This December, when I string my lights and trim my tree and light my menorah, I have four new friends to help me ring in the holiday cheer. Four miniature ceramic figurines, to be exact. Dressed in wintry clothes and perched on patches of white faux snow, my people are all busily headed somewhere. One lady, clutching a bag of wrapped gifts with another under her arm, is “walking” so swiftly her scarf flies behind her.
It could be worth another look through that musty box of family records before packing it into the corner of the attic, or worse yet, sending it off to the shredder.
The Alamo. Utter those words and nearly every Texan sees in their mind an iconic image: rugged and defiant Davy Crockett wearing buckskins and a coonskin cap. Well, actually most of us envision either Fess Parker or John Wayne playing Davy Crockett, but the outfit remains essential-ly the same.
What do you do when the souvenir you want is illegal? That was the question I asked myself as I drove down a narrow, two-lane road to Luckenbach (pop. 3), about 70 miles west of Austin.
A frequent visitor to Galveston, I’m used to sighting sea turtles, dolphins, wading birds, pelicans, and even penguins. Penguins?
It was a case of mistaken identity. I thought I was Wendish, a descendant of that group of Eastern Europeans who fled religious oppression by the Prussian government in the 1850s.
She was my last purchase of the day, though to say I bought her makes the whole thing sound tawdry and cheap. But this was a cash transaction. Money changed hands. She was mine for the average price of a movie ticket.
The flea-market phenomenon known as Canton’s First Monday Trade Days dates to the 1850s, when traders brought dry goods , produce, and livestock to sell on the courthouse square.
I step out of the jewelry store into the sun, quite pleased with my new purchase—a pair of silver teardrop earrings that now dangle delicately from my earlobes. My new, one-of-a-kind earrings had set me back only $40, and best of all, they were handcrafted out of sterling silver by a passionate local artisan.
Wherever I travel, I seek out independent bookstores. They help define a city’s character for me. That said, I don’t collect books. I don’t seek out first editions, limited-edition autographed copies, or obscure European folios. I buy books simply to read them, and I love reading more than almost any other activity in the world.
The same thing happens every year, usually the weekend after Thanksgiving: We unfurl the Christmas lights, unearth our box of ornaments from the garage, begin unwrapping decorations—and a flood of memories washes in. Each piece has a story. There are the Texas-themed ornaments we bought in Gruene several years ago—a Texaco gas pump, an armadillo in a stocking cap, and various El Día de los Muertos skeletons. A construction-paper heart lacquered with glitter that suspends a photo of our daughter, then 2, now 6. Then there’s the vintage-style pretzel ornament purchased after pancakes along San Antonio’s glittering River Walk.