Author Archives: Blaize Sun

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

Saguaros in Bloom

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Last year, I spent the first couple of weeks of May in Why and Ajo, AZ. I was waiting to receive a check from my insurance company, and I didn’t have anyone who could forward it to me at my next destination. I was a little bit stuck waiting for the check to arrive.

I tried to use my time well. I wrote and scheduled a lot of blog posts, read, cleaned the van, and made hats. Every day I checked the mailbox, and day after day, there was nothing in there for me.

The days got hotter and hotter. By the time I left in the middle of the month, daytime temperatures were reaching the high 90s. Although the temperature dropped at night, after baking in the sun all day, my van only cooled enough for me to sleep comfortably after several hours. Luckily, I felt safe where I was staying and could leave my doors open to the cool night air long after dark.

The upside of staying in the Sonoran Desert until May was seeing the saguaros bloom.

Tjs Garden blog (https://tjsgarden.com/2015/04/23/saguaro-cactus-bloom-flower-national-park-arizona/) says,

The Saguaro cactus will produce white flowers from April to June.

The Saguaro flowers do not bloom all at the same time.  Only a few flowers bloom each night waiting to be pollinated and then wilt by early afternoon.

According to the website of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Flowers%20and%20Fruit.php),

Saguaro flowers bloom for less than 24 hours. They open at night and remain open through the next day.

Saguaro flowers are usually found near the tops of the stems and arms of the cactus. They are white in color about 3 inches (8cm) in diameter.

During the night the flowers are pollinated by the lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat. During the daytime the flowers are pollinated by bees and birds such as the white-winged dove.

It was a challenge to get photos of flowers growing on the tops of very high saguaros. I had to stretch my arms as far up as possible, use the camera’s zoom feature, and hope for the best. I think I did a pretty good job of capturing the beauty of the saguaro blooms.  I particularly like the shots where I can clearly see the wilted flowers, those currently in bloom, and the buds about to burst open.

The aforementioned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum website says,

After the flowers have been pollinated they mature into bright red fruit. When the fruit ripens it split open showing juicy red pulp. Each fruit can contain up to 2000 small black seeds.

I didn’t have to hang around until the flowers turned to fruit. My check arrived just before I had to leave for my California job. I hit the road before the desert temperature rose into the triple digits. It would have been nice to see the fruit, but I’m satisfied with having witnessed the flowers.

I took the photos in this post.

 

 

 

Do You Grow?

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It was in the last days of my second season as a camp host when I went to the group campground to check in the astronomy club staying there for the weekend. When I asked around, I was told the person who’d made the reservation had not yet arrived. A nice guy in my age group offered to sign the permit, so I wrote down his address and other pertinent information.

I meant to give him a fire permit too, so using their camp stoves would be legal, but I realized hours later that I’d forgotten to do so.

The next morning when I went back to the group campground, I had the fire permit ready for the same guy to sign. I’d simply copied the man’s address from the camping permit onto the fire permit. When I found the man and asked him to sign the permit, he jokingly asked if I’d memorized his address.

I explained I’d copied his address from the camping permit. Then he asked if I planned to visit.

I began to wonder if the man was flirting with me. Men never flirt with me, so I’m not sure I could recognize flirting if it actually happened. His being in my age group made flirting more probable, but I decided he was just being friendly.

I told him I couldn’t visit because I didn’t even know where his town was.

It’s in Santa Cruz County, he told me. We have a big organic farm. You could park your van on our farm.

(I don’t know exactly who the other people included in his “we” were.)

I made a bland comment about it must be nice to live on a farm. Then I  said, Do you grow…?

I meant to end the sentence with something clever, but nothing clever came to mind. (That’s what I get for I opening my mouth with no plan on how to end what I’ve already started to say.) Instead of ending the sentence with something at least reasonable, if not clever (beets? pumpkins?) I simply let the sentence hang there unfinished.

Then I realized, Santa Cruz County and Do you grow? when taken together have a definite marijuana connotation. What if he thought I was asking if they grew weed on the organic farm?

