Reunions are Fun!

Trip Start Apr 02, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
KOA - Caddo Mills, Texas

Flag of United States  , Texas
Monday, May 3, 2010

April 22, 2010 – Here We Go Again

With the preceding week's calendar crammed with luncheons, dinners, and various other activities, very little time was available for packing and loading the Denali. I guess that’s the reason I woke at 5:30 AM.  While mom and Wendell still snoozed, I made coffee, checked email and Facebook, and then thought, "I might as well start taking a few loads out and putting things away".  By the time the sleepyheads were sipping their coffee, I’d made at least three trips with groceries, clothing and other supplies.  Wendell was amazed by my pre-dawn energy and immediately joined in so that we were ready to roll by 10 AM.  With mom riding shotgun and me in the back seat, Wendell skillfully maneuvered the new rig out of the subdivision and onto US 281 and headed north.  What is normally at minimum a 5 hour drive in the car took us 7 hours but did include stops for fuel and lunch.  We were concerned we would encounter heavy traffic coming through Dallas but I-20 and 635 were flowing nicely and we were on I-30 heading to Greenville by 4:30 PM.   Arriving at moms, we quickly off-loaded her things and the furniture we had stowed in the Denali for my niece, and back-tracked ten miles on I-30 to the KOA in Caddo Mills.  The park is nice and has good WiFi and there are no RV parks of any consequence in Greenville.  I made a quick taco salad for our dinner and then we both tried out the shower (separately, of course….it’s not big enough for anything else).  We retired for the night by 10 PM and discovered the mattress to be quite comfortable; however our sleep was interrupted about 11:30 PM when a fierce storm blew in.  From that time until early morning, we were hammered with wind, rain, and extremely noisy thunder.  The Denali survived the leak test!

April 23, 2010 – Reunion Begins

Why do they build RV’s with skylights over the shower?  Do you know how much light comes in those things?  Needless to say, we woke early when the sun started streaming in the windows.  I had managed to put a “room darkening” panel over the large window opposite the bed but was unable to find small tension rods to secure the panels to the windows on either side of the bed

Coffee and cereal behind us, we headed back to Greenville to spend the day with mom.  Brother, Jesse, who lives next door to mom came and visited for a while and then Wendell & I returned to KOA to get ready for the evening reunion gathering at Landon’s Winery on Lee Street, across from the courthouse in downtown Greenville, Texas.  There are actually two wineries in Greenville now since “beer and wine” were voted in a few years ago and I was greatly impressed with Landon’s.  The owner, Bob Landon, bought the old S.H. Kress & Co. building which was in utter decay and has renovated it with meticulous care to its present state…which includes a vineyard planted alongside the outdoor patio area.  The reunion reception couldn’t have been held at a nicer place and the squeals of excitement from classmates recognizing one another echoed through the rafters.  The GHS Class of 1965 reunion had officially begun.

April 24, 2010 – Reunion Lunch & Dinner

Another storm, again!  Neither of us are golfers but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those who had signed up for the morning golf tournament.  The rain stopped at daybreak and although they got a late start, the avid golfers from the GHS Class of 1965 persevered.  By the time we arrived at Webb Hill Country Club for lunch, the day was beautiful except for the extremely breezy conditions.  Lunch was fantastic and it was good to see others who had not joined us at Landon’s the night before.  A microphone was passed from table to table and everyone introduced themselves and their spouse and told a little about themselves.  We also got a nice booklet with the information from the forms classmates had submitted and then it was time for the photo.  We had a great time trying to get everyone lined up but the photographer was extremely patient with the rowdy bunch.  We were all having such a good time being “kids” again.  No one can believe it’s been 45 years!

