Places in the Heart, Week Two

After our wonderful Week One in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, Marjo and I drove north on April 23 to two national parks, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.  Both were once part of the Permian Sea that covered this land millions of years ago. An old coral reef was thrust up to form El Capitan and the lovely Guadalupe Mountains. Just to the north, water that seeped into the ground interacted with limestone to form the sulphuric acid that carved out the world’s most extensive caverns, leaving gypsum and selenite behind. Both of us had heard about these unique places as Texas children, but had never seen them ourselves. From the mountain heights to deep, dark caverns, it was a beautiful day of natural wonders.

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In the town of Carlsbad NM, we found an unexpected treasure, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, an outstanding state park that displays native Chihuahuan Desert plants and animals in a spacious, natural setting.

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As Marjo drove all afternoon, I read aloud the book I had bought at the McDonald Observatory for my grandchildren, Usborne’s Inside the Universe, a valuable primer for us on astrophysics discoveries. We arrived in Santa Fe in time for a home-cooked dinner with Courtney Morris and Adam Rosen and their delightful offspring, Lucia, 10 and Zephyr, 8. Courtney is the daughter of my dear departed friend Judith. I have known and cared for her since she was born. These pictures convey some of the warmth and hospitality we enjoyed in their new home. We also visited the New Mexico Museum of Art and had treatments and lunch at Ten Thousand Waves, a very special Japanese spa where Courtney supervises 150+ therapists.

Marjo departed Santa Fe for points west on Saturday the 26th, while I flew to Dallas for a longer stay with Shelby and her menfolk. I especially enjoyed spending time with my grandsons Stephen, 6-1/2, and Thomas, 3-1/2. Below is an illustrated composition Stephen wrote about my visit, as edited and printed by his Kindergarten teacher.

Stephen writes about Andma
Stephen writes about Andma

It was also fun to meet their neighbors and see the Eidsons’ plot at a nearby community garden. While Shelby and Sean worked and the boys were in school, I had lunch with my brother Joel and my niece Susan in downtown Waxahachie, where my all-time favorite movie, Places in the Heart, was filmed (see the trailer below). On other days I saw Linda Jenkins at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Phyllis Minton at the courthouse square in Denton, and cousins Jerry and Maebelle Raiza in Dallas. Now I’m back home in Arlington, reflecting on the people and places we visited. Steve returns from South Carolina tomorrow; more adventures ahead.

Here is a trailer of that wonderful movie, Places in the Heart.

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