First of all, allow me to thank everyone who left birthday greetings here or at some of the other blogs that put up a post for me. Thanks also to the folks who sent emails or cards and to the ones who called me on my special day. You all know how to make a girl feel loved and I do so appreciate it. It made the day special. Now onto the Texas report...
I KNEW I WAS IN TEXAS WHEN...I heard gentle drawls, was addressed as 'Ma'am' by everyone, and saw a few cowboy hats.
Texas friendliness. Every where I went I found folks who were beyond friendly. Even cashiers made eye contact and smiled when they spoke. Heck, they spoke to you more than to give you the bill in a flat tone. The drivers were also very tolerant of a disoriented Yankee trying to figure out how the heck to navigate the airport construction and discover the mystery of Texas Turnarounds. Folks were helpful and kind and went out of their way to be polite and congenial. I am sorry to confess, visitors to my part of the world will not find that to be the rule around here. I'll be doing my best not to live up to the reputation for terse iciness that those of us from the Northeast have earned for ourselves but I can't control the rest of us.
The wedding. It was beautiful. This friend of mine has flatly refused at least 4 other serious proposals of marriage. It was a delight to finally meet the man who got an emphatic 'YES!' when he asked. It was a joy to celebrate with them.
Texas flavor. I ate up what I could in the short time I had. Tex-Mex food, Tejano music on the radio (Yes, I tuned into that when ever I was driving....all part of the experience, I figure.) Gruene Hall, the state's oldest dance hall.
The sights. The Art Museum, the Riverwalk, Gruene Hall, the hill country, the Alamo...all fabulous. The very cool thing was when I went to the Alamo they were having a living history festival much like the one I participated in last weekend. I got talking to one of the re-enactors who is a board member of their historical society and he was really excited to exchange information so our group and his can have contact since we cover roughly the same time period.
Blog meet-ups. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting other bloggers for the first time. Seamus was an incredibly gracious host (I just can't say enough about how welcome he made me feel and how much I enjoyed his company) as he took me into San Antonio so we could enjoy the Art Museum and the Riverwalk on Friday. Sunday he showed me around his corner of the hill country. I so thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent exploring and talking I forgot to take any pictures! Thank you, Seamus for all the time you gave and for making the visit so memorable and special. During my extended layover on the way home I planned to meet with G-man and Signgurl. They did indeed meet me there AND they brought Roxi and her pal Croaker too. (Ok, so that falls under 'surprising.') G-man organized the troops and Signgurl made all sorts of food for us to eat. It was DELICIOUS and I can't believe how much work she put into the short little meeting we had. It was a super brief meeting but I am so touched that everyone took time out of their busy schedules to come say hello for the duration of my layover. It was really a wonderful chance to meet them all.
The weather. Perfect...nuff said.
Leaving when 2 kids stayed home sick. I went to my airport while both Diana and Isaac were staying home from school with the same hideous cold I had.
The Highways. The airport roads are all under construction and I was not hip to the notion of Texas Turnarounds until I intentionally got on a road going the wrong way (there were no signs indicating which was the right way to go) so I could find the closest exit and...well....turnaround. Lo and behold, that was what I should have done in the first place! Dang, y'all! Why didn't ya say so? Oh, yeah, my hotel...it was about 30 feet from the interstate....my room...at the end of the building facing the interstate. Hahaha.
Philadelphia Airport. It's dirty and messy. Folks are grouchy. The shuttle to long term parking was driven by an inbred who crammed so many of us in there that three people were literally sitting on the dashboard. Folks, I love Philadelphia. I think every American who can get there should do so simply because of the history of the place, but crap like this embarrasses me as one who grew up near there. Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America and the 3 airports I have been in there ALL beat the Philly airport for cleanliness and service as far as I could see.
Isaac. When I announced I was going to Texas he declared with a mixture of concern for my well-being and excitement over potential carnage, 'Mom, you know there are killer bees and tornadoes in Texas!' First words when I called to say I had gotten to my hotel safely, 'See any killer bees yet?'
The reception. It was very short. I knew just one other guest and her husband but we had a good time together....although I did get asked 4 times if she (who is 27) was my daughter...and once I was asked if I had grandchildren. Erm....no...emphatically no, on both counts.
The uber-conservative. After the reception ended quickly 'my children' and I decided to go find something else to do rather than go back to the hotel. We got talking to an older fellow who was glad to share about some interesting things. He then began to decry some of the societal changes that have been thrust upon his Texas paradise and the world in general. He announced, 'We wouldn't be havin' this sorta trouble if they'da hung Ed Sullivan and the Beatles.'
I KNEW I WAS BACK HOME WHEN...I saw a Mennonite bishop and his family all in plain dress and bonnets and heard them speak in Pennsylvania Dutch. I saw a TastyCake truck. Calypso came running down the stairs and threw her arms around me before I could even set my bags down.