Friday, August 27, 2004

...are big and bright...

So I got to A's house Sunday evening and was greeted by a cacophony of Schnauzer barks. A has 3 of the little critters, and damn if they aren't loud!!!

A's Mom came over and we had a yummy dinner of Spaghetti that A had made with her own 2 hands. The remainder of the evening was spent talking and watching TV and then A had to go to bed. Unfortunately, she was having an endoscopy done the next morning.

The next morning I spent sitting in G's recliner and watching "Breakfast at Tiffanys." It was my first time seeing it, believe it or not. A came back from her endoscopy and promptly went back to bed. Never being one to turn down a nap, I decided to go back to bed as well.

That evening, we finally convinced G to go to Whataburger and get us some dinner. Oh how I love Whataburger and they just don't have them east of the Mississippi.

Tuesday was my day with my stepmom. I met her at her daughter's house and we had a nice afternoon sitting and chatting and watching cooking shows on the Food Network. Finally it was suggested that we go to "Joe T. Garcia's" for dinner. We loaded up in my stepmom's Lincoln Continental land barge and away we went. "Joe T.'s" (as the locals call it) is a Ft. Worth institution and must be sampled if you are ever in Ft. Worth. We got a table on the patio and had our choice of one of the 2 meals they make: Mexican Dinner and Fajitas. No pesky menus needed here! We all got the Mexican Dinner and Iced Teas and talked and people watched. It was really very nice.

I was headed back to A's house at about dusk and got back just in time to chat for a bit before A went to bed. My visit with her was way too short and unfortunately she was feeling crappy. Despite this, it was great to see her and G. I'll see them again over the holidays for sure and A assures me she'll be healthy and have time off work.

Wednesday found me loading up my car and heading to Ft. Worth. I met my old boss from high school, Tom, at his place of business. Now, Tom is more than just an old boss. Tom is my other Dad. He was such a wonderful male role model for me when me and my Dad were not getting along. I love Tom so much and send him a Father's Day card and Christmas card every year. We had not gotten to spend time with each other and talk more than a few sentences or an occasional letter in YEARS, so I was so excited to get to see him!

He took me to Angelo's Barbeque for lunch, another Ft. Worth institution that must be experienced. I had forgotten about the old place until I walked in and saw the huge stuffed bear. Not a Teddy bear, mind you, but a big ole Grizzly Bear standing on his hind legs! That thing used to scare me to death when I was a little kid and I instantly remembered that I had been here before!

The years fell away and I instantly felt connected with Tom again. In the short time we were together we both spoke from our hearts and had to work to suck the tears back into our eyes, lest we cry right there in Angelo's. When Tom finally had to go back to work, we hugged several times and I didn't think I could love Tom anymore than I already did, but by the end of our visit, I did.

That evening I was invited to dinner at the home of M & G. Now these folks have known me practically since I was born. I hadn't seen them since my Mom's Memorial Service in October of 1996, so this visit was LONG overdue. M & G looked wonderful and their house was just as I remembered it. As usual, the house smelled wonderful because both M & G are gourmet cooks.

Before too long, L, M & G's youngest daughter, showed up with her husband and 2 beautiful girls. We sat down to a wonderful dinner of boiled shrimp, potato salad, fresh corn on the cob and some lovely wine. What made the meal especially wonderful was the conversation. We caught up on each other, we talked politics, and we reminisced about the past. I looked around the table at these sweet people and realized that these folks, although not related by blood, are my family and part of who I am today. They were some of the many folks that had a hand in raising me. Man, am I fortunate, or what?

After dinner, L called me into the laundry room. There is a chalkboard in there that after ever major event that happens in M & G's house, it is documented on the chalkboard. L pointed out the last entry that her and I made together when M & G had given me a VW Bug and L was put in charge of teaching me how to drive it. On the way back to the house after my lesson, we had a wreck. There in my handwriting on this chalkboard was "L and Joan just wrecked the VW Bug" and was dated 1987. I barely heard L explaining that one of her daughter's accidentally almost erased our entry as I saw other entry's: Mom and I at their house for Thanksgiving's and Graduation's. Wow! I am a part of these people's past!!! They are a part of my past!!! Of course I have always known this, but seeing this chalkboard that I was a part of for well over 20 years just blew me away.

Later that evening, after more conversation, a phone call from M & G's oldest daughter, and pictures made by a mammoth plant my Mom gave to M, I headed back to S & D's house. I was feeling so happy and glad that I made this trip to Texas, if only for that day.

(To be continued)



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