Day 11: Feast Day Celebration at Jemez Pueblo

Greetings Family and Friends:

Jemez Pueblo:

Located about 50 miles northwest of Albuquerque, the Jemez Pueblo is one of the remaining 19 pueblos of New Mexico, encompassing over 89,000 acres of land and home to over 3,400 tribal members.

Feast Day Celebration:

Aug 2 – The Feast of Portiuncula

Met Clarence at the town of Bernalillo. From there we drove into Jemez Pueblo.  We arrived around 11 am into the village.  There were already parked cars on highway 4.  Luckily, we were able to find spots across the hwy. from the village.  This was great because when we left at around 4 pm, parked cars were stretched along the road for at least 1/2 mile.

Vendors Galore:

You knew when you were close to all the events.  Vendors lined each side of a dirt road selling: beaded jewelry of all kinds, silver and gold wares, drums, pottery, leather goods, iconographic folk art, movies (3 for $10), music, drinks and of course, food.  There were at least 200 vendors there each with their own unique style.  I, of course, was attracted to the couple selling the “Tortilla Burger”, but I didn’t want to risk it.

Cecilia’s Shopping:

Cecilia can shop.  We will leave it at that. 

An Unexpected Meal:

We had been walking around for a little over an hour.  My stomach was rumbling.  Clarence’s noon alarm had gone off, which usually helps me and my stomach know that food is coming.  Someone called Clarence from one of the houses that lined the streets and he didn’t notice.  I heard the woman shouting for him and quickly grabbed Clarence.  He turned around and noticed her.  They hugged.

Clarence introduced us to his cousin, Kelly and she invited us inside the home.  It was completely unexpected.  We walked inside the kitchen, my favorite place in a house, and were introduced to everyone sitting/standing, family/friends in the room.  It was a bit awkward.  I was completely aware of my manners and my posture.  My apprehension faded immediately as they all welcomed us to the table and offered us dish after dish of delicious “home cooked” food.  There was so much to choose from: Pork ribs in broth (kinda reminded me of menudo), enchiladas, Santa Domingo bread, jello cake, chocolate cup cakes, ham, sweet potatoes, rice, beans, green chilies and chicken, iced tea and juice.(and so much more I can’t remember)  Did I mention there was chocolate cup cakes? 

Completely unexpected and completely wonderful is how I would describe the moment with Clarence’s relatives.  I was trasported once again to a family gathering.  The kitchen is always the meeting place and there is always pleanty of food.  I loved it.  The hospitality and down to earth atmosphere made the meal and conversation joyous.  Sharing is so simple of an act and yet it is something that can be forgotten so easily.  I share my knowledge with students and other professors, Clarence shared his knowledge of the earth with us, and Clarence’s family shared their home, food and company.  The cycle of sharing must continue.

Little did I know there was another meal awaiting us.  We still had to go to another house.(Clarence’s niece’s in-laws, as an added plus, Clarence’s niece graduated from Notre Dame)  Here again, put simply, wonderful people who believed in sharing as one of the best things in life.  Thank you Clarence for showing me the world in a new way.  Clarence, I will always hold a special place in my heart for the time spent with your family and friends.  I can never thank you enough.

Belly Full and Time to Leave:

They could have rolled me out of the house.  Usually when I eat too much I say out loud, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” This always gets a laugh or two.  Well, I was full, there was no argument there.  We got up from the table and cleaned off our plates.  The table was now ready for the next group of people who were there visiting.  I couldn’t believe it.  Just how much food did Clarence’s family cook?

We said our goodbyes to his family and friends and started to walk out to the cars.  I knew this would soon be goodbye to Clarence, but I also knew that this goodbye wouldn’t be forever.  Cecilia and Kim are planning something.  I am not going to say what, but it’s going to be something wonderful and it involves Clarence. 

We got to the cars and simply hugged Clarence and thanked him for everything.  Clarence expressed his thanks as well and let each of us know how proud he was to have been involved in such an endeavor.  I shook his hand at least two more times. He told us to travel safely and we were off.  As we drove back, he passed us on the highway and waved.

Clarence, we will see you again soon. Take care.

Pictures of the Day:

Unfortunately, no cameras or camcorders were allowed in the Pueblo, so I don’t have any documentation of our visit.  I do, however, have some great shots of the moon and the mountains taken outside of our back door.

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