Tuesday, August 23, 2005


(Run originally 3/1/04 on our old site)

Ernie Simpson

The last time I was in San Antonio was 1998. It was a great time, but there couldn’t be a hotter place in the world than San Antonio in July. The tourists are wall-to-wall, and the San Antonio River can barely be called that. It’s a narrow canal, with green water and back-to-back barges carrying tons of tourists anxious to see the many sights along the river. There are lots of Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, most good, but you reach a place where the familiar chain of restaurants beckons, those we recognize from home and are comfortable going into.

San Antonio gave me a chance to drive up to New Braunfels, north of the city, to visit with Al English, our high school band director from 1957. He was close to retirement at the time and we talked about old times. It was a great visit with a good friend.

We always stayed at the Marriott Riverwalk, and easy access to the area. We had lunch once at the Tower of the Americas, a really scenic restaurant that rotates during the meal, and makes a revolution about every forty-five minutes. The server said that, a few days before, a guy smuggled a parachute to the observation deck, and jumped off the tower. A friend was waiting for him with a car; he stuffed the parachute into the car and drove away before the police got there. They were still looking for him, according to the server.

I have been to the Alamo several times, and continue to be impressed each time I go into the building. I see different things and think different thoughts each time I’m there. I do understand the truth behind the political and self serving agendas many who were at the Alamo possessed, but those who were not motivated by anything other than patriotism made tremendous sacrifices to defend the Alamo.

Regardless of what might be thought of Col. William Travis and his hidden plans for south Texas, his determination was admirable. For those who were true patriots, the Alamo became a hallowed place, and his cry for reinforcements to keep from losing the Alamo on February 24, 1836 should never be forgotten, and a portion of his last call for help is as follows:

“…if this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country.”

He was twenty-six years old.


Tom Pry

I always felt that San Antonio was a great example of what a little imagination and drive can do to transform a part of a city from an eyesore to something truly attractive. The justly-famous Riverwalk evolved from a winding, trash-laden creek that sluggishly made its way through the center of town. Now, it’s dropped about 12 feet below ground level, surrounded by park walks, and you tend to forget that boulevard’s up there at all .. and it’s known and admired world-wide.

Great convention town, too.

I’m afraid, though, that my lasting memory of the Tower of the Americas is of the night I was attending an HBO dinner party up there. The light was very dim, which contributed to me taking a big mouthful of what I THOUGHT was coleslaw. It wasn’t: it was shredded horseradish. I was in the middle a group of people, semi-strangers, so I couldn’t follow my first impulse, which was to spew widely. Instead, all I could do was carefully chew, and even more carefully swallow, glad that the lights were down, so my companions couldn’t see the 57 shades I turned during the five minutes before I was finally able to talk again.

Better to remember Travis and the Alamo than to Remember The Horseradish!


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