Seeing as Stacey teaches the Gospel Doctrine class in her ward, she mentioned to me yesterday that the lesson she was working on for today talked about Haywood Valley. (I have since discovered that my ward is two weeks behind hers for the lessons.) Now, you may be wondering why she knew I would find it interesting. Or you may not, since I'm sure most already know why. At any rate, Haywood Valley is located near Rome, Georgia and was part of my area when I served in Rome as a missionary, so I am quite familiar with the story the lesson mentioned. I even used the story as part of my homecoming talk.
I asked Stacey what the lesson said about Haywood Valley. She told me that I could look up the lesson on lds.org, and so I did. I read it and told her that I liked the version of the story I have better. Of course, the version in the manual was a shorter version (and misspelled Haywood Valley-it spelled it the same as Sister Heywood, who was mentioned in the story), which probably works better given the time limit in Sunday School. I did email Stacey a copy of the version I have (which was take from the book The Life and Times of John Morgan), in case she decided she wanted to use some of the longer story.
Since then I have been thinking about the story and my time in that area. I only made it to Haywood Valley once in the time I served in that area. And the sun had gone down, so there wasn't a lot of light. But I can still remember the feeling I had as I rode through the valley. Besides thinking that the valley was very pretty in the dusk, my entire body tingled the whole time we were there. It was a strange sensation, actually. Part of that was probably brought about by my knowing the miracle that had taken place there, probably close to 100 years earlier. I still wish I had been able to get back to Haywood Valley in the light so I could take a picture of the valley. Perhaps I can someday.
I do remember thinking when I was there as a missionary that if they ever build a temple in Rome, that they should build it in Haywood Valley. I still think that.
I also find it interesting that there I met people who were decendants of some involved in the story, and later, when I was serving in the Young Women presidency in the Camelot ward, the Young Women President was a decendant of Sister Heywood. Her maiden name, in fact, was Heywood. It seems that the story of the miracle of Haywood Valley keeps creeping back into view for me. But that's okay. I've always liked that story.
By the way, if anyone is interested in a copy of the story that I have, let me know and I can email it to you.