Even though it is winter there the beauty of the swamp is breathtaking. The Alligators, turtles, cranes surrounded by Cyprus trees and Spanish Moss made me feel like I was in a different world. It was sad that so many of the old growth trees of the swamp no longer remain. As we kayaked through the swamp I though about the TV shows I have seen on this area, and I thought it would be funny to be filming at this moment, I could imagine a new reality show, Swamp People of Sisterwives.

Red Neck baby carrier


We then got to experience a lot of cold and rain as we headed for the Florida coast. It was still a lot of fun, traveling through Mobile Alabama where we visited the USS Alabama Museum sight, saw the cruise ship that broke down recently and the source of controversy in the news. We decided to try some deep fried Southern Food. It has not been good for my waistline but I enjoy taking in the culture and the food of the south, especially all the seafood.

Asher is cutting his front teeth so the drive was not always pleasant. He is a good baby though and loves to explore and learn so we spent a lot of time playing at the beach.




I enjoy watching my daughter blossom as a person as she stands in this place of unconditional love we call motherhood. She is such a beautiful person, but seeing her expand outside of herself and laying her whole life down for this child is so inspiring. It is rewarding to see your children come to a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices you have made as a parent.

Southern Mansion near Baton Rouge we visited.

A road weary mamma and child

Above Laura’s Stove!

I also have enjoyed spending time with her and Taylor. He is a dedicated and devoted father and adores my daughter. Their playful interchange and tenderness to each other is comforting to witness. I had to give her a little teasing about the sign above her stove when I saw it. I told her, “I thought Taylor married you for your cooking, not your kissing. Though I must say her cooking was enjoyable as she made me breakfast nearly every day I was there. That was something I did not get when she was under my roof.

We spent some time visiting some of the Southern Mansions in the area. I found it interesting. One thing was the way slavery was minimized somewhat in the history tour in the same way that polygamy is minimized in tours in our area of the old pioneer homes. It is not that it is denied but it is not discussed much. I am sure the shame in the telling of the story is understandably there. Slavery is a dark stain of our country’s past, and particularly the South, and nothing like polygamy to me even though Lincoln ran on the Republican platform of eliminating the “twin relics of barbarianism, polygamy and slavery.” History, even our unsavory parts, should always be owned in my opinion.



Alina and Laura shopping on Bourbon Street

We were able to go to New Orleans while here as well. That is an amazing place to visit as well. I don’t think I have ever been in the United States in a large city and yet felt more like I was in different country than this city. The culture is so unique, the food and music were incredible. I must say that going on Bourbon Street with a baby was in itself a culture shock to most the people there. Not a place where you expect to see too many young people. After some sight seeing and shopping we made the trip back to Baton Rouge. We spent the rest of the week helping them load, pack and get ready to move out, before I headed up to Oklahoma to finish some work I had. I already miss my Grandson who now gets excited when he seeps Grandpa. It is times like these that I truly feel so grateful.

Coming home was an amazing reunion. Trips in the past have been difficult to do. Jealousy can often become strongest in times like these. There is a reason I have never been that long with one person on a trip. Anything more than a few days was not only financially difficult to do, making it a rare occasion, but difficult emotionally on whom I would choose to take and whom to leave. There is nothing worse about living this way to me than when I feel I am having to make a choice where one gains and one or two don’t. I am constantly trying to find the best way to be fair in my choices, knowing that at times it is simply impossible. Vicki and Valerie were so supportive the entire time that without them being in that place of complete acceptance and trust for what I stand for there is no way I could have felt good about taking such a trip. The homecoming has been incredible and long overdue.

A tired baby on Bourbon Street

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11 Responses to Deep In The South

  1. Jamie says:

    What a wonderful family! I am not from the south but live here now and love it! I also have the little sign “I kiss better than I cook” in my kitchen!

  2. Lydia says:

    “One thing was the way slavery was minimized somewhat in the history tour in the same way that polygamy is minimized in tours in our area of the old pioneer homes. ”

    The same thing happens up here in Canada. Two years ago my husband and I visited a living history museum for late 19th century community hat completely ignored the fact that European settlers weren’t the first people to live here. There is also a small museum for a man who played an important role in local history that whitewashes how many long-term partners and children he actually had.

    I think this is a very normal response. It can be difficult for some people to realize that individuals who make the world a better place in one area can also be responsible for terrible injustices or that having more than one spouse isn’t shameful.

  3. Sara says:

    So glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip. As a NOLA resident I hope you enjoyed our food, culture, our history, and our beautiful city. I have heard many people say that New Orleans is unique and feels different than any other city in the US. I think it has much to do with the wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Makes me even prouder to call it home!

  4. S. says:

    Lovely post–always enjoy seeing pics of your family!

    You are transitioning into a new stage of life and that will be full of changes–the fact that you are able to adjust to a life that will include single couple visits with adult children and grandchildren speaks volumes to your faith, family, and love. With adult children and grandbabies, it is not possible or reasonable to bring the whole family along on visits all the time so I imagine these longer, single couple trips will become more comfortable for all….as with everything, it will take time, patience, and understanding but I feel confident your family is more than capable of thriving!

    PS Your grandson looks JUST like Joe in the picture where Asher is asleep in the car! LOL

    • Denise S. says:

      Yep no denying it, Asher is a Darger!! and a cutie at that!! Gotta love those grandbabies, cause they don’t stay babies for long. Enjoyed the article, sounds like a wonderful trip!!

  5. Miranda Carter says:

    Joe seems extremely in sync with his wives and their feelings/thoughts. It is such a shame that more men are not aware of the female perspective. Joe should really write a book to enlighten men on how to be compassionate & attentive husbands. This plural marriage is the epitome of a perfect polygamous union! Fascinating, educational and enlightening story.

    • Lydia says:

      I agree with you, Miranda. One of the things I liked the most about their first book was when it would briefly mention the logistics of maintaining three long-term relationships.

      Marriage is a wonderful thing but sometimes it needs a lot of attention to thrive. I know I’ve felt pressed for time before due to a perfect storm of work, family and health concerns and my spouse and I don’t even have any kids!

      • Alina says:

        We agree with you both, it is getting him more time to write. All of us want to write more and we appreciate yours (and Kari’s) encouragement. We are committed to start writing some more. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Kari Kirkland says:

    Love the story and so happy to hear your relationship is strong and you all are all in a place where this trip can happen! I hope to hear more stories with the other wives soon…and hey….update more often! That was a long break for us readers!

  7. Chris Nystrom says:

    Great post. Fun to read!

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