After doing pottery for almost a lifetime we traveled all over the world rockhounding. While in Tucson, Arizona on one of our crystal and mineral rockhounding trips, it just happened that this quote of Jerry Seinfeld came to mind, “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason..”
February 2017. Saturday morning 5.00 am. We woke up in our warm cozy hotel room and it was still dark outside, we were in a hurry to go and explore. Half an hour later we started the GMC Acadia with its six-seater and plush interior. Outside the temperature was a cold 6 degrees centigrade. With our shining headlights, we drove out of the hotel parking lot. Heading for the road that leads us out of town to the Sonoran desert.
After a while, we were smack in the middle of an Indian Reservation! Unsure what we will see, but prepared with binoculars and cameras. Time was on our side. Just as the sun catches the sand-colored mountains, the scenery changed from a grey bluish to a golden yellow color, oh that was so beautiful!
On the horizon, we saw a silhouette of a cathedral and we decided to drive towards that direction. We entered the grounds of this old historic beauty that rose out of the sand and the shrubbery trees and cacti. It turned out to be San Xavier del Bac a Roman Catholic church of a bygone era. It was the Spanish missionary church for the native Indians in that region.
We got out of the car, the wind was chilly and I realized that my jeans and jacket were not enough protection for the cold wind that made your eyes runny. There was only one car parked in front of the Cathedral, the double doors at the entrance were slightly opened. I looked up at the twin bell towers and saw that one tower was incomplete, it might have been shot down during an attack on the Red Indians mission many years ago was my thought.
Inside the building it was quiet and an atmosphere of reverence struck me.
I sat down in a side aisle pew and stared at this unusual colorful interior, Dazzling colors, carvings, paintings, statues, artificial flowers in vases, and crochet clothes coverer all the surfaces.
Then the priest and a young altar boy dressed in their church attire came from a side door that led to the front of the pulpit. The boy started to light some candles. They saw us, I was seated and Gerdus were taking photos of the frescoes. The priest whispered in the boy’s ear and the boy then approached me. At that stage, there were tears running from my eyes, due to the cold wind outside and my mascara was burning my tear-filled eyes. So when the boy was close to me, he stopped and looked completely confused for a moment. He then closed his mouth, turned around headed back to the priest with his report.
The priest walked up to Gerdus and said that he is not allowed to take photos during the service. At that moment we heard a commotion outside. We went outside to have a look at what was going on. We stood there bluffed at the scene outside. It was a funeral procession! We moved towards the left side of the courtyard, watched the mourners walking slowly towards the door. I was amazed at the variety of people that attended the funeral. It was SO colorful, and I noticed there were only a few people shedding tears but some were even chanting!!!
Young mothers with old fashioned baby prams, girls dressed in stockings with boots and denim jackets with oversize hoop earrings, young men with stetson-hats, fringed leather jackets, padded jackets, dark glasses, wrinkled old aunties with bright pink handmade jerseys and heads covered with scarves. The Indian features were prominent on the faces. They looked at us, not paying much attention and me busy with a tissue dabbing my eye because the wind was howling. These were the real people of the Wild West. The kind that you only see in a National Geographic magazine.
Then we saw the pick-up truck that was parked in a reversed position and on the back was the coffin. A plain coffin. The men picked it up from the truck and carried it very slowly into the church. The crowd looked on with silence and respect, two men carried a wooden cross, decorated with plastic flowers and ribbons. On the cross was the deceased name that was written by hand. Chunky Bear. It reminded me of so many descriptive local Indian names of the Wild West.
My tears were not anymore from the cold nagging wind, but for the death of this man. Our Journey has taken us all over the world and we love to share it with you one memory at a time.