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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bluebonnets and Sharks

I Love to travel.

We recently made the snap decision to go to Texas to see the daughter and her family for Spring Break. We needed a snortle fix (a combination of snort and chortle unique to the grandson). By snap I mean we decided Tuesday night and left Wednesday morning, unheard of in the Murphy house. Strangely, we didn't leave any more items than had we planned the crud out of it. I count it as a successful foray. The Murphys have done Texas.

I like to make a journal entry when we do these trips. I've gotten away from doing regular journal entries because I don't get off on detailing what we ate for dinner. My life is fairly staid except for these little expeditions away from home. I should get back to it, though, because I tend to forget what I'm spending the golden coin of my youth on.

Well I didn't take my journal. So everything is written or drawn on the back of a grocery list. I'd just scan the whole thing in and put it on here but the kids broke our scanner. And I'd enter pictures, but I didn't get my new camera until my birthday, a few days after we got back.

So here is a list of what's on my little snatch of paper:

We saw these animals: went back and
deer (alive and dead), a bazillion cows of all sorts (including long horned), horses, sheep, goats, chickens, buffalo, dogs, cats, a turtle (which we nearly hit on the road), a dolphin (story to follow), herons, llamas, hermit crabs, skunks (dead), possums (also dead), and about a gazillion vultures (one of which was pecking at a dead deer and The Hubs took for a chicken).

These are the things to do next time that we missed this time:
*Visit NASA
*Go see the big crater
*Go to the Monogan Sandhills
*Houston Museum of Art
*Houston Aquarium
*Take the kids up to the top of one of those skyscrapers
*Pick a bluebonnet

In Texas there are LOADS of these things:
@oil wells
@lousy drivers (at least three of them nearly drove us off the freeway)
@damaged guardrails (drunk cowboys?)
@rundown towns
@wild flowers (sadly I didn't get to pick a single bluebonnet)
@trucks of all sorts
@Texas stars (yippee yie kie yay) (I want one, by the way)
@scraggly oak trees
@historical markers
@Texas flags (these people LOVE their state)

We saw a bathyscaphe (deep sea rover like Jacques Cousteau would use) going down the freeway on the back of a trailer. There were swales of bluebonnets. We saw all kinds of GIANT things like a golf ball, a skull, a squirrel, a huge red X, a buffalo, a blue bull, Yogi Bear, a huge muscular shrimp, and a spur. We passed the home of Lyndon B. Johnson and NASA and the last drive-in picture show. There was a driving range with school buses as the targets. There was a sign for Pancake, and two signs near each other reading Stink Creek and Sweetwater (we wondered how they cleaned up the water). Another sign read, "Deep Sh** Cattle Company." We passed Fort Hood and the Pyote Rattlesnake Bomber site. We also went to the world's nicest rest stop complete with what looked like a bank, vending machines, a museum with hands-on displays and a movie, a fantastic playground, a tornado hideout, and of course bathrooms.

One of those days we went down to Galveston to the beach. The sky was overcast and I expected the Gulf water to be cold. On the contrary it was about ten degrees warmer than the water at Moro Bay in CA. We donned our swimsuits and charged out into the murky green water, intent on body surfing as much as we could.
I found that I couldn't even see my feet, so I sent J back to get my goggles, hoping we could then navigate through the murk. No dice.
While she was gone B and I were looking back, anticipating the next Holy Monkey wave.

Then we saw it.

A huge black fin cut through the tube.
My heart jammed itself up into my esophagus and I heard B yelling, "That better not be a shark! That can't be a shark!"

All I could think of was, "NO NO NO!" Those fifteen or so hours of Shark Week programs flashed through my head. All of them said, "Don't go out in murky water." And there we stood not even able to spot our toes. I whipped my head around trying to keep that thing in sight and yanked out my hoop earring (which plummeted into the drink never to be found again). I didn't care. I was waiting for that first bump before the razor sharp teeth sliced into me. I was planning on how to punch it in the eyeball or the snout or get it to turn over on its back.

But then I squinted (no glasses=cruddy vision) and saw as the huge fish breached, that it was....

...a dolphin.

I was never so happy in my whole life.
And J was furious that she missed it. Go figure.
We collected The Hubs and his charge, the toddler bird-pursuer with his mouth-full of sand, the blue-lipped wave-hopper collectors of bits of shell and quarts of sand and hermit crabs, and headed back to civilization and BBQ.

I found I like Eastern Texas with its green pastures (probably because there is a hefty amount of humidity) and ubiquitous stars. I loved being with the family. Even the dog (who was definitely upset at being left home because he broke out of his kennel and peed, chewed, and knocked things over all over the place) was adorable.

All in all, Texas ROCKED.

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