Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 27

Posted: 5 Nov 15

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2015
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

Before long, the two tourists found themselves riding along the seawall in downtown Galveston. To one side of them were hotels and motels and fast-food restaurants whereas on the other side were the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Vince knew their next stop was only open a limited number of hours, during that time of year, and he wanted his passengers to enjoy it for as long as they could. With that in mind, the chauffeur drove directly to the next stop, ignoring many of the other interesting Galveston sites.

"Hey, 'dad', what are those pyramids over there?" asked Robert, as he pointed out the window.

But before Ken could answer, Vince spoke up and told the lad that that was their next stop. A place called Moody Gardens.

"What's that all about?" sarcastically asked Robert.

This time Ken got to answer and he told the lad, "Robert, Moody Gardens is a place that has an Aquarium, a Rainforest, a 3D Theater, a 4D Special Effects Theater and a Discovery area in one of the pyramids and a Waterpark. They just recently added a Ropes Course and Zip Line to their waterpark attraction. This is a great place for us to visit since it is raining."

As the limo turned the corner, to go to Moody Gardens, Robert pointed out the window and began to ask what 'that' was when Ken said, "That, son, is Schlitterbahn Water Park. Sorry, it isn't open right now as it is in the middle of winter, but it will open its indoor water park around Easter time. Maybe we can come back then."

"Could we?" the excited youngster asked.

"We'll see," was all Ken committed to.

Vince drove as close to the main entrance as he could before opening the vehicle's door so his passengers could exit and run through the rain drops to the inside ticket counter.

"Wow!" said Robert, as he entered the Aquarium Pyramid. "I never knew that this place ever existed."

"It's a long ride from where we live, so Moody Garden doesn't focus its advertising towards the San Antonio and Austin areas, Robert," answered Ken Thomas.

"But, it only took us a little over an hour to fly here and about the same time to drive here from our hotel", replied Robert.

"Yes, my boy, but how many people can just call up a plane and fly down here as we did?" asked 'dad' Ken. Then he added, "A car ride is a good five to six hours to Houston, from where we live, and another sixty to ninety minutes down Interstate 45 to get here. People just can't make this a day trip."

"Yea, now that you put it that way, I see what you mean," smiled Robert, as he said that. Then in his next breath he added, "Come on, time's a wasting and we have lots to see," while keeping his big smile and looking up to the man he decided to call 'Dad'.

The two began their journey through the 12-story Aquarium Pyramid as everyone else does by checking out the first exhibit, the seals. They came to learn that the Caribbean emerges as the largest and most remarkable exhibit in the Pyramid. After a short visit there, they began a downward walk that took them to more exhibits and a few hands-on interactions.

"'Dad', can I do that?" asked Robert, as he quickly walked over to where a number of children were standing.

Ken just smiled to himself as the lad asked his question while hurrying away from him and towards the small pool of water just to the front, and left of them.

As the man joined up to the boy, he called his 'son', he replied "Yea, sure, why not!"

"What?" asked Robert … "Oh, yea … I kind walked away from you didn't I? Sorry, it's just … well, I never been anyplace that allowed you to touch the sea creatures," continued the twelve year old.

Ken just smiled back at the lad and said, "I understand. Let's see what you have to do to touch them."

The Docent, the person acting as a volunteer guide, manning the Touch Tank, told the gathered children and their parents and guardians they could touch the sea creatures but only on their top and not to push too hard on them but to slide their finger across their backs.

Ken watched Robert gingerly roll up his sleeve and extend one finger down and into the water. The lad quickly retracted his finger when he felt the cold water and looked up to Mr. Ken with a question on his face. The man laughed at the boy's action and told the boy the ocean water is much colder than what we are used to and that he should try it again and not worry about the cold but to focus on the experience.

Robert again extended his finger into the water and this time he extended it towards one of the many star fish. He lightly brushed his finger across the top of the animal and a great big smile erupted on his face. As the lad moved along the sides of the tank, he got to touch sea annenimies, hermit and horseshoe crabs and a few other creatures located in the exhibit.

Continuing down the walkway they saw some life-sized models of five sharks hanging from the rafters making, in their own way, the announcement the two had reached the shark tank. Robert rushed over to the large acrylic windows and peered into the waters in awe of the size of the sharks swimming inside. As they continued on their self-guided tour, they walked through a 'glassed-in' tunnel that went right through the shark tank. There they got an even better up close and personal look at the sharks as they swam above and beside the tourists.

