A Unique Bed & Breakfast In the Heart of San Antonio's Historic District
The Ruckman Family
I have long been interested in antiques and in furnishing and decorating the guest rooms and public spaces of our new B&B I had a chance to put my knowledge to work, Acquiring just the right pieces for each room- each one authentic to the theme of the room- was a labor of love, although I will admit that the details were sometimes close to overwhelming. We not only had to find just the right furniture, but also the highest quality bedding and bed linens and room accessories- right down to a line of signature toiletries. My goal was always to ensure that our guests would have a comfortable and enjoyable stay in beautiful surroundings. It was my job to put the "Bed" in "Bed & Breakfast."
My husband was the artist of the "Breakfast" part of B&B. Ron is an engaging, outgoing host, always ready to share conversation with his guests, give directions, offer advice about San Antonio and generally ensure that our guests had a good time during their stay. Not surprisingly, he is an excellent chef, and the gourmet breakfasts that Ruckman Haus was noted for were his creations.
I was also the horticulturist/gardener for the B&B, practicing another of my long-time hobbies. I worked hard to create our East Garden and also took care of the other plants and plantings around and inside the house. (You can learn more about the gardens here by choosing "House and Gardens" in the "About Ruckman Haus" menu, and you can see pictures of the grounds in the "Photo Galleries.")
Both Ron and I wanted our guests to feel that when they were staying with us, they were staying with friends that they had known for a long time- even if it was actually their first trip to San Antonio. And indeed, from the letters we received and the reviews that we were given, Ron and I think we succeeded.
When Ruckman Haus first opened, the Security Department had two full-time protective service professionals- Max, a German shepherd mix, and Cassie, a golden Labrador.
Max, the younger of the two, had no problem at all working for his boss Cassie and taking her direction. Both were very adept at figuring out quickly who the guests and friends of Ruckman Haus were, and they could be counted on to challenge anyone that didn't belong. Max retired quite some years ago due to ill health and passed on soon thereafter, leaving Cassie to run the department by herself. With over ten years of experience ensuring that Ruckman Haus guests felt safe and secure, Cassie took her job as Chief of Security seriously- mostly by announcing persons who had not been cleared for entry through her rigorous security procedures. (This procedure usually involved scratching her head, oddly enough.) Recently, the procedures that Max and Cassie put in place have had to run by themselves, since Cassie, too, had retired from "active duty" in the department. Her arthritis had her moving very slowly and she was often in need of assistance. Sadly, Cassie passed away in March 2012. We thank both Max and Cassie for their years of faithful service; we will miss them.
Cassie's passing left the Security Department unmanned. While the safety of Ruckman Haus guests had not really ever been an issue, Ron and I had come to count on the companionship that Max and Cassie had provided, and so we began the search for a suitable candidate to fill that void. That search was almost immediately productive, as a visit to one of the San Antonio animal shelters brought us together with Jax, who, with the shelter's help, had himself been looking for a new position.
Being a great deal younger than Cassie, Jax is a more playful companion for us and for those guests who might also have enjoyed him. He was still "learning the ropes" at his new home when we decided to close the B&B, so now he doesn't have to learn any guest procedures. All he has to do is to be a companion to Ron and myself, a function he is currently performing admirably. Interestingly, his acclimatization to being inside the main house is a slow process, after being so long limited to either our garage apartment or his dog run. He is reluctant to enter the kitchen at all, and will only go upstairs with a great deal of coaxing. But we expect him to become just as good a companion inside as he has always been outside.
With the myriad tasks that we had in taking care of our guests at breakfast and during the day, (e.g., making sure the rooms and the house were well-kept, and taking care of the gardens that offered so much quiet relaxation for our guests), we didn't always have time to take a breather and simply sit and converse with our guests. We did so when we could, but there were certainly times when our guests were at home but on their own.
At the time of our closing, we had delegated the task of keeping our guests company when we ourselves couldn't to an independent contractor who simply showed up one day looking for work (and food, we suspect). For the price of daily fresh water and an excellent grade of cat food, we persuaded the contractor (and his erstwhile companion) to take up semi-permanent residence on the patio adjacent to the East Garden. Not expressing a preference as to what we should call him, he became "Spot" (for obvious reasons). Spot could usually be found somewhere around the patio ready to accept the attention of our guests. From being very aloof early in his employment, he soon become quite friendly, although reluctant to be picked up off solid ground. (He would, however, jump into a lap at the slightest invitation; go figure.) So when our guests were on the patio relaxing and enjoying the morning paper or an afternoon refreshment, Spot would eventually find them. Since we closed as a bed and breakfast, Spot didn't get to meet many new people, but he seemed quite satisfied to interact with all the residents of our house as well as other family members or friends who visited us.
Spot had become a valued member of our extended family, and so we were especially saddened at his passing on January 12th, 2016, as the result of a likely automobile accident. Spot is survived by his entire human family, his sometime companion Allie, and his friend Jax. We will miss him very much.
We would be most remiss not to tell you that, prior to Spot's arrival, there had been previous employees in the Guest Relations Department. When we arrived in San Antonio, we brought Callie and Misty, two other "independent contractors," with us; they lived and worked in Ruckman Haus as our original Guest Relations specialists. Since, unlike Spot, they worked inside, our guests did not have to go far to take advantage of their services. They could usually be found somewhere around the living room, providing our guests, and ourselves, a soothing, restful environment with their various services. Among these were raising guests' endorphin levels by allowing themselves to be petted, soothing guests by purring, and entertaining guests by sleeping. They were valued, long-time friends, and always seemed to know just what was needed to make a guest feel at home. Callie, in particular, liked to socialize- which usually meant sleeping on that certain chair in the living room while Ruckman Haus guests admired her. In fact, she had such an air of royalty about her, that many guests thought of her as the "Queen of the B&B."
Sadly, both Misty and Callie were eventually called to work in an entirely different environment. After a long, long tenure, Misty left us in 2007, and Callie, after providing an incredible 25 years of uninterrupted service, departed in 2011. Both spent uncountable hours providing our guests (and ourselves) with love and affection, and both are sorely missed. We know the many guests who met them will wish them well, as do we.
Ron and Prudence Ruckman