White Dove of the Desert, Mission San Xavier del Bac

While I was waiting to pick up a client at the Tucson airport, I had an hour to kill. Since I had my camera, I thought I would run over to see this 17th Century Mission. I have been to Tucson too many times to count …but I had never seen this old Spanish Mission built by the Franciscan missionaries and the native American Indians. It is a national Historic landmark that was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. It was located only 15 minutes away. I  did the quick self tour and took pictures of its stark white beauty. The sky was so clear and blue you could clearly see the fresh  snow that covered the  Catalina mountains off in the distance.

I saw this Native America cemetery that was next to this historic Church. The building’s stark white fascade is such a contrast to the volcanic rock that surrounds it.

The inside of the Mission was beautifully adorned. This is the oldest European structure in Arizona. The ceiling was equally impressive. Their are four windows that let in light and illuminate the frescos on the domed ceiling.

4 comments

March 14, 2011 - 10:48 pm

dscheat - thanks Pat, I appreciate your kind words.

March 14, 2011 - 10:48 pm

dscheat - thanks for the kind words..I really enjoy using these historical places to tell a story with pictures.

March 8, 2011 - 9:51 pm

Nao Hess - I really love these photos…and stark is a great word to describe the white building against the blue sky. Incredible–evoking passion, yet serene at the same time. Very nice photos, Dave!

March 2, 2011 - 1:54 pm

Pat Saur - That is sooo cool. Great pics! Not too shabby for a real estate guy!

Texas School Book Depository in Dallas

After working with the Staubach Company in Dallas for several years, and making dozens and dozens of visits to the city…I had still not visited the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination at Dealey Plaza. On my recent trip, of February 21, 2011 I decided to check it out since I was staying downtown a few blocks away. The 7 Story Museum at Dealey Plaza is located on the historic site where Dallas was founded. It is located on the 6th floor of an early 1901 warehouse known in 1963 as the infamous Texas School Book Depository.

This was Sherman Hopkins, a local tour guide who gave us our unofficial tour and debunked the legend of the lone shooter. He took us all over the site and gave my attorney Colin Campbell and me  the non-official view of the assassination. He told us most people believe and that the evidence supports the theory that there were four shooters. I looked out the window…and studied the shots that sniper would have had to make. I think it would have been a very difficult two shots indeed. I must admit Colin and I were impressed by his review. The Warren commission files will not be opened until 2039. That is a long time to wait to find out.

Dealey Plaza was built in the 1930′s as a vehicular gateway to downtown. A well known feature of the plaza was the grassy knoll, which rises from the north side of Elm Street. The plaza was built by the civilian conservation corps during the Roosevelt years. No one knew the tragic role it would play in American history.

This is the view that looks south. If you look in the middle of the street..you can see the X in the center lane that shows where the limousine was when the president was hit the first time.

This is the spot where the famous Zapruder film was taken on 8 millimeter film. He was filming from this post at the end of the hedge.

This is Elm street …if you again look at the middle lane you will see the first X and then the Second is barely visible where the second shot killed the president. The motorcade was so close to being out of danger. Another 30 yards and it would have been on the freeway and safely headed back to airport.

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Valley Christian Wins against Powerhouse Scottsdale Christian!

After a competive day of state championship cheer in Prescott, the team raced down the mountain to watch the Trojans take on their rivals from SCA, this time on the court in Basketball! It was a blackout for the Trojans fans and Eagle fans wore all different neon flourescent colors.

The Varsity Cheer squad presents the State Championship trophy to Athletic Director for win earlier in the day. Valley Christian Tojans Win by one point….with seconds left on the clock. What an exciting sports day for both teams. Next stop playoffs!

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Valley Christian Repeats Cheerleading State Championship!

Valley Christian High School Repeats State Cheer Championships! After struggling in regionals earlier this season, the team retooled and came back to win its first back to back Cheerleading State Championship,  making school history! Congrats to SCA and Northwest Christian who excelled at individual events. The Valley’s Christian High Schools took home the Gold!

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The Prisoner Mandela’s cell, Robben Island, South Africa

After so many trips to Africa, I have always wanted  to take the boat out to Robben Island to see the prison that housed Nelson Mandela. Our guide for the tour was an equally amazing man. Kgotso Ntsoelengoe was his name. He too was held prisoner here. He was locked up for over 7 years. He has had to put many of the haunting memories behind him, because today he works with many of the guards that mistreated him here when he was their prisoner.

He showed us the solitary confinement cell that held Mandela for 18 years. This was Mandela’s cell below. The sparse cell did not even have a bed. It only contained  a mat and some coarse blankets.  Confined to this  small jail cell, the floor was his bed, a red bucket was his toilet for relieving himself, his sink to wash his dish and cup… and the tub to bathe his body and his clothes.

This small cell housed him in solitare for 17 years of his life. It would be hard to  imagine the indignity.  He could only receive one visitor each year. He could write and receive only one letter every 6 months.

But even more amazing… Robben Island became his “crucible” which transformed him. Even with all this unfair treatment, he emerged from it as the mature leader. He gave forgiveness to his oppressors and  would fight and win the great political battles necessary to create a new democratic South Africa.

This larger room shown here was where Kgotso Ntsoelengoe was locked up with 15 other men. The fights and boredom were the only constant. The prison did not even have glass in the windows until the later years which made it almost unbearable during the cold wet winters. With only a thin blanket to cover themselves they were constantly cold.

I was amazed at the difficulty that this was for all these  men who wanted to be equal under the law. But all through the tour,  Kgotso was gracious and talked about how South Africa had to forgive to move ahead. He was truly a testiment of forgiveness for all the suffering that he endured under Apartheid.

This was another adventure I could take off of my bucket list.

The only way off the island was on a boat. No one had ever survived the swim across seven miles of ocean to make it to shore. The distance, cold, sharks and rough water made it almost impossible.

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