I’d never ask a stranger if he grew pot. It seems like a rude question, even in California, seeing how marijuana is federally illegal and all. It’s none of my business if someone is growing weed. It’s safer for everyone to keep marijuana cultivation on a need to know basis, and I don’t need to know!

I’m not sure if the man recognized my awkwardness. He started talking about the zucchini he and whoever else lives on the farm grows. He told me all about the big, big zucchini.

Any flirting that may have been going on was entirely incompetent.

 

Asked to Leave

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I want to say I was kicked out, but that would make the event a little more dramatic than it actually was.

I was in Truth or Consequences, at Passion Pie Cafe, as I’d been so many times before. I was there primarily to drop off my submission for the Valentine’s Day Sacred Heart art contest, but I figured I’d also get some breakfast and use their free WiFi for a few hours while I got some writing done.

During past visits to T or C, I’ve spent hours at a time at Passion Pie. I’ve sat there from nearly open (7am) to nearly close (3pm). The workers have always been…if not friendly…gracious to me. Actually, the more often I came in, the friendlier the workers became, maybe because I started to seem like a regular, or maybe because I usually put a dollar in the tip jar. In any case, I’d been there before, hunkered down and using the WiFi for hours.

The coffee shop seemed different on this visit to town. Some of the furniture was different, bigger, maybe more comfortable, but with the effect of reducing the seating in a small room that already couldn’t accommodate everyone at the busiest times of the day. I’m not sure why the owners of a coffee shop would want to reduce seating, but that’s what seems to have happened.

The workers were different too. On the couple of times I’d already gone in since I’d returned to T or C, I hadn’t seen the woman who’d worked there five days a week during my past visits. She was the woman who was not exactly friendly (at least by my Southern standards), but was always gracious and kind to me. She always offered me a refill on my iced tea and never acted as if I were sitting at a table longer than my allotted time. Where had she gone? I don’t know, but the woman working the counter on the day in question was not her.

I dropped off my collage and filled out a form with my contact info. Then I ordered a breakfast croissant (no meat, and yes, please, do add tomatoes) and grabbed a scone from the day-old basket. My total came to almost $9. I pulled out my debit card, signed the screen with my fingertip. This, I think, is where I made my fatal mistake. I forgot to leave a tip.

I usually leave a tip. I’m superstitious about leaving tips, a holdover from my days as a guest house concierge when I was paid cash commissions on tours I sold. I have to keep that cash flowing, I came to believe. If I don’t share the cash I get, I won’t get any more cash, I came to believe. Maybe because I’d been out of the cash economy for a couple of years, I’d forgotten my own superstition. Maybe because I paid with a debit card, I’d simply spaced on the tip. Maybe it was the signing my name with my forefinger that threw me off. The bottom line, I realized later, is that I failed to leave a tip.

In my own defense, the service offered at Passion Pie is minimal. I ordered my food from the woman working the counter. She rang up my total and collected my payment. Then she took one step to the window into the kitchen and called out my order to the cook. When my food was done, the cook placed it on the counter and called out my name, at which time I walked over and picked it up. The woman at the counter didn’t offer me any extra or special service. She didn’t even carry a single item out to my table. Still, I probably should have left a dollar in the jar.

I picked a very small table with two chairs. My laptop barely fit on the table, but I didn’t want to take up room I wasn’t entitled to. Also, the battery on my laptop no longer holds a charge, so I must always be tethered to an electrical outlet. The table was near an outlet. I pulled out what I needed for my writing, plugged in my laptop, signed on to the internet. I balanced my breakfast on the edge of the table as I scarfed it down. Then I got to work.

The cafe was fairly busy as people came in for coffee and breakfast. Other tables filled up, and I decided if I saw another single person unable to find a place to sit, I would offer him or her my unoccupied chair. I glanced around and noticed the few outside tables were empty (to be fair, it was a chilly morning), and no one in the cafe was obviously without a seat. A couple of people were in line at the counter, but I had no idea if they wanted to linger in the shop or get their food and beverages to go.