We returned to KOA to shower and dress for the evening festivities, and returned to moms to wait for my “best” friend from high school to arrive with her husband.  We visited with mom for awhile then drove downtown….this time to the old post office which is now a banquet facility called “The Landmark”.  It is so nice to see these wonderful buildings being put to good use and the downtown area seemed to be livelier than I’ve seen it in many, many years.  Once again we saw more faces that had not been present at the other two functions and the Mexican food dinner was just what Wendell would have ordered.  This event was “BYOB” and after we had enough wine to relax us, we sauntered onto the dance floor to the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s music played by the DJ.  But I guess you can tell we’re getting older….most folks had left by 10 PM!

April 25, 2010 – Sunday

Easing into morning is always a nice thing and by this time, Wendell had found extensions rods and cut them down to fit the small bedroom windows so the sun is not quite so intrusive.  We’re still having to deal with that skylight and musing over how we can correct that situation but for the present we’ll just have to live with it.

We were expecting my niece and her baby girl to come to moms so a pot luck dinner was proclaimed.  On the way into town, I stopped to pick up ingredients for my casserole and prepared it when we arrived.  Then we got a call from my niece telling us the baby was sick and they might be late.  About the time everyone else arrived, she called and said they had better not come.  We were disappointed because we really wanted to see the baby. 

Dinner was great, but there was way too much good food:  fried chicken, hamburger steak, mashed potatoes, salads, and my burrito casserole.  We divided up leftovers and called it another early evening heading back to KOA.

April 26, 2010 – Surgery

Before we left home, we had learned my sister’s husband had been diagnosed with a “probably cancerous” mass in his bladder and surgery was scheduled for 8:30 AM on Monday morning.  Wendell and I had originally planned to leave that day but in view of the situation, had already decided to be there for sister’s moral support.  Wendell had made plans to visit a classmate of his to see his engineering shop so he dropped me in Greenville about 8 AM.  Even with something this serious, it is only a “day surgery” thing.  They were timely and surgery lasted a little over an hour.  The doctor came out and confirmed his suspicions but was optimistic that he had been able to remove all of the mass.  Still, we will have to wait until Thursday to get the official pathology report.  If the report comes back clean, then nothing else has to be done….and that is what we are now praying for. 

Brother-in-law was released to go home about 1:30 PM, so mom and I went to lunch then back to her house to wait for Wendell.  We were both getting sleepy, so I suggested we leave Wendell a note and we could do a little “thrift store” shopping.  After visits to three stores without finding any “treasures” we returned home to find Wendell napping in the recliner.  We called and got an update on the patient then Wendell and I returned to camp to enjoy “happy hour” under the awning of the Denali.  Although it was still a bit breezy, the evening was enjoyable and dinner was reheated leftovers from Sunday.

April 27, 2010 – Glen Rose, Texas

For almost 16 years, we have driven from Spring Branch to Greenville cutting over on Hwy 67 between US 281 and I-20.  This route takes us through Glen Rose, Texas and just about every time we drive through, we always say, “Someday we have to come here!”  Since we had the week between the reunion and our grandson’s concert in Waco on the 30th, I suggested we explore the Glen Rose area which is home to some of the most abundant dinosaur tracks in the United States.  “Dinosaurs in Texas?” you say.  Actually, they are found all the way from Dallas to Del Rio, and we even have some near our home. 

We had reservations at Dinosaur Valley State Park and arrived in the early afternoon to our campsite on the banks of the Paluxy River.  After a late lunch, we strolled along the river looking for tracks noted in the park’s brochure.  We discovered we would need to cross the river on foot to see one of the large collections and our footwear was not appropriate for clamoring from one mossy rock to the next, so we returned to the Denali with plans to return the next day….better prepared.  It was such a lovely afternoon, so we set up our lawn chairs, grabbed our books and adult beverages, and spent a few hours enjoying the sights and sounds around us.  Both of us dozed off to sleep with the birds chirping and children’s voices wafting up from the river below.  Not unpleasant, at all.  The late afternoon chill roused me and sent me back indoors but Wendell endured a bit longer.

