September 6 & 21, 2006: Some Miscellaneous Pictures
August 6, 2006: Ron and Fred's Birthdays
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August 25-27, 2006
Prudence Ruckman's Birthday in San Antonio



Prudence Ruckman's Birthday


August 24th is Prudence's birthday, so Fred and I planned on going down to San Antonio at Ron Ruckman's request to help Prudence celebrate. Also in attendance would be Ron Ruckman's nephew, Isaiah, who was visiting from Illinois, Frank Roberts and Joe Wells from Leakey, Carolyn and Michael Shofner, friends of Ron and Prudence, and Fred and myself. In case you haven't visited an album page for one of our visits to the Ruckman's Bed and Breakfast in San Antonio, below are a picture of it and two small maps showing you where it is located.


San Antonio Near San Antonio College

Ron, Prudence and Ron's nephew Isaiah picked us up at the airport after our delayed flight down from Dallas, and we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory for some dinner on the way home, where we arrived fairly late. Before retiring for the evening, I spent a few minutes in the dining room working on the laptop to get it ready to show Prudence and Ron our vacation pictures from Glacier NP the next day.

Fred had a florist send down a lovely arrangement of flowers and he was kind enough to add my name to the card. Prudence had given the arrangement the place of honor as the centerpiece in their dining room, and you can see a few pictures of it here (taken by Fred), and here (also taken by Fred), and here (taken my me).


Visiting With Frank and Joe


Saturday morning, Frank and Joe arrived to help Prudence celebrate her birthday. Frank, of course, was good friends with Prudence and Fred when they were all growing up and going to school in Fort Worth; he has known her nearly as long as Fred has. So they made the trek in to San Antonio from their place in the Hill Country near Leakey. Since they hadn't had lunch, we headed off to get a bit to eat, and Fred and I got a chance to ride in their new truck.

Of course, Frank and Joe were part of the group at Prudence's birthday dinner (more on that in a minute), but Saturday afternoon we all had a chance to relax and talk; the "relaxing" part was particularly attractive for Frank and Joe.

After dinner, Frank and Joe treated the group to a short performance of what they do at Garner State Park and at various venues across Texas, venues such as the Texas State Fair and the annual Folklife Festival in San Antonio. Frank, known in the State Park System as the "Singing Park Ranger," treated us (and I apologize in advance for the darkness of the movies) to some western songs (left-hand movie player below) and Joe, who accompanies him, treated us to some cowboy poetry (right-hand movie player below).


On Sunday morning, Ron prepared one of his delicious breakfasts. Since Ron and Prudence started the B&B, he has been the "Breakfast" in "Bed & Breakfast" and he does a great job. It's all I can do to keep from switching my one big meal of the day from dinner to breakfast, but on this particular morning, I couldn't resist a serving of Ron's "Berry Medley" (shown here prior to the addition of the whipped cream).

After breakfast, and after Ron had cleaned up and their other guests had departed for the day, he stopped to chat with Frank and Joe and Fred got an opportunity to take a more formal portrait of Frank and Joe.

We knew that Frank and Joe had to start out for home later in the afternoon, but we wanted them to meet the two friends that we ourselves had met for the first time at Greg's house in Palm Springs the year before. Brad and Will have something of a long-distance relationship, with Will living in San Antonio and Brad living in Austin. Getting back and forth, as it turns out, takes only about twenty minutes longer than it takes me to get to Fred's house, although for them, the time of day is even more of a factor than it is for me. In any event, we knew that Brad was down for the weekend, and we'd planned ahead of time to get together. The two of them dropped by Ruckman Haus and we ended up having quite a far-ranging and enjoyable couple of hours of conversation. The six of us decided to go have a very late lunch (or early supper, depending on your point of view) and we ended up at the Canyon Restaurant at The Quarry. Left to right in this picture ae Joe, Frank, Brad, Will and Fred. Similarly, this picture shows Joe, Frank, Brad, Will and myself. After our lunch/dinner, we returned to Ruckman Haus, talked a bit longer, and then both Frank and Joe and Brad and Will departed.


Prudence's Birthday Dinner


The whole reason for our coming down was to help Prudence celebrate her birthday, and we all did that on Saturday evening. The location was Sorrento's Italian Restaurant, a place that Prudence and Ron visit often, and one to which they've taken Fred and I on occasion. In attendance was the entire group, shown here just before we left for the restaurant. In this picture, taken by Isaiah, are, left to right, Carolyn and Frank, Ron and Prudence, Joe and Michael and, in front, Fred and I.

The dinner was very enjoyable, with Ron playing his role as host extremely well. Carolyn had brought the birthday cake, although we decided to return home after dinner and have it there. In this series of pictures from dinner, you have Michael, Carolyn and Fred and then Frank and Joe and then Isaiah and finally Ron and Prudence. To bring it all together, I took a movie of the entire group having dinner, and you can watch it with the player at right.

We went back to Ruckman Haus where Prudence got cards from everyone, and there was the usual routine of passing them around. She cut her cakes, and we enjoyed cake and coffee and conversation until quite late. In these last pictures, Fred caught Carolyn and Prudence enjoying some cake and, later me, Carolyn and Michael having some sort of discussion. The evening was a great success, I thought, and I sincerely hope Prudence enjoyed having her close friends with her for the celebration.


Leaving for Home


On Sunday evening, after Brad and Will and Frank and Joe had gone, we had a chance to sit down with Prudence and Ron for a while and relax. One thing that Prudence wanted to show us was the new entry for the private deck on the roof above the Sun Room. You may remember that the Sun Room (her most popular room) has an inside spiral staircase leading up to the rooftop deck. With the old entry, you had to stop at the top of the stairs and manually push up a metal cover to get up onto the roof. For a long time, Prudence had thought this inconvenient, and hard for some guests to operate. We had discussed having a sliding cover, which would mean that guests would not have to push up a heavy door, and we thought that the deck could be covered in a raised wooden slat platform, so that the stairway cover could slide under the platform and not take up valuable deck space. The architect thought that there might be leakage problems with that design, so they settled on a small, windowed anteroom that sits over the staircase. When you reack the top of the staircase, you simply step onto the roof and open the door to get out on the deck, and the stairway no longer has a cover that has to be pushed up, since the anteroom protects the stairway from the elements. The design is interesting, so, below, you can see a view from inside the Sun Room showing the spiral staircase leading up and a picture of the new rooftop vestibule:


Ron and Prudence took us to the airport about 7:30 so we could catch our flight home. This was right at the time after the "plot" to use liquids to blow up airliners was discovered in Britain, and we wanted to get to the airport early to check luggage. But we arrived back home without incident and on time. The weekend was enjoyable for us; Prudence and Ron are always excellent hosts and great company.


September 6 & 21, 2006: Some Miscellaneous Pictures
August 6, 2006: Ron and Fred's Birthdays
Return to Index for 2006