Great news from the Beltwide Cotton Conferences!I did not get lost, as I did last year and every other time I checked into the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. This year, most meetings were a simple elevator ride down to the third floor. Occasionally, I had to go out the front door of my hotel, across the street, through another hotel, across another street and into the San Antonio Civic Center, but a few well-placed bread crumbs and spare change allowed me to find my way back.
Well, saying I didn't get lost is not precisely accurate. I did not get lost INSIDE the hotel. I must admit, however, that I did wander around downtown San Antonio for about 45 minutes one afternoon trying to FIND the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel.
It should have been easy. From the Interstate, the hotel stands proudly above most of the rest of the buildings in the San Antonio skyline, a stately pine planted firmly amidst a mass of mesquite.
But after leaving the elevated vantage point of I-35, it's easy to lose sight of the Marriott. You can't see the tree for the forest. Oh, you can get an occasional glimpse at the end of a one-way street that, unfortunately, goes the wrong way. But getting there is not so easy. So, I had three choices: A. Check the reservation receipt for the hotel number and call for directions, B. Stop and ask for help, or C. Take consecutive left turns until I run into the right place.
I chose C, naturally. Now wait. I had good reasons. The hotel reservation was in my briefcase, in the back of the car, so I couldn't reach it. And all the y-chromosomes in my body are genetically programmed to prevent me from stopping and asking directions. Just check with my wife.
So, I had only one option, and it worked out. I finally stumbled into the hotel parking lot, if you can stumble in a Ford Explorer. Also, I was able to see parts of San Antonio I never would have visited had I chosen differently.
More from Beltwide. Things look good for cotton. Growers are optimistic. Many of them made a little profit last year.
Also, I picked up a good hint for any of you who travel to conventions occasionally. This is a good way to prevent those bouts of indigestion, headaches and muscle pains associated with eating too much, drinking too much and sleeping too little. You may want to cut this out and put it in your wallet for use at next year's Beltwide, which, by the way, will be in New Orleans where the temptations will be extreme. It's really quite simple: develop a bunion.
There is nothing like a throbbing big toe to convince yourself that you've had enough munchies, visited enough hospitality suites and stood talking to quite enough of your cronies for the time being.
It reminds you that a bag of ice on your sore foot will bring much more comfort than a few cubes covered with a shot of bourbon.
Also, folks will let you go to the front of buffet lines and will find places for you to sit near the exits. Not that I would take advantage of anything like that, but it could help in extreme situations.
Another advantage from the pounding pain of a sore toe would be the excuse to grab a seat near the aisle and slip off during conference sessions dealing with such esoteric subjects as the bioethical dilemma surrounding the proliferation of biotechnological jargon into the English language. Y'all probably missed that session this year. I would have reported on it but my toe was hurting, so I went to my room and put ice on it.
See how it works. And folks will not look at you like you're skipping algebra class the day before finals if you have a good steady limp and an anguished, painful look on your face resulting from bunion pain. It's a good idea to check the agenda beforehand and figure that any presentation that includes the words quantum, amalgam, or paradigm likely will be too deep to decipher anyway and a sore foot is as good an excuse as any to pack it in early.
I hope this helps. As I've told you before, as I pick up new bits of information that will make travel a bit easier for you, I'll pass them along. But for now, if y'all will please excuse me, I gotta go soak my foot.