Reunions are Fun!
Trip Start Apr 02, 2010
3Trip End Dec 31, 2010
With the preceding week's calendar crammed with luncheons, dinners, and various other activities, very little time was available for packing and loading the Denali. I guess that’s the reason I woke at 5:30 AM. While mom and Wendell still snoozed, I made coffee, checked email and Facebook, and then thought, "I might as well start taking a few loads out and putting things away". By the time the sleepyheads were sipping their coffee, I’d made at least three trips with groceries, clothing and other supplies. Wendell was amazed by my pre-dawn energy and immediately joined in so that we were ready to roll by 10 AM. With mom riding shotgun and me in the back seat, Wendell skillfully maneuvered the new rig out of the subdivision and onto US 281 and headed north. What is normally at minimum a 5 ½ hour drive in the car took us 7 hours but did include stops for fuel and lunch
April 23, 2010 – Reunion Begins
Why do they build RV’s with skylights over the shower? Do you know how much light comes in those things? Needless to say, we woke early when the sun started streaming in the windows. I had managed to put a “room darkening” panel over the large window opposite the bed but was unable to find small tension rods to secure the panels to the windows on either side of the bed
Coffee and cereal behind us, we headed back to Greenville to spend the day with mom. Brother, Jesse, who lives next door to mom came and visited for a while and then Wendell & I returned to KOA to get ready for the evening reunion gathering at Landon’s Winery on Lee Street, across from the courthouse in downtown Greenville, Texas. There are actually two wineries in Greenville now since “beer and wine” were voted in a few years ago and I was greatly impressed with Landon’s. The owner, Bob Landon, bought the old S.H. Kress & Co. building which was in utter decay and has renovated it with meticulous care to its present state…which includes a vineyard planted alongside the outdoor patio area. The reunion reception couldn’t have been held at a nicer place and the squeals of excitement from classmates recognizing one another echoed through the rafters. The GHS Class of 1965 reunion had officially begun.
April 24, 2010 – Reunion Lunch & Dinner
Another storm, again! Neither of us are golfers but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those who had signed up for the morning golf tournament
We returned to KOA to shower and dress for the evening festivities, and returned to moms to wait for my “best” friend from high school to arrive with her husband. We visited with mom for awhile then drove downtown….this time to the old post office which is now a banquet facility called “The Landmark”. It is so nice to see these wonderful buildings being put to good use and the downtown area seemed to be livelier than I’ve seen it in many, many years. Once again we saw more faces that had not been present at the other two functions and the Mexican food dinner was just what Wendell would have ordered
April 25, 2010 – Sunday
Easing into morning is always a nice thing and by this time, Wendell had found extensions rods and cut them down to fit the small bedroom windows so the sun is not quite so intrusive. We’re still having to deal with that skylight and musing over how we can correct that situation but for the present we’ll just have to live with it.
We were expecting my niece and her baby girl to come to moms so a pot luck dinner was proclaimed. On the way into town, I stopped to pick up ingredients for my casserole and prepared it when we arrived. Then we got a call from my niece telling us the baby was sick and they might be late. About the time everyone else arrived, she called and said they had better not come. We were disappointed because we really wanted to see the baby.
Dinner was great, but there was way too much good food: fried chicken, hamburger steak, mashed potatoes, salads, and my burrito casserole
April 26, 2010 – Surgery
Before we left home, we had learned my sister’s husband had been diagnosed with a “probably cancerous” mass in his bladder and surgery was scheduled for 8:30 AM on Monday morning. Wendell and I had originally planned to leave that day but in view of the situation, had already decided to be there for sister’s moral support. Wendell had made plans to visit a classmate of his to see his engineering shop so he dropped me in Greenville about 8 AM. Even with something this serious, it is only a “day surgery” thing. They were timely and surgery lasted a little over an hour. The doctor came out and confirmed his suspicions but was optimistic that he had been able to remove all of the mass. Still, we will have to wait until Thursday to get the official pathology report. If the report comes back clean, then nothing else has to be done….and that is what we are now praying for.
Brother-in-law was released to go home about 1:30 PM, so mom and I went to lunch then back to her house to wait for Wendell
April 27, 2010 – Glen Rose, Texas
For almost 16 years, we have driven from Spring Branch to Greenville cutting over on Hwy 67 between US 281 and I-20. This route takes us through Glen Rose, Texas and just about every time we drive through, we always say, “Someday we have to come here!” Since we had the week between the reunion and our grandson’s concert in Waco on the 30th, I suggested we explore the Glen Rose area which is home to some of the most abundant dinosaur tracks in the United States. “Dinosaurs in Texas?” you say. Actually, they are found all the way from Dallas to Del Rio, and we even have some near our home.
