Saturday, August 20, 2011

Where I've been...

In front of the Alamo
Last weekend we travelled to San Antonio; the city where my parents grew up, where I visited every summer as a child and where Pete and I honeymooned. It was like a nostalgic trip down memory lane, except when it wasn't.

Paula, me, Linda at the San Antonio riverwalk
I met up with some of my poetry friends on the first day; one from Germany (Linda) and the other from San Antonio (Paula). I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to finally connect face to face. My family was gracious enough to let me hang with my friends Friday evening. We grabbed dinner on the river and then rode up to the top of the Hemisphere Tower as our families strolled through the Rivercenter Mall. The river, Mexican food, tower all reminded me of olden days.

CC the Alamo cat
Saturday morning the fam and I traipsed through the Alamo and surrounding area. We saw CC the Alamo cat sleeping peacefully in the hundred degree sun as we admired the beautiful oak trees and flowering shrubs on the grounds. Then we meandered across the street and took refuge in the cool wax museum. The first thing we faced was Lady Gaga and her meat dress welcoming us to the bizarre show. For a minute I thought we were in Ripley's Believe It or Not next door. It was wax nostalic, that's for sure.

Lady Gaggag/ I mean Gaga and us

I never thought I'd be sitting in a Pat O'Briens with my children, but when we were done with the museum, I was so shaky from my sugary waffle breakfast (thanks to La Quinta) that we had to find the nearest spot for lunch. Let me tell you a secret: the food's not that good. But we filled up on burgers and water nonetheless.

Later that day, we visited my aunt and uncle and a few cousins on our way to Sea World. It was so good to see them again. Since our last visit, my youngest cousin had a precious baby boy. The kids played with him as we made plans for a bigger get-together the following day.

Pete and the kids trying to navigate through Sea World (I just asked someone)
We purposely waited until after five to go to Sea World, as did a million other people. It was as packed as... a summer day at Sea World, or the New Orlean's Zulu parade during Mardi Gras. Despite the heat, we had a great time being splashed by Shamu (another thing to mark off my bucket list). The night ended with a big fireworks show and then we were off to dreamland, some before we reached the hotel.
The highlight of our weekend was Sunday. We started out by riding around familiar parts of the city. We stopped by Pittman-Sullivan Park, which is named after one of my great uncles (Sullivan) who perished in WWI.

Monument in Pittman-Sullivan Park

Then we drove by my grandparents' old houses. My Nonna and Pawpaw's home looked just as it always did, but my Gramma's home was were the action occurred. When we passed by we noticed a man working in his yard. Being the outgoing, friendly guy that my husband is, Pete stopped and struck up a conversation. This man, his wife and three kids (the same age as ours) were gracious enough to invite us into their home and show us what they're doing to renovate it. 

The new owners of my grandmother's house wondered what HH stood for ("It's carved all over the pace!") - Hank Harris, of course (my dad)
Talk about surreal. The funny thing is that the lady was wanting to find out the history behind the house. It was pretty much a win-win situation, and we made some new friends. 

Playing bocce ball
For the rest of the day we visited, swam, ate and played with relatives. One of my cousins and his wife live on the outskirts of San Antonio. They have acres and acres of land with deer that come out every night and skunks that occasionally spray the dogs. Their home is beautiful and secluded. One of my cousins taught the kids how to do flips off the diving board. They played ping pong and bocce ball. The boys even went on a wild Jeep ride through the woods. We are so glad to have spent time with everyone.

From left to right: Cousins Mike and Mark (back); Cousin Julie, me, Aunt Estelle and Uncle Jack (front)
After all was said and done, guess what the highlight of the weekend for all of us was? Spending time with friends and family! Some things never change.


whenwordsescape said...

Yay! What a fun recap of your trip to ol' San Antone! So glad I was able to enjoy a slice of it with you. *hugs* ~Paula

Laurie Kolp said...

Paula! I'm so glad we got to meet, too. I'm looking forward to getting together again soon.

Linda H. said...

Sounds like your whole trip was wonderful. Thanks for sharing part of it with me. I had a great time.

Jeni said...

Wow Laurie, what a beautiful capture of your trip to my hometown. Mary & I spent so many days at the Alamo, towers of America and Texan culture. Everytime our dad came in town :) ~ thank you for the memories you rose up in me. The riverwalk is a place to be! more memories there too! Lisa goes to Seaworld alot ~ she lives only minutes from there! I see the orbs in your lady gaga pic!!