Friends, New and Old

We took our time traveling to our final destinations in Arizona. We stopped first in Hannibal, MO. We walked around the small town viewing spots connected with Mark Twain and his writings.

Our next stop was Newton, KS. We stayed with friends Jim and Judy. They and we went to Kenya in 1967 in MCC’s Teachers Abroad Program. Jim and Judy were the closest MCCers to us in western Kenya and we visited often. We also spent two weeks travelling together through four game parks in a very small car (Renault 4) with camping gear. We learned to know each other very well! We had not seen Judy for about 20 years and Jim for 15 years. Needless to say, we talked a lot. (Therefore, we forgot to take any photos!)

On to Santa Fe NM and two nights with Doyle and Mary Jo. While there we visited El Santuario de Chimayo and Los Alamos. El Santuario was built two hundred years ago so that local people could worship the Black Christ as depicted at Esquipulas, an important Catholic pilgrimage town in Guatemala. It has a reputation as a healing site and has become known as the “Lourdes of America.” Up to 30,000 people visit during Holy Week, many walking 30 – 100 miles. (We saw many on the road.) According to one source, Chimayo is “no doubt the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the United States.”

Los Alamos is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, established in 1943 for the Manhattan Project. All information about the town was classified until the bombing of Hiroshima. After the Manhattan Project was completed, the area was abandoned until 1963 when people began to re-inhabit and rebuild new homes and buildings. The laboratory is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. It conducts multidisciplinary research in fields such as national security, space exploration, renewable energy, medicine, nanotechnology, and supercomputing. The Laboratory has an excellent museum where we watched a couple of short videos and saw the wall where both pros and cons for nuclear research were displayed, plus other displays. (No photos)

On the way to Albuquerque we briefly stopped in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. We wished we had more time there. We had lunch with Jim whom we knew from Goshen High School and College. We recently learned that he had lived in a number of places in the world where we also had lived. As we talked the overlap of experiences became even greater. What fun to reminisce. We spent the afternoon in the Botanical Garden, a 37-acre garden with a wide variety of plants and pleasant walks. We stayed with Pete and Patricia who have just moved to Albuquerque. In fact, the last of their furnishings were due to arrive the next morning. We were able to visit the Community College where Patricia is presently teaching.


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