What a week! After seeing Raymond into his new setting at Sierra Health Care on Tuesday and checking in again Wednesday, we were confident that he was in good hands and making very slow progress, though some, towards health. When we arrived Wednesday, he had had a shower, shave and a haircut and was chowing down on a good breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast, so his appetite was good and he was more able to feed himself. With his blessing, we said our good byes and started up the road to near Belen, NM to visit our friends David and Lois St. John. We had never been to their home but we’ve known them since fall 2009. We parked our bus in their driveway near one of their buses. This one they call the Green Bean. Their new white bus is parked inside the tall building.
On Thursday, we got up early…REALLY early, to catch the 6:30 Railrunner to Santa Fe. If LeRoy had a bucket list, that was definitely on it, since the rail system was built and managed by Herzog, the company that operated Brooks Landfill in Wichita the whole time he worked there.
It’s always fun to have a tour guide who knows their way around and Dave and Lois did a great job. We browsed through many shops on the square and Dave and LeRoy were the only ones with purchases at the end of the day. I didn’t take pictures of them together, but did get this picture when our photographer decided to throw in one of himself as a surprise before he took the one above. LeRoy’s hat is very similar, just a different color.
Just off the square are two famous Catholic churches, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Sisters of Loretto chapel with the miraculous spiral staircase.
The St. Francis church is far more ornate than the chapel of the Sisters of Loretto. Each church has a rose window. This one is from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. You can see the detailing in the trim on the arches. The same is carried over onto the domes of the top structure.
The Loretto Chapel, by contrast, is much less colorful.
However, nothing compares to its spiral staircase, supposedly built by a mysterious “carpenter” whom many suspect was the Master Carpenter, Jesus himself. At the time it was built, there was no outer banister. The treads were suspended from the center wooden curve only. It is definitely a masterpiece.
Just outside the entrance is a tree upon which those seeking special blessing place rosaries.
The Santa Fe square was the scene of an interesting musical group that afternoon and we relaxed on the park benches while taking it in. The shoeless fellow did his best Satchmo voice in the jazz songs and the enormous bass saxophone played tuba oompa-pahs throughout. Mostly Native American vendors spread their wares under the overhangs and we had fun looking everything over.
Mid-afternoon, we caught the Railrunner back to Belen, not nearly as bright-eyed and busy-tailed as we had been in the morning!
Friday was another day in another place, a story for another time. We left Belen this morning about 9 and are spending the night in Dalhart, TX after a windy but generally not too horrible travel day. Tomorrow may be another story, but we should be able to “smell the barn” by then!