Patches let me know she wanted to join me on my trip to Houston in a not so subtle way this morning. Even after I reminded her that she detests car trips and would hate a two hour flight even more, she persisted in laying claim to my overnight bag.
Studly Doright promised to take good care of her and sister, Scout. Patches, though, thinks Studly is shady and never trusts his advances. She’s a smart kitty.
Studly Doright has several hobbies: golf, motorcycles, and trading vehicles, among others. Several months ago he sold his pickup truck and bought a sports sedan. I knew, though, that it wouldn’t be long before the call of the wild—namely the need for another pickup—sounded in his ears. I even made a prediction that he’d have a new pickup before this year ended.
So, a couple of nights ago when Studly turned to me and asked, “If I bought a new pickup would you fly to Houston and drive it home?” I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Until I realized he’d asked me to go pick the truck up.
“Sure!” I said, happy to have a new adventure. We bought a plane ticket and I’ll leave on Friday afternoon.
Now, I have feelings of trepidation. The truck has a manual transmission, and while I have owned several vehicles with a stick shift, it’s been awhile. Also, I’ll be driving in Houston, the fourth largest city in the country. Great place to renew my acquaintance with a manual transmission vehicle.
In addition, I’m going to have to find a way to the car dealership from the airport. Uber? Lyft? I’ve never downloaded the apps and I’m not sure how they work. I guess I’ll have to learn quickly.
Did I mention I adore adventures, and that there’s an excellent outlet mall near Gulfport, Mississippi that’s calling my name? Wish me luck, good weather, and a few dollars to spend at the mall.
Driving home to Doright Manor from a shopping expedition to nearby Tallahassee my car began to be pelted by a storm of love bugs. Within just a couple of miles of home I experienced limited visibility due to the amount of bug guts on my windshield. I began mumbling all sorts of nasty aspersions on these bugs, their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring. My rant became pretty colorful.
Then I realized that I was driving on dry pavement and that I’d have electricity and air conditioning and hot water waiting for me at home. I was pretty certain my roof would be intact and my floors uncluttered by flood debris, so I shut my mouth. Many of my friends and family members in the Houston, Texas, area are dealing with what’s being called the biggest weather catastrophe in Texas’ history, and they have none of the amenities I take for granted.
Studly Doright and I have firsthand experience with hurricanes and their aftermath. We know how it feels to be without power for days, how isolating and scary it can be, but we have never experienced what these folks in Houston are dealing with. So if I have to deal with a few love bugs, so be it. I won’t be complaining.
While Studly Doright played golf on Saturday morning I watched the 1936 film, “The Plainsman,” starring Gary Cooper as Wild Bill Hickok and Jean Arthur as Calamity Jane. The old movie wouldn’t be deemed politically correct nowadays with its portrayal of Native Americans as aggressive savages and women as nothing more than flies in the ointment of men’s lives, but it wasn’t without humor.
In one scene Gary Cooper asked another cowboy how he liked his eggs. “Well,” said the man. “I like them just fine.”
I couldn’t help but giggle. Studly walked in about that time and asked me what was so funny. He’s an aficionado of good one liners, so he got a chuckle out of the egg quip, as well. I then recalled the first time anyone asked me how I liked my eggs.
I’d gone with my grandparents to Houston to see the oldest of their three children, my Uncle Jack. I might’ve been five, and I adored Uncle Jack. He lovingly called me a little jackass–which I, in turn, took to calling others, much to my parents’ chagrin.
On one morning of this trip Uncle Jack treated us to breakfast at an International House of Pancakes. I’d never been to one before, and it was the most wonderful place I’d ever seen. The variety of pancakes on the menu was staggering. I took my time choosing just the right item. As I recall I ordered a combo that featured a pancake festooned with strawberries and whipped cream, along with bacon and eggs.
When the waitress took my order she asked, “How do you like your eggs.”
In my sweetest five year old voice I responded, “Cooked, please.”
Everyone, my uncle, my grandparents, even the waitress, laughed. My Nanny quickly told the waitress that I liked my eggs over easy, but I was mortified. I didn’t order eggs any way other than scrambled for many years after. I was a sensitive kid, you know.
Now, many years later I can marvel at how naive I was. How do I like my eggs? Well, I like them just fine.
Apart from the skirt pulled up way too high–Erkel style under my boobs and the dainty sandals on my pretty feet I look like a real life bull rider. Right? Right? Why do I hear crickets?
I own a ukulele now, purchased from a shop in Amarillo. So far, I know two notes, but the ukulele is small and my body is bulky. Together we look odd, like the instrument is being absorbed into my flesh. Like Jabba the Hut swallowing a little invertebrate whole. Gulp.
I’m not going to let appearances prevent me from learning to play the ukulele. Nossirree. But I might need to purchase a muumu just to complete the whole vibe.
Each day, the tattoo my nephew Russell bestowed upon me becomes prettier. I’ve tried to explain my feelings about it which go above and beyond anything I expected.
Having never been a particularly attractive woman, it pleases me more than I can say to have such a beautiful piece of art adorning my body. It makes me feel happy. And just a little bit special. I only regret not having it done sooner.
One friend asked what I’d listened to during my adventure. If I were to try and list my choices in some kind of order, it might look like this:
I also listened and sang along to the Classic Vinyl station, as well as the 60’s and 70’s stations on Sirius/XM. The comedy stations helped me cover many miles as well.
And then there were great distances without any sound other than that of my tires on pavement. Driving through the cities of Nashville, Kansas City, Dallas, and Houston required a great deal of concentration, and radio silence was a balm for my soul and a boost for my driving skills.
