It is Fiesta season here in San Antonio. Our cousin, Mr. Globetrotter, was visiting from Houston this weekend, and asked, “What exactly is Fiesta?” Everyone – okay, it was only 3 people, but I still felt a lot of pressure – looked at me. Not because I am particularly smart. I just happen to be the person who has lived in San Antonio the longest out of the four people who were in the room. Which, apparently, gives me no special powers, as I quite honestly had to say, “I have no idea.”
Here is what I do know about Fiesta:
It is approximately 10 days of parties and parades.
We get off school on Friday for a “Battle of Flowers Parade” – which no one I know actually attends.
When I was in college, my sorority worked at one of the Fiesta events. I volunteered to sell tickets. We were locked in a wooden booth about 9 square feet to keep us “safe”. One night, we were told to stop selling tickets because there were too many people inside. When we announced that we could not sell any more tickets, one not-so-congenial drunk threatened to set fire to our booth with his lighter. I can pretty much trace my fear of being confined to that one intoxicated pyromaniac.
If you are younger than 10, your favorite part of Fiesta is the cascarones, the hollow eggs filled with confetti. It is customary to break these open over someone’s head. Many people do not understand that you are not actually supposed to use the person’s head to crack the egg. Hence, there are many people walking around with concussions and multicolored circles falling out of their hair.
If you like crowds of people stumbling into you with towers of beer cups, Fiesta events are the place to go.
If you like live music, Fiesta events are not the place to go – unless you also happen to enjoy crowds of people stumbling into you with towers of beer cups while you are trying to listen to good music.
If you like stumbling around with towers of beer cups, it’s probably best if you don’t attend the River Parade, where your chances of stepping off the sidewalk into 6 feet of water is increased by 10 for each beer cup you have in your stack.
As you can probably tell, I am not sold on the whole Fiesta extravaganza. Other than the day off from school, I am pretty ambivalent about this city-wide event. It’s fun to see everyone in a good mood. But, I can’t imagine why parades, drunks, and excess amounts of fattening food do not excite me.
After all, I moved here from New Orleans.
Anyone who has ever met my husband, Cap’n Firepants, will probably agree with me that “spontaneous” would not be included in his list of character traits. Unless you were to say, “He is a man who might spontaneously combust if you throw him into unpredictable situations.” Therefore, on the Cap’n’s 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I felt that I was doing him a favor by at least giving him a card with the directions to not plan anything for the last weekend in March. I felt like two weeks would be ample time for him to prepare for an “unplanned” adventure. In retrospect, it does not seem very logical, I suppose, to tell a man whose father had a heart attack on his 40th birthday that I am going to take him to an unknown place using an unknown method of transportation to participate in unknown activities at an approximate date and time.
I finally revealed where were going the day before the trip. Cap’n Firepants seemed happy to be leaving town, and that we would be using the automobile as our sole method of transportation. I probably could have told him that we were heading to a shack in Death Valley, and he would have been fine as long as we didn’t have to fly.
As usual, several factors conspired to make us leave later than planned. Which added to my stress level because I had another surprise waiting for him in Fredericksburg – our destination point. But, we finally left town, and I allowed him to choose our route as long as he promised not to offend my virgin ears with streams of obscenities if we ran into any traffic. Which we did. And he didn’t.
We arrived in Fredericksburg, and I immediately rushed the Cap’n to drop off our bags at the hotel and walk to Main Street, declaring that we had reservations at a local restaurant, the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, for dinner.
We did not have reservations. As a matter of fact, Fredericksburg Brewing Company does not even accept reservations. And that could have ruined the next surprise.
Entering the restaurant, my moment of truth swiftly greeted me. If something didn’t happen before the hostess swooped on us, I was going to have to admit that we had no reservation, and the Cap’n was going to
think receive further confirmation that I am a lunatic for rushing him for no reason. Or, I could start yelling at the hostess, claiming that someone on the phone had taken my reservation, and demanding to be seated at once. Thereby making it Cap’n Firepants’ worse birthday gift ever because he is absolutely mortified by any public confrontations. The last time I asked the waiter to bring a straw that he had promised, the Cap’n turned beet red at my gall.
But then the Cap’n saw them. Our cousins, the Globetrotters, seated casually at one of the tables, waving. They had driven down from Houston to help him to celebrate his
heart attack special birthday.
Surrounded by family – and the immense beer stills of the brewery – the Cap’n was finally able to relax. Of course, that’s only because he didn’t know that I had a couple of other surprises up my sleeve…