The Holy Grail Discovered - About a Month Too Late


   When I travel to a new destination, I tend to enjoy embarking on it as a pure voyage of discovery.  I don't typically spend a lot of time researching ahead.  That way I can feel I truly discovered something; even if it is something that gets "discovered" by hundreds of people every day who did their research and already knew it was there.

   Occasionally this philosophy works well, as I actually will discover cool places not on any tourist itinerary - which feeds my already overindulged and ravenous ego.  Other times, this doesn't work so well and I miss opportunities I regret later.

   For example:  say you were a knight beseeched by King Arthur to seek out the Holy Grail.  You are so exhilarated about your quest and so enthralled by the possibility of your own knightly skills immortalized in history that you rush out of the castle, through the kitchen and nearly knock over a cook in your haste to be the finder of the holiest of all juice cups.

   Years you scour the globe.  Killing dragons, jousting goth knights, imbibing meade from unholy beverage vessels.  Finally, dejected and humiliated, you sulk miserable and  grailless back to Camelot to face the king.

   "Where have you been, Sir Kevin?  I asked you to bring the grail up here, like, a dozen years ago.  Well, no matter.  The cook brought it up himself.  Said you almost ran him over when he tried to hand it to you."

   "What?" you ask in a simple one word question in order to speed things up and move the plot along more quickly.

   "Percival found it a week before you left.  I was just asking you to bring it up for me.  Didn't you check with anyone before heading out?  We published the discovery in the Round Table Gazette and I sent out about 20 memos.  Don't tell me you never heard."

   My point is: it's okay to do a little homework so you don't walk right past the Holy Grail without seeing it.  Don't be a slave to your itinerary, but don't go to Agra without seeing the Taj Mahal because you didn't know it was there.  And don't go to Valencia, Spain and miss the Holy Grail, because that's where it is.

   Oh, I don't know if it is the actual cup Jesus drank out of.  I can't imagine which disciple at the time thought, "I better grab that cup.  Years from now knights are going to be looking for that."  But even if it wasn't present at the last supper, it's the closest thing we've got.  It is the cup most accepted for the past 1900 years as being the true Holy Grail, making it a historic artifact in its own right, even if Jesus' lips never touched it.

   It is located in the Valencia Cathedral, aka Saint Mary's Cathedral, in the Plaza de Zaragoza.  A church I sauntered by at least 50 times and explored inside twice.  Not once did it even occur to me to wonder if I might be looking at one of the most sought after artifacts in the history of mankind.

   Only a chance spotting of a reference to it in a used book in an antique shop in Jackson, Michigan led me to discover how near I had been.  I was afraid to look through the book anymore for fear I might find out I had been sitting on the Ark of the Covenant in Dubrovnik.

   So again.  It's good to do a little homework.  You don't want to come home to find out you unknowingly used the Shroud of Turin as a snuggie.

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