Tucked away against the red rock and the green pine trees sits the Jemez Bath House. The bath house has been a staple in Jemez Springs for over a hundred years. It was the first public building constructed in Jemez Springs at the end of the 1800s. Today, not much about the building has changed. A small store greets guests upon arrival, offering everything from clothing to specially blended bath salts. Down a short flight of stairs, and you step into the historical part of the building, built in 1876. Two bathrooms face you with curtains on either side that lead to the baths. Generally the women’s side is off to the left and the men’s to the right, each side holds about 5 tubs that can be separated by curtains. Peaceful music plays overhead and talking is asked to be kept to a minimum. Hot water is clearly marked, and comes straight from the hot springs. The cold water isn’t really cold, its held outside and cooled to around 80 degrees. The tubs are partially filled for you. Once inside, you are given a container to store your things in, if needed. The Bathhouse offers a variety of soaking times along with herbal and towel wraps and massages. Today we are indulging in the Bathhouse special – a 30 minute soak, 30 minute herbal wrap, and a 60 minute massage.
After picking some lovely smelling bath salts I spent a peaceful 30 minutes soaking in the big old stone tubs. I could hear the birds singing outside the windows above. I’ve been told the Bathhouse is haunted, so no matter how relaxed I am, I have one eye open for anything spooky. The half hour flies by and I’m asked to step out of my private tub space onto a massage table lined up against the other wall. A hot, wet towel soak with herbs lays on the table and then I’m covered with another, before being wrapped with blankets. A cool compress is place behind my head and over my eyes. A light mist of lavender and rose is sprayed over me before I’m left alone to relax further.
By the time I get to my massage, my tension has drained away and I’m ready for a nap. The friendly therapist carries my things into a private massage room through the next door. There is quiet music playing with a small air-conditioner running in the window for wonderful gray noise. The massages at the Bathhouse are light and designed to relax. If your hoping to have an issue worked out, this isn’t the place. The atmosphere is meant to take you away from your everyday life and soothe you in the energy of the mountain hot springs. They succeed every time.
The main drawback to the Bathhouse is the fact you won’t want to leave Jemez when you’re done.
A breezy October day, the grass is just starting to turn yellow as the temperature begins to drop here in Albuquerque. There are families quietly visiting their loved ones scattered throughout the grounds here at Sunset Memorial. Deep in the back of the cemetery, near a wall hiding the freeway from view of the mourners, there sits a large tombstone surrounded by flowers. People begin to trickle in slowly heading for the memorial of Walter White, long before the procession arrives. It’s an eclectic crowd that begins to form, many from out of state, most cloaked in formal black attire. A gentleman with a large basket begins to zigzag through the masses. He is offering programs and bracelets for the event to come for a small donation. TV crews and news cameras are set up around the area. The employees walk through the crowd making last minute adjustments and talking with the gatherers. Many think this is a fitting end to a long running drama.
There have also been many complaints lodged with the cemetery about today’s services. Many expressing their grievances that the infamous Walter White is going to be buried along side their loved ones final resting place. Their concerns primarily about traffic and gawkers that many of the sites here in Albuquerque have had to deal with since the phenomenon Breaking Bad hit the airwaves six years ago. Sunset Memorial Park has said if any of those problems arise, they would remove the headstone being laid for Walter White. They believe the cause they are supporting today, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, is important and will continue with the funeral.
More people begin to arrive at Sunset Memorial as the clock strikes 4:00. The procession of vehicles will be leaving from Los Ranchos with a Sheriff’s Department escort through the city. In the procession will be the beloved Winnebago in which Walter White learned to cook meth in the middle of the desert. For a donation to the cause, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, you can ride in along. A live YouTube feed had been set up so people all over the world could watch the proceedings and donate along with the almost 300 people in attendance. The hope is to raise 100,000 dollars for the cause at hand. Vernon’s Steakhouse will be holding the reception after the service with proceeds also being donated.
Waiting for the procession to arrive, a single irate woman stomps through the crowd towards her two teenage sons, demanding that they leave immediately. She claims that people here in New Mexico were not taught proper manners and she cannot stand here and watch people walking over graves and on headstones, it’s disrespectful. When the boys refused to leave with her she repeated her complaints loudly and headed towards the car. Everyone else in the crowd is oblivious to her scene, most deeply involved in discussion about the show.
The crowd falls into silence as the procession enters the grounds. Gentlemen remove their hats and some bow their heads, but as the procession makes its last turn the crowd erupts in applause. People race towards the road to get pictures of the Winnebago and the hearse as they pull up to the gravesite. Set back from the fanfare, there are more cars pulling off to the sides of the road. People wave and smile at each other, giving hugs and taking pictures with the memorial headstone. Today we celebrate the death of an icon in hopes of providing healthcare for less fortunate individuals. Please visit here If you would like to donate.
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© 2013 by Winter Elise.
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