Hi! My name is Flat Max and I'd like to share my adventures with you.
My adventure started when I was mailed in a nice white envelope to my Mimi and Poppy's house in San Antonio, Texas. The trip was a little bumpy, but it wasn't too bad. I slept most of the way. When the mail carrier delivered me to my grandparent's house, I was so excited. I almost couldn't stay quiet. It felt like I was waiting forever, but finally, Mimi opened my envelope.
"Surprise!", I yelled as I jumped out.
"Flat Max!" said Mimi, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here for a visit, Mimi. Are you surprised? Can you show me around San Antonio, so I can tell my friends all about it?"
"Of course, Flat Max. Hey, let's go see Poppy. He's in his office working. I bet he will be excited to see you!"
In my Poppy's studio.
Mimi and I walked into Poppy's studio. Boy was he surprised to see me. He told me he had a couple of meetings to finish, but as soon as he was done we could start our adventures.
Poppy said I could hang out while he finished up. He even let me sit in on a meeting. It was wild. There were so many people in the meeting. There was a lot of talking going on. I could hardly keep up.
Poppy is a designer at USAA. USAA is a big bank and insurance company that works with people who are or were in the military and their families. He is responsible for a lot of big projects that USAA does all over the United States.
Since I was here, I thought I'd help and give Poppy some design advice. I think he really liked my ideas!
While Poppy finished his meetings and Mimi got ready to go out, I thought I would go play with their dogs. Mimi and Poppy have three dogs – Duke, Mylo, and Sophie. I was surprised that they remembered me! They were so happy to see me they were licking my face. Duke is the oldest of the three dogs. He is about 14 years old and likes to hang out with Mimi a lot. He usually lays down on the couch most of the day and only gets up when it's time to eat or go outside. Duke loves belly rubs and scratches behind his ears. Sophie can be a little shy. She stood behind the other dogs when they came to greet me, but she quickly warmed up. Sophie has a funny walk. She wobbles when she steps, kinda like an egg. Wobble, wobble, wobble. Mylo is definitely the friendliest and most curious. He was quick to greet me and lick me to say hello. I was so full of puppy kisses, I thought I might have to change my shirt!
Riding with my Poppy
The next day, Poppy had to go to his office at USAA for several meetings. He invited me to tag along, so I did. My Poppy has a brand-new Harley Davidson motorcycle. When the weather is nice, he drives it to work. We lucked out. The weather was nice and he was going to ride to work. Poppy let me go with him. I was really excited to go for a ride, and just a little bit scared.
When I admitted to Poppy that I was afraid, he said, "Don't worry Flat Max, I got you. I will drive slowly and carefully, but if you are too scared, can take the car to work." "No," I said "I can be brave. Let's roll!"
With that, Poppy folded me up and put me in his shirt pocket, right next to his heart. I could feel it beating. It helped make me feel better. It was really fun riding with him. Before I knew it we were at his office.
Max visits USAA
The USAA building is huge. Poppy told me that if we walked from one end of the building to the other and back, it would be 1 1/2 miles. The USAA Headquarters was once the longest building in the United States. I could see what he meant. It felt like being in a really big airport!
I can't tell you everything I saw because of security reasons, but what I can tell you is they have a lot to do there. They have three different Starbucks and they even have a man that drives a Starbucks coffee cart to different parts of the building so people don't have to walk to get coffee if they don't want to. I'm too young to drink coffee, but Poppy let me have an apple juice and a cake lollipop. I liked it very much!
Because USAA is made for people who have been in the military, they have lots of military things. Poppy took me to the hall of flags where they have flags from every state. Poppy showed me a flag from Puerto Rico and told me a little bit about our family. Some of our family I have never met because they still live in Puerto Rico. Maybe someday I will. He also showed me an Air Force uniform in a case and told me a little about his time in the Air Force.
Time passed by quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to go home.
My great grandparents
My great-grandparents live in the house right next to Mimi and Poppy. It was nice to have dinner with them several times while I was visiting. My great-grandpoppy told me about our connection. We share the same name.
Great-grandpoppy told me I am one of several Eleazars in our family. My great-grandfather's name is Eleazar Hernández. My poppy's name is Eleazar Hernández, Jr. My daddy's name is Adam Eleazar Hernández, and my name is Maxwell Eleazar Hernandez. So we have four Eleazar's in the family.
My great-grandpoppy and great-grandma are from Puerto Rico. When they were young, they moved from Puerto Rico to New York City. That's where they met. They had four kids and one of them is my Poppy.
Great-grandpoppy told me we still have lots of family in Puerto Rico. Maybe someday I can go and meet them.
After dinner, my great-grandparents told me several stories about how they grew up in Puerto Rico and how they raised my Poppy and his brother and sisters in New York City. We also listened to some great salsa and merengue music. I think the artist's name was Marc Anthony. I like his music. It has a great beat and made me want to get up and dance!
Buckle up for safety
Whenever we took a car ride to get somewhere, I always buckled up for safety! One morning, we got up early and had a quick breakfast. Mimi told me we were heading downtown before it got too hot. Our plan was to do some sightseeing in downtown San Antonio.
