Going to San Antonio can only mean one thing–seeing the “Alamo”. Sure, there are other things to do, but as the once proud owner of an official Disney produced coonskin cap I had to see where Davy Crockett fought his last fight.
This would be our last stop in Texas — if we stayed any longer our residency may change!
Visiting San Antonio was also very special because we had dinner with my good friend Scott and his wife Nancy. I was anxious to see him because he had experienced a serious health scare last fall and was fully on the mend.
Full disclosure, I had visited the Alamo many years ago — in the evening after a dinner. However, due to the lateness of that day I could only look at the site. You can imagine how disappointed I was and how much I wanted to remedy that day.
Racing through my mind were the faces of the actors who portrayed the heroes of this one-day battle with a theatrical telling of the Alamo tale. John “Duke” Wayne was Davy Crockett and Richard Widmark was Jim Bowie; heck, even Mr. Beach Blanket Bingo — Frankie Avalon had a role to play. The movie was a real spectacular when it was released; like so many other American boys I pestered my parents to death hoping to get a coonskin hat and a “Bowie” knife. I got the hat and a cap pistol–I knew I was the envy of my buddies and school-mates.
I religiously sat in front of our RCA Victor combo TV/HIFI record player on Sunday evening to watch Disney’s Davy Crockett series on television while humming to the theme music “Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier…Fess Parker was Davy Crockett.
The building and the footprint of the mission were smaller than I had anticipated and I later learned that the “battle” lasted less than a few hours. That would be a lifetime for any boy.
Walking around the perimeter of the site there are touristy businesses that surround it–carriage rides, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not and other distractions. Happily, once inside the compound the outside world disappeared and the world of the 1836 took over: a conversation with a docent led to a quick immersion into the facts about the battle.
My companion was less smitten with the place. She wondered what the fuss was all about–the mission failed to reflect the luster of a formerly embattled site. Heck, it seemed as humble as any battleground could be; to me this made it all the more appealing. At times it seems that the defense of any singular piece of land or any building can seem like an insane act; yet throughout history such acts are common. Why? Because in these situations the defenders aspire to some form of ideal that warrants a defense no matter how overwhelming the odds. The martyrs’ death eitherites or re-energizes a movement that survives those who perish on its behalf.
Remember the Alamo!
It was our good fortune that the Alamo is located across the street from the entrance to the San Antonio River Walk. The “River Walk” is a section of the San Antonio River that was reclaimed by the city in the 1930’s.
The channel runs between two riverbanks that are dotted with shops, hotels, restaurants, gardens and water art. It was rather hot day so a dish of ice cream really hit the spot. The trail runs for several miles–we walked nearly four miles. The River Walk is a wonderful marketing tool for the city. And a nice oasis when trying to avoid the heat of the day.
We had worked up quite an appetite and so that evening we shared a delightful dinner with Scott and Nancy. We caught up on the news of the day–the focus was on our kids and grandkids–they have one and we have one on the way later this year.
It was good to see my friend and it seemed that little had changed: his mannerisms were dead-on and listening to him speak–his Texas twang was back to normal and his colloquialisms too!