April 28, 2010 – Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Wendell prepared breakfast while I enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table playing “stupid” games on the computer.  He does an excellent job of sausage, eggs and toast on the griddle and topped off with some of his homemade apricot preserves made a fantastic late morning meal.  We set out about 10:30 AM and made our first stop at the Glen Rose Visitor Center.  The attendant was on the phone the entire time I was inside but did manage to break away long enough to direct me to a section of brochures and answer one or two questions.  From there, we backtracked on Hwy 67 to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center….again one of those places we’ve been saying we would like to visit.  It was certainly not a disappointment but I still think Natural Bridge may be one up on them.  We saw so many species of deer that I lost count but each one had its own distinct beauty.  Of course, there were also bison, gazelle, zebra and giraffe.  Only the giraffe could be hand fed….because they have no upper teeth with which to bite your hand…but they do slobber all over you.  And you had better watch out for the ostrich; those are mean little critters and will even stick their heads into the car to get the food.  It was hilarious watching me roll down the window and zoom it back up after tossing a handful of feed on the ground.  Wendell was a little slow on the release and got nipped by one of them. The center also has a very nice cheetah preserve and we were able to glimpse several of them lazing in the grass taking a midday snooze.  I also have to say that the views from the upper reaches of the park were incredible and the Texas “hill country” doesn’t have anything on this area.  We could see roughly 20 miles in any direction. 

From the wildlife center, we drove back into Glen Rose for lunch at one of the three Mexican food restaurants Wendell had spied driving through.  I had the fajita lunch plate and brought home enough to combine with our salad for tonight’s dinner.  We wanted to explore more of the dinosaur tracks but with temperatures soaring to 80 degrees, I suggested we drive out to the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant and visit their information center.  As we drove up the highway, we noticed a sign saying “call for reservations” but the Glen Rose Visitor Center did not mention this fact when I inquired earlier, so we pressed on.  We walked in to find no one at the desk, but a sign telling us to enjoy the exhibits, so we did.  Later an employee walked through and offered to get someone to start the video if we wanted to see it.  We did and a very nice lady (whose brother-in-law lives in Greenville) got it started and then came back to answer questions afterwards.  The information center didn’t take long to explore and the plant is no longer open to the public for tours since 9-11, so we returned to camp a little before 4 PM to sit outside and enjoy the afternoon breeze and the chorus of birds and tree frogs.  Tomorrow…we’ll find those tracks!

April 29, 2010 – Creation

Cloudy skies and steady breezes started the day but by the time we finished breakfast, the sun was shining and we were ready to explore the park for more dinosaur tracks.  Much of the area that is now Texas was covered by water many years ago and the Paluxy River has carved and sculpted the layered limestone, sandstone and mudstone to reveal the interesting archaeology we call the dinosaur tracks.  The subtropical vegetation along the coastal shoreline supported plant-eating dinosaurs which often fell prey to the fierce carnivorous dinosaurs.  Occasionally, storms drove some of these giant reptiles from the marshes and forests down to the wide tidal flats bordering what was then the Gulf of Mexico.  There, they left deeply impressed tracks in the soft, slimy mud. Sediments washed in from nearby lagoons, and after hardening into rock, their footprints became the preserved molds we find today.

Three kinds of tracks are found in the Glen Rose formation.  Most common are the three-toed, giant bird-like prints ranging from 12 to 24 inches long and 9 to 17 inches wide, with a stride of 45 to 65 inches.  This structure most closely matches the Acrocanthosaurus – a 20 to 30 foot-long, two-legged carnosaur belonging to the same group as the much larger Tyrannosaurus rex.   The second set of tracks found were saucer-like depressions with a four-toed, clawed hind foot and a horseshoe-shaped front and fits the description of a sauropod about 30 to 50 feet long with a relatively short neck and tail called Pleurocoelus. The third and most rare prints are attributed to an early ornithopod – a two-legged plant eater whose later descendants included the duck-billed dinosaurs.  These impressions are also 3-toed but not as elongated and most closely identifies with an Iguanodon.

