Saturday, May 08, 2010

Bouncing Around Texas

This has been a wild and crazy two weeks with hardly a chance to catch my breath, much less stop for a bit of blogging. April and May are generally a blur, with too many things piling up to do and this year was no exception.

The last Saturday of April saw the Hodge side of the family gathering in Elgin to celebrate Aunt Bill's/Bettye's birthday. Unkie/Son/Grady/Hodge (nobody in this family goes by just one moniker) built a big bonfire in his front yard, we roasted wieners for hot dogs, sang some country songs to brother David's guitar accompaniment and kept each other laughing non-stop. We are a crazy bunch with a common crazy sense of humor. A good time was had by all.

On the breezeway, pre wiener roast

Sunday morning began the annual marathon to prepare a family history newsletter for the big Frankum reunion that falls on the first weekend of May. Every year I have no idea what I'm going to write about and every year I figure may be the year I have to show up empty-handed. Fortunately I had some inspiration at the last minute and I managed to put another one together at the last minute.

That was barely out of the way before the first client files started arriving for May. Every May the law firm is required to mail special notices for the majority of our clients. May generally passes in a blur, as I struggle to keep from being buried alive in work. Just because I work better under pressure (hah!), I also scheduled a couple of days vacation in order to take full advantage of the reunion activities.

So, fully knowing I shouldn't take the time off but determined to do it anyway so I wouldn't miss anything, I began Thursday morning with a trip to Elgin to check Mojo, Coco and Dixie into pet camp. At noon, Cousin Glynda picked me up and we left for the reunion.

If I tell you that the trip from home to the reunion site in West Columbia is about 140 miles, you might wonder why it took us 10 hours each way. The reason is we took the scenic route through Gladewater. What? You didn't know there was a scenic route through Gladewater?

Here is one scene we made a point to see on our way:

I can hear you scratching your heads in bewilderment, but this little house was a very important place to me once upon a time. This was where my grandparents lived when I was a little girl and I spent many Christmases and the better part of one summer here. I played in this yard, I visited the couple who lived next door, I watched the train as it roared by on the tracks that were at the back edge of the property, and I explored the cool, damp storm cellar in the back yard. It was nice to see that the place is still standing.

Our reason for going to West Columbia by way of Gladewater was to pick up my aunt and escort her to the reunion. We spent the first night at her house, where we met her new dog Sunny and made the aforementioned brief tour of Gladewater where we visited all the places where my grandparents and my aunt and uncle had lived. The next morning we headed out bright and early, going south.

By early afternoon we were in Wharton, where we made our annual visit to the City Cemetery. In addition to my Wilcoxen grandparents, my great-grandparents Wilcoxen and great-grandparents Frankum and great-great-grandmother Frankum are buried there. Also most of my grandmother's siblings and their spouses, a great-aunt on my Wilcoxen side and a pile of cousins have their final resting place in this cemetery. After many years of visits, I am finally beginning to remember where all the graves are located and no longer wander aimlessly looking for them

Friday evening was a preliminary get-together of the Frankum clan and usually involves some cut-throat dominoes. This year was no exception. Here is a wad of Frankum cousins, with yours truly about center of the front row.

Saturday, the official reunion began bright and early. There was way more food than you can imagine, lots of story-telling, some good music, a raucous auction and lots and lots of hugs. There were 134 cousins signed in on Saturday, ranging from a newborn to our wonderful 93-year-old Nita B. After a full day of reunion activity, the three of us hopped back in the car and began the trip in reverse, heading north to Gladewater for the final night.

Early the next morning we took some time to enjoy the fruits of my aunt's labors in her garden. She has quite a green thumb and a real knack for decorative gardening, not to mention a collection of iris that puts my purloined posies in the shade. (She laughed when I told her about by recent trip to a remote cemetery to acquire some iris bulbs. She said my grandmother would definitely approve.)

The patio area just outside the garden room.

My aunt digging up a tree sprout to send home with us.

The morning of the fourth day, we made our 4th and final leg of the trip home. We arrived home with 1,000 miles under our belts, a cargo area full of plants and a growing awareness that we had eaten way too much.

Arriving home, I jumped into my own car and went to get the dogs. As much as I enjoyed the long weekend, the best part was seeing their little faces light up when they came through the door and saw Mommy.

Not so happy was Dixie when I picked her up the next morning. Dixie had spent the weekend with the vet, getting microchipped and having her matted fur issues addressed with a close hair cut. I had impulsively agreed to a "lion cut" because a co-worker had recently had a cat at the office who had the same cut and I thought it was cute. On Dixie it was not so cute and she was one unhappy cat about the whole thing.

The other cats have followed her around all week, hissing. I thought she would appreciate getting cooler for the summer, only the weather turned cooler and now she seems to be chilled. I keep finding her asleep under lamps and she curls up between me and the arm of the couch whenever she can. I've promised her we won't be trying this again and keep assuring her that her bad hair cut will grow out. Eventually. It would really help if the other two cats would quit calling her names.

Now it is back to the May mailings and my desk is loaded down with files. Life promises to continue to be a blur for a couple more weeks.


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