Monday 18 July
Awake at 7:30, I took advantage of breakfast by the Holiday Inn and had eggs and sausage patties with juice and decaf coffee. A bit after 9 I was at the downtown Des Moines cathedrals, and both were dark. So I programmed in the address of the last cathedral of the trip, 180 miles south southwest to St Joseph, Missouri. Interstate 35 until Cameron, then west to the river and the cathedral. Once in the city, Tenth Street north took me past about a dozen churches, some quite impressive, until I reached the red brick building at the corner of Isadore. A blocky, boxy probably neo-romanesque style, other than its sheer size, I had been much more impressed by some of the other churches I’d just passed.
However, the interior of the Cathedral of St Joseph is lovely. The vaults are flag blue with white ribs matching the struts. arches and columns, splashed with stars. A simple white marble table altar sits in front of a marble wall backing the gold tabernacle. Behind that wall is a small chapel space for quiet prayer. Side altars have statues of Mary to the right and St Joseph to the left. The predella extends into the nave, with pews are set perpendicular on either side.
The view from the loft, with the organ, is awesome. The nave windows are pairs of tall, narrow stained-glass, ornamented in green and pale gold or rose, mostly a translucent cloudy field. Similar, but smaller, windows are in the narthex. An observation: the undersized crucifix looks awkward to me. It is suspended from the vault over the altar is red, with the Christ figure rigidly mounted and in a loincloth; emblems representing the Evangelists are at the ends of the cross.
When I’d finished, I walked back through a rundown neighborhood to the car, which I’d parked on the street. (Church parking might be accessed by passing between the cathedral and the school off Isadore.) During some research while on this trip, I’d learned about the Diocese of Leavenworth. It was shortly after noon, and I really hadn’t planned much, so I set off as it was actually on the way back to the airport, my final destination. I-29 south and then highway 92 to the Missouri River, the present day Church of the Immaculate Conception now sits on the site of the cathedral which was active from 1868 until 1947, and then burned down in 1961. The only indication of its presence is a historical marker for the Bishop’s House.
Setting the navigator to the hotel by the Kansas City Airport, I returned across the river to I-29, exiting at the airport about a half hour later. After checking in and dropping my gear, and making sure that nearby dining options might be satisfactory. I got back in the car and returned it to Alamo after putting in the last 4 gallons of gas. The hotel came and picked me up, and I set out past a gated International Academy of Science to the nearby Hilton Garden Inn. Their restaurant-bar Old Chicago opened 30 minutes later, and I sat at the bar with a couple from Estero, Florida who were flying out to Ft Myers Airport the following morning. With a dunkel from KC Bier, at their suggestion I ordered Sicilian pizza rolls and boneless chicken wings from the Happy Hour menu. Updating my journal as I worked on my food, I realized I forgot to take a picture until I was about half way through. Once the second draft went down, I headed back outside and strolled through the tall grass back to the Days Inn and my room.
Tuesday 19 July
Having organized and packed before trying to sleep (smokers congregated until midnight outside the window in the parking lot, and there was a child with no volume control terrorizing the hallway until midnight), I was up and in the shuttle at 5, checked in through TSA and ready to fly well ahead of boarding. The Delta flight to Atlanta went smoothly, getting in a bit early, so I was able to get onto the earlier flight to Sarasota. Luggage managed to arrive with me, and Nancy pulled up and we were soon off, happy to be ahead of rush hour traffic. The house was comfortable, the mail had been delivered, and I had a meal frozen which filled me up after I did my walk. Laundry got done, and I pulled all my photos (2300+) from the camera and phone to my desktop.