Monday, May 07, 2007


December, 1966, San Antonio, Texas

Every Christmas season, Joske's department store in downtown San Antonio would transform the toy department into "Fantasyland."

And every year just before Christmas, my grandparents would take me (Buck) and my younger brother, Brad, for a weekend stay in San Antonio so that we could visit Joske's "Fantasyland."

Fantasyland was absolutely incredible.

You'd walk in and be greeted by a talking reindeer that would be sitting up on the roof of this gingerbread-type house. Then, you'd walk through where Santa's elves would be working and you'd get to ride a little train. I loved the train.

Then! You'd get to meet Santa, tell him what you wanted for Christmas, (that is, if you were a good little boy) and get your picture taken.

That year, I wanted an electric train and a Sno-Cone machine.

(Well, also an Easy-Bake Oven, but I figured one of my little girl friends wouldn't have a clue how to work it and I'd get to show her how.)

I was SO excited about getting to go to Fantasyland!

My grandmother "Budgie" and my grandfather picked us up for the 70-mile trip to San Antonio. We checked into the Crockett Hotel downtown and then walked over to Joske's. It was sheer heaven.

My grandfather deposited us in front of Joske's and went off to run some other errands. Budgie then took Brad and me up the escalators where the toy department was.

And there it was! The entrance to Fantasyland!

There was the talking reindeer, just like last year.

Only this time, the talking reindeer gave a pretty unusual greeting:

"Well, hello there, Buck! Hi there, Brad! It sure is good to see you boys. Welcome to Fantasyland!" announced the reindeer.

Oh! My! God! That reindeer knew our names!!!

I almost passed out. Brad and I just stood there with our little mouths hanging open. It was the absolute most incredible thing I'd ever experienced!

Well, it turns out that the errand my grandfather had to run, was to run up ahead of us and alert the young woman who operated the talking reindeer of our arrival and our names.

Is that a wonderful grandfather or what? He often did stuff like that.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I must have been a good little boy that year. I got the electric train. And the Sno-Cone machine.

And it turns out that my little friend, Judy, was completely clueless with her Easy-Bake Oven.

Dumb girl. Ukh.

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At 11:30 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...


At 1:50 AM , Blogger Bunny Lynn Boofay said...

Them sounds like some real nice memories, Darlin'...

Huggs, etc...

At 10:27 PM , Anonymous MHP :) said...

Dooder, I do love this story!! *smiles*

And this sno-cone machine looks very similar to the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine I had when I was a kid--I wanted one so badly for my birthday...I even still remember the song: "You put ice cubes in and the fun comes out, yum yum fun is what it's all about!" *hee hee*


MHP :)

At 10:48 PM , Blogger Red7Eric said...

How cool. Grand-dads are the best. Hey, I'm headed to San Antonio in a week or so. Will likely get a hotel room on the riverwalk and relax while I'm not working ... looking forward to it.

At 11:09 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Eric - If you pass by the Crockett Hotel downtown, give it a warm hello for me. I spent many a weekend there as a kid.


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