There are a group of Spanish missions, including the Alamo, from the late 17th and early 18th centuries that run along an old trade route, south from San Antonio. I remembered them from a field trip I took when I was a boy, colored with adventure the way so many childhood memories are. And still they speak a tale of adventure, these monuments to religion and fortresses of war. I did not notice the city that had grown up around them or their sometimes desolate condition. I chose instead to see the Spanish friars and Spanish soldiers sequestered there. The great oaken doors and shuttered windows and great stone battlements and soaring cathedrals. And ultimately the great commission they represent, in what was (and still is) a real and dangerous world.