First, best wishes to Tina and Jared, who had a fun wedding on Saturday evening, even after they didn't come to our house Friday and have a rehearsal like they said they would. Of course, any excuse to clean up the accumulated clutter is good, and I am still enjoying the way the downstairs of our house looks.
Saturday morning I taught a mother/daughter pair crochet, which was a fun change from knitting. None of my knitting pals showed up, so I headed home fairly soon after answering the rest of the people's questions who needed help--it was a sale day, so I helped with the question-answering so the workers could help people buy yarn!
After getting duded up, it was off to LOUU for the Chemical Pink wedding extravaganza. We took some pictures at the wedding, but used those disposable cameras, and need to get them developed (and share them with the couple), but here's one the minister's husband took. We enjoyed spending some time with our tarot buddies Shannon and Royce, who brought the spousal unit I had yet to meet along with them. Bill did sound at the wedding, plus Rev. Kathleen's husband, Jon M. was there, so we had people to talk to other than the wedding party's relatives. The most fun part of the wedding was the wedding march, which was the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars. Only in this setting was that not unexpected. Both kids did clean up well, though, and they put together a really nice ceremony. It just took a while for it to happen. More time for me and Shannon to catch up, though! Our kids were really good, and Beccano blended right in with his Western jacket on. I wore my extra-organge dress with big purple pansies on it, along with the classy orange-ish dress shoes Pilar got for me last year, so I was Ms. Classy, I am so sure. Anyway, that was the beginning of our busy time.
We woke up long before the kids and headed to the rural breadbasket of Texas to give Lee's dad his Christmas gifts. Oh, did he love his socks! I was so happy to see his eyes light up, and to see the joy on his face when he tried them on and they fit! He is looking a lot healthier, too, and that was another good thing to see.
Once we got all presented up, we went to lunch in Yorktown. The top picture depicts where we ate, Aunt Di's Kountry Kitchen (apparently rural people all spell that way, ha ha). It's got a big dance floor and stage, too--I wish I could be there to listen to music some night. Lots of people are there on Sundays, and they all seem to know each other, naturally. What impresses me is the food is pretty good. I had turkey and dressing, and the dressing came out better than mine did this year, plus the mashed potatoes were divine. The turkey was REAL.
After lunch, I asked if we could drive around and see some of the things I hadn't seen in the area yet. This also made Lee's dad happy. We went to see the area where he grew up, and all the little towns that are still there, sorta, or used to be there. That's what the next bunch of pictures are of. The little white house looking building above was the general store/bar/restaurant or whatever in "Cottonpatch" (which used to be called something else) and was right across from the school Ernest Lee Sr. used to attend as a child. That's where they got penny candy after school. The school is no longer standing, though we did get a picture of the site where it was. He went there until high school, in a 3-room school, one room of which was reserved for the "Mexicans," who were segregated. There weren't any black people. Still aren't. Just Germans, Czechs, Poles and Mexicans.
The building that is larger and white says "Garfield" on it, and is the rural hall, where dances and such used to be held. They still have events there today, like turkey shoots and barbecues and all that. It's where the rural people went for fun when they didn't go into the big towns. At left is one of the "big towns," which is where the family used to hang out in the 20s and 30s, Nordheim. Now there is not much there at all, and few if any of the storefronts are used (there is a bank down the street, though, and it appears they are restoring the old bank building, that says "911" on it, because its 1 got lost). I like how they still have a Christmas decoration. The school (newer one) is still going, so there are still families around. Yorktown, on the other side of Lee's dad's farm, kept going and is more of a viable community still. It's rundown, but things are open, there are places to eat, gas stations. churches and such.
We came back to Lee's dad's place and watched football for a while, then I asked if we could go for a walk. That was the most fun part! We walked way to the back of the farm property, to parts I had not seen yet. At the back, there are trees, a pond and some old buildings, and a really nice view of a valley and some lovely woods that I didn't know was there.
Here you see Lee as a man outstanding in his field. Yes, that is his field. The sun was setting, so the light on all these pictures is interesting. The field has been mown for hay. We enjoyed listening to all sorts of sounds as we walked, and also ran into some neighbors who were sitting in their deer blind, pretending to hunt, but mostly looking at cool things, like the family of wild hogs that was walking around, and the five huge bucks in the next farm, way out of shooting range (whew). The man was mostly entertaining his disabled son. That was nice.
On our way back to the house, both Lee and I kept looking at a telephone pole, not wanting to ask the other if we saw what we thought we saw. We were right, it was not a transformer--it was an owl! You could see its pointy "ear" feathers when we got closer, and it bobbled its head up and down a few times for us. Pretty cool. I have to admit I had never seen an owl sitting still before--just the ones that have flown in front of me three times in the neighborhood at home.
One more picture of the farm to share, and I like this one a lot. It's the pond, which Lee's dad says he'd like to make into a 14-acre lake by building a dam. I don't think that will happen any day soon. It would be so beautiful to build a house on the hill next to the pond, where there are some big old trees, which are next to that beautiful view of the less intensively farmed parts of people's properties. Of course, getting utilities and the road back there would be "fun." But, it's a nice dream. We have lots of dreams of what we would do if the oil company found a bunch of natural gas on the property in February, ha ha. But, that is a slight hope, at best (better than none--they wouldn't look for stuff if there weren't a chance, I guess!).
The scary part of the evening came right after the sun set, when I looked out and saw something orange on the horizon. It turned out to be a HUGE fire off in the distance, and it grew and grew as we watched. A secondary one started, then they merged. We were a little concerned, but decided it would not make it to the farm. On our way home, we drove the long way, to be sure that the fire was as far away as we thought it was. It really was scary and big, though. I hope no one was hurt and that it got under control. There's a burn ban, and it is the traditional time for fireworks, which is worrisome.
Anyway, since we went home the long way, we drove through Cuero. There, Lee surprised me with a trip through their lovely Christmas light display. This is just one teeny photo from the display (hard to photograph at night from a truck). Many, many people and groups donated money and time to make a really fun display that you drive through. I guess it's a smaller version of the Austin Trail of Lights. Very well done, though, and a good ending to our tour of rural Texas at Christmastime.
Which reminds me, we did see a couple of cute rural holiday displays. One was three tires, big, medium and small, stacked on top of each other and spray painted gold, covered with lights. It made a really quirky "Christmas Tree." The other was 5 round hay bales stacked 3, 2, 1, spray-painted green, with lights and ornaments. Another great "tree"! I am glad we got to go on this trip, and wish the kids could have come. Beccano would have loved the owl and to hear the coyotes barking at night. But, they needed a rest, and Lee and I enjoyed our time together.
We hope to have a nice New Year at Janet's house (trying to get back into old traditions, but with better habits) followed by yummy food. Lee already made ham salad, so the yummy has begun!