Judy leaned forward and squinted as she slowed to make a turn onto Highway 69 that climbed out of the canyon into a long valley separating the massive peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains on the west side and the rolling peaks of the Wet Mountains lining the east side. As the valley widened, there were patches of forest mixed with meadows where cattle grazed on sprawling ranches. Small herds of deer grazed along the road and seemed confused by the passing car.
They drove on and on until the forest thickened and Judy pointed to a lush, green hill to the front, right. “There it is, Frank.”
He eagerly searched for “it” as the car slowed and Judy turned on the right turn signal. Ahead, a plain green sign unceremoniously announced “St. Jude Methodist Retirement Center.”
As Judy eased into the turning lane, Frank resumed his search. In the distance, a small forest was split by a wide, asphalt road leading up a large, rounded hill. An impressive old brick building with a conical center tower crowned the top of the hill. That must be it, he thought.
The large facility disappeared behind the trees as they entered the thick forest and climbed the long hill. Suddenly, a large clearing opened up and St. Jude Methodist Retirement Center loomed at the far end. The face of the building was broken up by two identical protrusions on either side with the hexagonal, conical tower in the center. Frank counted four stories with the tower rising another story above the rest.
To some it might look massive and imposing, but to Frank it looked warm and appealing, like a beautiful castle full of hope and promise. Judy offered her opinion, “It’s such a charming old building. It is over one hundred years old.”
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