That’s when the woman who’d taken my order left the counter and walked toward my table. I thought she was going to clean up the condiment area immediately to my left, but I realized she was there for me when she said, Excuse me…

I didn’t expect what came next. We have people waiting for tables…

She didn’t say, You have to leave! but her message was clear. She wanted me gone. She thought I had stayed too long.

I noticed there were no signs proclaiming a time limit on tables or a minimum purchase amount for people who wanted to linger. If there is any sort of official time limit or spending minimum, the information is kept super secret until the worker tells the offender that it’s time to go. At least if there were a sign, I could have made an informed decision about what I wanted to do. I’m confident I would not have bought an overpriced restaurant breakfast and chosen to sit at a tiny table if I had known I would be walking out of the place less than two hours later.

I didn’t know what to do other than to gather up my things and go. I suppose I could have argued with the worker, but that’s not my style. Maybe I should have offered her a bribe. In any case, I left. And I haven’t been back. And I don’t think I will go back.

But I did get a bit of a consolation prize. My collage won third place in the Passion Pie contest, and the owner of the place wrote me a check for $50.

This is my award-winning collage, Valentine for My Own Dear Heart. It won 3rd prize in the Passion Pie Sacred Heart contest.

Pelican Spa

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The first time I visited Truth or Consequences, NM in March of 2014, I was not able to soak at the Pelican Spa (306 S. Pershing Street). I called ahead and asked if they accepted soakers on a walk-in basis, and I was told no. Only guests renting a room in one of the many Pelican properties could soak in their hot mineral water baths. I was disappointed because I wanted to try every bathhouse in town, but I soon put it out of my mind. There were plenty of other places in T or C to soak; I didn’t need to pout over the Pelican.

In February of 2017, Coyote Sue helped me fulfill my desire to soak at the Pelican Spa. One morning during the time of the great T or C sickness, she texted me and asked what I was doing. I was in town with time on my hands, so she invited me to soak with her at the Pelican. She had some soaking credit there and was allowed to share her tub with a guest. Did I want to soak with her?

Yes! I responded immediately. I knew hot mineral water would feel so good to my sick body.

Soaking sounds wonderful, I told her. Then I had to ask, Bathing suit?

She said she preferred no suit and asked about my preference.

I said, No suit! Thank goodness! (I hate bathing suits!)

We set a time to meet, and I arrived promptly.

I  looked at the Pelican’s website (http://www.pelican-spa.com/), and it seems as if only the only guest room with a mineral soaking tub in it is the Aqua Room. Folks who stay in any of the other rooms can soak in one of the Pelican’s private indoor baths.

There are four tubs that fit two people and one larger tub that fits approximately four-six people. Soaking is unlimited and runs on a first come first serve basis.

I also found this information on the websoite:

Come soak in the healing. Enjoy our crystal clear, sulfur free natural hot mineral baths with some of the highest natural mineral contents available in the world.

Soaks are $6 per guest and available by reservation at the spa.

I take that to mean soaking is available to the general public, with reservations, but I don’t know if that $6 is for an hour or only half an hour. An email (seaproptorc@yahoo.com) or phone call (575-894-0055 ) to the Pelican’s office should clear up the mystery.

The tubs available to the public are housed in small private rooms with doors that latch. The soaking rooms are near the office, and Coyote Sue led me in like someone who already knew her way around. The room we went to was small, but with enough room for us both to move around and remove our many winter layers. The room was also clean.

Our tub was maybe a little longer than a standard bathtub, maybe a little wider, but substantially deeper. There was room for both of us, and I didn’t feel crowded. The water was delightfully hot and my weary body relaxed into it as Coyote Sue and I chatted.

I wish I could say the hot mineral water healed me, but in reality, I stayed sick for quite a while longer. However, the water and the conversation did reduce my stress and lift my spirits. The free soak was a wonderful gift from a friend.

Now if I could just figure out how to gain entry to soaking at Fire Water Lodge.

(Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

 

 

 

 

The Charles Motel Revisited

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While I’m on the subject of bathhouses in Truth or Consequences, I’ll share my most recent experience at the Charles Motel and Spa (601 N Broadway Street).

Every since I first visited T or C, I’ve frequented the Charles. I’m not sure what the current prices are, but in 2014 and 2015, a person could soak for an hour for only $5, and a towel was provided!

I’d heard folks talk about soaking on the roof of the Charles, but I’d never done it. It was more expensive than soaking in the regular bath area, and I didn’t feel as if I needed an entire jacuzzi to myself. However, I found a coupon in the February issue of the free Cobblestone newsletter I mentioned in the post about The Hoosier. The coupon was a two-for-one: two people could soak on the roof jacuzzi for the price of one. Yes! I wanted this!

The Man and I had recently become (*clears throat*) friendlier, so I figured it would be ok for us to soak naked together. (Oh! How I hate a bathing suit!) I casually told him about the Charles and the roof and the hot water and offered to treat him to a reduced price soak. He said yes, so I called to make a reservation.

I found out the jacuzzi on the roof would be filled with mineral water just like I’d soaked in downstairs. The mineral water was pumped up to the roof, but it was the same good stuff. I asked about the temperature of the water on the roof. 113 degrees, the man on the other end of the phone said.

The night we’d pulled into town, I drove us directly to the Indian Springs bathhouse (218 Austin Street) and treated us each to a soak. The Man and I weren’t quite so friendly then, so I’d gotten us separate pools (the price was the same), and let the man have the larger one. When we met up again after half an hour of soaking, he said he’d liked it, but it wasn’t very hot. I hoped 113 degrees would be hot enough for him.

We arrived at the Charles a few minutes prior to our 8pm reservation. It was February and already nighttime. I went in and paid the $10 for the two of us. Bargain! The young man working threw in two towels for free, then took us upstairs to show us how to operate the jacuzzi. Once we knew what to do, he took off, closing the door behind him, and left us alone on the roof.

The jacuzzi area was fenced off by high walls.  Although there were two jacuzzis up there, one was covered and we had the entire roof area to ourselves. (I’m not sure if that’s how roof soaks always work or if we were getting a special Valentine’s month romantic package.)

The Man decided he had to go back downstairs to utilize the restroom, so I got the hot water flowing. By the time The Man returned, the big tub was filling, and I was somewhat concealed under the water. The Man disrobed, climbed in, and let out a sigh of satisfaction. Yes, it turned out 113 degrees was plenty hot for him.

While streetlamps provided light to see by, we still had a good view of the night sky. It was wonderful to soak in the hot water while looking at the stars and the moon.

When our hour was up, we drained the tub, dried off and dressed, then made our way back to the van and drive off into the night.

(Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

I took the photo in this post.

The Hoosier

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It was late January 2017 when The Man and I pulled into Truth or Consequences, NM. I hadn’t been in the town since December of 2015.

Not much had changed since my last visit. Passion Pie was still the place to see and be seen, although new furniture had been brought in and everything had been rearranged, seemingly giving the place less seating. The CHF Thrift Store still had the best deals, although I certainly didn’t need any more stuff. The town still basically shut down by 9pm, even on Art Hop Saturday.

A few things were decidedly different. The place that had been the Happy Belly Deli during my first visit (March of 2014) was no longer called The Brazen Fox; it had new owners (again) and was called A Little Slice of Heaven. The computer lab in the Senior Center would start closing an extra day each week due to a lack of volunteers. The best change? A new place to soak in T or C’s famous hot mineral water.

As is so often the case, I got the intel from Coyote Sue. That woman really knows all the cool spots! She told me about the new bathhouse, a place called The Hoosier (516 Austin Street). She told me she and her sweetie had soaked there for an hour for about $15 for the both of them. Good price! She also said the room with the tub had a shower and since no one was scheduled to come in after them, the owner didn’t hurry them out when their hour was up.

On my second day back in town, I was out and about and discovered a free newsletter called Cobblestone which lists all the events happening each month in T or C. One of the advertisers in the February newsletter was The Hoosier. The ad offered two people an hour soak for only $10. Bargain! I made a reservation for the next week.

