days, getting all three of my semi-grown daughters together for a
family activity is like herding cats who have cars, jobs at coffee
shops and their own debit cards. So, when our girls were able to pencil
us in for a quick weekend trip to San
Antonio, my wife and I jumped at the chance . . . or sort of hopped.
Our backs hurt.
Our justification for this little getaway was back-to-school shopping,
which has come a long and expensive way from a new box of crayons
and a Hello Kitty lunch bag.
San Antonio is a good six hours' drive from our home, including
bathroom breaks that always seem to involve purchases of designer
bottled water and energy drinks that cost more than the outfit I'm
wearing. However, this historic Texas city holds lots of sweet memories
from vacations past when the girls were little and just learning where
Daddy keeps his wallet.
My wife and I enjoy San
Antonio because of the city's walkable layout. We love to stroll
down the less-crowded sections of the legendary and extensive River
Walk at night while our daughters either complain about the walking,
or stay in the hotel and complain that their legs hurt from the walking.
first stop in town was the landmark restaurant and bakery, Mi Tierra.
On past visits here, my eldest and most expensive daughter deducted
a significant number of Dad points when I made it "awkward" by allowing
the ubiquitous wandering mariachis to play a tune at our table. This
time, I was determined to do betterand heroically fought off
four militant groups of mariachis before my third basket of chips
arrived. I'm not sure she noticed my efforts, but I rewarded myself
with a praline the size of an obese Chihuahua.
The next morning, we had breakfast at Schilo's German-Texan restaurant,
where they serve their signature root beer on tap and where we were
duped by a professional photographer who flattered us by claiming
to want our photos for advertising purposesand then, of course,
sold us a few copies. Oh, well, she had a cool German accent, and
she photoshopped me to look a little less creepy than usual.
Then we were off to the Shops at La Canteraan enormous outdoor
retail and dining area where, surprisingly, the girls didn't complain
about walking. It was so hot outside that I was sweating everywhere
except the insides of my nostrilsso I was forced to wait inside
stores with an uncomfortable number of bra and underwear displays
in the Dad-loitering areas.
We finished our trip the next day with a traditional visit to The
Guenther House for brunch on the grounds of the historic Pioneer Flour
Mills. While waiting for a table, we walked across the street to explore
the Blue Star Arts Complex, full of galleries, craft vendors and vintage
clothing shopsand where the most commonly uttered phrases by
my children were "I forgot my purse in the car. Can I pay you back?"
and "It smells like weed in here."
After I enjoyed a light brunch consisting of a face-sized sweet cream
waffle, bacon, scrambled eggs, seasoned potatoes, and one of my youngest
daughter's breakfast tacos, it was time to head home. Our credit cards
are still smoking, and our backs still hurt, but my wife and I know
these times will become more rare as the years pass, so we'll take
them when we caneven if we can only hop at the chance.