The two visitors continued at a steady pace as they walked through the Aquarium Pyramid. They saw all sorts of fish and sea creatures along the way, such as; sea turtles, eels and thousands of beautiful tropical fish swim overhead as they navigated through an underwater tunnel completely surrounded by the exhibit's one-million gallons of water. They also got to visit tuxedo-clad penguins in the chilly waters of the South Atlantic Exhibit.

They knew they had come to the end of the Aquarium tour when they reached the Gift Shop. Of course Robert just 'had to' walk through the 'sea' of stuffed ocean animals and other paraphernalia these types of specialty shops sell. Not finding anything there he couldn't do without, Robert agreed to continue their tour.

Continuing on their way, the duo came across the Giant River Otter Exhibit. They stopped to watch the animal's antics before continuing on to their next attraction, The Rainforest Pyramid.

"Jeepers, 'dad' it sure is hot in here!" exclaimed the pre-teen, as soon as he entered the Rainforest. "Why is it so hot in here?" came next.

"Well, 'son' they are providing us with a close up experience of what it would be like if we actually went to a Rainforest. This heat is just one of the many things we'd feel. Another would be the humidity, or moisture, that's in the air. The plants and animals in here need this type of environment in order to live. Now be careful, there are monkeys and parrots and other birds in here and they do their 'thing' where ever they are so you could be a recipient of one of their falling 'presents'," laughed Ken, as he answered the boy's question and added a bit more.

"Falling presents … what's that," asked Robert?

And, just then, a splat of white hit the walkway right in front of them, causing them to abruptly stop in their tracks.

"That … is what I mean by 'falling presents', my boy," laughed Ken, as he looked into the eyes of his 'son'.

"Yuk, that's gross," came back Robert. "I sure hope I don't get any of those kinds of 'presents' while I'm here," responded the lad, as he side-stepped the white bird dropping in order to continue the tour.

As the two walked up the ramp, they came upon an enclosure that required that they pass through two sets of double doors. As they walked through the first set of doors, they saw people inside holding out a finger and chasing out after fluttering insects – butterflies. Robert couldn't wait to get inside so he quickly opened the second door before the first one closed. That earned him an admonishment from a Docent who told the boy, "The Butterfly Enclosure is designed to keep the butterflies safe and your action might have allowed one to escape. Please allow the first door to close completely before opening the second!"

By that time, Ken caught up to his charge and listened intently to what and how the lady talked to Robert. She hadn't yelled nor had she deliberately singled out or even touched the lad. But, she sure did get the lad's attention and that of some of the other nearby children. Then her smile defused the admonishment. Ken liked her style.

Robert, expecting even more from his new 'dad', saw the ladies smile and an equal one on his 'dad' and then smiled himself as he politely said to the woman, "I'm sorry, ma'am."

Ken nodded to the woman with his approval of how she handled the situation and then gently nudged his 'son' further into the enclosure. Upon seeing some kids and adults with their fingers presenting a landing platform, Ken and Robert each held out their extended fingers, too. Soon, some very colorful butterflies landed on their extended pointer. Robert couldn't believe had actually had a real live butterfly on his finger and walked around in amazement to that fact. Eventually, Ken found a butterfly on his own digit and the two compared their 'catch'

The two became so enthralled with their observing and catching of butterflies, they each forgot about the heat and humidity they were being subjected to. That was until Robert mentioned how thirsty and hungry he was. Ken knew it was time for them to continue on their journey through the remainder of the Rainforest so he released his butterfly and winked to his 'son' he should do the same. This time going out of the Butterfly courtyard, Robert made sure one door closed before he opened the next one.

'Dad and son' continued their walk through the remainder of the 10-story Rainforest Pyramid. Along the way, they got to see some of the over 1,000 species of endangered exotic plants and animals. The two adventurers got up close encounters with cotton-top tamarinds, macaws, and other colorful birds, and they also caught a glimpse of a two-toed sloth. They also saw Saki Monkeys and Chinese turtles, a Leaf Cutter Ant Feeding Habitat, as well as Ocelot, Caiman Lizard, Chameleon, Chinese Alligators, interesting fish and other reptile exhibits. Robert was overwhelmed with all the sights to see in that Pyramid and Mr. ken vowed they'd return again one day.

It didn't take Robert very long to sniff out the smells of food and before long they found themselves in a line to get some food and drinks. As they sat down to eat, they noticed many more people standing in another type of line but it was not at a food stand. With his interest piqued, Ken got up and talked to a few of the people in line. It was there he learned they were in the theater area of one of the Discovery Pyramids and that he needed tickets in order to view any of the shows Moody Gardens offered.

