Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land

Ever play tourist at home?
After a Bloody Mary or two at Easter brunch, I offered to organize a tour of the 5 oldest churches near Mayberry, which my in-laws, the Grouches have never visited. It's going to be tough, since they have been to all the obvious ones. To make it harder, I haven't been to any of them. Their presumption is that I am going to select only Catholic Churches. I've organized similar and very well received tours in Barcelona, Madrid and London for them, but this is the first one at home.

One of Mayberry's larger suburbs was originally a French settled river town. Later immigrations brought German's, Poles, Bohemians and Irish. Catholics are thick on the ground there, but most of their churches were built in the late 1800's. The oldest I can find is 1820. There are several from the 1840's, then it jumps 50 years.

So I have changed the rules to include Protestant churches. Within a 5 minute drive from home are 1840's era Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist sanctuaries. An 1860's AME shrine is less than a mile away. Since Catholics have absolutely no conception of anything remotely Protestant this may come as a shock.

You may not accept this on faith, I swear to its truth. Papists can pass a Protestant church everyday for 50 years and never know its name, or its history, or what religion it represents. They simply don't see it. However, all catholic's will know the name of every tiny papist chapel within 30 miles.

There is a wealth of history, hidden in plain site, in our backyard. After this is a planned tour of homestead cemeteries. Mayberry is thick with pioneer burial grounds, which are now located in suburban backyards. Have you ever done any amateur sleuthing near home? I'm finding this fascinating.

No comments: