Friday, December 28, 2018

Happy to be home

December 28, 2018

Sophie and I had a wonderful, terrific, marvelous week in Tomball—okay, except for the dogfight which maybe taught her she is not invincible nor is she the biggest kid on the block. But she loved being in the middle of an active household, where she was on constant alert lest she miss something. Tonight, we are happy to be home in the cottage, which is pretty dull and quiet.

Colin, Kegan, Sophie, and I left Tomball just before 10:30 this morning. A glorious day for a drive. There had been heavy rains throughout Central and South Texas Wednesday night—as usual I heard the thunder but not the rain, but in the morning the lake was really high, and the lowest portion of the patio was under water. This morning, with bright skies and blazing sun, we saw water everywhere—stock tanks were overflowing and creeks had burst their banks. At some points on Highway 6, around Marlin, there were sudden new lakes lapping the road on either side. I’ve seen it before on that stretch of highway, but it always surprises me. The road from College Station to Waco is one I traveled so often for sales meetings when I was working that I have all the landmarks memorized. I particularly love going through Calvert, that funky town full of old shops and antiques and falling down buildings.

We met Jordan and Jacob in Waco at a place my kids all rave about but where I had never been before. A tiny hole-in-the-wall with outdoor seating, so we could take Sophie. Called the Health Camp, it’s everything but. What it is, is greasy hamburgers. Through a mix-up we got a BLT for Colin, but I knew he had his taste buds ready for a cheeseburger, and I didn’t, so we traded. It was one of those sandwiches grilled on the outside so that everything about it is greasy, and some of the bacon was undercooked. It is not, however, the kind of place where you call the maître d’ and complain about your food. Kegan got a chili/cheese dog which I would not have known how to attack—he waded in and did a credible job on it. The best thing about the experience was the milkshakes—Jordan and Jacob had chocolate, Colin had strawberry, and Kegan had cookies ‘n cream. Being a novice, I didn’t know to order a milkshake, but I tasted, and they were thick and creamy and good.

An aside: when I was a kid there was an ice cream parlor (those shops we unfortunately don’t have anymore) about eight blocks from our house. They served milkshakes so thick the straw stood straight up in them. My mom would sometimes give my friend Eleanor Lee and me money for shakes for lunch, and we rode our bikes up to 53rd Street—a busy commercial street. Being allowed to do that was a big deal, and the shakes were the best thing we’d ever eat—or so we thought. A win/win deal. Today’s didn’t quite meet that standard, but they were good.

Health Camp is on the roundabout with the old Elite Café, that Waco traditional landmark. I had heard that Chip and Joanna Gaines had bought it, and today, lo and behold! It had a sign boasting, “The Magnolia Table.” Next time through Waco I’m going to lobby for that, but I may be unsuccessful. My family is really sold on the greasy spoon hamburgers.

Jordan, Jacob, Sophie and I got to Fort Worth a little after 3:30, and Jacob had a 4:00 p.m. orthodontist appointment, so Sophie and I got to sit in the car for half an hour. It was okay. She was a bit anxious; I calmly read emails. Jacob got the worst of the deal because something on his braces had broken and had to be repaired.

And then, before 5:00 p.m., we were home. I’ve turned on my Christmas lights and started unpacking, but I’m going to have a late version of my afternoon nap and then worry about dinner. My cupboard is pretty bare.

What wonderful Christmas memories I brought home with me. And now, on to the New Year.

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