Neither Wendell nor I are what you would call “dinosaur fans” but we are creatures of curiosity so we are fascinated by the presence of these creatures in our state.  Strolling along the banks of the Paluxy River, staring into the shallow waters, attempting to identify the tracks we were seeing made for a pleasurable morning expedition.  Brave Wendell crossed the river, stone by slimy stone, to see an area with a group of prints but I just couldn’t muster the gumption to slip and slide on the algae-covered rocks and chance falling and breaking something at my age. 

After lunch, we drove to a location just outside the park to tour the “Creation Museum”.  Several years ago I attended a “Creation Seminar” at a local church and was impressed with the answers afforded from the theories presented. The presenter had gotten much of his information from the founder of the museum, Carl Baugh, so I was curious about the place.  The film was the best part; other than a few fossils, they had little to offer.  The film; however, did help answer some questions and I do suggest that anyone traveling in the area spend the $2.00 to see it.

The best part of the museum tour was a family we encountered with three special-needs children.  The two young girls were quite outgoing and the oldest took to me like a magnet.  After all, both of our first names started with a “D” – Darius and Donna.  We held hands, and she excitedly showed me the book her mom had purchased about space exploration – Darius wants to be an astronaut.  I suspect, although mom did not say, that all three children are adopted and there is no doubt in my mind that God has a special place in heaven for these patient parents who lovingly care for their special children.

We returned to camp and Wendell managed to back over a post and “crimp” the brake line so now he has ventured into Glen Rose to get brake fluid. First off, he thought he was going to need a replacement and the closest place to get one was in Fort Worth!  Let’s hope the brake fluid is all we need.

May 1, 2010 – Backtracking

As we were pulling out of the park Friday morning and got into cell phone range, I received a text message from my sister saying that mother had been hospitalized with a kidney infection.  I immediately called and found out that the infection was likely caused by a kidney stone and the same doctor that had done Chris’ procedure wanted to put a stent in for mom, and yes, she wanted me to come back. Since they weren’t doing the stent until Saturday, we agreed that Wendell and I should continue on to Waco to attend our grandson's concert.  We arrived in time to hear him practice and give assurances that it was perfectly normal to be nervous.  My final words of advice were, “try to forget about everyone in the audience and just play for the Lord”.   It must have worked because he did a great job.  He sang the song that he and his brother wrote first and got a good round of chuckles from the audience for the surprise ending where he reveals the “girl” in the song is actually his birddog.  But, hey, you shouldn’t expect otherwise for an 11-year old boy.

After the concert, our party of 16 family members went to a Mexican food restaurant and had a terrific time catching up with each other. For those who don’t know, Brandon’s parents are divorced and both have remarried so there were numerous sets of grandparents present to brag on his accomplishments.  Although we were offered bedroom accommodations in the house, we elected to sleep in our RV parked next to the Cross family barn.  The storm that blew through about 4:30 AM was quite strong but the barn blocked most of the wind so we were quite comfortable.  In fact, several members of the family didn’t even realize there had been a storm.  Guess I’m the only light sleeper in the crowd. 

Mother’ stent procedure was scheduled for early morning and sis sent text messages keeping me informed as we traveled back to Greenville.  By the time we arrived, mom was out of surgery and in her room resting comfortably. My brother was coming outside as we got out of the car and said, “Oh good, the next shift has arrived!”  I stayed at the hospital until about 7 PM and joined Wendell back at the KOA in Caddo Mills.  We have no idea how long we will be here and are just playing this out day by day.  Sooner or later, mom will have to have another procedure to blast the kidney stone but first they want to get the infection under control.  Hopefully, we’ll know more by the first of the week. 
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Jan Kennady on

Waht fun to read all about your reunion and family activities! I'm prauing for your mom and brother-in-law!

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