by Valerie Nusbaum
The Yellow Rose
Randy and I haven’t done much traveling during the last five or so years. Between the COVID pandemic restrictions and all the family obligations and crises, we just weren’t able to do it. I miss that a lot and hope that someday soon we can get back on the road again. It’s always fun and exciting to visit places we’ve never been and to have a change of scenery, but for the time being, I’ll have to be content to fondly remember some of the trips we’ve taken over our years together.
One of my favorite trips was to San Antonio, Texas. We had both done some reading about the River Walk, and we thought that would be a good fit for us. From all my research, I deduced that that particular area was a bit upscale, so when I packed my bags, I went with casual but stylish clothes and chose most of my wardrobe in shades of black and white. Black is slimming, after all, and by sticking with one color scheme, I could mix and match pieces and wouldn’t have to take a lot of extra shoes and accessories. That’s me—a real planner. I helped Randy with his packing, too (blue and tan), and we headed to the airport in mid-March. I don’t remember what year that was, but I do remember thinking that I’d packed well and would look as good as possible.
Randy had made the reservations and travel arrangements. Nevermind that on the plane, Randy got up to use the restroom, and I moved over into his middle seat so that he could sit on the aisle when he came back. The man in the window seat hadn’t spoken a word to Randy in the two hours they’d sat side by side. As soon as my fanny touched the middle seat, the man turned around and proceeded to tell me his life story for the next two hours. Did I mention that he also took off his shoes and displayed his feet? We happily got off the plane in San Antonio, and our car picked us up to take us to our hotel.
Our driver’s name was Benito, but he said we should call him “Benny.” Benny handed me his business card and said that I should call him any time we wanted to drive out of the city. His card displayed a photo of him wearing a long cape, and his smile showed very long, very sharp fangs. I guessed that Benny moonlighted as a vampire, and I planned to promptly lose his card. It worried me a bit that he had picked us up in the dark of night, and I prayed that we’d get to our hotel safely and without being bitten.
I suffer from migraines, and the air pressure in the plane along with stress and the climate change had brought one on. My head was pounding and I was feeling nauseated, but I was so very relieved when we pulled up to a shiny, new-looking hotel in the heart of the city, right on the River Walk. I was pretty sure it was the wrong hotel, though, when we walked into the lobby with our bags, and I saw the gorgeous waterfall in the lobby, along with all the glass, brass, and luxury. But, no, my wonderful hubby had actually booked us into a suite there. We headed up to our rooms just in time for me to throw up. It was late, but Randy got us a case of water to drink, and I took some medicine for my headache. He’s a good guy, that Randy.
By morning, I was feeling more normal, and after a lovely buffet breakfast at the hotel (gratis), we struck out on foot to explore. The first order of business was to visit The Alamo. The historic mission and grounds were under renovation at the time, but we were still able to go inside and see everything. It struck me as absurd that such an important piece of history was directly across the street from a Ripley’s Believe or Not museum, but that’s America for you.
Did I mention that my mostly black wardrobe was leaving me a bit hot and sweaty since the temperature in Texas in March that year was over 90 degrees? I ended up going to the mall, also located on the River Walk, and buying some lighter summer clothes.
It was a fun trip, though. We took the water taxi tour all the way up the San Antonio River, which is hardly more than a stream. We did a trolley tour to all the missions, walked to the arts district and visited the galleries, shopped, ate a LOT of Mexican food and barbecue, visited the church where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie’s remains lie, and had a very good time. We even managed to find a McDonald’s housed in stucco and brick. I had a craving for one of their southwest salads. I know. At lunch another day at yet another Mexican restaurant, Randy paid a mariachi band to serenade me, and their rendition of The Temptations “My Girl” was definitely something to be remembered.
Would I go back to San Antonio? In a heartbeat, but don’t tell Benny I’m coming.