Mother’s Day isn’t until May 13 and we don’t normally send gifts to each other in our little family of 7 but my oldest daughter sent me a beautiful pair of garden gloves and a hat to match. The gloves are actually too pretty to wear and get garden dirt all over them but I should definitely be wearing a hat and probably gloves, too, in the Arizona sun, especially when it is hot enough to fry eggs on the cement. Maybe I should get in the habit of hats and gloves to keep some of the wrinkles at bay.
The youngest has made several beautiful picture books through Shutterfly on the Internet and discovered she had made enough of them that she had a free book coming. She decided to do a Mother’s Day book for me but the offer only lasted for six days. She was proud of the fact that she actually was able to collect all the necessary photos from our past and arrange them into a book all in six days. I was delighted with the result but teased her by pointing out that God created the whole world in six days. Her response was, “Yes, but God wasn’t working full time and toting kids around to practices, packing lunches, making dinner and going to sporting events in those 6 days!!! She has a point and I think I read somewhere that was why God created Mothers in the first place.
But back to the San Diego County trip and speaking of God…this stop was not a long one but a very peaceful one, the Santa Ysabel Chapel on Highway 79 near where else? Santa Ysabel.
It was a peaceful place to park under a shade tree. Workers were in the cemetery cleaning it up after the winter, singing as they worked. Although it is believed that the first mass was celebrated in this place in 1818, a permanent church was not actually built until 1822 after a thriving community was established with “many houses, a cemetery, granary, vineyards, animal stock, and an orchard.”
By 1846, the chapel and the mud houses had begun to disintegrate. Two bells, bought by the Indians for six burro loads of barley, hung in a frame as the only remains of the original chapel. The bells were among the oldest in California, dating from 1723 and 1767.
As time went on, only outlines of the church remained. In 1903, Father Edmond LaPointe, a Canadian Missionary, came to Santa Ysabel and in 1924 erected the new church, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. In 1926, the original two bells mysteriously disappeared. A day later, the clappers were found but the person who found them, kept them. According to the sign, “They were returned in 1959 and are now kept in the Indian museum.” An original carving by Steven Berardi, “Angel of the Lost Bells,” inspired by the search for the lost mission bells, can be seen at the site.
As per his wishes, Father LaPointe is buried in the shadow of his beloved church, a servant there for 29 years, the mystery of the lost bells still not solved.
It is a quiet, pleasant place to stop, relive history, and say a prayer, maybe for the return of the bells! God Bless until next week.
Minshall’s RVing Alaska and Canada ($19.95) and RVing Adventures with the Silver Gypsy ($16.95) are available thru Amazon.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”
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