Travel from the cold and snow of Emmetsburg to the sunshine and warmth of San Antonio and jump into tech world: Smart Phones, iTouch, iPod, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nook (e-reader) and everything else I don't have. It was an interesting winter holiday.
Throughout my stay in San Antonio, I heard the house phone ring once. The smart phones were used for texting more than telephoning. Everyone in the family checks frequently for text messages. They can answer faster typing with their thumbs than I can type at the computer. And speaking of the computer, I rarely saw anyone sit at the regular computer station. They all access the internet on their phones.
One evening a friend sent the site "When Parents Text." Here's the scene I witnessed: dad, mom and two teenage daughters sprawled across the bed, all on the same site on their phones, laughing at examples of "parent texts." One caught my ear about the parent who texted his/her son with a shortened version that meant "just trying this out to see if you get my text." I think (I know) I've done that, but I didn't tell the four who were laughing.
I hate to make it sound like I know nothing about technology. My knowledgeis just a bit limited. And, the GPS on the smart phone makes the portable Garmin in my car nearly obsolete.
What would I like that I don't have? Probably an e-reader, either a Nook or a Kindle. I truly like to hold books and newspapers in my hands and turn the pages, but I also like the convenience of the e-reader. And did you know you can download books from our own library?
The best part of my family's obsession with their smart phones: they were off limits during a meal. And since the youngest does not have a phone of his own, it amused me when he asked, "Dad, can I play with your phone?"
We enjoyed mild temperatures in San Antonio. It was nice to be walking outdoors without having to wear layers of warm clothes.
We made our annual visit to the River Walk. The walk has been extended in the past couple of years and we went on foot to the far end where the barges don't run, but where the Rio Taxi traveled through the lock with passengers on board. We have seen the locks on the Mississippi River and at Sault Ste. Marie, MI. This is a smaller version and was interesting for the kids to see the dam and locks.
We greeted 2011 from home, watching the huge crowd on television that had gatered at the Tower of the Americas. It appears to be the San Antonio version of Times Square, except down south they shoot off fireworks.
As with every vacation, it's great to be home. But every year I hear the same question, "Wouldn't you like to move here, Grammy?" Probably not. As much as I like being warm, I think I can endure sub-zero winter temperatures in Iowa better than the over 100-degree summer days in San Antonio.
Congratulations to my daughter-in-law, MSgt Jennifer Whitmore, who is retiring from the U.S. Air Force this month. She is retiring after 22 years of active duty. Her retirement ceremony is at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Thank you, Jennifer...for your service to your country...for the sacrifices you and your family have endured...for being an example to your fellow citizens...for your dedication...for your integrity...for being away from home for long periods of time...for your commitment...for being a fine American.