Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Texas Pics

Weatherford, Texas Farmers Market with the Parker County Courthouse in the background

Parker County Courthouse

The County Line Barbecue. This is where my sister and I ate (and people watched) when we went to the River walk in San Antonio.

This tree is growing out of the wall along the riverwalk having been rooted there somehow during a flood in the past.

"Remember the Alamo!"

My attempts at artistic photography. A tree on Uncle Bob's place.

The barn on the old Wilkins property. No one lives here anymore since...

this is the house on the old Wilkins property. The roof has fallen in and it was so sad I just could not bring myself to shoot the whole house. But we shoot horses, don't we?

This house, or at least part of it, has been in my family for 107 years. My great, great grandfather built a small house right here in 1900 and this is the result of all the additions.
Also known as Uncle Lloyd's house in Poolville.

Where old Wilkins' go to die.
By the way, my mother says that big knot around the bottom of the tree is called a "gall". Guess you'll have to take her word for it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Printer

I just got off the phone with Peter.

Peter lives in the Philippines.

"I didn't know you had any friends in the Philippines." you say.

"I don't," is my response. Peter works for HP, the makers of my new printer.

The new printer that I bought that wouldn't install properly and that I could not get to install, and the fellow at HP who lives in Toronto, whom I spoke with last week could not get to install, but at least got the printer part to work, although the scanner and copier would not, and mailed me a new installation disc that was supposedly a newer version, which I received in the mail this week and used and ended up with no printer at all after using the installation disc.

Peter got everything working by remote accessing my computer.

My computer has been mating with another in the Philippines.

Bad Computer!

It all works now though. Printer. Copier. Scanner. I guess I shouldn't complain about my computers stamina.

Two Hours, fifty-six minutes and 10 seconds.

That's the length of the phone call.

I guess my computer wasn't ready to quit.

Good Computer!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Texas Trip

Some pics from my trip to Texas. More to follow.

My smart, smart Dad. Got an A in Greek in his college course last semester.

My smart, smart mother. The Master Gardener.

Uncle David thinks, "Let's see. It's me and John for supper. I wonder if four chickens is enough. Probably if I add grilled vegetables, grilled sausage and some of that left-over brisket.

Granddaddy Ford says, "Boy, when I'm shelling pecans you leave my CD player alone. Now turn that Van Halen back on. Make sure you start it at "Hot for Teacher"."

My Aunt June. "I hope no one notices I forgot to put the saffron in my potato salad."

Uncle Lloyd and his new bride Sue. "See those pants he's wearing? He thinks they're reversible."

I guess she's Aunt Sue now. With my Granddaddy Ford, Mom's dad. "If she touches my cake I'm gonna run over her foot."

What do you call the daughter of your father's cousin, other than beautiful, I mean?

Uncle David's wife, Aunt Bess. It's her black convertible I was driving. One of the sweetest women you'll ever meet. Mom didn't want to take the car cause it was so nice but Bess said, "It's just a car. take it and have fun. That we did. Cops never caught us.

My nephew Luke. Think we bear some resemblance?

Aunt Donnie, Dad's sister. "Hey boy! You take one more picture of me and I'm gonna bust a cap on you.

Uncle Lloyd and his new bride, Sue, again. "I told him I'm going to Italy. With or without him. You only live once, right?"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lucy's Adventures

As I said before, my baby girl came home yesterday morning. I cried. ...Well, that's not really true. Actually...I bawled. Some animals really worm their way into your heart and I thank God for that.

I had to go to work cause some paperwork just wouldn't wait...(damn paperwork)...but I made a very short day of it. Can you say, "Hey John, you left your car running."?

I called the vet and got her in at 10:30 cause she looked pretty rough. Skinny as a rail, bones showing through all over. She was losing it at both ends and she wouldn't put her left leg on the ground.

Sheila went with me to the vet...something wrong with my eyes and I couldn't see well...Right Mark?...and we checked in and waited for the vet to see her.

Our regular vet was doing a surgery and so we saw her partner. He said, "First thing, looks like she's been hit by a car. I need to try to get her to eat and doing a more thorough exam. I'm concerned about internal bleeding." And so he wanted to keep her overnight. Can you believe it? My baby hasn't even been home 5 hours yet and he wants to keep her. I sure didn't wanna leave her but leave her I did.

