… Jigity Jig.
It’s Monday night and I am home from the whirlwind vacation trip to the Little Cattle Baron’s Ball in Houston, Texas, better known as Uncle Paul and Aunt Carole’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. I had a GREAT time. Speaking of time, let me detail the time-line of this trip.
We left Friday morning, that is Eleanor, Saralyn, Tony and I. And we drove to Gulfport, Mississippi, stopping for a monster burger from the Hamburger King in Montgomery, Alabama. Man that Hamburger King burger is yummy, but it is hard on the stomach. Too greasy. Can’t eat that more than once a year. But I digress.
We stopped in Gulfport because it happens to be about half way from Atlanta to Houston, but it is also the home of Tony’s Aunt Margret and Cousin Ronda. Our hotel was right across the road from the Gulf of Mexico, which was as smooth as glass. It was nice to get warm again. We left Atlanta near the freezing point and enjoyed the late afternoon on the coast in our shirtsleeves. Eleanor wanted to go play on the beach, but we just didn’t have that much time. I feel like I short changed my daughter, who was a very good girl on the ride down. She wanted to play in the sunshine and I said there wasn’t any time*. Worst. Mother. Ever. Saralyn was less of a good traveler, but I can hardly blame her. Six hours in a five-point car seat is torture. I would scream my fool head off, too. If Saralyn follows Eleanor’s pattern, and I think she will, road trips will suck with her over the next year. Babies travel really well, as they sleep most of the time, and older toddlers do, too, just so long as you keep forking over the videos and snacks, but young toddlers have enough of a clue to know the rocket seats are uncomfortable, hate feeling confined and have no sense that it will be over any time soon. The definition of Hell, I think. Despite Saralyn’s thrice minutely screeches, we arrived at our first night and had a great visit.
The next morning, Saturday, we headed off again toward Texas, taking I-10 through Louisiana. Interesting. I’ve never been over that particular stretch of road. It’s an interesting bit of engineering, all those elevated highways. The smell of some bits of Louisiana, however, leaves a lot to be desired. There is a town called Sulphur, which doesn’t smell like roses. Just sayin’.
We were supposed to get into Houston by 2PM to pick up my patents at the airport, but we were a bit late. We got there at three. My parents are very forgiving people. The plan for Saturday was to check into the hotel, get freshened up and then drop the girls off at my cousin Scott’s house to go to the party at George Ranch. Which is just about what we did. My cousin Laurie arranged for our girls to spend the evening with her son and Scott’s three boys. There was pizza, movies, playmates and noise, so Eleanor had a high time. Saralyn was a sleepy baby to begin with and was asleep not too long after we left her. A funny aside, when we came back to pick up the girls after the party, we couldn’t find Saralyn for a few minutes. The babysitter had put the girls to bed together in a guest room with a trundle bed. At some point, Saralyn had gotten out of the bed, crawled under the other part of the bed and gone to sleep. Her father had a heart attack until she turned up. In retrospect, hilarious. At the time, a little scary.
So! The party. We all drove out to this working historic ranch south of Houston, and we were met at the gate by historical ranchers on horseback. These guys were hanging out near the chuck wagon with the cowboys and the fire with the branding irons therein. My dad branded a plank of wood. MY DAD! There was a turn of the century dance hall that was the main party space. It was decorated with red checkered tablecloths, bandannas and wedding pictures of the guests of honor. And do let me get to the food. THE FOOD. Papasitos. Starters were served under the stars outside the dance hall: Half avocados served with your choice of seveche, various salsas or creme fillings, tamales, chips and the best bacon wrapped shrimp I think I have ever had. There was also a couple of bar stations serving yummy margaritas, among other things, and an espresso station, where I got about 6 creme brule lattes. Sadly, when the fajitas were served, I was defeated. I could only take a few bites. And then there was cake. Good thing there was dancing. The best part of the evening was spending time with my mother’s family, which carried over to the next morning at brunch at Paul and Carole’s houes. We get together so infrequently thatI get giddy just about every time. The nice thing is that it really doesn’t matter how long we are apart, we come together and pick up where we left off with one another months or years before. No one fusses, no one snipes, no one judges. We just laud the accomplishments of one another, and ask about one another’s health, jobs, hobbies and adventures.
Sadly, our visit in Houston had to end, but we decided to take a little side trip into New Orleans for dinner and an overnight. We ate seafood in the French quarter. We over ordered beignets at Cafe du Monde. Eleanor and I picked out Mardi Gras beads and pralines. It was a late night, but a fun one. Eleanor sleeping in her grandparents room the last two nights was a great bonus as well. Dealing with two toddlers who wake each other up at night is a pain in the rutabagas.
Sadly, spending last night in New Orleans meant we had 8 hours of driving in the car today. That was a rotten thing to do to a little kid. It was a long way home. But a worthy trip. I’d do it again next week if I could.
*As for Elly’s trip to the beach. We’re going to go visit the sunny Pensacola sands next month, so don’t feel too bad for her. Also, I will be posting some pictures soon.