When The Man and I arrived at The Hoosier, I realized I’d passed the place many times before. It’s been an apartment complex for as long as I’ve been spending time in T or C. I didn’t realize it had ever been a bathhouse, although I suspect many of the little apartment complexes in town were bathhouses back in the heyday of the healing powers of mineral water.

According to http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMTJQR_Hoosier_Apartments_Hot_Springs_Bathhouse_and_Commercial_Historic_District_in_Truth_or_Consequences_Truth_or_Consequences_NM,

One of the few bathhouse apartments incorporating elements of the Territorial Revival style, the Hoosier Apartments were constructed in 1937 with additions along the back completed in the early 1950s…The artesian well drilled in 1937 provides water for several tiled baths located in two rooms in the southwest corner of the building…[T]he Hoosier Apartments were developed by newcomers to Hot Springs. Harold Lotz, an architectural engineer, and his wife Jen came to New Mexico from Indiana, settling first in Santa Fe, where Mrs. Lotz, a health-seeker, frequently traveled to Ojo Caliente to bath in the hot mineral waters. Finding the thermal waters in Hot Springs [as T or C was called prior to 1950] beneficial, they moved to Hot Springs in 1937. Purchasing the property, Lotz designed the building and hired local contractor, Earl Terry, to construct the apartments along with a concrete lap pool.

The Man and I met the owner of the place, who told me the original part of The Hoosier complex had been built in the 1930s, a second part added later. Then he showed us one of his outdoor pools, which was very nice. However, I wanted to soak indoors because I didn’t want to sit in the sun while I was soaking, and it was still a little chilly to be outside naked. So the owner showed us to the room with the indoor tub.

The room with the tub was spacious and clean. Since I’d made a reservation, the owner knew when we were arriving and had filled the tub for us. (For this reason, The Hoosier does not accept walk-in soakers; soaking is by reservation only.) After pointing out the small adjacent room with the toilet and shower, assuring us we didn’t need to drain the tub when we were done, and telling us to take our time as no one was scheduled immediately after us, the owner left us to enjoy our soak.

Being traveling hippies, baths and showers are sometimes few and far between. One of the reasons I love Truth or Consequences is that a hippie can hang out in the town and not have to be a dirty hippie. Although The Man and I weren’t terribly dirty on the day we visited The Hoosier (we had showered when we visited The Lady of the House and had soaked at two other bathhouses since we’d rolled into T or C), sometimes it’s nice to shower before soaking. Personally, I don’t like to be the dirty hippie who leaves scum in the nice clean bathtub.

I scrubbed up in the shower while The Man pulled out his clippers to shave his head. I climbed into the tub as soon as The Man had taken my place in the shower, and it was wonderful. While the water was cooler than at some of the places I’ve soaked in T or C, it was adequately warm. By the time The Man got out of the shower, my core body temperature must have risen, because I was having to sit on the side of the tub to cool down.

The tub was quite spacious. The Man and I both fit easily into it without being crowded. Two people who don’t want to touch could easily share the tub without being squeezed together. Four people who don’t mind being physically close could definitely fit in the tub.

As I mentioned before, the room was clean. Everything in the room was clean: the floor, the walls, the tub, the shower, the toilet. The paint was fresh. Everything functioned properly and was well-maintained. It’s only recently that the owner set up the tubs for public use, and he’s done a great job.

I enjoyed my soak so much that I made a reservation for my birthday later in the month. The second soak was just as wonderful as the first.

I recommend The Hoosier to anyone who wants a clean, spacious place to soak and especially to folks who don’t like super hot water and don’t want to be rushed.

(Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

I took all the photos in this post.

 

 

Katrina Tree

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When my dad died, my sibling insisted I travel to Mississippi for his memorial service.

I was house sitting in Tracy, California when he passed on Monday afternoon. My dad’s wife scheduled the memorial service for the upcoming Friday evening. By Tuesday I’d bought a $600 round-trip airline ticket. By Thursday morning, I was flying out of Oakland, on my way down South.

