Monday, September 22, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

The above title comes, of course, from our pals in Monty Python via Dolli as she gets a big assist in this post. A little welcome comic relief as we all just need a breath here. The economy is as frightening as anything I've known in my lifetime, particularly with less than a decade's worth of retirement window to see a recovery in... the Great Depression started in '29, bottomed in '32 and didn't get back to the starting line until we'd moved into the 1950's ... and while both candidates routinely stretch the truth (which I find profoundly disappointing), one of them is just lying more and more every day, and I'm afraid with MSNBC and The Daily Show (and the Emmies) calling him on it, most of the American people are actually elsewhere. 60 Minutes? Even then, I'm not so sure.

So Dolli and I, in need of an All American throwback, wholesome, ice cream eating, show your age, 'let's go for a ride' Sunday, took off in our convertable Beetle with the Obama sticker and here's where we ended up ...
The guy on the bottom is me doing my impression of a middle aged white guy who managed to digest a hip-hop artist, or one of the members of 'Entourage' while fighting to victory in a Bratwurst eating contest. Scale note: I'm 6' tall.

Anyway, this is, in fact, not the world's largest Virgin Mary statue -- but it's the biggest damned one I've ever seen. We and a few of our closest friends, most of us still alive, have a shared admiration of
Our Lady of Guadalupe. I'm assuming most in the same secular fashion as I-- though secretly hoping that it will be she and only she to greet us on the other side, take us to her bosom, carrying us through the turquoise and orange gates up to the great fiesta in the sky, all our loved ones , in colorful dress, waiting to share the sweetbreads from the celestial pinata with us.

This remarkable statue, surrounded by vast fields, a pond, some beautiful horses, and a stand of trees that tempts us sorely to return in about 3 weeks as the foliage continues to turn colors, was built by Ed and Pat Heinz, on whose farm, in Windsor, Ohio, it stands, "a testament," as written in Roadside America, " to faith and to liberal building laws."

Ed collected -as evidenced by the purchased memory plaques attached to every ball on the below described rosary, as well as every bench, chair, and a few items near or at the permanent Nativity Scene that sits in a chapel slightly larger than a premium sized shed from Home Depot -the $50,000 it would take to build Mary. Then Richard Hyslin, head of the art department at some small Texas college, agreed to donate his services for free. Until then, Hyslin's largest sculpture had apparently been a 15-foot tall King Kong for a miniature golf course, so this was his version of Bernstein's Mass... I guess.

The statue was dedicated on August 5, 1995. Our Lady is 33-feet tall, standing atop an angel and cement cloud, bringing her to 50 feet.

From Roadside America:

"Attached to the figure's back is something resembling the World's Largest Toaster Coil -- her holy radiance. It's made of metal, and during a violent thunderstorm in flat, northeastern Ohio, one requires unfaltering faith to linger for long.

"Mary faces east -- a shutterbug challenge in the late afternoon, even without the lightning strikes creeping towards her. The statue surface is decorated with thousands of tiny mosaic tiles, richly colored, reminding us of the happy Krishna giants in West Virginia," something Dolli and I have yet to see, but between this and our European Holiday tradition of hunting for relics (defined as Holy body parts and uncorrupted corpses... we do have fun between meals, no??), will probably add to our list of day trips.

In front of Our Lady is a pond, surrounded by a giant strand of white rosary beads (disguised as electric beach balls) and a full size carved Jesus reclining on what I thought was a lucite, but Dolli tells me she thinks it's a clear quartz cross.

Mary in silhouette.

The coolest thing is that she's there just because that's where Heinz was/is (gotta check into that). Truly a pilgrim's dream. We followed the directions and even then had to sort take a flier on a turn here and there. We pulled into the parking lot to find it populated by perhaps 30 of our Hispanic friends hanging around a pick up truck, a bus, and a cooler. This thing is set back so very far from the road, we had to park, and walk around a building before we could

a) see the wonders of the Porta Potty and

b) say "Oh... My... God!!"

This trip was rejuvenating. It gives us all hope that no matter what comes down the pipe, we, as a race (Ohioans) are so incredibly weird, twisted, and brilliantly capable of the craziest shit, that we're probably too impaired to even notice the implications when we all turn red and ruin the country... again (still). Thank goodness SHE's here.

We waved Adios with a smile to our Amigos as they did us. Ice cream on the way home. Yay!!!

Now what could be next for the intrepid travelers, hmmm?

PS. If you're here looking for some political pontificating, or even if you're not but are willing to do me the honor, please read the post below.



Blogger KO said...

Wow, that is impressive and very good looking. I didn't expect it to look well done.

7:00 PM  

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