After they finished eating, Ken and Robert walked over to the Theater Tickets box office. The attendant told them there were not only three different movie experiences but there were actually five different movies offered.

The Ticket person further explained there was an IMAX 3D that would keep you jumping out of your seat, with the experience so real you'll want to reach out to touch what seems to be only inches away. A 4D Special FX Theater that combined with special effects, such as wind, smoke, mist, leg ticklers, seat buzzers and SFX lighting and DTS surround sound system that immerse you in a unique short-film theater experience that is a thrill for all ages. And finally, a Ridefilm Theater which holds 18-passengers that surrounds them in a seamless 180° wraparound screen that fully encompasses each viewer's peripheral vision and offers an incredible experience that combines to make you a part of the action!

Ken checked the time and then looked at the Show Times.

"Robert … I'm afraid we won't have time to see any of these films. We arrived here sort of late and they close up earlier during the winter months plus I told Vince when to pick us up and it is close to that time now. But, I think we need to come back and really take our time going through all the Pyramids and at that time we'll make sure we view all the films they offer. I hope that will be okay with you, young man," announced Mr. Ken.

"Sure … I understand," immediately agreed Robert. "We've already had a full day … when you consider how much time we spent on the destroyer and submarine and then here, so I think that is a good decision. And, since we both agree, we should come back, maybe Eric can come along, too." Robert offered his 'dad' a big smile when he said that last sentence.

They soon met Vince where he dropped them off earlier that day. Since it was getting late, and they had about an hour's drive back to their hotel, Ken decided they'd eat in downtown Galveston. Vince asked if the man had any preference and finding out he hadn't, Vince drove to Willie G's Seafood & Steak House.

Robert couldn't believe the prices he saw on the menu. "'Dad' are you sure you want to eat here? It looks kinda expensive, don't you think?"

"Nothing's too good for my 'son', Robert," replied Mr. Ken.

Robert smiled when he heard the word 'son' and blushed at the same time. Just then, they heard the sound of a deep bass-like horn. "What's that, 'dad'?" asked Robert.

"Oh, I bet that's the Carnival Magic. It usually leaves on Saturday on one of its 7-day cruises. And, that's odd, it's just getting underway. It usually leaves about 4 PM and it is almost 5. My best guess is they had late passengers or the head count didn't match up so they had to double check their lists," answered Ken.

"There … look out those windows behind you, Robert. You can see it making its way out into the channel. You know, if we had waited to explore the submarine and destroyer until this time today we'd have gotten to see it pass right by us. Didn't you see the ship moored across from Seawolf Park when we were there earlier," asked Ken?

Robert thought back to earlier that day, and then replied, "I saw something white across from where we were visiting those ships but I was so busy checking everything out I just forgot to ask you about it and then the rain started. Sorry!"

"Oh, there's nothing to be sorry about. I was just surprised you didn't notice it, that's all," explained Ken. "Now, forget about the ship and these prices … we're here to enjoy a good meal and then head back to our hotel."

Later that evening, the two explorers talked about what they experienced that day. Ken Thomas listened to what Robert had to say about everything and was amazed at how excitedly the youngster described what he saw. Listening to the schoolboy's exuberance made him inwardly cringe at the thought of what his parents kept the youth from having in order for them to have money to buy themselves happiness, as they abandoned their only son.

"Morning, 'son," offered 'dad' Ken to his 'son' Robert.

"Morning, 'dad," replied Robert.

"Hope you slept well!" continued Mr. Ken.

"Yea, I did, and boy was I ever tired. I never knew how all that walking we did could tire someone out," replied Robert.

"You ready for another fun filled day?" teased Mr. Ken.

"Yup! Where we going this time?" asked Robert.

"I thought today we'd do some more tourist stuff and visit the San Jacinto Battleground Site and after that we'd tour the Battleship Texas," answered back 'dad' Ken.

"Kewl, I can't wait to see the differences between the battleship and the destroyer," responded Robert.

The two travelers got cleaned up and went downstairs to enjoy the mornings Breakfast Buffet. Ken watched his 'son' take a little bit of everything and place it on his plate and then bring it over to the table where Ken had sat down. Suddenly, the lad got up and went over and filled up a cup with orange juice before sitting down again to eat.

"Are you sure you can eat all that, Robert," asked a wondering Mr. Ken.

