Sunday, February 10, 2008

Missions, Memories, and Moms

First of all, I have to dedicate this blog entry to my mom. And I should also preface this with a warning for her . . . Mom, I've decided that you should NOT allow Dad to read this post; otherwise, you could be taking a trip to La Purisma Mission very soon!

A little history . . . as a child, whenever we drove along the El Camino Real, my father would look desperately for a mission to stop at and explore. I'm not entirely convinced that he stopped at these missions for his enjoyment or to further educate his children in CA Mission history, but more so to irriate my mom to no end. My mother absolutely abhores missions. No, she's not anti-religious, I just think it's one of those little things that begins to bug you about your spouse, he catches on to the irritation, and suddenly, before you know it, you've seen every mission in California despite your adament protests! Mom, I'll have you know, I was silently dreading (ok, maybe it wasn't entirely silent) this field trip. I've been there, done that type of thing . . . however, this is my last mission trip, ever. No more 4th graders. So I went.

We had a ball. This is like no other mission tour you've ever experienced. La Purisma Mission is located near the town of Buellton along the 101 FWY. It's the only "working" mission in California. Seven to eight times a year, volunteers come to the mission to make the mission come alive for 1,000's of 4th grade students in California. Madalyn's class was one of the lucky classes to visit the mission this year. (SIDE NOTE: write to your state representative - Arnold wants to close this mission down because it's costing the government too much to stay open, supposedly. This should stay open. It's fabulous.)

We woke up early. Try 4:00 AM . . .and I looked like 4:00 AM. It's not pretty. This was the group of girls I was in charge of. Now, they are pretty!

We arrived at the mission around 9:30 AM. Long drive. Fix Hwy 46, SOON. PLEASE! BEFORE SUMMER.

Ok, back to the mission. Everywhere you go, there are people wandering around, conducting demonstrations, or waiting in rooms to teach the students something about the early mission life. The first demonstration we encoutered was candlemaking. (NOTE: You are going to see a lot of interesting faces in this post. These "faces" are the generous volunteers at the mission. Retired school teachers, principals, business leaders, historians, park rangers, children, YOU NAME IT! Enjoy them because they made the day so special for these children.) Meet the first two faces:

The candle wax is heated in a large cast iron pot over an open fire, then poured into molds. I thought the molds were quite advanced for mission times, but apparently this is what they used because I asked! Then the finished candles are hung on the tree to dry for a few minutes. The candles that they make during the demonstrations are taken to the gift shop for the children to purchase. It's really neat how they have so many affordable little mementos for the kids to purchase.

The next person we encountered was my favorite demonstration of all. The leather shop. I just LOVE this man's face! He demonstrated how the saddles, shoes, and ropes were made. Honestly, I think the girls would have been thrilled to stay there and listen to him all day, but he had his talk timed and it was time for us to move on . . .

Next stop, the confessional. Oh wow. Funniest story. Now remember, we've got a group of 10 year old girls. Why ANYONE would want to confess their sins to anyone but God, in private, is beyond them! Our theological debater, Shelby, asked the question . . . "What makes him so special to hear my sins?" Let's just say that the docent was in no way going to debate theology with this 10 year old.

Shelby wants to debate religion . . .my daughter wants to question their FASHION SENSE. I just KNEW the question was going to be asked, "Did they really wear THAT in the mission days?"

The kids played "mission games."

Saw TONS of cool animals:

Made tortillas. Can you tell I'm sick of writing yet?

Spun wool to make fabric.

Made soap. Which, by the way, I've determined that I will no longer be using soap on my body. Did you know that soap is made of fat. I'm talking F-A-T. FAT! So, for sure, don't ever weigh yourself AFTER you've taken a shower. You've got FAT on yourself. And that stuff just absorbs into your skin, I'm sure of it. A new meaning to "A lifetime on the hips!"

Pretty much, this was one of the best field trips I've ever been on. HIGHLY entertaining. I'm so sorry mom! It really was. I think you should make sure Dad goes with Jimmy on his field trip to the mission. He would really enjoy it!

Here's a few more photos from the day. It was a picture perfect day for taking photos. I LOVED IT!