By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
It all started when Dad decided he wanted to go to Mexico.
The family was in Del Rio, so he thought, 'Why not? Laredo's not far. Let's go look around.'
At least, that's how Mom remembers it.
'So they we were waiting in line at the border,' said Mom, Tab Lloyd of Nolanville, author of a book about cheap travel in Texas. 'And the closer we got to Mexico, the more signs we saw that said, 'No weapons, no drugs, if caught, there will be no questions, and you will go straight to jail.''
These were idle threats for the Lloyds until they realized that a guard at the Mexican border had spotted a toy BB gun that was laying on top of a luggage bag. 'None of us had paid the gun any mind,' Mrs. Lloyd said. 'There was so much stuff in that car, with the bags, more travel brochures than you can imagine and food packages everywhere.'
The guard's gaze drastically altered the mood of the car, she said. The youngsters, her two sons and nephew, had gone from joking and laughing to silent and scared.
'And I was thinking, 'OK. I guess I'm going to get to write about what it's like inside a Mexican jail,'' Mrs. Lloyd said. Her book was what brought the Lloyds to Del Rio. The family was travelling the Texas tourist sites that didn't require the cost of admission.
'I had no idea how the guard would react,' Mrs. Lloyd said. 'There was no expression on his face. He picks up the BB gun, looks at it and then looks at the boys.'
The family was horrified for a few seconds longer, and then Mrs. Lloyd said the guard smiled and waved the family into Mexico.
'With that BB gun, we decided it wasn't worth the risk to head on into Laredo,' Mrs. Lloyd said. 'We turned around to Del Rio, went back to the hotel and went swimming.'
The BB gun was stashed at the very bottom of the car's trunk as it returned to the United States.