Monday, May 28, 2012

Home of the Alamo!

The seemingly endless drives to our destinations are quickly wearing us out.  However, the trip runs smoother when we get a good conversation going.   Today, I simply requested, "Dad, tell me about your father," and about an hour later after numerous stories that went well beyond the simple recapitulation of his father's life, he managed to enlist my Aunt Lou for more help characterizing their parents and grandparents.  Discussing family history seemed particularly appropriate for this leg of the journey in San Antonio, Texas where history permeates every rock and plant.  And while the Alamo was the first stop on our itinerary, my father's persistent appetite for lunch--most likely influenced by regular lunch breaks with his grandfather in Baltimore as a child--won out.  We stopped at Schilo's Delicatessen and ordered each one of their specialities: creamy root beer (the best root beer I've ever tasted), split pea soup, and a good ol' fashioned reuben sandwich. 

After our regrettably warm (yet tasty) meal, we walked a couple blocks to the Alamo, the historic site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.  Without pummeling you with history that I will most likely falsify or misinterpret, I can only say that the main building, the museum, and the surrounding landscape are incredible.  And while I was often dumbstruck by the architecture and the lush scenery, I kept thinking about my earlier conversation with dad and Aunt Lou and the whole concept of family.  Of course, I'm going to force the connection, but for me, family is like a surviving fortress, a discarded ruin, a cherished relic.  Sometimes it's thriving with life and energy; other times it's dormant or abandoned or wounded.  But the roots are always there.  The foundation remains unchanged despite damage and decay or even new growth.  

So while the Alamo is one-eighth (don't quote me on this...) the fortress it used to be, the captivating ruins, the rusty artifacts, the sprawling plant-life, and the formative history remain.  This space will always be in the hearts of the generations of people it affected in the 19th century and today.  Similarly, family--no matter how distant, bizarre, happy, or generally f---ed up and ruined--always remains.  We may move across oceans, cut ties, lose touch, die off, or embrace the weirdly soothing reality of madness, but our shared histories live on in the stories told by aunts and fathers, in the memories of youth, in the fleeting but wonderful moments where we recall a happy memory of a person we forgot.  Our pride often forbids the idea of reconnecting with the lost or forgotten from our past, but the fleeting moments are still valuable, still hopeful, still open to change.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible photos & that root beer sounds incredible!! Chrissy