July 6-7, 2014: A Visit With Frank and Joe
May 15-30, 2014: Our Summer Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2014


July 1-6, 2014
Guy Blair Moves to San Antonio


 

For some time now, our friend, Guy Blair, has been planning on retiring from active church duty in South Dakota and moving back to San Antonio. He has been working out all the particulars with his order, and in conjunction with their closing their bed and breakfast, Ruckman Haus, Ron and Prudence will be moving into the main house and renting their former apartment over the garage to Guy. Guy's last day as an active priest will be June 30th, and so Fred and I have planned on flying to South Dakota on July 1st so that one of us can ride with Guy in the truck with his belongings and the other of us can drive his car.

 

Getting Guy to San Antonio

On the morning of July 1st, Fred and I prevailed on our friend Greg to drive us to the airport, where we caught an early morning flight to Sioux Falls.


Guy met us in the airport at Sioux Falls. On the way to his car, I snapped a picture of Guy and Fred in the Sioux Falls airport. We piled into Guy's car and he drove us over to Chamberlain where his U-Haul truck was parked at the church. We thought we would be helping him load it, but it turned out that a couple of his church members had helped him do that already. We just took a quick look around his rectory and then Fred and Guy got in the truck and I got in Guy's car and we headed off.

Fred and I had driven to see Guy in Chamberlain last year, so we were pretty familiar with the route. Nevertheless, I brought along my portable GPS to guide us through the first part of the trip, which took us south from I-90 in South Dakota, through Nebraska and across I-80 and down into Kansas. We stopped for dinner near I-80, and reached the town of Concordia, Kansas, at about the time we needed to stop for the night.

The next day, we continued south and our highway turned into I-135 and then eventually I-35 for the rest of the trip south through Kansas, through all of Oklahoma and on into North Texas. We got to my house about four in the afternoon, where we parked the truck out front and stayed for the night.

The next day, July 3rd, we made the last leg of the trip and Guy's move by driving down to San Antonio.


We might have taken the same vehicles to San Antonio, but then that would have meant that Fred and I would have to fly home from there, so we increased our caravan by one vehicle. Guy drove his truck, Fred drove my car and I continued to drive Guy's.

Our three-vehicle caravan left my house about ten and arrived at Ruckman Haus (I will have to learn to stop calling it that and now call it "the Ruckman's house" about four. Guy and Fred had stopped for some lunch and by the time I learned they had done so, I had passed the exit they took, so I decided just to continue down to San Antonio and wait for them there.

They arrived about 45 minutes after I did, and Guy's move from Chamberlain, South Dakota to San Antonio, Texas, was complete.

We spent two more days down in San Antonio with Ron and Prudence; on one of those days, Prudence had tickets to go see Kansas downtown. We'll just organize the few pictures we took this week by topic.

 

Walking Jax in San Pedro Park

On July 4th, Fred and I walked over to San Pedro Park with Prudence, so she could take Jax for a walk.


The Ruckmans live just a block north of the park, so we enter from the north by the Tennis Center, and walk down past the playhouse to The Circle.

From there, we just made a big circle through the park and around San Pedro Pool. Jax can be a handful sometimes as he is always wanting to run around and see and smell everything, but Prudence does an excellent job with him.

The pool is usually quite crowded, but I don't think it had opened yet today, so we pretty much had the park to ourselves, and we enjoyed our one-hour walk with Jax.


The pool is probably the main attraction in San Pedro Park; it is spring-fed (although sometimes, when the springs are not running, I think they supplement it with city water). But there are interesting trees and lots of pathways you can follow. Fred brought his camera along, and we used it to take some pictures; you can click on the thumbnail images below to have a look at them:


We enjoyed the walk, and it is always good for Jax to get exercise, 'cause then he isn't nearly as hyper. (Taking him to "doggie daycare" at Lucy's has the same effect.)

Hanging Out at the Ruckman's House

Of course we spent a fair amount of time around the house, where Ron and Prudence are in the process of combining the Sun Room and the English Room into their new master suite now that they are moving into the house. The project is midway through; most of the work has been to knock down the wall between the two former guest rooms, re-do the floor where the wall had been, and then repaint the entire suite. At the moment, the areas not involved in the demolition have been taped off to minimize the dust. The pictures of the project may not be interesting to anyone but the principals, but if you want to have a look at them, just click on the thumbnail images below:

