Nick had brought a belt buckle that he has had since before I met him 45 years ago on the trip. The belt can’t be repaired but it can be replaced. We called Allen’s Boots, and they said they could help him. So, after packing and saying good-bye to Nicholas, whose flight was before ours, we took an Uber to Allen’s Boots on South Congress Street.
Allen’s couldn’t really do the necessary belt replacement themselves, but they recommended Texas Custom Boots, which was a short walk away. When we arrived there, we saw a variety of boots for sale. The owner of the shop, Noel, showed us a pair of boots he was making on special order. The order was placed by someone who had killed a crocodile and wanted boots made from its hide. That is what happened in Romancing the Stone! Noel said he could make a custom belt that would fit the buckle.
By this time, we were ready for lunch. We walked back to South Congress Street. Have I mentioned that the temperature was 97 degrees again? But a cold front was coming, and the temperature was only expected to reach 93 degrees the next day.
Nick stuck his head into Allen’s and asked if they had a restaurant recommendation. They said the Italian restaurant down the street, Enoteca Vespaio, should not be missed. Being as Nick and I are both of Italian ancestry and are familiar with east coast Italian food, we were skeptical. However, we were so hungry that we decided to give it a try. We were very pleasantly pleased! The waiter told us that all the pastas on the menu were made there on the premises. Dare I say it… my order of manicotti was similar, but not exactly the same, as the manicotti I made with my mother when I was a child. Also, the gravy was similar to my mother’s. You may know that some Italian-Americans call pasta topping gravy, while others say sauce. My mother called it gravy.
On our way back to the hotel, I received a text from Nicholas saying he had a mistake, and his flight was not until 3 PM. There was also an hour delay. He met us at our gate at the airport! He said there was supposed to be a CVS at the airport, but he couldn’t find it, and he needed something for an upset stomach. As it happens, I travel with my hand held luggage filled with every over the-counter medication that we might possibly require, so I was able to give him the meds he wanted.
BTW, Nick ordered a margarita in every restaurant in which we had eaten. His choice for the best margarita goes to El Mercado, where we had lunch a few days earlier.
We flew east, and Nicholas flew west. We’ll be together again in Connecticut at Christmas. We would love to take a family vacation again next year, and we welcome suggestions for a destination.