Well I was right about one thing: west Texas was the worst part of our trip thus far. We definitely traded the enchantment of New Mexico for the ordinariness of Texas. For the first three hours, all we saw were cows and oil fields. Then for a few hours we saw some desert. Finally, we concluded with about four hours of of unchanging grassy hills and trees.
Objectively, there was certainly an appeal to it all. I had never seen oil fields, the rock plateaus in the desert were pretty iconic, and the green area was nice. But there was also nothing particularly awe-inspiring or novel about any of it. The fields could have been just about any state in the midwest (and seemed to never end!); had we not just driven through Arizona and New Mexico, the desert and plateaus might have seemed more grand, but we were kind of numb to them at that point; and if you’ve ever driven through western New York or Pennsylvania, you’ve seen four hours of Texas. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh and it’s the fatigue speaking, but we absolutely struggled through the entire trip.
There was one major redeeming part of the trip, however: San Antonio. I’d say that the trip was worth it if for the River Walk alone. If you’re not familiar with San Antonio, think Venice with its river running through the city and places to see as you walked, but without the smell and with Texas flags and Mexican food everywhere. It was gorgeous, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening. As the sun set, we got some much-needed exercise walking around the city, stopping for a delicious dinner outside mere feet from the river and passersby. If I lived in San Antonio, I would definitely make it my main place to relax, read, eat, and of course, people watch.
Again wearing my habit, there were few humorous moments. Since the city is named after St. Anthony of Padua, there is a giant statue dedicated to him on the walk. Naturally, I got a picture with him. As it could only have happened, we stopped just as a riverboat tour guide was talking about St. Anthony. It was a great surprise for the tour to see a friar in real life, and I had a laugh as I called out to the inquisitive, and confused, boat full of people sailing by. It was great fun had by all!
By the time we got home, the friars were back from the day’s work, and we had a good time getting to know each other. Dog-tired at that point, we didn’t stay up too long, but it was great to see more of our brotherhood in a new place and to see how the charism is being lived out in yet another part of the world.
Unfortunately, though, this is a road trip and so we must get back to the road. Today, as I type this actually, we are on our way to New Orleans. There has been a lot of flooding in Houston and east Texas so we might have some problems along the way, but we’re hoping to get to “The Big Easy” before dinner so we can see the city and find the best place to get some cajun food. If you have any suggestions, send them our way. If not, thanks for reading, and please keep us in your prayers as the week goes on. We’re halfway through the trip at this point, and speaking for myself, the lack of sleep, long days on the road, and unhealthy food is really starting to take its toll on me! Until next time, we’ll be here just getting through Texas on our way back home!
If no video appears, click here to see our trip from yesterday.
I have been reading your ‘breaking the habit’ and enjoy it very much. My first assignment was to San Antonio and the statue of St. Anthony one of my favorite images in the city. Wish best wishes and prayer, friar Jack Lydon, OP
Thanks friar Jack! This blog has gone from inter-provincial inter-mendicant!