There is an upside to downsizing. My cousin Debbie collects postcards and while going through my stuff I found a scrapbook of a trip to Texas. I grabbed some pages and put them in a box to mail, thinking explanatory stuff might interest her. But, oh the memories. Dallas/Fort Worth really does have more shops than New York, more music than Nashville and more thrills than Disneyland. We went to the stockyards and saw a cattle drive that was a life-sized sculpture of long horns crossing a river. Museums, art galleries, the Hard Rock Cafe, the White Elephant Saloon, a cooling water walk, Assyrian treasures at Kimball, Cavanaugh Flight Museum, a sewing machine museum, the H.W. Perry Homestead. We followed the footsteps of Kennedy’s assassin at Dealy Plaza and the grassy knoll. We could easily have spent three weeks there, so much to see and do.
Our method suited both my husband’s and my personality. He would write for tourist information, we’d fly into the major airport, rent a car and do as much as we could during a 3 to 4 week period. In Houston, the Sam Houston Museum, the Astrodome, LBJ Space Center, San Jacinto Battlefield, Missons. We toured the Battleship Texas, and the Funeral Services Museum. We really did go to Billy Bob’s Honky Tonk, (disappointing) and Ruth’s Chris steak house, but we didn’t order steaks the size of a roast. George wanted to go to the Millionaires Club, just for a peek, but realized you need to be a millionaire.
We drove to Galveston and visited the historic Moody Mansion, The Texas Seaport Museum where I got my art fix watching Anthony Blackman draw. The old downtown area is quite small and interesting. A Mardi Gras Museum, History of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The best estimate of life lost was six thousand perished, one of the worst disasters in our nation’s history. We took pictures of a mansion with a two foot picket fence. The other four feet were covered in mud and the owners never rebuilt. They chose to live in what was the top two floors of the mansion. I loved Galveston.
We drove to San Antonio to see the Alamo. Texans didn’t set aside land around the Alamo. It sits on a city block with businesses surrounding it, smaller than you’d think. The missions- magnificent edifices in stone, a cool place rest. The Arts are the heart of San Antonio at La Villita with glass blowers, candle making, stained glass, weavers, jewelry, etc. And, every where we ate Tex Mex, different from California Mex. The best River Walk in Texas, on the San Antonio River right through the middle of town. Cooling, breathtaking.
Then to Austin, to visit the State Capital building, the Governor’s Mansion, LBJ Library, the amazing Bishops Palace resembles Chateau of France. George didn’t want to see a bunch of bats, but I’d heard about Mexican bats living under a bridge in Austin and I worked to convince him. It helped to have a nearby journalism museum. We sat on the grassy banks of the river. When it got dark, the bats flowed out in waves of millions swooping up and down the river, wave, after wave, after wave.
Once we got home, the thing that impressed him the most of our entire trip was the bats. I enjoyed his enthusiasm for the bats, as he told everyone we met about them.
My favorite experiences from that trip? The bats, the funeral museum and the San Antonio river walk. American diversity, every state a marvel.