"When the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks.
After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers."
Or, maybe it was Homer Smith.
Or, maybe it was Homer Smith.
"The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction."
I like it because it's so pretty. And shiney.
All of the pictures above this point were taken in Santa Fe. This one below was just somewhere on the road,
and these flamingos are denizens of Farmington, NM, where we spent several years when I was a child,
and spent a lot of my sofa pennies on these treats.
I took the pictures of the backs of my traveling companions while they thought I was off enjoying some little tourist attraction or other...little did they know, I enjoyed watching them more. (Brother, sister, sister's grandson.)
Breakfast in Cuba, pronounced Kyuba and not Cooba.
Anyone who's ever traveled that route might wonder how we came to be in Cuba at breakfast time. Either coming or going, it's not situated strategically for a breakfast stop. (I'm going to be nice and not call it the little pee-spot that some might consider it to be.)
See, what happened is, we had planned to lodge overnight in Farmington on the way down, but couldn't settle on an appropriate place to stay. If you recall, our schedule was a tad bit compromised by having blinked at the Moab turnoff earlier in the day and we had already decided we would just "play it by ear" when it came to pulling in for sleep somewhere. Free spirits, the lot of us!
We people always, always and most usually, spend the night in Farmington when making that trip to Roswell from Ogden. This night, however, we weren't sure so we hadn't made reservations. That meant we had to drive around and see what was available. Armstrong driving around is something for the books, trust me. If you have four of us in a car, you're going to have at minimum five opinions about every decision (but Kaid is so easy-going this time it was five decisions divided among three people) with each opinion usually beginning like this: "I don't care either way--you guys decide. I'm just along for the ride."
Condense the story and you have no vacancies, seedy vacancies, let's -just-check-the-one-across-the-street-and-come-back-here-if-we-don't-like-it vacancies that can quickly become no vacancies, and then strange places with strange people hanging around in the lobby and scary people pointing "gun-fingers" at us. FOR NO REASON. (I might need to get new glasses, because I thought they were just greeting us until Kaid asked why I waved at someone pretending to shoot a gun.)
We decided to make a break for Cuba instead. At least we called ahead to check for rooms in the only place open there at that hour. But not open for long--we got there on the nose before it was closed for the evening. Got there through a rainstorm, might I just add. Got there to share a couple of rooms with a couple of other life forms. Well, not really life forms as they lay scattered and dead in the windowsills, but at least the ones in NM aren't as big as the ones in Texas.
Hence and ergo--a very good breakfast in Cuba, New Mexico. You can tell by the happily glowing faces in the picture that we weathered the little setback quite well. Breakfast was on its way and we were hungry and in New Mexico where you just can't get a bad meal. I think it has something to do with the soil where the peppers grow.
If you play your cards right, someday I might just post my mom's recipe for New Mexico stacked enchiladas. Don't bother expecting a picture of them, though. No time for cameras and picture-taking when Nancy's enchilada supper is being inhaled.