Continuing the tradition of getting lost at the Kairos conventions

Published 4:49 pm Monday, August 23, 2010

We were in San Antonio, Texas, for the Kairos Prison Ministry Summer Convention, since your Uncle Bob is the Mis’sippi Rep to that body’s International Council. Betsy went with me, since she has worked in Kairos for over a decade, and was the chair of the state Kairos Outside council, a ministry for families of incarcerated people. We also had a sales booth for a new Kairos Praise & Worship CD produced by the MS Kairos Music Team, so she was running that show.

We got to the Convention early, so had time for an Alamo visit, to the which I have a family connection. Colonel James C. Neill was the Commandant before Colonel Travis, and his pregnant wife had complications, so my kinsman requested leave to take her where there was access to better medical care. Travis relieved Neill in the middle of February, 1836.  On March 6th, General Santa Anna hove into view with over 6,000 Mexican soldiers. You know the rest of that story.  The 189 Americans (only eleven were actually from Texas) killed over 600 Mexicans before they were massacred and their bodies piled in front of the fort and burned. Colonel Neill was leading a relief column from General Houston, but too late.

So, my bride and I got to visit the Alamo before the Convention kicked off, getting us busy with book and Karo business. But one evening “Jaw-Juh” Peach Alice offered to wo-man the booth so we could visit the downtown Riverwalk, maybe even take a boat ride, but be back in a couple of hours.

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Here at Brownspur, you ain’t got to pay to park your car or pickup. But if you venture into downtown San Antonio, someone is going to take your money to park, one way or t’other. We found a little parking lot for six bucks, a block and a half from the Hyatt Hotel, and left the Mercury to head for the River.

Which ain’t half as wide as the Mammy Grudge Canal behind my house, barely wide enough for two of those boats to pass when they meet. Nevertheless we loaded on with 25 or 30 other tourists, and really enjoyed the water tour.  I recommend it.  We left the boat dock hand in hand, whistling to a bamboo pipe tune, feeling romantic. It had been a good time, and when we strolled up to street level and scanned tall buildings, there was sho’nuff a Hyatt Hotel, merely six We circled the Hyatt, but nothing looked familiar to me, although

Betsy had had an early-morning bus tour, and most every thing looked familiar to her. Since I’ve had Lyme Disease, with the resulting memory loss, I just held onto my guide’s hand and trusted as we walked in increasing circles around that Hyatt. No white Mercury; no familiar parking lot. My hands began to get that sweaty feeling as the knot formed in my stomach. We were not lost – there was the Hyatt right there – but our car certainly was! Or maybe stolen?

We finally went into the Hyatt and asked the desk lady where the street was that we remembered the parking lot being on. She promptly pulled out a map and marked where we were, and where the street was – many blocks apart!

Don’t ask me why. I mean, looks like they’d finish building one in each town before they go to building a second anywhere, especially just a few blocks apart. We ain’t got a Hyatt at Brownspur yet, for instance.

By now, it was late at night; we were downtown afoot in a big city. I did not have a weapon except for a pocketknife, which doesn’t handle well against gangs, particularly when one’s hands are sweaty. Betsy wasn’t holding mine any more, but I figured hers was probably sweaty too. We passed the Alamo twice again.

We finally found the Merc, but when we got back to the booth, our Peach had closed up shop, along with everyone else: they’d gone to bed long before.

Getting lost is getting to be a Kairos Tradition for your Uncle Bob! At the last two Winter Conferences in Orlando, it’s gone on for hours, going and coming. You can take the boy out of the country, but can’t take the country out of the boy!