He called yesterday evening about 6 and said that yes, she had been hit by a car, there was no internal bleeding, her hip socket was fractured to the point that surgery was not possible and it looked like the pieces were fusing together already. The injury appeared to be two weeks old. He wanted to keep her that night and check out her...passings?...NowhatI mean, Vern? He said her GI trac, track, or tract, was bothered by whatever she had been eating. Which by all appearances wasn't much at all. Looked like mulch was about all she could catch.

I called this evening and both docs said that they thought she could go home. I was off and running. He apparently had given her some pain meds and she was really wagging when I came in. Whatever is wrong with my eyes seemed to flare up again at that moment. She sat in my lap all the way home.

So the prognosis? She'll limp, probably for the rest of her life, and develop arthritis within the year which will need to be managed with doggie aspirin. But she'll be fine. He said let her do what she wants as far as being active and keep her on a bland diet for a week and she'll improve every day.

In my living room is a small house, twenty inches deep and about eighteen inches high and wide. It's her little cubby-hole. She's their right now, on her blankets, chewing up a rawhide disc. Can life get any better?

I suggest not.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

She's home!!

I'm sound asleep, at home for once, at 5:13 this morning and my wife nudges me awake.

"John, look who's here."

I drag myself up from the depths of somnolence and try to sit up in bed. Who the hell is coming in my bedroom at 5 in the morning? Emergency situation comes to mind.

Then I see her. She's holding in her arms my baby girl, Lucy. She's been missing three weeks now and finally comes dragging home. Actually she came dragging in to my sister-in-law's house about an hour before, barking at her back door. Maybe she couldn't wake us with her barking. Sandy bathed her up and got a hold of Sheila. (I never heard the phone).

She's got quite a few scratches on her and she's limping on her hind leg, but she's home. She burrowed under the covers to the foot of the bed and promptly went to sleep. I'll take her to the vet this morning and have her checked out but for baby's home!!

Grown men can cry, you know.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Family vernacular

Some notes about my trip to Texas.

One thing you need to remember is that older people in the south have a particular way of speaking. Not just the accent, but their phrases and words. Sometimes it was so entertaining sitting their listening to my family talk that I just had to start writing things down.

Grandmother Jo asks everyone if they want some Key lime Pie right away since we’ve just finished a large supper. Grandpa says yeah but everyone else says they can wait. She dotes on him quite a bit and so not wanting him to feel slighted, she asks him, “So, should I cut the pie?” His response: “What does yeah mean to you?” Sounds sort of ugly as I write that but you have to understand, he’s a big kidder and would never say anything to hurt her feelings.

Uncle Terry in reference to a particularly stingy individual; “He’s tighter than Dick’s hatband.”

Granddad and Uncle Terry both were reminiscing on their version of the snipe hunt. Seems they would get one of their young friends out in the woods when they needed to dig worms and they would promise to teach him how to “call out the worms”. They would find a young sapling tree and tell him to stand around the tree calling for the worms. When no worms would come up Terry would cut the tree down and taking a saw blade, saw back and forth across the top of the fresh cut stump. This would send vibrations into the earth and the worms would start coming to the top. They would encourage their friend to yell louder as Terry cut faster and more worms would surface. What a sight it must have been to see this young boy dancing and hollering in the woods trying to get the worms to surface.

I actually heard one of Uncle Lloyds sayings in a movie recently, “No Country for Old Men” with Tommy Lee Jones. Based in Texas no less. “That’s some kind of mess, ain’t it?” “If it ain’t it’ll do til the mess gets here.”

Terry also told of his experience with dating a young girl from the country club. She took him out one night with all her high-falooting friends and she was not real impressed with his attire. Since it was obvious to her that he hadn’t spent much money on clothes she asked him where his parents worked. His response was “My dad’s a custodian at the slaughterhouse and mom wrestles on the weekend at Northside Coliseum.” First and last date.

I was visiting Uncle Lloyd and he rode with me and my mother out to the old Wilkins place, which is no longer occupied, just to look around and see the house my dad grew up in. We had caught him coming out of the field on his place as we pulled up and so he had his work gloves in his hand as he got in my rental car for the drive over. Later that evening I noticed his gloves laying on the floor of the car so I gave him a call.

“Uncle Lloyd, this is John.”

“Hey, boy. (He still calls me that) Ya have a good day?”

“Yes sir. It was a fine one”

“Good. Glad to hear it. What can I do for you?”

"Uncle Lloyd, I just noticed a bit ago that you left your work gloves in my car when we were out there. Terri (his daughter, with whom I was staying at the time) says you’re coming into town tomorrow. If you want, I can meet up with you and give them to you then.”

