Monday, October 14, 2013

Let it Snow

I was leading a "road show" across country some 25 years ago and we were dragging the north's miserable weather along with us. While in Florida, they suffered the worst daytime, and third worst nighttime cold temps on record for example. It was like that for the entire 2 months.

But we'd arrived in San Antonio Texas to wonderful late spring weather; mid 70's and sunny when we landed and more of the same boring stuff promised.

San Antonio is the only city in Texas I'd visit on purpose; it is a beautiful place. The river/canal running through downtown is very cool and the shops and restaurants remind me of New Orleans.

I was holed up at a newish chain, La Quinta (one got excited about new hotel chains when your life revolved around one more city, one more turn down service), and while there was little to recommend it over any other in comfort or service, it was a gorgeous place as hotels go.

I'm usually not turned on by Spanish archetecture but this spread out building was fashioned more after a monestary than a commercial palace, and the arches and stucco niches filed with statuary actually did have a soothing effect on me.

We'd set the show and rehearsed by 1PM, so I wandered off to my room for a nap to the drone of CNN on the television as I was a free man until my suck up dinner with the client.

Weather moves fast in Texas. I woke at about 3 and not only was a gale force wind blowing, but it was snowing big fat juicy flakes.
I ran to my veranda and looked out onto the courtyard to make sure I wasn't hallucinating and that's the picture I carry with me.

The court was pure movie set...a partially tiled, concrete fountain, burbling in it's center, rich blue and bright red 3 inch terrazo in soft geometric patterns covering the floor of this open air room. Potted trees were scattered about as were lantana shrubs, all in bloom and lending both a burst of color and a lemony smell to the air.

It appeared every bit a room of the ancestral home of a conquistador, perhaps the foyer of a famous bullfighter or the court of a middle ages abbey. The colors lept from the tiles, so bright, so demanding they nearly took my breath away.

And then add to that snowflakes the size of cupcakes. As the wind was unable to penetrate the yard, the snow came down almost in slow motion, you could nearly hear the sizzle of melt as each flake touched the warm earth had the fountain not continued splashing and carrying on during the mini blizzard.

I heard a chattery bell ring long and hard from the other side of my room and walked back through to see what was making the racket. Swiping the glass door aside and stepping out into the blowing wind I noticed a gradeschool just across the street, the kids now blowing out the doors, screaming and pointing toward the sky.

It hadn't snowed in San Antonio in seven years, when these guys were still in diapers. And they ran and laughed and collected what they could to throw at their friends; and some stood as turkeys do during a midsummer rain...heads craned backward, mouths wide open straining to catch a drop of magic from the swirling, woolen sky.

Watching them I remembered what innocence was for just a moment, when all the world is a playground or ballfield and the most serious contemplation of the day might be "just how do they get the creamy filling inside Hostess Twinkies".

I ran the video in my brain for another 20 minutes or so, sautering from one balcony to the other, from mayhem to magnifico, from serenity to the sandbox. And then the sound of cars crashing and sirens bleating on the nearby freeway brought me back to reality with an angry wham bam.

I got a call to add an hour's rehearsal at that moment and reluctantly tore myself from my window, but at least for that half hour I'd been blessed; I'd seen heaven in Texas. And here I'd always thought it was a butt ugly state. Shows what I know.

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