Dearest Rachel –
Last night, I found myself dreaming about our trip to San Antonio, and wishing we could go back there. I’m not entirely sure why.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of good reasons to want to. The place we stayed at was really quite something, with its expansive room and the pool surrounded by the city skyscrapers.
And that’s not even starting in on how the rear entrance emptied out right upon the city’s famous Riverwalk. There’s no denying that the place was quite picturesque.
Granted, it could be argued that the folks in New Orleans (which was part of that same trip, after all) could be just as friendly. You remember that those two couples in full Mardi Gras kit at that one Canal Street restaurant (I think it was called the Ruby Slipper, which would have stirred the soul of a Wizard of Oz fan like yourself. That it came recommended by a waitress from the previous night – meaning that locals knew about and enjoyed the place – made it all the more appealing) that we got to chatting with as we ate our last brunch outside and they were waiting for a table inside (as Chicagoans, we could tolerate forty-odd degree weather – especially in February, where it could feel positively balmy, had we not gotten acclimated to the temperatures in both San Antonio and N’Awlins by this time – but locals were willing to wait for hours to avoid having to eat in that frigid weather). Of course, there were also those that got a little too familiar, like that family that pushed us out of the way as the parade came by several nights previously, and the fellow at the same parade who placed caps on our heads and insisted on a payment of a ‘visitor tax’ for the privilege. I let myself be taken for that, since I guess it’s the sort of thing that happens on vacation if you’re not careful, and we did get something in exchange for the money. But yeah, that town was a bit more hit-or-miss, I suppose.
At the same time, our experience in San Antonio wasn’t entirely perfect. We had to make a couple trips to Best Buy, for instance, when our Uber driver dropped my backpack, and the one computer wouldn’t turn on thereafter. At least we got a good deal on a rental car to drive ourselves there, to get it looked after. And it worked well to get us in the neighborhood where your ‘Aunt’ Ruth lived – although half of the time, she claimed to be in no condition to meet us, in any event; I remember how surprised you were to discover that she was nearly the same age as your folks, rather than being some ten years younger, as you’d originally assumed, with all the frailties attendant with being that old. It did leave you glad to have come, as the whole point of the trip was to see her for one last time, before she was no longer around.
Of course, that decision proved prescient for precisely the opposite reason, but the rationale was still there.
Anyway, I think my dream had something to do with the food we enjoyed down there – either a Whataburger or In-And-Out – you know, the kind of stuff we just can’t get up here (apart from the ketchup – thanks, Amazon!). Yes, I know, we were – and are – déclassé. It can’t be helped. My guess is that, while some weird dreams are due to eating too much too late in the evening, sometimes you dream of food after going without since one in the afternoon. Although, for all that it means I wake up that much hungrier, I still haven’t bothered to put together breakfast for myself, so… take that how you will.
Honestly, when it’s all said and done, I suppose it has a lot to do with sifting through our old photos. It’s the last trip we took together, and we look like we were all having a lot of fun out there. We were looking forward to getting out and doing stuff as a family, once the lockdowns lifted – heck, that was part of the point of our trip up to camp. But rather than that being just the first of many travels together, it’s stuck in my mind as the last real adventure we got to enjoy. Even its purpose, as I mentioned before, has been turned inside out because of what happened less than a year later.
So, as I think about it, I don’t know that I really have a wish to return to San Antonio as such – although I don’t think I’d mind it if we did some day, especially during one of the winter months (but I don’t think I’d ever bother with Amtrak again; sorry, honey, I found out how little you liked flying when we took this trip, but sleeping on a train doesn’t agree with me, or my back) – as much as I just want to go back to those days when we were together.
And that’s not a trip I can take here.
Still, until I can, keep an eye out of me, honey, and wish me luck; I’m going to need it.