Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tucson Mission, Deming Museum and Mexico

After everything from the Escapade was packed away, we had a laid back Saturday planned which included having lunch with George and Nan, a tour of Mission San Xavier and dinner with Duane, Jean, John and Lora, before hitting the road on Sunday. Unfortunately, Nan was not feeling well so we missed spending time with them. We did have a very enjoyable dinner with Duane, Jean, John and Lora at El Charro in old town, a great Mexican restaurant not to be missed.  We had such a good time we totally forgot to get a picture.  On Sunday we hit the road at the crack of 10:00, heading to Deming for four days to relax and get caught up after more than a week of putting in long hours.  
Mission San Xavier dates back to 1692 when it was established by Father Kino, the same Jesuit missionary who started the mission at Tumacacori I wrote about last month. Construction of this church was started in 1783.  
The altar has several carved statues including four of the twelve apostles. The remaining apostle's statues are in small alcoves located around the side altars. The one for Judas has been left empty. 
The carved wooden reclining figure is San Francisco Xavier, the patron saint of the church. Catholics genuflect at the statue and often leave mementos pinned to his shroud asking for cures to illnesses.  
Statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be declared a saint by the church. She was a Mohawk who lived from 1656 to 1680. She was scarred by smallpox as a child and became know as the Lily of the Mohawks after it was said her scares vanished within minutes of her death.
The plaza behind the church. The flags of four nations have flown over the mission. First it was Spain and then Mexico after its independence. In 1854 it became part of the United States as part of the Gadsden Purchase and today the flag of the Tohono O'odham Nation Reservation flies over the mission. 
The mission is still a working church and includes a K-8 school that dates back to 1873. Starting in 1978 the entire mission's interior and exterior have undergone an extensive renovation. It is one of the finest examples of old Spanish Mission style in the country.
The locals from the reservation sell native food outside the church as they have always done throughout history. San Xavier is not to be missed if you are in the Tucson area.
On the drive to Deming a lot of the desert was in bloom with beautiful yellow flowers. We have been to Deming a couple of times but there were still things that remained on our to do list in this little town.
One thing we love about New Mexico is the food and some of the off the beaten path restaurants. We put out a call to friends on Facebook for places to dine in Deming and the Adobe Deli was recommended by a couple people. This little place really is off the beaten path, ten miles East of Deming and then at the end of a side road. In addition to a great meal, we loved the eclectic decor and were impressed by the huge selection of liquor behind the bar.
Deming has one of the best small town museums we have been to since going on the road ten years ago. The Luna Mimbres Museum has a great selection of the local history of ranch life, mining, railroads and early Native Americans. 
This old chuck wagon, a field kitchen, was used on cattle drives in the area until 1923 when ranchers were turning to motorized vehicles. It carried all the food and cooking utensils needed in the field.
The museum has one of the greatest collections of minerals we have ever seen outside of larger museums. This exhibit shows the official state mineral for each of the fifty states.
Check out the size of this tooth. It is a mammoth tooth that was found near Deming.
I have always been fascinated by geodes and would love to find one. On an earlier visit to Deming we went to Rock Hound State Park where we looked but did not find a geode. The museum has seven huge cabinets filled with geodes in its collection. 
Being an Easterner I have never really thought about how many different cowboy hats there are to choose from. This collection does not name the style, but has the name of the person who donated their hat to the museum, truly showing local pride.
The transportation exhibit displayed a 1907 REO and an old American Lafrance firetruck. There are also displays about the railroad including a couple model trains.
These two exhibits are collections that locals gave to the museum. This one is beer steins.........
......and this one is liquor decanters. The one in the foreground is a complete decanter chess set.
The military room honors all the armed services and has an extensive exhibit about the Mexican Border Service. The banner is part of the display about the raid by Poncho Villa on the town of Columbus south of Deming. Here is the link to an earlier blog post about the battle. 
There is a great collection of baskets from the Mexican Pueblo Indians who lived in this area in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Mimbres Indians who lived along the nearby Mimbre River a thousand years ago created beautiful pottery. The museum's collection rivals anything we have seen in the Smithsonian. 
More of the extensive Mimbre pottery collection. If you have any interest in Native American culture this museum must be on your to do list.
The Hispanic Room celebrates the culture of the Mexican people. This part of New Mexico and all of Southern Arizona where part of Mexico until the Gadsden Purchase in 1854.
Another example of the eclectic collection at the museum is this exhibit of nut dishes and various tools used to crack nuts. I remember my parents having these.  This is just a small sample of all the various exhibits to be seen at the museum.
Any time we are in Deming we make the trip to Las Palomas. Top left is the US Border Patrol stop 12 miles north of the border. Top right is the checkpoint at the border. Bottom left is the barrier wall and right is Nanc in Mexico while I stood in the US and took the picture. We parked the car and walked into Mexico. There is an interesting tie between the people of Las Palomas, Mexico and the schools of Luna County. Here is a link to a story about that connection in the Washington Post.  
Las Polamas, like the other border towns we have visited, caters to American and Canadian visitors with shops, street vendors, pharmacies, and dentists, but on a much smaller scale. Our visit always includes a stop at the Pink Store.
We had a great lunch and a couple margaritas. They loosened up our wallets enough that we spent a few pesos on a number of things from the store. 
We were even entertained during lunch. We have always found the Mexican people to be very open and friendly. In light of the current administration, they are very welcoming and happy to see Americans.

As usual I am a bit behind with the blog. Since leaving Deming we spent four interesting days in Socorro (next post) and are now settled in Albuquerque for two weeks. We will be flying to Washington, DC to visit Nanc's sister Michelle who just learned this winter she has lung cancer.  She is otherwise in great health and her prognosis is very positive so we are very hopeful.   Nanc's other sister Judy and her brother Dave are also going to be there to celebrate Michelle's birthday.  Please keep Michelle and our family in your thoughts at this difficult time.

1 comment:

Jan Mains said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the Adobe Grill. It's hard to explain to people what it is like. The last time we went to the Pink Store we were the last of the group to leave. When we walked outside, the Mexican police had about 4 or 5 cars parked at the corner and big guns were drawn. I looked straight ahead at the border and bee lined for it.