National Geographic : 1988 Jan
great zest. We were laughing about one of them, when he suddenly grew serious: "After all these experiences I can swear to you that it's not only dogs that don't like the mail man, but also the alligators." The rivers are full of them. N THE VERY CENTER of crazy and tumultuous California we found an oasis of peace and tranquillity at the San Miguel mission, located in a town of the same name. Few tourists come here, and none ever gets beyond the monastery gates. Behind them a shady cloister surrounds a patio with a goldfish fountain, lush plants, and tame doves. Seven old Franciscans live here. The cook, Brother Paschal, who has spent the last 46 years of his life in the kitchen, confessed that he does not like to cook. I talked to him for a bit about human pre dilections. Paschal recalled one Franciscan who loved photography and spent nights developing pictures in his cell, another who passionately cultivated cactuses, and a third whose hobby was major league baseball. Asked about his favorite pastime, Paschal's face lit up: "Oh, I like the real thing," was his reply. "I like to think about Heaven."