Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Eli 9.10 went to San Antonio for a field trip with his class the last week of school.

"Dad, we're going to The Alamo," he said, as he left for school.

"Bring me a piece back, would you?" I asked.

That afternoon, when he got back home, I was in my study.

"Dad!" he said, bursting in. "You won't believe it?"

"Won't believe what?" I said. "I won't believe that The Alamo was exciting. Anything else, I'd believe."

"No, it was totally boring," he said. "But I GOT YOU A PIECE." He held out his hand and showed me this:


"You didn't, like, take a sledgehammer to the Alamo, did you?"

He started laughing. "No, it just fell off."

Gloria walked in to the study. "I think we need to talk about this," she said, ominously.

"Mom, I swear, I--"

He and Gloria started laughing their asses off.


Sure, you can look at it and say, "That looks nothing like The Alamo." But I lacked a frame of reference for dealing with what was seemingly a stolen piece of The Alamo.

This was an act of revenge.

The weekend before his trip to The Alamo, Eli and Gloria went to Inner Space Cavern, and the cavern has an interesting history:
Inner Space Cavern was discovered by a Texas Highway Department core drilling team in the Spring of 1963. While drilling through 40 feet of solid limestone, the bit broke into what is now known as Inner Space Cavern.

They wound up diverting an interstate to accommodate the cavern, or rather, so the interstate wouldn't collapse.

I'd been there, a long time ago, and Eli was pumping me with questions, being a little nervous about his first trip into the mythic structures he'd read about so often. I answered all his questions, reassuring him that there was nothing to worry about, and that there would be absolutely nothing dangerous.

Well, almost.

"The only thing I can think of that you need to look out for are cave bears," I said.

"WHAT? You're joking," he said.

"Not joking," I said. "You know about blind cave fish, right? They lose both their vision and their pigment over time, because the cave is in absolute darkness. Cave bears are like that, too--blind and albino. Great senses of smell, though."

"How many are there?" he asked. He was nervous, but trying hard not to show it.

"Oh, not many," I said. "It's not like there's enough food down there."

"But we're---oh," he said.

"Listen, it's not really that dangerous," I said. "I mean, you'll hear the roar."


"Sure, and you're tiny compared to the grown-ups," I said. "Why would a bear go after you first?"

"You must be joking," he said.

"No," I said. "I am absolutely joking."

"I'm not sure I--you ARE joking!" he said.

"Yes, I am," I said, and I started laughing.

"How did I believe THAT?" he asked, slapping his palm on his forehead. "How do I not KNOW BETTER?"

"Because I'm good," I said, and he started laughing.

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