"Ah, sure 'dad' … all that walking yesterday not only made me sleep real well last night but also made me real hungry. Boy, they sure do offer a good breakfast here 'dad'. I'm glad you picked this place for us to stay," announced the lad.

Vince showed up right on time and he didn't have to wait for his passengers as they were already waiting for him at the front entrance. The chauffeur then opened the vehicle's doors for the man and boy and as soon as they were comfortable inside, the man headed directly for their stop –San Jacinto Battleground.

"So, Vince," began Mr. Ken, after being in the limo for a few minutes, "what have you heard about today's weather? I see the clouds are still here, but are much higher which tells me that it should only be an overcast day and not a rainy one. What are your thoughts on that, Vince?"

Vince thought for a moment and then replied, "Well, Mr. Ken, the weatherman on the radio, as I was driving to pick you up, said the day would be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain later in the day. I must say they sure missed their forecast on this weekend of sunny skies the whole weekend, but we are just off the Gulf Coast and things can and do change quite quickly down here. We'll just have to deal with it as we did yesterday if it does rain."

The two tourists rode for about an hour before Robert asked his 'dad', "How far away is this place? It sure is taking us a long time to get there."

Ken inwardly smiled at the impatience of his new 'son' figuring he'd have felt the same way if he couldn't wait to get somewhere, too. So, Ken used the car's intercom to ask Vince the lad's question only to find they were just pulling onto Independence Parkway and would be there in about twelve minutes. Ten minutes later, as they approached the Battleground, they could see the San Jacinto Monument standing tall in the morning sun.

Vince drove as close to the monument as he was allowed then stopped the limousine to allow his passengers to dismount. They made arrangements to connect two hours later, unless Mr. Ken called to change the time. The adventurer's then proceeded towards the white monument with Robert looking all over trying to take the whole site all in.

Mr. Ken acted as Robert's tour guide and began the tour at the theatre. The two watched a 35-minute film – Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto. Robert came away with a better understanding of the battle and was now more interested in learning more about the entire battlefield.

Their second stop was at the museum which, through its exhibits and rich displays of armaments and uniforms, gave an exciting retelling of the road to Texas freedom and Independence.

Soon, it was time for the duo to ascend the monument's 570-foot tower. Riding up the elevator, Robert couldn't stop smiling from his excitement. At the top, the two explorers' exited the elevator and immediately headed to the windows to view the battlefield below. They found the views spectacular and they couldn't get over the expanse of the area down below.

"'Dad'" is that the battleship we're gonna visit next," inquired Robert.

"Yes, Robert that will be our next stop after we've seen everything there is to see here. I hope that will be okay with you," teased Mr. Ken.

"Sure, this place is interesting and all, it's just … well, over there I bet I can see and touch things were as over here you have to imagine stuff. You know what I mean, 'dad'?" tentatively asked Robert.

"Yes 'son' I know what you mean but … this is Texas' History and you should learn about it and what better way than to visit the actual place this event happened. My bet is one day you'll be studying this battle, in school, and your just being here will help you understand what the teacher is explaining. And then maybe you could do a special project about it for class," responded Mr. Ken.

As the man finished, Robert looked up into his 'dad's' face and smiled. Then he said with a serious face, "I agree with everything you said 'dad' it's just … well, that battleship is a boy magnet and it's pulling on me real hard."

After saying what he did, Robert couldn't hold back, any longer, and laughed out loud at what he just said. Ken laughed along with his 'son' and then grabbed the lad into a big hug. The two then headed for the elevator and, as they waited for their turn to descend the monument, Mr. Ken called Vince and asked him to pick them up in ten to fifteen minutes.

"Jeez … look at the size of that ship compared to what we saw yesterday," exclaimed Robert, as they walked up the pathway to the Gift Shop to get their tickets. When they entered the building they were surprised at the number of people who were waiting in line to obtain tickets. Even though it was February, the Battleship Texas Historic Site is very popular and, with it being a three-day weekend, lots of people had the same idea as Mr. Ken and Robert had.

Tickets in hand, Robert couldn't wait to get onboard the large battleship and his first stop - the 20mm Guns. As soon as the lad entered the enclosure, he promptly sat down in one of the gunner's seats and began to turn the handles. As the gun began to turn, the lad jumped down as if he had broken something.

