Fiesta’s two big street parades are set to resume in April, but people will need to quiet down when passing through Alamo Plaza, as it is now part of the historic site’s ‘reverent zone.’ Air horns, amplified music from floats and ‘shouting and other celebratory behavior’ will be prohibited for parade participants and discouraged for the public….
Flip side of above postcard: “The Mexican Candy seller is a typical sight on the streets of San Antonio. Dressed in his native garb and selling a kind of pecan candy peculiar to Mexico which he alone seems to have the secret of making more toothsome than anyone else.”
Pecan pralines that melt in your mouth. The perfect finishing taste after overdosing your Mexican food with spoonful after spoonful of addictive salsa and jalapenos.
In 1910, there was one praline vendor who dominated the market in San Antonio, Tomas Contreras (1847-1912). I “met” him when I was researching my recent book, An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and Yes, She Shot Him Dead. I stumbled across a full-page obituary for the Candy King in one of the local newspapers.
Tomas was born in Guanajuato and arrived in San Antonio with his mother Juanita in 1877. In the kitchen of their rented house on Matamoros Street, Juanita made what everybody claimed was the best pecan candy. She would dispatch Tomas to sell it downtown. He would take his basket and head to Alamo Plaza near the Menger Hotel. The Menger soon invited him to sell inside the lobby, positioned next to their popular blind harpist.
You have been judging my posts, as always, for the past six months, picking and choosing whatever piques your interest. For several years, the focus here has been on travel, relying on extensive use of photographs. Well, 2020 certainly cut short this blogger’s boulevardier ways, so, instead, I have “gifted” you with my novel about the sensational 19teens’ tale of the doomed relationship of Hedda Burgemeister and Otto Koehler. More than thirty chapters of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and, Yes, She Shot Him Dead are now posted on this site.
The good news is that more of you have clicked on the Introduction and Chapter One than any other post since July. The flip side is less flattering; there was a steep drop off in readership by Chapter Two. Numerous chapters ranked in the top dozen of this biannual roundup, but, for the sake of variety and not to encourage skipping around in the book the way I read Moby Dick in high school – every fifth chapter (Did I miss much?), I am omitting them from the list. Am hoping for some more feedback from you, my beta readers, as this release continues.
Beyond that, you seem to still appreciate my efforts at populating Brackenridge Park with ghosts, railing about whatever in the world is happening to Alamo Plaza and spinning tales from vagabond times. And perhaps you are looking for miracles ahead in 2021.