We had reservations at Dinosaur Valley State Park and arrived in the early afternoon to our campsite on the banks of the Paluxy River
April 28, 2010 – Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Wendell prepared breakfast while I enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table playing “stupid” games on the computer. He does an excellent job of sausage, eggs and toast on the griddle and topped off with some of his homemade apricot preserves made a fantastic late morning meal. We set out about 10:30 AM and made our first stop at the Glen Rose Visitor Center. The attendant was on the phone the entire time I was inside but did manage to break away long enough to direct me to a section of brochures and answer one or two questions
From the wildlife center, we drove back into Glen Rose for lunch at one of the three Mexican food restaurants Wendell had spied driving through. I had the fajita lunch plate and brought home enough to combine with our salad for tonight’s dinner
April 29, 2010 – Creation
Cloudy skies and steady breezes started the day but by the time we finished breakfast, the sun was shining and we were ready to explore the park for more dinosaur tracks. Much of the area that is now Texas was covered by water many years ago and the Paluxy River has carved and sculpted the layered limestone, sandstone and mudstone to reveal the interesting archaeology we call the dinosaur tracks
Three kinds of tracks are found in the Glen Rose formation. Most common are the three-toed, giant bird-like prints ranging from 12 to 24 inches long and 9 to 17 inches wide, with a stride of 45 to 65 inches. This structure most closely matches the Acrocanthosaurus – a 20 to 30 foot-long, two-legged carnosaur belonging to the same group as the much larger Tyrannosaurus rex. The second set of tracks found were saucer-like depressions with a four-toed, clawed hind foot and a horseshoe-shaped front and fits the description of a sauropod about 30 to 50 feet long with a relatively short neck and tail called Pleurocoelus. The third and most rare prints are attributed to an early ornithopod – a two-legged plant eater whose later descendants included the duck-billed dinosaurs. These impressions are also 3-toed but not as elongated and most closely identifies with an Iguanodon
Neither Wendell nor I are what you would call “dinosaur fans” but we are creatures of curiosity so we are fascinated by the presence of these creatures in our state. Strolling along the banks of the Paluxy River, staring into the shallow waters, attempting to identify the tracks we were seeing made for a pleasurable morning expedition. Brave Wendell crossed the river, stone by slimy stone, to see an area with a group of prints but I just couldn’t muster the gumption to slip and slide on the algae-covered rocks and chance falling and breaking something at my age.
After lunch, we drove to a location just outside the park to tour the “Creation Museum”. Several years ago I attended a “Creation Seminar” at a local church and was impressed with the answers afforded from the theories presented. The presenter had gotten much of his information from the founder of the museum, Carl Baugh, so I was curious about the place. The film was the best part; other than a few fossils, they had little to offer. The film; however, did help answer some questions and I do suggest that anyone traveling in the area spend the $2.00 to see it.
The best part of the museum tour was a family we encountered with three special-needs children. The two young girls were quite outgoing and the oldest took to me like a magnet. After all, both of our first names started with a “D” – Darius and Donna. We held hands, and she excitedly showed me the book her mom had purchased about space exploration – Darius wants to be an astronaut. I suspect, although mom did not say, that all three children are adopted and there is no doubt in my mind that God has a special place in heaven for these patient parents who lovingly care for their special children
We returned to camp and Wendell managed to back over a post and “crimp” the brake line so now he has ventured into Glen Rose to get brake fluid. First off, he thought he was going to need a replacement and the closest place to get one was in Fort Worth! Let’s hope the brake fluid is all we need.
May 1, 2010 – Backtracking
As we were pulling out of the park Friday morning and got into cell phone range, I received a text message from my sister saying that mother had been hospitalized with a kidney infection. I immediately called and found out that the infection was likely caused by a kidney stone and the same doctor that had done Chris’ procedure wanted to put a stent in for mom, and yes, she wanted me to come back. Since they weren’t doing the stent until Saturday, we agreed that Wendell and I should continue on to Waco to attend our grandson's concert. We arrived in time to hear him practice and give assurances that it was perfectly normal to be nervous. My final words of advice were, “try to forget about everyone in the audience and just play for the Lord”. It must have worked because he did a great job. He sang the song that he and his brother wrote first and got a good round of chuckles from the audience for the surprise ending where he reveals the “girl” in the song is actually his birddog. But, hey, you shouldn’t expect otherwise for an 11-year old boy.
After the concert, our party of 16 family members went to a Mexican food restaurant and had a terrific time catching up with each other. For those who don’t know, Brandon’s parents are divorced and both have remarried so there were numerous sets of grandparents present to brag on his accomplishments. Although we were offered bedroom accommodations in the house, we elected to sleep in our RV parked next to the Cross family barn. The storm that blew through about 4:30 AM was quite strong but the barn blocked most of the wind so we were quite comfortable. In fact, several members of the family didn’t even realize there had been a storm. Guess I’m the only light sleeper in the crowd.
Mother’ stent procedure was scheduled for early morning and sis sent text messages keeping me informed as we traveled back to Greenville. By the time we arrived, mom was out of surgery and in her room resting comfortably. My brother was coming outside as we got out of the car and said, “Oh good, the next shift has arrived!” I stayed at the hospital until about 7 PM and joined Wendell back at the KOA in Caddo Mills. We have no idea how long we will be here and are just playing this out day by day. Sooner or later, mom will have to have another procedure to blast the kidney stone but first they want to get the infection under control. Hopefully, we’ll know more by the first of the week.