A nearby ships-guide saw what happened and quickly explained that most of the guns did indeed move to give the visitor the opportunity to get the 'feel' of what the sailor's had to do. The man then encouraged Robert to try the other seat. That seat made the gun go up and down. It was then another lad sat in the other seat and the two of them had that gun going up and down and right and left as fast as they could make it go. Huge smiles could be seen on both boys as they played 'gunner'.

"'Dad', 'dad' did you see? I got to play with the guns and I didn't even get into trouble. That guy over there said it was okay for us to make the gun move. It was awesome! I can't wait to see what other guns operate and what else I can try out. I can can't I 'dad'?" the exuberant twelve year old blurted out in one breath.

The nearby guide heard the question and, before Mr. Ken could answer Robert, the man said, "You sure can, young man. We've made everything as workable as possible without hurting you or anyone else, of course."

Robert just smiled and said, "Thank you," to the man, and then he grabbed Ken's hand and dragged him towards another gun.

Ken pulled Robert aside before he got too far ahead of him and reminded the boy they had as much time as they needed, or until they closed the ship for the day to see everything there was to see. He then got the lad to agree to take one deck at a time and to do the main deck last.

As the two tourists slash explorers climbed down to the ladder, it was obvious that Robert wasn't too happy. Ken saw the attitude the lad portrayed and pulled him aside.

"Robert … I thought we agreed to view all the available decks first and then finish up on the main deck so you could check out all the guns?"

"Yes, sir," mumbled Robert.

"Robert, what is it that is bothering you?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Ah … nothing," replied the lad.

"Yes, there is, 'son' and I can tell by your body language and your response right now that there is a problem. Look … we know we have a problem communicating, with each other, and this trip … well, it is supposed to help us break through that. Now … come on Robert … tell me what's bothering you. If you don't tell me I can't fix it and I can't understand what I need to do the next time we have the same situation," Ken relayed to the boy trying to get him to talk and tell him what was bothering him.

"Well …," began the boy but then he just stopped and looked down at his feet.

"'Son' … come on now tell me what's going on with you. Please! You don't hear me yelling or being mad at you, so I truly want to hear what you have to say," encouraged 'dad'.

"Well … I really wanted to see all the guns and play on them and work all of those that I could," a somber Robert got out.

"Then why didn't you argue that point when we talked about walking through all the open decks before finishing up on the main deck?" asked Mr. Ken.

"It's because I know how you adults are! When you want something, you convince us kids that is what's best and we have to go along even if it isn't what WE want," blurted out the twelve year old. "And, if I argued you'd probably end the tour and I'd never get to see any other parts of the battleship," lamented a now teary eyed pre-teen.

Ken grabbed the boy into a big hug and as he did that he said, "Oh, no, 'son' that is not how I operate. I may be the 'adult', but I'm only a little more than twice your age so I tend to think more in line of 'what would I want to do if I were that age', meaning your age 'son'."

"You do?" surprisingly asked the lad as he wiped the tears away from his eyes.

"Yes 'son' I do. I guess Eric never mentioned how we decided things when he went with us on trips. That was why I stopped you and talked to you about how we should view the entire ship. If you didn't want to come down here at first you should have said so. But, I think I understand where you are coming from when you agreed with my suggestion to view the lower decks first, because I was the adult.

"Now … since I know now what your feelings are about where we should have started, let's talk this over again and this time … give me your reasons for starting on the main deck first," explained Mr. Ken.

Robert just stood there for a few moments thinking. Then he responded by saying, "I'm sorry 'dad' for acting like I did when we came down here. I did listen to your reasons for starting down in the lower decks it's just … I guess I am afraid I won't get to do that, you know play on the guns, before we leave," the lad got out before he hugged into the man and began to cry because he thought of himself as being selfish right then.

Ken hugged the boy and rubbed his back for a few seconds and then said, 'Look, if you want … we can go back up the ladder and you can jump on a few more guns before we come down here and see the rest of the ship."

"Really?" a surprised Robert asked, while wiping his tears once again.

"Yep!" smiled Ken in reply.

"Okay … let's go," said Robert, as he quickly turned back towards the ladder and began climbing up to the main deck.

The two adventurer's spent a good thirty minutes on the main deck and Robert got the opportunity to sit on the 40mm quad guns and operate them as well as climb into the 3" 50 caliber position and get to feel how the sailors aimed it. The lad also had the opportunity to climb into one of the 16 inch gun turrets and see the massive gun up close and personal. They had walked up the Port side and down the Starboard side and after Robert had his fill they again climbed down the ladder to the first deck.

