One of the great things about the American Southwest, and especially about New Mexico is the Catholic Churches & Missions. These Mission Churches were brought in by the Spanish then over time the churches (and the religion) have changed and blended with the local cultures.
Mission churches such as Rancho de Taos, Pueblo de Taos, Laguna, Zuni, Acoma, Sanctuario de Chimayo and others are very photogenic and very well known. I love the forms, textures, and contrasts of these churches. Some of them allow photographs inside, some allow exterior photos only, some control the photo rights closely, and some prefer to be left alone.
That being said, I was extremely interested to see the sign to the Santo Nino Chapel as I left the parking lot of the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site.
I drove the few miles up the road and eventually made a left onto an unpaved road. Nearing the chapel the peaks of the volcanic hills above me featured large white crosses. Close to the chapel I found this sign.
After a hundred or two hundred more yards the chapel appeared. It was not what I was expecting. I would have driven right by it if not for the large sign. The building dates from 1911. It is very well kept and looks almost modern. The landscaping is also well kept, but almost blocks the view of the chapel.
The area seemed deserted despite the fact it was early Sunday afternoon. I chose not to get out and visit, but just took a couple of snapshots.
Back near the county road & Highway 54 there is a little red school house. There is another, much like this one, in Red River, NM. I saw it in 2004. Here is another. It also makes me wonder where there are others in New Mexico.
On the way home I stopped in Alamogordo, NM. Back in 2001 or so my younger son, Jonathan, was a new recruit in the U.S. Army while he was attending school at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell.
He called me up one night, told me he was going to join the Army, and I couldn’t stop him because he was almost 21. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to you is to get what you want. I said OK and he joined. He eventually questioned that decision, but he rose to the rank of Captain with medals and honors. His grandfather Ted, a well decorated Sargent who served in Europe in the 2nd world war, gave Jonathan one of his first salutes after he was commissioned.
While in the Army Jon was a member of the Arizona National Guard, the Texas National Guard, and of course the full time Army. He served in Iraq and narrowly avoided being blown up in a convoy. Now he is an MBA student at the University of Texas, Austin. My wife and I are very proud of him.
While a student with no rank he started with the New Mexico National Guard in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I had been here once before. I drove there again to catch a couple of snapshots for Jonathan and our memories.