What is it about Texas cities and me that I always get lost? I simply never see those non-existent street signs. And highway names? Don’t get me started.
After a roundabout, Oola and I finally found the Alamo, which is good because she had her heart set on seeing it and insisted I not give up.
So, like some folk tell that tell me they had a bad art teacher and that’s why they can’t draw, I think that I had less than stellar history teachers, and so never learned to like history very much. But unlike those who refuse to overcome their educational misfortunes and try to learn to see through drawing, I refuse to keep my ignorance when I can find a way out of it.
So, we went to Alamo plaza and looked around. I read everything put before me, and listened intently to the docents. There was lots of glorious praise going on for the heroes who died there. And lots of negativity for that nasty Santa Ana.
And things were starting to feel lopsided. I looked around – and something about Ripley’s Haunted Adventure and Guiness World Record Museum across the plaza, and something about the homeless man I saw being arrested, and the sleaze bar and pawn shop around the corner – these unconnected somethings started nagging at me. I have gone to school long enough to have a good Bull-Oney sensor. And I found my Bull-Oney antennae on high alert. When I saw all those blank face people sitting and listening to the Daughter-of-Texas, the one with the microphone telling “The Story” with well practiced adulation, questions started rising up in the back of my head.
Land. I have a dim memory that the US Government was giving away lots of land to “settlers”. And – if you can accept that land can actually “belong” to anyone – who did the land belong to? Was it the Mexican Government? Maybe it belonged to the Tejanos who wanted to be free of Mexico. Maybe even the indigenous people who had lived on the land for thousands of years had a right to call it home. But it was the promise of land that brought more than one Anglo to the Alamo.
And then, let’s see…1836. Wasn’t slavery an institution in the South at the time? And wasn’t there a political struggle in the Country over a balance of Slave and Free States? And wouldn’t that strife have existed in Texas? And might that have been one of the less than glorious causes, uncited in the Daughter’s recitation, for the battle that took place at the Alamo?
And what about Austin’s land grant from Mexico? Wasn’t he selling tracts of it for growing cotton, and bringing in the slave economy, which was illegal in Mexico at the time?
And that stuff about the defenders gloriously facing certain death – I read later that not all the volunteers knew that they had been branded “pirates” by the Mexican government and that there would be no prisoners of war taken.
Hummmm. slavery, land grabbing, speculation, confusion — The story is a little more complex than I see portrayed here on the Plaza.
But the shade was nice, And the walls you couldn’t touch were impressive. Oh, and the Koi were very nice.
Time to head for home.