Monday, July 9, 2012

Holy Rolling Along

Melvin and I select our destinations according to our interests, so it is not surprising that correlations occur.  Neither of us is religious, so the numerous churchly stops during the first half of this trip kind of snuck up on us.

We visited a grotto on the first day of the current trip, saw several churches on the Day Two tour of Columbus, and attended Hershel Greer Stadium on Faith Night, Sunday.

In the next four days—Monday-Thursday, July 2-5—we saw a baseball game nightly and made numerous other stops during the day, many for barbecue.  As we have done so, however, we continued to encounter the ecclesiastic and the spiritual.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. — Matthew 18:20.

Let's then start with churches.  On Independence Day, we drove to Eureka Springs to see the Thorncrown Chapel (E. Fay Jones, 1980).  Listed by the American Institute of Architects as one of the top ten buildings of the 20th century, this was for us a continuation of Saturday's architecture tour.

Although they are free to take photographs while sitting, visitors are asked to take seats in the pews while uplifting music plays softly in the background.  This can be a bit off-putting for those who just want to walk around and check out the building.

The day before we saw a reconstruction of Hoopers A.M.E. Chapel—for 100 years in the Delta town of Duncan, Mississippi—in the Stax Museum.  Very cool looking, although a lot of square footage to make the point that gospel is one of the roots of soul.

One of the few remaining buildings in Picher, Oklahoma, a ghost town on the border with Kansas, is a church.  Picher and neighboring Treece, Kansas were evacuated and mostly leveled because of a variety of severe environmental problems.  We drove through both towns on Thursday, July 5.

A 2008 photograph by Tim Dowd (used through Creative Commons license) of the church from the other direction shows how lead mine tailings (chat) were deposited uncovered and very near people's homes.

We saw our second grotto on Tuesday, at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis.  It is there that Dionicio Rodrigues sculpted in concrete (1935) the Crystal Shrine Grotto (interior detail, top), the Pool of Hebron (below) and several lesser elements.

The next day we checked out The Old Mill (1933) and other features by Rodriguez in T.R. Pugh Park, in North Little Rock, as well as a bench and a hut in the city's Crestview Park.

Not a cemetery in the European sense, several of the mounds at the Pinson Mounds State Archaelogical Park were used for burials.  We walked around the park on MondayPhotograph by Brian Stansberry of Sauls Mound, not a burial mound, used through Creative Commons license.

Even less orthodox is the small area adjacent to Billy Tripp's Mindfield (Photo credit: Leo Pilak), which we was our first stop on Tuesday.

It is not clear if Tripp's parents are actually buried there, but he has stated his desire to be interred beneath his massive steel sculpture behind the Sunrise Motel, as it so happens, in Brownstown.

There are two of us, but we did not gather in Christ's name.  We visited these sites out of curiosity, and were rewarded.

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