“That’d be fine. I’ve got to go to Peacock’s and get some cakes. I can meet you there”

“What kind of cakes you getting? Are they for the wedding?”

At this I hear a snort of laughter. “I suppose they could be if’n anybody wanted to eat them.” My silence indicates to him that I’m not understanding his train of thought. “Feed cakes, boy. For the stock.”

“I see. Alright. Well then give me a call when you get to town.”

”Ok, boy. If I don’t see you then you can just bring them with you Saturday when you come to the wedding.”

“Sure, I can do that.”

“Make sure you don’t forget those work gloves, boy. I’ll probably need them Saturday night.”
At this I broke out laughing and I will NOT share with you the mental picture that flash through my mind at that moment. I could hear my 84-year-old uncle on the other end of the phone grinning as he said, “What? She might have some mopping up for me to do.”

"Sure, Uncle Lloyd. See you Saturday.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Home again. Home again. Jiggety...nevermind

Well, I’m back from Texas and back into the truck. Sitting in Indianapolis right now and getting ready to get some sleep. Didn’t sleep well last night due to the storm that was blowing through the Midwest and a truck fire in the truck stop. (A driver’s bunk heater caught something in his truck on fire and it was put out fairly quickly but since he was parked fairly close to the fuel islands it was a little hairy for a bit.

I had such a great time. I took notes and wrote things down that I thought you might find fun or interesting but here today I’ll just give you an overview.

Flew into DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) and rented a car. A first for me. The car rental I mean. Returned it the next day and traded for one with cruise. I didn’t even think they made cars without cruise anymore. But alas, at least they do if it’s a PT Cruiser. Nice car, but with a 1000 miles to cover over that great state, I needed cruise. I didn’t need a ticket. Ended up with a Dodge Avenger. Does that sound like a manly car or what?

Granddads party was fun and I saw family I hadn’t seen in many years. He’s 95 now. He’s pretty frail and I don’t know how he keeps going but he does. My mother rode around Texas with me and we had a good time seeing the sights, chewing the fat, and eating out.

Monday. Fort Worth Botanical gardens with a visit to the Japanese gardens.

Tuesday. Off to Abilene. Dropped my mom at my Aunt Donnie’s house and then went to Julie and Tim’s. Fun was had by all. It really was a blast. Julie, how can one not age in 25 years? I don’t get it. Stayed their Wednesday and left Thursday.

Thursday. Picked up mom and headed for San Antonio to see my sister. Met her in Fredericksburg, TX and spent the day shopping, walking, eating, and my favorite sport, people watching. Did I mention it was Spring Break? Crowded. Hoowee!

On to SA and had a great Easter weekend. Visited with a friend who is now widowed and living in a seniors complex in Boerne, TX. Sheila and I lived in her and her husband’s basement for several months shortly after we were married.

Monday we headed up to Weatherford and stayed a couple days with my cousin Terri and her husband Tom. Beautiful fun people. Saw nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, great uncles and a partridge in a pear tree.

Wednesday through Sunday we stayed with my Uncle David and Aunt Bess, two of the most hospitable people on the planet. Uncle David runs a State Farm Agency in Weatherford and he took off what amounted to two and a half days of work, or so it seemed, to spend time with us and show us the sights. David & Bess, I love you both. Even though they forced me to drive their Mercedes convertible.

Saturday was Uncle Lloyd’s wedding and it was a hoot. He’s such fun and family flew in from all over to see the nuptials. He’s 83 and she’s 74. Two good-looking people. She really is quite pretty.

Flew home Sunday and it seemed as if it was going to be an adventure getting home but I actually got home sooner than I had planned. More on that later. The family was happy to see me and we had a good night Sunday night since Monday at 4am it was back into the truck and off to St Louis. The kids were a little disappointed, well, Preston mostly, because the gifts that I brought home were in my checked bag, which due to the snafu at the airport, wasn’t going to make it home until Monday or Tuesday. Don’t tell Preston but he got the boots he was wanting. He didn’t get the spurs though.

I know the last question that you all have is “Has Lucy come home yet?” Sad to say the answer is no. I can only hope that someone found her and took her in and that sometime soon we will be reunited. She’s a real sweetheart and I miss her.

I will try to give you a fuller version of the trip as days go by. It took me two days to get through my Google reader and so I just read and didn’t comment. Have fun and I’ll let you know when we are moving. NOT!!! I would, but Sheila’s here for a while since most of her family is within 8 blocks of my house, and it would not be near as much fun in Texas without her.