Slice of Life Day 9 of 31: Journeys (my theme for March)
I’d seen that the weather was supposed to take a drastic turn to cold from the 88 degree highs we’d had Monday and Tuesday in San Antonio, Texas, but I wasn’t prepared for 39 degrees with whipping winds on Wednesday morning (areas just north of me, I later learned, were getting snow). Two days before, I’d had to purchase a t-shirt in the Alamo gift shop to shed my sleeves, and now no amount of layering was warm enough even with every single one of the layers I’d packed. I rolled up tiny bits of Kleenex to stuff in my ears to keep the cold wind out as I waited on the Hop On, Hop Off Bus in what felt like an arctic wind tunnel.
I set out to have a bowl of hot chili and a longneck (in the name of tradition) at the Buckhorn Saloon, said to be the oldest saloon in Texas, established in 1881 by 17-year-old Albert Freidrich. Teddy Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders here, and it is also rumored to be the place where Pancho Villa planned the Mexican Revolution. As the chili began thawing me out, I caught a glimpse of movement down by my feet in my peripheral vision. My first thought: Oh no, this place is infested with rats! I took a closer look and discovered there were little birds hopping around on the tiled floor, seeking refuge from the cold, looking for crumbs of food. I threw down some crushed crackers for them, silently humming His Eye is on the Sparrow….and I know He watches me….
Little sparrows seeking refuge from the wind and cold
When you enter the Buckhorn saloon, you see taxidermied animal heads and antlers hanging all over the walls and ceiling. Since most travelers of that day didn’t have much money, the young founder started giving beer or whiskey in exchange for antlers or horns or jars of rattlesnake rattles. You can even see that some of the art is designed from rattlesnake rattles if you visit the Buckhorn Saloon museum upstairs. Also, the Texas Ranger Museum is connected, and Texas Bob himself, decked out in full Davy Crockett attire complete with a coonskin cap, will assist you in your ticket purchases at the door.
It’s a sobering experience to stand inches away from museum guns with little placards that tell the history of who owned it and who they killed with that particular firearm – and why, and who killed them in turn shortly thereafter – and why. The west was wild, and the rangers appointed themselves the protectors of the borders back before there was any established law enforcement.
Today, I give thanks for warmth of heat and safety of travel. And the good Lord knows I’m thankful that I didn’t have to kill a bunch of rattlesnakes to sip hops at the Buckhorn.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.