Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Monastery Retreat, Post Two: The Shed

Last week, I was on retreat at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in northern New Mexico. While there, guests can not contact the outside world through any normal means. Therefore, one does not blog from the Monastery. However, I did take along my handy AlphaSmart NEO and did write several posts. I will be uploading these posts over the next several days in order to let you in on my retreat.

Post Two

It is Tuesday Morning and I am sitting in my guest cell. I had a pleasant and mainly uneventful trip into the monastery yesterday.

I rented a car, and was given the apex if such vehicles: a brand new white PT Cruiser. I asked the lady at the agency what they were going to do now that the PT Cruiser was going out of production. She gave me a quizzical look. Guess she didn't get it.

In Santa Fe, I was fortunate to find a parking meter. A truck was just leaving, and I nabbed it. Parking in Santa Fe is not unlike parking in Manhattan. There are garages, but they are overpriced and take forever to get in and out of. Then there are parking meters, not nearly as overpriced, but rare, always filled, and somewhat adventurous to park in.

I slipped into my spot easily enough, and then realized I had no change to feed the meter. So I went into a little touristy shop nearby to ask if I could break a dollar. The man behind the counter had the bearing of most art gallery keepers in Santa Fe. He was an artist, damn it, and just because he is working in this store doesn't mean he shouldn't be treated like the magnificent genius that he is. He refused to break my dollar, bus was kind enough to tell me there was a bank three blocks away.

I stepped back from the counter and looked around the store. Painted tiles of pueblos and chili, various Mexican handcrafts, incense. Then I spotted the postcard rack. I grabbed the first one I saw and walked back to the counter. As I stepped up, another man appeared. I put down the postcard, gave him a five, and asked if he wouldn't mind giving back a couple of those dollars back in change. He said 'no problem,' and I watched my artist friend's face as he counted back my coins. He sneered, and I gave him a big ole' grin.

I ate lunch at my favorite restaurant in this state, the Shed. The food is both unique and tasty, the decor is funky, the service friendly, and the prices high. I love the Shed mainly because of memories. It was the place where my family and I would always eat lunch when we came to Santa Fe.

I so enjoy seeing the paintings on the walls, some of which have been there since I came as a kid. I think of the Indian women who used to come in during lunch and sell their jewelry from table to table. I think of my dad who one time accidentally talked one of them down to $200 on a gorgeous necklace, and then gave her $300 instead since he felt it was more fair. Paying a fair price, even if it means paying more. That's a lesson he taught me, even without meaning to.

After lunch, it was time to visit the cathedral church of St. Francis. But more on that later.