April 28, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Aleman_Backyard_Shrine.jpg

Aleman_crucifix__slab.jpgEvery couple of days I drive up Pleasant Valley Road and pass this very Catholic image. A crucifix draped in rosary beads would be expected in a Catholic church, cemetery, or shrine. But here, along a busy road, the crucifix is set against a backyard fence, in clear view of the street and right next to the sidewalk. Though a sign at the driveway warns that this property is private and that anyone trespassing will be prosecuted. So anyone interacting with what appears to be a very public shrine had better stay on the outside of the fence!

This stretch of Pleasant Valley is pretty busy, so I parked a few blocks away. Careful not to trespass, I leaned over the fence to take pictures. It was then that I saw the motivation for this shrine. The crucifix is placed above a memorial stone for Ruben Sontoya Aleman who died on July 24, 2008.

The Statesman’s obituaries give a brief description of Ruben Aleman’s life. He was a husband, a father, and part of a large family. At the end of his life he struggled with dementia and died of cancer. The passage notes that Ruben Aleman was buried at Assumption Cemetery, but the stone and the shine have been placed in the yard so his family, and the passing public, can take notice.

Ruben_Aleman_stone_marker.jpg

 700 Block of N Pleasant Valley Road, Austin, Texas

Suddenly Sacred/ Austin