Is it Wednesday already? These weekends seem to fly by so fast, don't they? Of course, I did take several days off from work so I could spend time with my daughter, but having a short work week (Thursday and Friday) will just add to the good time.
The festivities got started last Friday afternoon when my son made the trip down from OK City. After work, I picked up Roxanne and her beau, Tyler, from the airport and we were on our way to an exciting weekend of car buying, eating, eating, jacuzzi time, and in case I didn't mention it, eating.
Saturday was the all important shopping for a vehicle day for my daughter. She had been looking online and we had narrowed the selection down to a handful of Honda Pilot's. I'll spare you all the details, but we ended up at Gillman Honda in Schertz and she got a good deal on a good vehicle.
I hate car buying. There is a lot of waiting around and wasted time. While we were waiting, we decided to go get lunch. This is what a pound of catfish at Clear Springs looks like. Needless to say, I didn't eat anything else for the rest of the day.
Saturday night we had visitors including Mya the Bee's parents, niece Erica and her husband Michael. Here is a great picture of Tyler, Roxanne, David, Erica and Michael.
And the most important one of the bunch, Mya the Bee!
On Sunday, my son had to make his way back to Oklahoma, but the rest of us headed downtown so we could show Tyler a few of the places he may have missed during basic training. You've seen all the pictures before so I'll spare the Alamo, Tower and Riverwalk pictures. I did think this was a fashionable look for the kids though.
And of course, one must eat when visiting San Antonio, so we took advantage of the hospitable folks at Lulu's on Main. Is that a happy couple or are they just really hungry? I'm thinking a lot of both!
There is good reason to be happy. During the last year, these kids have spent a lot of time apart from family and friends. Of course, our family has a great deal of appreciation for everyone who serves their country, especially when it means deploying 5,000 miles from the safety of home. This year, Tyler spent his time at a FOB in Afghanistan while Roxanne was thankfully in a safer place in Kyrgyzstan. Regardless, we kept a yellow ribbon up waiting fro them to return.
On Sunday, it was time to take the ribbon down. Every family should be so lucky.
On Monday, Tyler and I spent the afternoon playing 18 holes of golf out at Gateway Hills. It has been years since I have played and it was so very nice to get out and enjoy such a beautiful October day on a great course. That's me following a brilliant shot directly into some nearby woods where we can only assume there is a small animal using my Titleist for a pillow in his den. Golf is one way to get exercise and humiliation simultaneously. For a guy like me, it defeats the need to jog while wearing spandex.
We did have a moment of real excitement when Tyler tried to kill me. This is an actual photo taken by me from the perceived safety of behind a golf cart. What you can't tell from this frame is that a split second later, the ball in the picture hit the golf cart (yes, the golf cart I was standing behind) at full force. Thankfully, my cat-like reflexes and a well placed 5-iron prevented the ball from actually striking me. More importantly, I did not tinkle in my shorts as a lesser man might.
And it was on the cart ride to the fairway that Tyler, after repeatedly apologizing for trying to take my life, asked for my daughter's hand in marriage.
On Tuesday, we took a long needed trip to Garner State Park. This is the first time we made the trip from Natalia, and we actually drove down to Devine, picked up Highway 173 and drove straight into Hondo. What a great drive, and it seemed like we saved some time, too.
In my middle-aged crankiness, I simply hate the crowds at Garner found around Memorial Day and the summer months. A Tuesday in October offers the spectacular views of of the river and the trees, and so very much peace a quiet. Of course there are other people, but very few.
This is the closest thing we have to a mountain here. Many people call this No-Face mountain, but the official name is Old Baldy. The part above the treeline is nearly flat rock giving it a bald appearance. This has always been a destination for the kids to climb. I'm sure I could still climb it myself, but after a day of golf, my knees preferred the relaxing feel of a comfortable lawn chair. Of course, Roxanne and Tyler are still young and active enough for a good hike. So while Eva and I enjoyed the quiet of the Frio River passing slowly by, the kids took a trip to the top of Old Baldy.
And one of them returned with a new rock! You can imagine everyone was famished following all the excitement, and we stuffed ourselves with generous portions of barbequed chicken, sausage, burgers, potato salad and s'mores for dessert.
Wednesday morning was the day we said goodbye to our temporary dog Panda. Technically, she continues to be a dog, but she was only temporarily staying with us. I think she could sense that it was time for her to get back in the car and make the long trip to New Jersey. She rolled around in the new grass with extra zeal, and she and Gracie even played a little bit rougher the previous night. Dogs know.
This morning, she actually seemed a little sad, but that might have been because we told her several times she had been voted off the island.
But once she was in the car, she was happy and ready to go. And just like that, they were off.
*Aside from their feelings, no animals were harmed during this blog entry.