Galveston holds a host of perspectives for each of the 6 million folks who visit each year. Most experience sand and sea, arts and entertainment and maybe even romance. For islanders, you may add world-class health care, a tropical festive climate and life at golf-cart speed.
My ideal method to explore the island somewhere near Texas is through the eyes of a very fun-loving, insightful young lady, my 7-year-old granddaughter Nicole. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce should consider renting 7-year-olds out to tourists! OK, maybe not — but they might team up with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
As a retired professor, Papa did extensive research on all of the week’s possibilities. Even then a few were missed. Papa’s conference at the San Luis ended the week before and, thus, Nicole’s favorite swimming pool was replaced with the UTMB pool — not a bad substitute. The oil spill was cleaned up, so no more need for volunteers.
Our adventures began with a trip to the Rosenberg Library enrolling in the Summer Reading program. Nicole was not so sure about this until she got a T-shirt, great books and the possibility of a toy. We read during quiet time each afternoon, keeping Papa out of the heat.
The cultural agenda highlight was a private ballet lesson with Monica at the Body Space studio concluding with a magnificent original ballet performance, tutu and all. Other cultural visits included Joey at the Historical Warehouse, art studios, drive-by tours of historic homes and where children without a country go to school.
A super traffic jam diverted Papa from the sand castle event on East Beach to the wharf. Dolphins returned to the channel to frolic for Nicole on the harbor tour. Captain Wes turned the helm over to seasoned hand Nicole; something Papa never got to do. Even the captain of the Triumph let Papa stand at the helm — no, not on that trip.
As the days rushed on, we took the ferry, the Jungle river ride, played miniature golf (tough course), ate over the water, test drove the RV to Dogs at Dolphin View and enjoyed Mr. Incaprera’s band. Dinning at Rudy and Paco’s, Nicole learned from Chef Denise what it takes to achieve your dreams.
Family doings included a visit from our friend Susan with gifts of an heirloom child’s chair and strawberry pie. There was Schlitterbahn, the beach, Moody Gardens (who knew butterflies came in envelopes?), bike rides, La King’s and another harbor tour. Whew!
Yet, so much left still to do. We could only wave to George as he drove by in the Duck Boat, rush through the antique stores, wait till next year for Galveston College softball games, fishing, the Pleasure Pier and view Derek’s murals at the Railroad Museum.
Nicole finished all of her books as an enhanced reader. Now she can read this and help plan next summer’s trip. We will have at least two more new museums to visit — can’t wait!
Alvin Sallee of Galveston is a frequent contributor to The Daily News.