I wish I was a bit taller. It was a little hard to see out the window because I am so short, but that's ok. I will see a lot once we park! Woo hoo!
Art in San Antonio
Our first stop was downtown San Antonio to see the murals painted by local artists.
Here I am with my Mimi in front of the first mural we found.
We went around town to see all the art. There's lots of it. We found several that I really liked—a superhero mural near a comic book store and a mural that was an art exhibition for Black History Month that showed different skin colors.
I'm hiding in one of the photos below. I bet you can't find me!
Down at the Riverwalk
No trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the Riverwalk. We went down to the Riverwalk to have lunch. The temperature here is pretty much the same all year round. In February when we went down for lunch it was about 72 degrees. It rarely snows in San Antonio. Believe it or not, people down here don't even have winter clothes.
Walking on the Riverwalk I saw tour boats floating by. San Antonio is the number 1 tourist spot in Texas. The boats were full of people and the driver of the boat was telling stories about San Antonio and the Riverwalk. Mimi thought it would be fun to go for a ride, but I was too hungry. I was ready to eat.
Eating at Joe's Crab Shack
We stopped to eat at a restaurant that Mimi and Poppy like very much. You know, they told me they even brought my daddy here to eat. Joe's Crab Shack is a seafood restaurant right on the Riverwalk. We got a seat facing the river and were able to see all the people walking past and the tour boats floating by.
Another place to see if you ever come to San Antonio is the Alamo. Many people have heard of the Alamo or the Battle of the Alamo. Well, the Alamo was a quick walk from the Riverwalk. When we arrived, there were so many people. Lots of tourists and locals. Everyone walks around and enjoys the sunshine. There are lots of little shops along the street that faces the Alamo. They are full of souvenirs and little gifts for people to buy. There wasn't anything there that interested me so we just walked around a bit to see the parts of the Alamo.
Flea markets don't have fleas!
Another day, Mimi told me she wanted to take me someplace different. We went to a place called a flea market where lots of local people sell things. I was a little nervous because I thought I was going to get fleas!
I started to cry a little in the car, but Mimi said, "Oh Flat Max, you won't catch fleas in a flea market." She told me that the name flea market comes from a long time ago. Some people think it may have come all the way from France.
Mimi was telling me some interesting things, but my tummy started to rumble and I started thinking of ice cream. I'm going to have to ask her about flea markets again. As soon as we eat. I'm hungry!
Armadillo… that's a funny word.
At the flea market, there is a big, huge armadillo. It's something they call a logo. They have a huge statue of an armadillo so we took a photo with it.
Did you know armadillos sleep during the day and hunt at night? I'm not sure what they eat, but Poppy said they were omnivorous. That means they eat plants and animals. I guess that's kinda like us. We're omnivorous, right?
The armadillo has big claws for digging in the dirt. And their body is covered in bony plates. They look like tiny tanks! So cool! Armadillos live in the southern part of the United States in places like here in San Antonio, Texas. I sure hope I get to see one before I leave.
Oh no! DIno attack!
Only kidding! At the flea market, we found a cool store with dinosaur statues in it. I thought it would be fun to see if I could sit in its mouth. I guess you would call this dinosaur a "Nibble-on-Flat-Max-osaurus".
The dino store was filled with lots of dinosaur toys and shirts and candy and all kinds of things. Mimi let me pick out some gifts for all of you before we left. I hope you like them!
Meet the bracelet lady!
I had such a good time at the flea market. I walked around and saw some interesting stores and met really nice people. There sure were a lot of Texas flags and stuff around here.
Before we left we stopped at a store where a lady was making bracelets. I don't remember her name, so I called her Miss. Bracelet Lady. She was nice. She let me pick out a bracelet for each of you. She even took a selfie with me! Hooray!
Guinea pigs before bed
Every night before I went to bed, we had to take care of Mimi's guinea pigs. She has two. One is named Luke and the other is named Peanut. The one in the photo to the right is Peanut. Mimi is their foster parent because Luke and Peanut don't have a home of their own. She takes good care of them.
Mimi feeds them, gives them their medicine, and makes sure their cage is clean. I thought it would be fun to help. I really like Luke and Peanut. Luke is pretty big and a bit heavy, but I was able to hold on to him. Peanut is the opposite. He is small and very light. When I held Peanut, he purred like a kitten.
After we cleaned their cages, we have them their nighttime medicine and fed them a bowl full of vegetables. The piggies like lettuce, green peppers, cilantro, parsley, and carrots.
One of the last things I did during my visit was go to the rodeo. The Tejas Rodeo is a smaller rodeo that happens every weekend in North San Antonio. There are events like cattle roping and bull riding, you know the things you'd think of in a rodeo. The bull riding is scary. Those bulls are big. And mean.
I guess I would be mean too if someone tied a rope around my belly and tried to ride me. When I started to think about the animals in the rodeo, I started to get sad. Mimi and Poppy noticed I wasn't really enjoying the rodeo, so we left.
Maybe the next time I come I will feel better about it.
Well, that's all! I wanted to create this mini-trip webpage to keep track of anything I might not have written in the box Mimi and Poppy mailed off for the class. I hope to see you real soon!