Thursday, May 19, 2011

Small Kolaches & Big Airports

I didn't have the pleasure during this visit to Texas of going to the central Texas town of West, home of Czech Stop, a bakery well worth stopping at if you're south of Dallas but north of Waco on I-35. The kolaches are superb. I've never actually been there myself -- and how I forgot to stop there in '09, I don't know -- but my brother Jay and sister-in-law Deb picked up a box of the bakery's creations and brought them to San Antonio last week. I enjoyed a couple of fruit kolaches and a sausage roll before we ran out.

A Czech bakery in Texas isn't the oddity it might sound like to non-Texans. Czechs have been coming to Texas in some numbers since not long after Stephen F. Austin came, though most came in the years before World War I. The ever-informative Handbook of Texas Online has an article about Czechs in Texas.

I flew to Texas this time via Denver. That sounds like an out-of-the-way route, and it is somewhat, but that's what you get when booking Southwest; Chicago-Denver-San Antonio was the best price at roughly the time when I wanted to fly. Besides, I also wanted to look around Denver International Airport, which I still think of as the "new" airport in Denver, even though it's been open for 15 years. Not that I ever flew into Stapleton. When I came to Denver in 1980, I was on a bus.

I barely got a glimpse of the distinctive white roof of the airport on the return trip, when I had a window seat. It's supposed to evoke the snow-capped Rockies, and maybe it does, but I thought of teepees. A small town of teepees way off on the Colorado high plains somewhere.

On the transit to Texas, I had a chance to look around Terminal C, since my connecting flight was a little late. It's a spacious place, and you feel when looking out the windows that you aren't really near anything else. Which is true. The airport is far off to the northeast of Denver proper, occupying 53 square miles or so, enough acreage to make the facility expandable to accommodate space planes, if it ever comes to that.

During my transit back to Chicago, I barely had time to catch my connecting flight. Naturally, it was at the other end of Terminal C, so I was huffing along, not quite running, to get to the gate. Which brought to mind O.J. Simpson, once upon a time,
running through an airport with panache. That was the pre-murdering-his-ex-wife O.J., of course, but looking at the commercial again after so many years, I have to ask: just why was he running so fast, not to catch an airplane, but to get to his rental car?

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