In an attempt, to partial avail, to escape the construction noise at my apartment, I took off last week for the Central Coast.
In Santa Maria I visited with my dear friends Tensie and Dennis and made an abortive attempt to purchase a cemetery plot in the adjacent hamlet of Guadalupe (that it was MLK Day had slipped my mind).
However, we had a nice stroll about the graveyard which is surrounded by broccoli fields, the Amtrak station, and the bustle of the little coastal town, with rolling emerald green (from the recent rain) hills and the ocean beyond.
We also had good, deep conversation and a delicious dinner and breakfast and I felt cared for, and restored, in a way that is precious to me.From there I motored up to Mission San Antonio which is 30 miles or so in from the 101 and breathtakingly beautiful. Though unfortunately in the midst of a military base. And during the day undergoing extremely loud renovation.
I stayed two nights and the first night I was there totally alone! The hallway in the wing of former monks’ cells where my room was looked and felt exactly like a set from The Shining and since the bathroom was down the hall, made night-time quite exciting. But I’m going to write about my stay later so will leave it at that.
From there I drove yet further north to the lovely small city of Monterey. Here I was graced to stay at a guest room in the rectory of the San Carlos Cathedral. I may be biased but to me, this is the most beautiful of all the mission churches I’ve seen (which is maybe ten, and that includes Carmel, which I also visited while in the area). Lovingly, meticulously, intelligently restored and I got to attend 7:45 Mass both mornings, once with retired Bishop Sylvester Ryan (deLIGHTful man!) and once with Fr. Patrick Dooling, beloved priest of the Monterey Diocese and forever kind and generous friend to Heather D. King.
I also made my way to a couple of gatherings of Monterey-area drunks. As usual, these good, solid, honest, funny, humble, bloodied-but-still-standing folks infused me with courage, strength, cheer and cups of strong, sludge-like coffee. Deep thanks to all at 519 Hartnell Street, as always to Tensie and Dennis, and of course to my dear Father Pat.