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After eating a custard-filled long-john as big as my head at Cops and Doughnuts, Darwin and I lugged ourselves farther down the streets of Clare, Michigan.

We dissected yet more buildings, then came to the railroad tracks and the grain elevator past them.  The grain elevator is always located near the railroad tracks in towns like this, of course, because in the old days, the grain was loaded onto trains.  These days, the shipping is usually handled by truck, more's the shame.

Music wafted toward us in the distance, so we followed the railroad tracks behind several buildings.  Darwin pointed at one in the distance and wondered aloud if it had once been the train depot.  As we got closer, it did have a depot-esque look to it--octagonal, with a little tower on one side.  The exterior was covered in new insulation--renovation in progress.  We wandered around the front and found a sign that proclaimed the Clare Depot was being redone.  Darwin nailed it!

The music was getting louder, and we followed it to a city park, where we found a little concert in progress.  A local folk music group was playing in a gazebo to a fairly large audience in lawn chairs.  Darwin and I found a seat at a picnic table and listened for a while.  The music was very nice.

But after a while, Darwin became restless, so we continued walking.  We came across a big, rounded church building with a lot of stained glass in it and an historical marker out front.  It had been built in 1909 on the site of an existing church that dated back to 1874 and was done  in the Greek style to show that small town America could be cosmopolitan, too.  It was arresting, actually, and we walked around it, wondering what the inside looked like.  On a whim, I tried the front door.

It was unlocked.

What the heck, right?  We went in.

The doors to the main cathedral were unfortunately locked.  But the doors next to them, leading down in the basement, were unlocked.  The lights were out and everything was dark.  I went down the steps.  Darwin hesitated, but he was curious too, and since all the lights were off, it was clear no one was around.

The basement was obviously an add-on, probably from the 40s or 50s, with a corridor of rooms that were offices and playrooms and such.  This ended in a huge open area for gatherings, complete with a kitchen sectioned off by accordion screens.  I remembered those from when I was a child!

At the back, I found what I was hoping for--a staircase.  It went straight up into the main chapel.  Ha!

I climbed it and found myself in the apse, which is the "stage" holding the altar and the pulpit.  The stained glass windows ringing the dome were lovely from the inside.  Four pillars held up the dome, and they were each named for the four prophets who wrote the four Gospels.  The altar was simple and made of wood, with silver candlesticks on it.  Opposite the pulpit was a freestanding screen with a computer projector. (!)

We stayed several minutes, but Darwin became nervous fairly quickly, so we left the same way we'd come in.  On the way out, we found a toilet that was running, and we fixed it, so that was our good deed for the day.


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