My sibling and my sibling’s partner met me at the airport in New Orleans. They rented a car, and the partner drove us through the darkness surrounding Interstate 10, all the way to Ocean Springs. The three of us visited awkwardly with my father’s wife (who was holding up exceptionally well), then headed to Bay St. Louis where we would spend the night.

We stayed at the home of my sibling’s partner’s aunt and uncle. The aunt and uncle were out of town, but they graciously offered us the use of their empty home. It was dark when we pulled into the driveway, but my sibling managed to find the hidden spare key. It wasn’t long before we were passed out in the spare bedrooms, exhausted and probably still shocked at the unexpected death of the patriarch.

The next morning we were blessed by being able to sleep until we woke up naturally. My sibling cooked breakfast and we planned our day. I needed to stop at a thrift store before we saw my dad’s wife again so I could buy a new shirt. (I only had one shirt with me, the one I’d worn the night before. I thought my dad’s wife would only see me once before the memorial service, but it turned out she’d see me twice, and I knew she would notice if I had on the same shirt I’d been wearing the night before.) Before we went back to my dad’s house, my sibling wanted to show me the “Katrina Trees.”

My sibling and the partner and their son had visited my dad and his wife the previous summer. During the visit, my dad and his wife had taken them to see several “Katrina Trees.” The “Katrina Trees” were trees that had been killed by Hurrican Katrina in 2005 and later carved into large-scale sculptures. My sibling wanted me to see at least one of these trees that meant so much to my dad and his wife.

According to https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/hurricane-katrina-tree-sculptures/3683/, the

tree-sculptures are located all along scenic Highway 90. There are now approximately 50 sculptures throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast,

The website for the city of Biloxi (https://www.biloxi.ms.us/katrina-biloxi/sculptures/) says,

The trees were victims of the saltwater storm surge of Hurricane Katrina.

There was no plaque with the tree, no explanation or artist information. I did some internet research and determined this tree was carved by chainsaw artist Dayle Lewis of Indiana. My conclusion was confirmed by “Lewis 2012” carved into the bottom of the sculpture, just under the heron.

According to https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/hurricane-katrina-carved-angels/4266/, Lewis has carved angel sculptures out of six live oaks killed by Hurricane Katrina’s 40-foot saltwater surge. The trees can be found throughout Bay St. Louis.

  • Two…“Carved Angels” stand in the Cedar Rest Cemetery on Second Street[.]
  • One [is on] Beach Blvd – In front of Our Lady of the Gulf Church[.]
  • One [is] near Century Hall[.]
  • Two are located on the first block of Demontluzin Avenue[.] The “Demontluzin Avenue Angel” was used as a life raft by three Katrina survivors and their dog.

I read an article on the Florida Times-Union website (http://jacksonville.com/sports/outdoorsoutside/2014-08-30/story/angel-tree-mississippi-gulf-coast-saved-3-lives-during) which shows a photo of the tree I visited with the story of the three Katrina survivors and the dog, but I think they used the wrong image. While both trees were carved by Dayle Lewis, the tree where the three people and the dog spent the night during the hurricane was described in an article on the WGNO web page (http://wgno.com/2016/09/14/the-unique-guardian-angels-of-bay-st-louis/) as “probably the plainest of them all.” The article goes on to say,

The most elaborate of the four angel trees looks out to sea, just like the original one — it has several angels carved into it, along with some herons, ladybugs, turtles and pelicans. One of the angels has white eyes — of all the angels that adorn the four angel trees, it’s the only one with white eyes.

The tree I visited is clearly elaborate, faces the sea, features turtles, herons, and pelicans (sorry, but I don’t remember any ladybugs), and includes an angel with white eyes.

We didn’t stay at the tree very long. I took photos, and my sibling hugged it, then we headed back to my dad’s house to prepare for his memorial service. We didn’t stay long, but it did me good to see the tree. It did me good to see such a wonderful part of the life of my father, a life that I missed for so many years.