last time my family made the five-hour road trip to Galveston
Island (a.k.a. The Playground of the South), we didn't get much
playtime. Instead, we spent two solid days in the cavernous Moody
Gardens Convention Center waiting for the few precious minutes my
eldest and most expensive daughter would take the floor to compete
with her high school dance team, usually when I was sprinting back
from the men's room.
This time, though, my wife had a three-day business conference,
and we had plenty of free time to melt our credit cards while getting
to know the touristy side of the Texas coastal city my three daughters
now fondly refer to as "Galvy."
An added bonus of the trip was that my wife's conference was held
at the palatial and historic Hotel Galvez, "historic" meaning the
worrisome noises made by the plumbing are commonly blamed on ghosts.
Because our three daughters don't provide us with enough drama on
their own, we brought along two of their friends and were placed
in the hotel's spacious and extra-historic Presidential Suite, which
we crammed with air mattresses, rollaway beds and enough towels
to soak up the Port of Galveston. In other words, we promptly transformed
our luxurious suite into an overcrowded youth hostel dormitory.
Our first outing in Galveston
took us downtown to the historic Strand district-"historic" meaning
the stunning 19th-century buildings now house a seemingly endless
assortment of shops selling designer ankle bracelets, lavender-scented
candles, fashionable summer footwear and other dad repellent. Luckily,
this teen-shopping wonderland also includes the occasional ice-cream
parlor, like the fabulous La King's Confectionery, where father
figures can drown their resigned indebtedness in a massive vanilla
No trip to a seaside town is complete without a fully equipped slog
to the beach, the mention of which always mysteriously renders my
daughters too weak to carry more than their cell phones and sunglasses.
Although some discriminating travelers prefer the sugary sands and
turquoise waters of the Alabama and Florida coastlines, I was pleasantly
surprised by the wholesomeness of the scene-aside from a couple
of nearby beachgoers in neon thong bikinis surrounded by a medley
of crushed beer cans and cigarette butts. They were sociable enough,
though, and informed me that they had been best friends since their
My two older daughters spent most of their beach time contorting
themselves into cute poses for selfies and fashion pics, while my
younger daughter amused herself by pelting me with balls of chocolate-brown
Galveston sand that always managed to invade the rear waistband
of my board shorts. We enjoyed the beach for several hours, but
by the end of the day, the so-called rash guard concealing my dad
bod had chaffed my lower chest region until it looked (and felt)
like it was adorned with two scorched and slightly furry pepperonis.
of our trip was an afternoon of thrilling attractions on Galveston's
historic Pleasure Pier-"historic" meaning we continued the long tradition
of dropping a couple of C-notes on a glorified parking lot carnival.
Because my youngest daughter has yet to enter her cognitively-impaired
teen years, she prefers that I accompany her on the more leisurely
rides that are less likely to require rescue by emergency personnel.
Unfortunately, one of the rides she chose was the Pirate Plunge, a
buccaneer take on the good ol' flume ride, with two splashdowns that
soak your underwear with enough log water to make you walk funny for
the rest of the day.
The older girls avidly sampled every ride on the Pleasure Pier that
involved hurling their bodies though violent, high-altitude gyrations
until their stomachs were lodged in their sinus cavities. In fact,
my middle daughter derived so much pleasure from the Pleasure Pier
that her face turned almost every shade in a 64-count box of Crayolas
when we went to supper that evening. Thank goodness I was there to
eat all of her Chicken Tinga Nachos for her.
Overall, we had a historically terrific time on our latest visit to
Galveston. And if my unmentionables ever dry out, we hope to make
a return trip.
Until next time, Galvy!