Busy day ahead. We're bound for the Western part of the Texas Hill country this morning in hopes of making it to Rocksprings/Barksdale to meet my cowboy friend Joe Cox. Annie has scoped out the stuff along the way and plans to do some geocaching/hiking in a state park. We figure we'll get some picnic stuff in a small-town grocery and enjoy it somewhere along the road.
I must comment on the general friendliness I've always seen in Texas. In fact, it's easy to say I've never met anyone I didn't like down here. Yesterday, while Mother and Annie were relaxing, I did some shopping along the River Walk. Picked out what I'd buy and planned to come back later to purchase it. While soaking up the wonderful sunshine, I decided to have a latte and grab a chair where I could get its full intensity.
As I walked toward an empty table, another lady came along and asked if other people were coming to join me. I said no and invited her to sit down. Within three minutes, we were talking about families, houses, etc. She's from Wisconsin and she and her husband have just purchased an older home called the Hubcap House. She says it has that name because the owner sold hubcaps out of the house for 30 years. She and her hubby will restore it and move in this fall.
Before we finished talking hubcap houses, another couple came along and asked if they could join us. We found out they had just celebrated their Golden Wedding. Well, their name is Golden, and they were married in Alabama on Saturday. So, I guess you'd call it the Golden Wedding, right?
They were in their 30s. He had a sad story. His first wife had died from a heart condition while delivering twin boys about three or four years ago. He has definitely experienced some highs and lows in the past few years. Both were upbeat, positive people who had picked San Antonio as their honeymoon place because of its history. When they head back home, they'll be mom and dad to three nice-looking young boys. Yes, we saw the kiddie photos.
In half hour's time, there on the River Walk, four travelers from Wisconsin, Idaho and Alabama came together, shared stories and thoughts on life and marriage and said their good byes as if they'd been friends forever. Later, last night while taking our River Walk cruise, my Hubcap House friend Chris arrived in time to sit right across from us.
By the end of the trip, she had two more new friends from Idaho and I'm sure lots of folks going home to talk about that Hubcap House in Wisconsin. If you want to see it and vote on the exterior color for its renovation, just go to www.thehubcaphouse.com, and put in your vote. Chris Johnson will be glad to hear from you.
I met another new friend, for sure, in the ladies' room at the LBJ Library. Her name is Candy Williams, and she works for Chevron in Houston. Candy thought it was neat that Mother, daughter and granddaughter were traveling together. We struck up an instant friendship as we stood at the bathroom sink and exchanged names, states and stories. Candy even waited outside with her husband Calvin so she could take a picture of us.
That's how it is in Texas. Everyone seems to have the friendly bug, and it's contagious. A nice gentleman stopped what he was doing in the Houston hotel and ran over to help us with our luggage as we were headed down the escalator. And, yesterday at the Gunter Hotel, a cowboy came from his group to help Mother into the car. The elevator operators at the rodeo get gold stars for friendliness and charm too.
I'm not suggesting other places aren't friendly, but I'd say Texas does everything in a big way, and they didn't leave out manners while doing the planning. We love it, and it's especially nice for an 84-year-old mother who gets that special attention which really makes her day. Yesterday's events included breakfast at the Gunter, a visit to Ursuline Academy, which is now the an art and craft center, and, of course, the Alamo. I heard from our Alabama friends that there's an ordinance in San Antonio prohibiting construction of any building that blocks the sun from the Alamo.
As I see how these folks have honored their history with such respect, I can't help but think of how nice it would be if the planners for the future of my own community would take a lesson from their example. When you can attract people from around the world to come and view your story through the physical structures you have preserved, you're doing something important for history and for the knowledge of all who visit.
On to the Hill Country to meet Cowboy Joe and a rendezvous with my niece Laura tonight. She's flying in for a conference, so we'll be having dinner together. Have a good Monday, all!