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November 3, 2022

November 8, 2022

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My trip to Tucson began with an “oops.” I was met with emptiness when I got to my Airbnb and opened the small lock box to retrieve the door key. I called the host, and within minutes, he was there to give me a key. Apparently, the previous guest forgot to replace it. Lucky for me!

After giving me the key, Joe asked if I was in town to attend the “All Souls’ Day parade.” I said, “huh?” All Souls’ Day is a day of prayer and remembrance for the faithful departed, observed by certain Christian denominations in November. Through prayer, intercessions, alms, and visits to cemeteries, people commemorate the poor souls in purgatory and gain indulgences. In Tucson, this is observed with reputedly the largest celebration (100,000+) of its type in North America. People dress for the occasion and march a defined street path for two miles. It ends at an open park with music and dancing that ends with a ceremonial burning of a massive urn into which people had placed letters to their departed. It was a surreal night.

I met a retired surgeon at the event (dressed the part, of course) and interviewed him the next day. I met a gentleman from Denver whose husband had died of cancer in 2021. I also met a couple and some of their friends. Their son also died in 2021. They were transplanted East Coast people who moved to Tucson years ago. I hung out with them for most of the evening.

The desert (Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Tucson) was a memorable experience. It will end upon my arrival in the next city, San Antonio, Texas.

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