Being home feels good. Today is a day for tackling mountains of laundry and snuggling cats, and for reading blog posts. I’ve been a terrible follower these past two weeks, clicking through blogs with nary a comment.
Thanks for all your positive vibes and support during my journey. Here’s a little Simon and Garfunkel to tie things up.
As a native Texan I’d heard tales of the mythical Houston Rodeo–an epic 20 day extravaganza featuring competition between the top cowboys and cowgirls in their respective events. Now at the age of 59 I finally got to savor the experience first hand. And what an amazing experience it was!
My brother, Kelly, works with a man who has volunteered at the rodeo in various capacities for more than two decades. This man has two sets of season tickets that he offers to friends during the event. We were fortunate to get incredible seats close to the action so there wasn’t a calf roping or bull riding that we missed.
The pageantry was “over the top Texas” with fireworks and wagon races, mutton busting and a host of other events.
Once the rodeo events were completed for the night country singer Jason Aldean took the stage and rocked the house from a rotating stage. There were no bad seats for the concert.
We drank copious amounts of beer, consumed peanuts, nachos, fried Snickers and fried pecan pie.
What a great evening! And I didn’t even relate my bull riding experience. That’s coming in another post.
I spent the first night of a two-night stay with my brother and his wife in Houston. It’s not my first trip to the country’s fourth largest city, but it is the first time I’ve been armed with GPS and felt brave enough to wander about on my own.
So what did I do with my morning? Well, first I spent some quality time having a mani-pedi at Footopia.
These are my happy little piggies.
Then, I thought to myself, “Friend, you’re in Texas, the home of big hair. Go and have it styled for the rodeo. So I did just that at a salon that specializes in blow outs, The Blow Out Bar.
Apparently my hair is too short to become really big, but I liked the results.
After that I had a bit of time to kill, but little money, so I just rambled about looking for something interesting. My reward was a place called Wabash Feed.
Not only did Wabash Feed have food for animals of all persuasions, but they had plants and fertilizer, pottery and funky objets d’art. Best of all, they had live animals: Bunnies and chickens and pigeons and a one-eyed turtle.
I wandered around Wabash Feed for an hour or so, and wondered if Studly Doright needed a pet chicken to assist him in his shop. In the end I decided a chicken might not be able to handle a wrench or a screwdriver rendering them lousy shop assistants.
Finally it was time for a snack. And where better than a place called Luke’s Icehouse?
I had an ice cold Shiner Bock and a chicken quesadilla with terrific salsa before returning to Kelly and Susan’s home.
Now I have a couple of hours to relax before we head to the rodeo grounds where I was told that one can enjoy a fried Oreo, among other things. I’d better go ponder that.
What a wonderful day for something new! I spent last night with my son Jason and my daughter-in-law, Liz, at their home in Dallas. The three of us ate dinner at a great little restaurant, Goodfriend Burger and Brewhouse,
where I enjoyed a Barbecue Grilled Cheese. Oh my! Think of perfectly cooked brisket between cheesy goodness on grilled bread. It was the sandwich to top all sandwiches.
My son and I then went to a late showing of Deadpool where I laughed way more than perhaps a woman my age should have. For those of you who haven’t heard of the film, Deadpool is a fun, irreverent look at the world of super heroes.
This morning I waited for morning rush traffic to taper off before heading to Houston where I spent a couple of interesting hours getting a beautiful tattoo:
I don’t know about you, but I think my nephew, Russell Bagwell, did an absolutely beautiful job bringing my glimmer of an idea to life. His shop, Royal Avenue Tattoo and Piercing is the place to add a little (or a lot of) ink. The whole procedure was relatively pain free, and I love the results.
After my tattoo I headed to my brother’s home in Houston and had a relaxing evening with him and his wife. We ate at the amazing restaurant, Coltivare.
I should probably forgo food for the next two weeks. But I won’t.
Tomorrow evening is going to be spent at a rodeo and concert. Someone should pinch me. This is all too cool. Right now, though, I’m heading to bed. All this excitement has worn me out.
At some point this morning I will have departed from Doright Manor to take a trip of epic, dare I say Odyssean, proportions. Having packed my bags with everything from winter boots and a parka to capris pants and flip flops I should surely be prepared for any eventuality.
My first destination is a point north of Nashville, Tennessee, for an overnight stay. From there I’m bound for our daughter’s home in Rapids City, Illinois, where I will be baby sitter-in-chief for my daughter’s three children while the parents go to cavort in the bright sun of a Mexican beach.
After a week in Illinois I’ll head south to the Texas panhandle, the place that no matter where on earth I roam will always be home. I’ll stay with the lovely Saint Helen who gave birth to Studly Doright and hopefully get to commune with the rest of the panhandle-dwelling Noyes bunch.
Once they’ve chased me out of town with torches and pitchforks I’m off to Dallas to spend a night with our son if we can get our schedules to sync. Then it’s on to Houston, that most intimidating city, for a couple of nights with the oldest of my two younger brothers and his wife. They’re taking me and Studly’s eldest (she’d say prettiest) sister to a big event. I’m sure I’ll blog about it afterwards. If I’m still capable, that is.
I have another event in mind for the Houston stay, but I’ll save that for another post, as well.
When my brother finally kicks me out of his home I’ll begin working my way back to Doright Manor. Somewhere on that stretch of road is a wonderful little outlet mall that’s been calling my name for awhile now.
I’ve been writing like a mad woman to stock my blog with pieces to post daily during my trip. I’m sure there will be times I can post something from the road, but just in case I can’t, the blog must, and will, go on!
Any prayers, blessings, positive thoughts, etc., offered up for my safe travels will be greatly appreciated. And as always, peace, people.