So, here's the travel journal. Spent the first night in Jackson, MS. Nice town. Loved driving through Birmingham and that part of Alabama. I didn't realize it was so hilly and green.
Got to Tyler the next day just after lunchtime, unpacked, and went exploring. The first thing we did was head down to Frankston, which is where I spent a couple of turbulent, youthful years. It's also the closest thing I've got to a hometown. And what do you know? It's got an ACTUAL stoplight now. When we first moved there, it had a stop sign. Then it got a blinking yellow light. Now it's got the whole deal, green, yellow and red!
It's gotten bigger, but otherwise, not much has changed. K-12 is still in the same building, but now it has a couple of mobile classrooms added for the overflow. The Baptist church I used to attend moved to a gorgeous new building up on a hill. I hope the pastor got a raise to go along with it. I doubt it's the same man. Pastor Grover Talbert was the sweetest man. He wore overalls during the week, but a two-sizes-too-small three-piece suit on Sundays. He was also about as wide as he was tall. Thank goodness he wasn't very tall.
The Ellis's hardware store hasn't changed. I went to school with the Ellis twins. Nice boys. I remember discovering during biology one day that one of them was color blind! I just thought he had bad taste.
So, once around the town square and back to Tyler. Beautiful area. Trees, lakes, hills. And completely surrounded by towns whose populations rarely exceed 600. In a perfect world where we didn't have to find real employment, it might work.
So we trekked down to Austin after a couple of days. Naturally, we had to stop in Corsicana and check out the Collin Street Bakery, which will make a believer out of the most hardened anti-fruitcake fanatic anywhere. These are the best fruitcakes in the world, and I used to hate fruitcake. Check out their website and see if that Apricot Pecan Cake doesn't make you salivate. Since we were there, we had to buy a couple of fudge pecan pies as well as some cookies. You know, support the local economy. ;-)
This little side trip still allowed time for us to visit the Bluebell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham, Texas. I have been daydreaming about Bluebell Ice Cream since the day I left Texas and realized I couldn't get it anywhere else. Since then, however, they have expanded into the Southeast and I'm able to get my Bluebell fix even clear out here in South Carolina. My all time favorite is one they only made for a summer, then stopped -- Peach Cobbler Ice Cream. It had pieces of real peach cobbler in it, crust and all. *sigh* Fond memories.
And so we continued to Austin. Oh My God. The traffic. The torn-up roads. The people who can't frickin' drive!
My personal dream after the kids are grown up and out doing their own thing is to live in one of those adorable cottages in the historic district. Doesn't have to be Austin, most any town will do. But until that day, I'm consigned to a special level of hell known as Suburbia.
Yes dear, it's a lovely neighborhood. Look at the yards, don't they look nice. Oh good, a swimming pool and sidewalks. And I understand the schools in the catchment area are very good.
Someday this will Not. Be. Me. Until then, my kids will get the nice neighborhood, the swimming pool and the good schools. Strange, I know, but this is my sacrifice, more than anything else.
Ahem. Putting on my Big Girl Panties now and moving on. We didn't get to see much of San Antonio, but it's more affordable than either Tyler or Austin, which is good.
We ate barbeque at Rudy's -- loved the smoked turkey and the baby back ribs. We ate at Taco Cabana, which we don't have out here. We ate Chinese. And we ate a LOT of fast food, although I was very good and ate mostly salads. I managed to regain the 3 pounds I had lost, but I expected that.
I read about 4 books and for some reason, the fact that a secondary character in Christine Feehan's "Oceans of Fire" is a Creative Memories consultant made me laugh until I almost cried. I don't know why. I finally got around to reading Deborah Hale's "Beauty and the Baron." What a fantastic book!! Loved it. Another one was an old-style bosom-heaver historical set in both West Texas and NYC. Man, she put those characters through the wringer! It was exhausting to read, but the author packed in every last drop of emotion. Definitely old school, but interesting to note the good use of technique. Hated the heroine. The other book was apparently "meh" because I can't remember at all what it was.
I did get a bit of writing done. I don't sleep well in hotels -- the hard beds give me backache -- so one morning I was up at 3:30, sitting on the towel-padded toilet lid, clacking away on Bertie. I do believe this story has a far sexier attitude than my previous writing. *shrug* We'll see where it goes.
Well, off to see if I can't rid myself of a few pounds again by getting on the stationary bike.
Glad you had fun! :)
I lived in Texas (Dallas) for two years and went to some of the places you mentioned ... my ex-gf's family lived in Tyler, so when I was with her and her husband, we'd go down there to visit every so often. I grew up in Washington State, so it's probably the only part that felt at all comfortable to me. Very beautiful area, much like parts of where I grew up.
I know what you mean about longing for where you grew up. Even though I very much liked parts of Texas, it never felt like "home" to me. Massachusetts is, in many ways, very similar to where I grew up; coming here felt like going home in a way.
Welcome back, Babe! Missed you. :-)
Taco Cabana RULES! I had no idea you couldn't get Bluebell outside The Great State.
Mary, a San Antonio gal