Wednesday, October 12, 2011

running late at the alamo

     God, we love it. This warm damp air, this wind. There are cute truckers everywhere I look, talking truck talk and Dad's been in the best of moods since we've arrived. San Antonio, what a welcoming city. Even the lady at the front desk was sweet, after we asked her directions to the Alamo for the fourth time. You take exit 35 South from 10 East, then get off on Houston. Houston St, Houston St., she repeated. Her face was pink and she spoke with such emotion, so warmly. I thought I remembered her giving us longer instructions last night but when I asked about that she said, It's very simple, very simple to get there, and I knew she was giving us a secret short cut because she liked us.
What an old town this place is! Everyone smiles. Following her directions, we fork onto the 35 South freeway and we are looking for Houston St. but it doesn't appear so we get off as soon as possible, because we have learned on this trip the valuable lesson to get off the freeway before it's too late.
We look for signs for the Alamo. It's alright we are running four hours late, for the hot wind is blowing like the breath of a seraphim and we feel so welcome here. We want to see the Alamo before our nine hour drive to New Orleans, we want to see that lovely piece of history that truly speaks to the glory of Texans and American, we are looking for the Alamo with such excitement. The map the lady gave us is wrong so we keep our eyes open, which is a good rule for the road and for life, always keeping your eyes and heart open.
There are little signs on each corner that say Business District and Market Square and Convention Center and the Alamo, and we are following the signs to the Alamo because we don't trust maps and we don't want to stop driving, we don't want to waste time getting to this historic marvel because we are late. We talk to two Japanese girls holding hands from our car window, who aren't as friendly as Texans, but are nice anyways. They point us in the same directions as the signs so we trust them and are glad we got a second opinion. We drive some more and then ask a very handsome ranger who is directing traffic away from a construction detour and he tells us we are only three blocks away. My heart is racing as each block passes and I know Dad's is too because he's sweating a lot.
There it is Dad! The Alamo! Oh God! There it is!
We can't quite see it behind the wall that surrounds it, it is also behind some trees and shrubs, but it is rising up glorious behind those things.
What a piece of history!
Wow, Dad! Those brave men, fighting all those savage Mexicans!
I think about what it would have been like otherwise, but I stop because that thought is a negative nancy thought. We drive around it and it's just so neat, and we are so happy we got here even though it took us forty-three minutes and those lady's directions weren't right, but we understand because she looked tired and might have had allergies. We see a lot of people dressed in genuine clothes-of-old, they must be re-enacting the battle, too bad we don't have time to park and see it, I really can't believe my alarm didn't wake us up, I am annoyed but not angry because my heart is open, but I am annoyed that it didn't go off on this day we planned to wake up at six so we could have time to see the Alamo and walk into it and maybe even spend some moments communing with the brave Texans who died defending it, but oh well. I can feel that rich history through the thousand-year-old wall, through our car door and into my body.
There is a car honking behind us because we have stopped in the middle of the one-lane road to take zoom pictures and as Dad honks back, I turn around in my seat to look at them with my eyes and I curse the driver, who is dirty-looking, and his children, with debt and stomach cancer, but he's still honking like a piece of shit, excuse me, so we say goodbye to the Alamo and get back onto the 10 East.
Now we are speeding off to New Orelans, waving goodbye to the sweet town of San Antonio, whose real estate prices and southern hospitality set us to dreaming of a time when we might be so lucky to move here. We want to be with them again, the people of San Antonio.
I want them to make me pie, Dad says.

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