San Antonio, Texas, sticks in my mind mostly because of the bar at the Menger Hotel. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders used to gather there. I got my vodka gimlet and tried to imagine the scene back in the day. But it’s the wooden counter at the bar that kept me coming back. There is a slight imperfection on its surface. That is where the prohibitionist Carrie Nation swung her axe. She was married to a drunk. When her husband died, she took her axe to the streets and led the successful drive for the USA’s 1930s prohibition against liquor. It can get awfully hot in San Antonio, and I can only imagine how that cold beer was sorely missed.
My first day there, I was hiding out from the heat. I recall being thankful I had brought my long johns while shivering in the hotel air conditioning. Fortunately, my room at the Menger Hotel overlooked the Alamo. That is the fort where Davie Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, and his band were defending the Alamo but lost to the Spanish who were defending Spain’s territories in the New World.
On a Mission Tour, you might hear a bit about the Old World Jesuits meeting the New World natives when you get to the altar with the statue of Mary made of corn husks. Then there was the newer Old World to see. In the early hours, I arose to walk to the Spanish Governor’s House. Afterwards, I still recall sitting in the shade trying to regain my equilibrium from the heat when I noticed some construction workers doing pick and shovel work in the sun.
That was the same morning I stopped in for breakfast and got the local special. I don’t think the counter help had ever seen anyone eat a fajita like it was just another version of Italian food, at least not before I showed up at their counter. By then, I had ditched the summer clothes I had brought from home and bought a discount mini skirt and tank top.
Decked out to be brazen, I felt fearless exploring the River Walk in the dark, at least it was breathable. And I was lucky enough to see a dance class recital along the way. It was perhaps a bit tame for the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, but I bet Ms. Nation approved of dancing.
“I smashed five saloons with rocks before I ever took a hatchet.”–Carrie Nation
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing” –Theodore Roosevelt