Yesterday I fought the battle of the Alamode. Embarked on a little field trip yesterday, and an effort to teach some Texas History to the grandkids. Therein lies madness. When I was nine I got on a trolley, went to downtown Shreveport, and watched John Wayne’s version of the Alamo. I know, I know, not historically accurate, and all that, but I still love that movie, in fact, to this day I still cry when the little girl in the end asks, “Where’s daddy, mommy?” When I was growing up in Texas, the history of the Lone Star State was mandatory! I was rather detached until I went on a high school trip to San Antonio during the Hemisfair, and actually saw the Alamo. I became a secessionist on that very day! I must have counted every stone in the building. Back in the day the Alamo had a “smell” to it that was a little bit like pepper. There was no air conditioning, but you could appreciate the wisdom of the old padres in the fact that it wasn’t really hot inside the chapel, which is really all that is left of the original mission.
So, yesterday we decided to take the kids down for the obligatory first trip to the shrine of Texas liberty. Let us pray! First off, my grandchildren are lazy. The Alamo sits on about a city block. There’s a parking lot right behind it, beside the Crockett Hotel, no, Davy Crockett didn’t stay there during the battle, that came later. Way back then it cost about a dollar to park there, but I quickly learned the price had been adjusted to account for Obamacare to twenty dollars.
So, we got all parked and began the walk around the back wall to the grounds. Unknown to me, the kids had understood the word, “Alamo” to be “Alamode,” and were slavering as we trekked around the wall. No Dairy Queen, no golden arches, just trees, and some old warehouse that they were not impressed with. Never one to be pushed back, I continued to herd the gang of five through the lawn toward the side where traditionally you could just walk around and go in the front door. Did I tell you the Daughters of the Republic of Texas lost control of the Alamo recently? Well, the first clue of this was the long line and barriers I found extending down the archways leading to the front of the building. You simply could not go that way, you had to get into line, and some nerdy guy would “allow” you to enter the chapel one at a time. I kissed Vickie Roberts under those arches back in ’68 for God’s sake! I had to go back around behind the building, and try to enter from the side door. NOT! People were being herded in a circle fashion from the front door, around to the rear and out. Like a Golden Corral. Oh, well, I’d just take the kids around to the front from the other side so they could at least see the famous front.
Did you know there is a little concrete ditch extending around the rear of the Alamo? Well, there is, and it has always had these rather large goldfish swimming in it. The first sign that something had gone terribly wrong was when I heard one of the twins, who are seven, yell, “CATFISH! CAAAAAAATFISH!” (Splash!) Oh, my bad, I forgot to tell you my grandchildren are white trash? The troops assaulting the mission in 1836 were more refined. We got past that with a simple wet jean, and a hoot of laughter from just about everyone, and proceeded to the front. I just knew that the very sight of the front of the Alamo would be an epiphany for the children. Well, it was an eye opener for me. Maybe I’m wrong, but it looked like someone may have sandblasted it because it had lost that pink glow it always had, and looked like the front of a Macy’s department store. And, of course, there was the line of Yankees, going in one at a time, not even aware that this was not the way it was supposed to be. Hesitantly, I checked for the Lone Star flag on the corner, and it was still there, but there was not an American flag on the front lawn. I don’t remember that.
We paraded the children to the front for the traditional photo shot. They stood there asking where the ice cream was. Then I took them to the monument in front. They were still scanning across the street for the Baskin Robins as I tried fruitlessly to explain the assault on the walls. Now, we are currently home schooling, but before that the children were at the mercy of the public school system. Not only did they not know what the Alamo was, they didn’t understand the word, “battle” because guns are so politically incorrect it can’t be stated that someone may have set off a firecracker during the Texas revolution. As we retreated back to the car (do you like that word, “retreat?”) we made one last effort to expose the babies to at least some history by taking them into the museum that sits beside the chapel. When the Daughters of the Republic were booted out they took the stuff they had brought to the property with them, so in the courtyard where Travis drew his line in the sand there now sits a gift shop! By this time all the kids were dragging, and the little girl was complaining about wanting her iPad.
We slowly walked back to the car, keeping the twins away from the “catfish,” and hoping the New Baby wouldn’t decide to relieve himself on the rear of the chapel. The entire thing took less than an hour. I didn’t even circle around for one last look at the Shrine of United Nations skull doggery. We gonna do some history when we get home!Bill the Butcher