12. What Christmas gift did President Taylor receive that really touched him while living “in the underground” with other families?
Here is the story:
In the underground, John Taylor quietly lived a nomadic life, staying with many of the Saints, who willingly opened their homes to him. He frequently moved at night to new quarters lest his whereabouts become known. He seldom saw his family members, entered his own home, or appeared in public. His consistent companions were his two faithful bodyguards, who protected him and looked after him tenderly.
During the Christmas season of 1885, he stayed with Bishop Charles Adams and his family in Parowan, Utah. He delighted in helping to care for the children in the home. In the evening he would put them on his lap and tell them stories and sing to them. Doing so helped ease the hunger in his heart for his own family.
On Christmas morning the Adams family gathered to unwrap presents. President Taylor was elated and touched to find that Sister Adams had knitted him a pair of socks from wool that she had washed, carded, and spun herself. He exclaimed, “See, I have the best present of all,” and removed his shoes and socks to try out his gift while the children looked on. “A pair of nice warm stockings to keep my tootsie wootsies warm!” he declared. The children couldn’t help but laugh and blush at the sight of his long, bony feet. Then they reminded him “that ‘tootsie wootsies’ were baby feet,” not those of an old man. Chuckling in reply, Pres. Taylor answered, “Well, I’m being babied here, aren’t I?” Everyone laughed. For Pres. Taylor it was a welcome family celebration at a very difficult time.
Taken from: Laura Willes, Christmas with the Prophets, p. 33.