Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Vacation 2010, Day 3

The madness that is the annual Round Top Antiques Fair is in progress. Two good gal pals and I decided to use my house as base camp and spend a couple of days in the pursuit of the perfect antique we didn't know we needed until we saw it.

We had a great time.

On the first day it was just Lana and myself on the road. She had never been on the Round Top Antiques junket and had no idea what she was in for. The Round Top Antiques Fair must be experienced to be believed. From the original fair that took place in four venues in and around Round Top, it has grown and grown until it is hard to find a vacant place on the side of the road between Carmine on the north and Warrenton on the south. Pasture after pasture is filled to capacity with tents holding vendors from all over the United States. Several permanent barnlike structures are spotted along the road and hold another vast number of vendors who rent booth spaces. Some of the neighboring towns developed their own antiques shows in the dance halls and VFW halls of their communities.

And it happens twice a year.

My favorite time to go is in April, when the bluebonnets have just begun to hit their stride. If the weather is perfect, as it was the two days we attended this year, it doesn't get any better. (However, I have gone to the fair in driving rain and near-hurricane force winds and the crowds are just as big.) In the beginning the fair started on Wednesday and ran through Saturday. Nowadays some of the vendors are in place and selling as much as a week before. We old-timers know to go early on, because by Friday and Saturday the traffic is so horrendous and the crowds so thick that a platoon of police officers is necessary to direct traffic for pretty much the entire 10-15 mile stretch.

I didn't have anything in particular to look for this year, which is always a bad sign. Those are the years that I find something special. One year it was my oak desk. (In fact, I have purchased 3 oak desks over the years.) One year it was a pair of nightstands. One year it was a darling little footstool. One year it was a sewing stand.

Since I couldn't think of anything in the furniture line I needed, I suggested we go in Big Red the first day. I didn't know that before the day was out we would have the answer to the question, "can a full-sized piece of furniture be transported in a Prius?" The answer is "yes".

We spent five hours in the Cole's Antique Barn that first day. It was a good place to start. We were having a great time poking our way through the place and I had just about talked myself into the purchase of a beautiful little oak rocking chair when I glanced across the aisle and saw it winking at me.

For years I have been looking for an oak vanity that would fit in with my other oak bedroom furniture and had about given up hope that the right piece was out there to be found. But there it was and I fell in love on the spot.

You see, as soon as I saw it, I recognized it was a close cousin of the dresser I have lived with and loved for about 20 years.

I was pretty much convinced it was going home with me before I ever crossed the aisle to take a closer look. The owner knew I was hooked, but he still quoted me a discount that cinched the deal. It wasn't until I had committed to buy the sweet little piece that I found out I was also getting a nice oak chair to go with it.

Thanks to the fact that we were able to remove the mirror and that I could fold down the back seat, it turned out that it could all be fitted into the Prius with about an inch to spare. I am delighted to add the little vanity to the family.

Unfortunately the vanity was not the only thing I found that I just had to have.

For some months I have had my eye on a set of history books in the Round Rock Antique Mall and have managed to repeatedly talk myself out of spending the money. One of the last vendors we visited at Cole's had the same set for sale. And I do mean the same set. When I picked up the book to take a look at the price, I recognized a blemish that told me I was looking at the very same books that had been tempting me in Round Rock. The big difference was that I had never been face to face with the man who rents the space in the mall. He was manning the booth himself at Cole's and he recognized that he had a live one on his hands. We kidded back and forth and he agreed to make a substantial cut in the price he had been asking. I seized the opportunity and now I own the longed for books.

My last indulgence for the day was a set of Tootsie Toy dollhouse furniture. I was having a really good shopping day, while Lana was doing a lot of looking and finding very little to tempt her.

But, things change.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Vacation 2010, Day 2

Day 2 brought house cleaning and napping to our happy home. The dogs and cats are delighted to have Mom home and not glued to the computer. All the shades and drapes get opened when Mom is home, sun is shining through and creating warm pools on the carpet and all is well in their world.

We have a new fixture in the bedroom we have dubbed Cat Mountain. I am still shifting my belongings around and a good portion of the books have been packed in boxes awaiting the decision on whether I will add standalone bookcases or built ins. I'm trying not to make snap judgments as I pursue this project, so the boxes have been stacked against the wall for some time. I was getting a little tired of looking at them, so I came up with the idea of draping them with a sheet and blanket.

Cat Mountain is located directly next to the cat tower in the corner of the bedroom and the cats immediately adopted the new perch. A well used (by Boo) cushion was relocated to the top of Cat Mountain and Scout has decided that was a fine addition. A small table has been temporarily relocated on the opposite end of Cat Mountain, creating yet another level. There is nothing these cats like better than to be able to traverse a whole wall without having to touch their dainty feet to the floor.

They have barely left Cat Mountain since it came to life two days ago.

Scout grabs a quick bath while Boo and Dixie take naps.