Now that the Ruckman's house is no longer an official bed and breakfast (they have some guests that have stayed so frequently over the years that they have become friends, and Prudence and Ron still plan on allowing them to stay in the former Luxembourg Room or the French Room), they don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to fix breakfast. But on one of the days we were there, they reprised their chef/hostess roles for Guy, Fred and I as well as Nancy and Karl who have also come down this week. Here are a couple of pictures of them at work:

One afternoon, Nancy and Karl came over to see Guy, and I took some candid pictures of everyone in the Ruckman's living room; they aren't particularly great, but you can click on the thumbnail images below to have a look:

On the 5th, Bill and Ron set up a grill out on the back parking apron and grilled hamburgers and sausages and we had the first such dinner I can remember ever having at the Ruckmans. Fred took a picture of Karl, Prudence, myself and Guy on the garden patio eating our supper, and you can see that picture here.

At Nancy's House

We also made a trip out to Nancy's house where she served us some lunch and we hung out in her backyard.


Nancy has a really nice backyard at the home in suburban San Antonio that she bought a couple of years ago, and Fred and I took some pictures that you can look at. Just click on the thumbnail images below to do so:


As an experiment, I tried to create a panoramic view of the back of Nancy's house, but I was a bit too close when I took the shots, so the perspective is exaggerated:

 

The Rock Group "Kansas" at the Aztec Theatre

On July 5th, Prudence and Ron treated all of us to a performance by the 1970s group "Kansas" that was performing at the Aztec Theatre in downtown San Antonio.


Our Group at the Palm Restaurant

Before the performance, Prudence took us all to The Palm, a restaurant just a couple of blocks from the theatre, which seems to be their favorite restaurant in San Antonio. They are frequent diners there, and everyone seems to know them. We had an excellent dinner, and our waiter took the picture at left.

After dinner, we walked in a group the two blocks to the Aztec Theatre.

Built in 1926, the Aztec Theatre is a notable example of the impressive exotic-theme motion picture palaces constructed in the United States during the economic boom of the 1920s. The Kellwood Corporation, owned by Robert Bertrum Kelly (the architect on record) and H.C. Woods, constructed the theater in 1926 with the financial backing of Commerce Realty at a cost of $1.75 million.

The Aztec Theatre was part of the Theater district that included the Empire (1914), the Texas (1926), the Majestic (1929), and the Alameda (1949).

Though the theater remained highly popular for many decades, by the 70s, it was in decline. It was cut into three auditoriums as the Aztec Triplex, but this only slowed the eventual. In 1989, the Aztec closed. Since October 1992, the theatre has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which helped save it from demolition.

Based on San Antonio’s Riverwalk, the second most popular tourist attraction in Texas, the new Aztec Theatre re-opened in August 2009 as a concert venue, first hosting "San Antonio Rose Live"- a two-hour live show featuring traditional country, western swing, and gospel music. That show closed in early 2012. In September, 2013, the theatre was leased to a group that turned it into a multi-purpose event center, which hosts public and private functions, as well as providing a venue for musical acts.


The Atrium Lobby of the Aztec Theatre

The Aztec was designed by the firm of Meyer & Holler, and it is decorated with vibrantly-colored columns, sculptures, furnishings and murals, many of which are authentic reproductions of Meso-American artifacts. Hanging in front of the stage is the original fire screen, a painting depicting the meeting of the Aztec ruler Montezuma II and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in 1519. The interior of the theater is embellished with fixtures, furnishings, relief carvings, sculpture, plaques, painted symbols and architectural elements inspired by the Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Toltec, and Mayan cultures. The theater is housed in a six-story office building.

A massive two-ton chandelier dominates the theater lobby. Added to the theatre in 1929, the chandelier has been completely restored by the grandson of the original designer. The chandelier was installed the same day the stock market crashed in 1929.

The Aztec Theatre is quoted in Patricia Schultz's travel book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die; while it is certainly an interesting place, I would think that it would appear well down Schultz's list.

The concert itself was designed for Kansas fans who were familiar with their music. Only a couple of the original members are still performing, and their songs reflect the unavoidable deterioration of the voices of those original members. Most "legend" groups and individual are like that, though. One simply can't expect a sixty-year-old singer to sound like he did when he was 30. For all that, they did a couple of songs I remember and liked, but the sound was so loud in the theatre that I listened to most of the concert from the lobby just outside.

But we all enjoyed the evening, and thank Prudence a great deal.

We enjoyed helping Guy get moved down to San Antonio, and are so pleased that he has found so pleasant a place to alight to begin his retirement. We think that he and Ron and Prudence will all be good for each other.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


July 6-7, 2014: A Visit With Frank and Joe
May 15-30, 2014: Our Summer Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2014