Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Looking Back

After Breakfast we took the doods on multiple laps of the campground.
I peg it about 4 1/2 miles.
A tired Doodle is a happy owner.

After work today - about 2pm local - 4pm eastern, we went on a
pilgrimage of sorts.

Tucson holds a special place in Kates heart.
Her Brother went to college here at U of A,
Her Uncle Phil & Aunt Rose lived here.

I've heard many colorful stories about Uncle Phil & Aunt Rose.
Kate always speaks of them with a special twinkle.  They sound
as if they were a special kind of people.

One particularly interesting story of uncle Phil however is that he was
Joe Bonanno's Chauffer for many years.

For those of you not up on your Sicilian Pop Culture - Joe Bonanno was one of
the 5 bosses (Godfathers) of the NY Mafia Crime Families.
His leadership spanned almost 40 years from the 
early 1930's to the late 60's.

The character of Vito Corleone in The Godfather - although a composite
 of many - was largely based upon Joe Bonanno's life.

Joe eventually was able to do the unimaginable...
He retired ALIVE - to Tucson.

I do not believe that any Godfather did that before or since.
The agreement however was that once he retired - he stayed retired.
If he broke that oath - he would be immediately killed.

Kate once had dinner at Uncle Phils house with Joe and his wife.
Of course Kate has an interesting story to tell of that night, but the bottom
line is that they were warm and pleasant people.

Today we went in search of Uncle Phil & Aunt Roses Graves.
We located them in the Holy Hope Cemetery.
Which is incidentally the same Cemetery in which Joe was laid to rest.

Joe has the biggest grave marker in the cemetery.

After visiting Joe we went in search of Uncle Phil & Rose.
We had called the Cemetery earlier and had a location...
We just needed to find it.

And we did.

Kate left some flowers on the grave and spent some time
saying whatever Kate says to the dearly departed.

Our next stop was a little lighter, but still about the past.

We drove 10 miles south of Tucson to the
Mission San Xavier del Bac.

In the early days of the southwest - this area was still "owned" by Spain/Mexico.
The Spanish Kings would send the missionaries - Jesuit, and later Franciscans
among the indigenous people to spread the word.  The reason for doing this was
more about pacification of the locals than enlightenment.

The mission was founded in 1692 by Eusebio Francisco Kino, 
a Jesuit missionary who was also the founder of the Spanish missions 
in the Sonoran Desert chain. 
 He often visited and preached in the area. 
The original mission was built about two miles away and was subject
to numerous Apache attacks who finally destroyed it in about 1770. 

Charles III of Spain - who distrusted the Jesuits, banned them from all 
Spanish lands in the Americas in 1767. From this time on, San Xavier mission was led
 by the more pliable and "reliable" Franciscans. 

The present building was constructed under the direction of 
Franciscan Fathers Juan Bautista Velderrain and Juan Bautista Llorenz. 
mostly using native labor from 1783-1797.

Unlike the other Spanish missions in Arizona, 
San Xavier is still actively served by Franciscans, and still serves 
the Native community by which it was built.

Having been constructed by the Spanish - It is interesting to see the
Moorish influence in the Architecture on a building located in the US.

If you recall my blogs from Spain last year - you would see similar
architectural elements on the buildings there such as the Alhambra.

This courtyard in the back led to green farm fields 
with the desert mountains beyond.

Finally our self-portrait.

We managed to squeeze in a lot after putting in a full workday.

Like I say - plenty of time to rest when you're dead.

No disrespect ......  capeesh?


  1. OMG that is an amazing day with outstanding photos! How can you accomplish all if this. Really a great job. Thank you for the wonderful stories.

  2. We are enjoying your blog SOO much! Glad you had such a lovely Christmas there in Tucson....great family portrait with the dogs. I love Mission San Xavier Del Bac and your photos certainly do it justice. Never knew about Joe Bonanno living in Tucson.

    If you have never been to the Arizona Desert Sonora Museum, please be sure to go.....I went there often as a child.

    I lived at 3842 East Edison Place, near the intersection of Alvernon and Grant, while my dad was in grad school at U. of A.

    Please keep you the great work on your blog! Merry Christmas!!


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