The Tour of Texas Day One

by admin on March 8, 2011

in Education

Tour of Texas WarshipAnother 5:30 am meeting time and departure! The seventh such since I started teaching at Kings Academy. I never sleep well the night before. I lay awake or barely asleep thinking of all the things I have to do before leaving.  And my work has increased exponentially since my son came. In spite of this fact I still love these trips. I do my best to mix in new stops and experiences every year. This is both for me and returning students.

The first day is packed but fairly routine. I’ve made these stops many times over the years so I make an effort to focus on something different each time I visit these places. The first location is the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Two of his homes are situated on the grounds, along with his law office and other adjacent structures. Houston is a larger than life figure who accumulated one of the most impressive resumes in American history. A visit to his homes in Huntsville serves to humanize his legend, but in a certain sense makes his accomplishments resonate even more.

San Jacinto TX MonumentOur next stop of the day was the USS Texas. Its massive guns are always a favorite for the students. For me it’s the mundane elements that are most intriguing. The mess halls, on board post office and comm. centers all remind me that there were actual lives being led in those spaces, and the men aboard were trying to maintain any possible sense of normalcy.  Most impressive for me is the battleship’s history. Turns out the Texas turns one hundred this year! Its keel was first laid in 1911, and it served through two World Wars and the Korean War.

The Last stop of the day was of course the San Jacinto Battle Field. Now I have been to this site countless times so I left the class to the thirty minute movie and the trip to the top of the monument and I went to walk over the ground where the battle was fought. It never ceases to excite me when I can visit a historic location whose stories I know so well. “Here is where Lamar’s cavalry rescued Sherman,” or “here is where Houston was wounded in the leg…” I’ve viewed the field from the tower but this was the first time I’d had the chance to view it on my own from ground level. I reconnected with the story.

TX FishAs a closing side note the Houston traffic was of course a bear as we headed to the south west. And since the GPS wanted to send us down “shorter” routs we decided to have dinner while traffic died down. We stumbled into an authentic Mexican restaurant called Taqueria Arandas. I immediately sensed that we had chosen wisely when the television featured a Mexican sketch comedy show, and it seemed most of the kitchen staff was only fluent in Spanish. It was a terrific meal! If the rest of the trip goes as well as that dinner I’ll be one happy man by the end of it.

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