Feel Good Reflections


I was in a nostalgic mood yesterday. While driving to Houston, I experienced a lot of feel good reflections from simply allowing myself to go back in time and think of previous trips to Houston.  I’ve made multiple trips to Houston and back for work, but I thought about the trips we made to Houston together as a family.


In the mid-1970s we had close friends that lived in Houston. That was before I had church obligations that negated having a weekend off where one could travel and not feel guilty for missing church. Treva, Craig and I often made our way from Austin to Houston to visit friends. We had known the guy from college and a couple or three  years following graduation, I had the privilege of officiating at his wedding.  At that time, they were living in Abilene.


In thinking back to the close relationship we shared with this family while they were living in Houston, it brought back treasured memories.  Craig was knee-high to a grasshopper at the time and he received lots of special attention from our friends. Their household composition included a toy poodle and a black cat with a mean streak. I didn’t know it until recently, but Craig mentioned not long ago that he has memories of being terrified by Boscoe. Boscoe was the name of their cat. Who knows, his fear may have had nothing to do with the cat, but something he inherited in my DNA.


I am not, repeat – “I am not” a cat person. Cats gravitate toward me only because they are by nature, passive aggressive animals. All I have to do is sit in any chair and immediately I have a furry critter sitting in my lap. They seek me out only because they know they make me crazy.


At any rate, as I drove to Houston yesterday, I thought about our friendship with that couple. They now live in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Consequently, we seldom visit because of the distance, but they continue to be dear to our family. A couple of years ago they came to visit. Coincidentally, Craig and his family were visiting with us as well. They were grateful to be reconnected with Craig and they hit it off well with his family. It probably will come as no surprise, but Jake really took to them or they took to him.


Thinking of our friends, I thought about one of the menu items that made up a meal every time we visited. We had homemade burritos. Actually, they got the recipe from Treva. We got the recipe from another couple that we’ve known forever. But whether they were visiting us in Austin or we were visiting them in Houston, we always had burritos. I guess the recipe has served us well. We occasionally still opt to have burritos for lunch or dinner.


Another food item that I associate with them is “golden beef tacos” at Los Tios in Houston. When it comes to grated cheese, the tacos are loaded. The menu item has served Los Tios well. It is still on the menu after forty plus years.  I occasionally still stop by Los Tios when I’m in Houston for the tacos.


Someone recently mentioned that I seem to know my away around Houston. I responded: “I ought to, I’ve been lost in almost every part of the city. If given an option, I prefer to drive through neighborhoods rather than on the freeways. The traffic jams in Houston aren’t a lot different than the traffic jams in Austin. I prefer to avoid either.


It was a highway sign I saw along IH-10 yesterday that brought a memory back from long ago. Yesterday, I noticed the sign for Beckendorff Road. Maybe I’m wrong, but “Beckendorff” sounds like a German name to me. It does now and it did thirty-five years ago. That’s when I first noticed the “Beckendorff Road”sign.


Let me digress and give you the back-story. I don’t remember the exact year, but it was either 1982, 1983 or 1984. Craig wanted another dog. Don’t ask what happened to the other dogs. Please rest assured that none were taken to the pound and that I found responsible pet owners that were suitable to fill the gap when our need for an alternate placement seemed like the best option.


We were living in Henly at the time and Craig wanted a dog.   Consequently, the General and I did our due diligence as responsible parents and narrowed the selection down to two different breeds. Our first choice was a west highland terrier puppy. Our second choice was a miniature schnauzer. We even checked with a Veterinarian friend regarding options.


They say timing is everything. We couldn’t locate a litter of west highland terrier puppies to choose from. The availability of the miniature schnauzer was easier to find. This was back in the day before rescue dogs were popular. We were purchasing a dog with papers. It was a thoroughbred and deserved to have an appropriate name.


From my perspective, the name had to be German. From Craig’s perspective, he had something else in mind. At the risk of your thinking Craig needed therapy as a child, his favorite character on the television series “Dallas” was the father of Pam Ewing. Pam’s dad was an alcoholic who seemingly was always in trouble with the Ewing family. His name was Digger Barnes. “Digger Barnes” is the name Craig selected to give to his schnauzer.


My thought was, “What would people think?” The dog deserved better. I guess you could say we compromised. Craig named his dog, “Digger”. However, the official name on the birth certificate or official papers was (drum roll please): Digger Barnes Beckendorff. I got the name Beckendorff from the highway sign on IH-10.


Like I said, timing is everything. No sooner had Digger Barnes Beckendorff found his way into our home as Craig’s dog, we got a call from a lady wanting to sell a west highland white terrier puppy. Her children had given her the dog for Christmas and it was definitely not working out.  She obviously was a lady from the same mold where I belong.


The General’s wisdom proved to be flawed. She reasoned that since Craig and I had nothing in common (He likes hunting/I don’t hunt) that each of us having a puppy in the house at the same time would be a bonding experience for us. I should have called fowl ball at the time.  In addition, what did the General mean that I didn’t have anything in common with my son.  We both had the General and the same last name. In addition, as it turned out, we both had a puppy.


It was an experience for us, but I will save that story for another blog. We’ve all got stories. Sometimes just looking around at road signs can be a catalyst to remember things you’d rather forget.


All My Best!



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