They decided to do the same on the lower decks as they did up top and walk one way along the Port side and then back on the Starboard side.

Their first stop was the soda fountain and what turned out to be a small shop that would have sold candy and gum and cigarettes and other things such as aspirin, band aids, shaving cream and loads of other things man would need to give them the 'feel' of home.

Mr. Ken had been on the ship before so he let the boy lead the way and answered the lad's questions if they weren't by the nearby placard. As they continued along, they came across the tailor's shop, the post office, the dentist's office and chair, and some crew bunks.

"'Dad', why are the bunks chained up like that? They weren't on the sub we saw?"

"You see, 'son', they don't want all the people trying them out as they are almost one-hundred years old and they do not want anyone to get injured if the bunk broke or they fell out," explained the man. "Oh," was all Robert said.

The two continued their self-paced tour and came across the officer's quarters and their dining room, all decked out with fine linens and silver serving pieces. Robert couldn't believe those men got to eat off all that fancy stuff.

Continuing, they saw the barber shop and where the detachment of marines bunked and kept their rifles. Robert also saw where the men showered and their latrine, or restroom. The lad commented on not wanting to have to use something like that to his 'dad' but was again told that what they had was the 'norm' for the time and they dealt with it. All Robert did was shake his head and think to himself how lucky he was to be born now and not then.

They also came across Sick Bay and the doctor's office and then Ken had to explain to the twelve year old the reason for the 'red' painted toilet seats. The man found it difficult trying to explain to the lad that men who had venereal diseases had to use those so they didn't infect anyone else on the ship.

Next, they came across the 'prophylactic' room and Ken had to blush some as he tried to explain what that room was all about. In the end, Robert had a general understanding of what his 'dad' told him but he also came away with the promise of a better explanation in the future.

When they came across the enlisted men's mess, Robert was surprised they had to use cold steel compartmentalized trays to eat their food on. Then when he saw the kitchen he couldn't believe that that's what they all had. Ken Thomas found himself explaining the 'facts of World War II' and space being at a premium on board.

"Dad' and 'son' then went down to the 3rd deck. Here they were able to see how the ammo got placed on elevators and taken directly up to the gun directly above. Robert was amazed at everything that he saw down below and what those men had to endure while they served on the Battleship Texas.

Upon returning to the main deck, Ken asked the boy if he was finished playing on the guns. Getting a subdued nod indicating he was, Robert began walking to towards the ramp and the exit. When he realized his 'dad' wasn't walking with him, the boy went back to the man and smiled as he asked, "What … is it your turn to play on the guns?"

Ken laughed along with the boy's attempt at humor but then replied, "We aren't finished."

"What? We did the main deck and the two open decks below. What else could there be?" quizzed the lad.

All Ken did was to look up and Robert followed along with his gaze. "You mean we can go UP there, too?" And getting a nod meaning 'yes' the boy called out, 'Come on … what are we waiting for."

The top two external walkways were open to the public to climb up too and so Ken and Robert made their way up the eighteen foot height to the navigation bridge. They then made their way up to the flag bridge. From the extended heights of both decks the two travelers had awesome views of San Jacinto and the active waterway. They spent twenty minutes enjoying the views and talking about the ship in general.

When it was time to go, and just before climbing down to the main deck, Robert gave his 'dad' a great big hug and thanked him for bringing him to that awesome 'boy magnet' and apologized for the way he acted earlier on the tour. Ken just ruffled the boy's hair and hugged him back and told the lad he understood and said that they had to talk to one another, no matter how embarrassing, or uneasy, it may be, if the two of them were going to communicate better with one another.

The traveler's walked and browsed through the Gift Shop while waiting for Vince to bring the limo around to get them. Ken did buy Robert a few coins that represented the Texas Battleship and a t-shirt as a reminder of that wonderful day.

Vince had waited for the two 'tourists' to finish their tour of the Battleship and then had opened the door to the limo for them to enter.

"So, where to now, Mr. Thomas," asked the driver.

Ken talked to Robert for a few moments before telling Vince, "How about we head down to Kemah Boardwalk. There, we can get dinner, at one of the many restaurants, and maybe a ride on a few the rides, or vice versa."

The drive took about forty minutes and Robert's eyes lit up when he saw the compact amusement park from the top of the causeway as they traveled south to the park. It wasn't long after that the traveler's found themselves being dropped off in front of the Boardwalk Bullet, Kemah's signature wooden rollercoaster.

Just then the clouds opened up and the rains came down, hard.

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