I'm not sure this is any better than the original stack of boxes, but at least the cats are temporarily distracted and leaving me alone.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Vacation 2010, Day 1

Today's goal was to obtain a marriage record from Caldwell County. I had a poor photocopy of the record that I had obtained from microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City years ago, but it was blurry and indistinct. I figured it was the best I could hope for, but last week I happened across the information that original marriage records were available through the Caldwell County Genealogical and Historical Society in Luling. I crossed my fingers for something better than I had and scheduled a trip to Luling for Day 1 of vacation.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the library had expanded the space dedicated to the Historical Society holdings to almost double what they had when I had last visited. I was lucky to happen in when a particularly knowledgeable and helpful volunteer was on duty and we chatted about genealogy in general and Caldwell County families in particular. We had common family connections, although no common bloodlines. I remarked how surprised I was that they had original records there and she told me that when the County Clerk's office had run out of room, they had offered custody of the old records to the society. In short order I had 5 crystal clear marriage records to replace the blurry copies in my files. One of them I needed to complete the proofs for my application for membership in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, so I was quite pleased.

So long as I was writing a check, I decided to pick up the two volume set of Caldwell County history books as one of my birthday presents to myself. I enjoyed discussing various research avenues with the volunteer and then ran into another patron who was working on a DRT application who gave me some additional information about the application process.

Two big books of history and 5 marriage records - color me content.

One of the tips the volunteer had given me concerned indexes in the District Clerk's office that might solve a hole in my records, so I decided to go home by way of Lockhart. Fifteen minutes scanning indexes in the clerk's office did not solve the missing divorce record, but getting that index checked was worth the trip. By that time I was getting caved-in hungry, so I drove out to the Kreuz Market and indulged in a little bit of barbecue, Lockhart style.

Satisfied with the results of my day's errand, I headed home. Did I forget to mention that the entire round trip drive was studded with fields of brilliant bluebonnets, paintbrushes and phlox? It was mahvelous.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Now Where Were We?

For two weeks it seemed like my brain shut completely down. I'm mostly blaming allergies for that. With elm pollen and oak pollen and pine pollen floating heavily around me, I became something of a zombie moving slowly and dreamily through life. I hate taking medicine, so I put off doing anything about it with the idea that I could beat the mess with mind over matter. Forget that I have 5 decades behind me to prove that doesn't work. Every year I try to tough it out again. I finally caved and started taking some antihistimine and slowly began to come back to life.

Just in time, too, because I had a date with a group of cousins on my Mobley side of the family that were due to arrive in town for the great cemetery tour. Several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Cousin Pat and her late husband Al and taking them around to visit the family graves in the area. She was headed back to Texas to meet up with a group of her nieces and nephews who were coming in from all parts of the country for the occasion. She got in touch and asked if I would escort them around and I gladly signed on.

It was quite a day. Our initial group of 10 relatives visited the museum and a couple of the cemeteries on our list, then ate at Maxine's on Main Street. After lunch, the non-genealogists and the younger members of the group split off in favor of shopping and Pat, John, Mimi and I continued on the Mobley history tour. In all we hit 9 cemeteries in 5 hours, explored some back roads where the Mobleys and Wunneburgers owned property in the early 1900s and made a stop in McDade to see the house where our joint great-great-grandparents lived in their last years. Along the way we talked Mobley family history, shared family stories, looked at a lot of photos and in general enjoyed getting to know each other.

Pat and nephew John at our last stop in Red Rock

On the last leg of our tour, I had the great fun of having cousin Pat to myself as we drove from Bastrop to Red Rock. She answered all of my questions without hesitation and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Pat and me at the end of the day

Barely had the great Mobley history tour ended when it was time to get busy with the final preparations for Mother's memorial service. It was held last Sunday at the old refectory building in Bastrop State Park and it turned out to be a perfect setting and a day of perfect weather. We were joined by many old friends, family members and a few surprise guests from Mother's early years. In all, it turned out to be a beautiful service. I think she would have been pleased.

Mother's urn was made by her daughter-in-law, Karen

With the memorial service behind us and the antihistimines finally taking effect, it was time to rest. I had wisely scheduled my usual week of Spring vacation to follow closely behind the memorial service and the first day was yesterday.

Little brother decided yesterday was a good day for a meandering motorcycle ride, and he started off with a stop at our house to help me correct a small problem with my computer so I could continue with my current project of making application for membership in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. That accomplished, we decided to check out the Green Chai Cafe and both of us were very pleased with their fare. After lunch I talked him into going with me to one of the cemeteries I had visited last week with the intention of liberating a few crowded iris bulbs and giving them a new home at my house.

The cemetery just happened to be across from a green pasture full of budding oak trees and sleek cattle. We spent a few extra minutes trying to coax them toward us for photo ops. Most were unimpressed with the idea and continued on with the business of munching the sweet grass.

But one of the babies was curious enough to let me get close enough to get a few pictures. He just couldn't figure out what in the Sam Hill I was doing.

It was the perfect start to a week that should prove to be restful and entertaining. We had a nice drive out Highway 21 which is lined with pine trees and just beginning to develop patches of Texas spring wildflowers. We got to visit with some beautiful cattle and I brought home a dozen or so iris bulbs that were transplanted in my yard before the day was out.

Tomorrow the kids and I are headed to the vet for a quick checkup and then to Luling to retrieve a record I need for my application. I can't wait to see their reaction when we pull into Luling. I don't think they have ever been exposed to the smell of oil. We may just have to stop and get some barbecue for lunch while we are there.

Later this week two friends are spending a couple of nights with me and we have some activities planned that should provide some entertaining stories for another day. This is a week of some much needed R&R. Ready, set, go!