It was with a sense of excitement that I headed out of Houston on my way home yesterday. For one thing, it felt like I’d been gone from home for a week. In essence it had only been for an overnight, but on Tuesday I had driven the General and her mother to Cat Spring for a four-day grandchildren and sports extravaganza. Actually, Craig had thoughtfully made arrangements to fly his grandmother down so she could see their home and have an opportunity to see her great grandchildren play sports.
On Tuesday they started with the District Track Meet where Jenna was running. From there they went to watch William play baseball. From that point on, it was non-stop activity. My week, too, had been filled with non-stop activity, but it wasn’t the kind that warms your heart like watching grandchildren enjoy life.
I don’t know what there is about Friday afternoon traffic, but I get the sense that everyone in Houston is headed to Austin and everyone in Austin is headed to Houston. Long story short, IH-10 going West was a parking lot. At some point, the General telephoned to check on my whereabouts. She also thoughtfully said: “Becky has checked on traffic and there are a lot of wrecks on IH-10. You need to exit at the car dealership on the East side of Sealy and take Hwy 90”.
Surprise of surprises, I had already figured out that traffic was a problem. When I finally got to the Hwy 90 exit at the car dealership, getting fuel was a higher priority for me than getting out of traffic. Did I mention, I don’t always make good choices? I guess you could call in “the longest mile” or maybe it was two, but I eventually got to the next exit and made my way to the Chevron station.
When I arrived at Craig’s, the kitchen was a flurry of activity. Becky, the General, her mother and the General’s niece were in the kitchen. There wasn’t a kid in sight. So, “Where are the kids” was my first question. I thought the General said that Jenna was in Craig and Becky’s room. I headed that direction. Instead of Jenna, it was Jake. Jake was lying on the bed, propped up on his elbows playing a video game. He didn’t even look my direction when I called his name. He simply asked: “Can you give me a minute?”
That was not the kind of “granddad” welcome I was used to receiving or expecting. I made my way toward him for an obligatory “granddad hug”. He disengaged from the video game and hugged me. I noticed an icepack on the bed. “What’s that for”, I asked. “Oh yeah, can you take that back to the kitchen for me? I’ve had a rough afternoon. First Jenna hit me in the face with a soccer ball. William then poked me in the eye with his finger”.
Obviously, being the youngest in the family has some disadvantages. I asked: “Do you want me to go take care of them for you?” He responded, “No, it’s okay. They didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident.” The kid has a sweet and forgiving spirit. At any rate, he followed me back into the living area/kitchen area. I asked, “Jake have you sung any of your Celtic Thunder songs for Grandma? He looked at me as though I was from another planet.
The General responded: “I think he’s moved on to Johnny Cash.” I guess you could call it “the Cat Spring connection”. It is all about country and country is always good. He ran upstairs, turned on “I fell into a burning ring of fire” and strutted downstairs in a very animated fashion. The kid is a ham and he is really good at it.
As the General and I subsequently made our way Westward, we took the back roads. I didn’t want to get back on IH-10 and I wanted to enjoy the scenery. We didn’t get back on a real highway until we got to La Grange. Actually, we took a slight detour when one direction took us to La Grange and the other direction took us to Round Top. I’ve only driven through Round Top once. The General had never been. I suggested, “When we get to the road sign indicating the mileage, if it’s under 10 miles, let’s take a side-trip. She said okay. At it turned out, it was only 9 miles, so we were off on an unanticipated adventure.
She shared more about their week. Wednesday night the kids didn’t have any ballgames. I asked: “So, did y’all go to church?” She said, “No, Craig wanted to take us to the gunsmith’s shop. He is having a rifle re-tooled”. “Oh yeah, that’s exactly what I’d want to do”, I responded”. The General said it was really interesting. She did add, “We didn’t go to church, but William asked if he could go to church. He is really involved with the youth group.” I think the youth group could also include his first heartthrob. Rumor has it that the two of them don’t really talk to each other, but are content to simply be in the same group. I think that’s really funny. On the other hand, whatever it takes, I’m glad he wants to go to church.
We both agreed that Round Top is a very quaint place to visit. Somehow, I think we were there at the most opportune time. The place looked like a ghost town. We saw very few people. I figure when the place is covered with crowds of people, it can’t be nearly as picturesque. It certainly would not be nearly as enjoyable.
We did eventually make it to La Grange. I took another detour and headed toward Sonic. I needed a cup of ice. The General said, “I want iced tea”. At least, that’s what I thought she said. Sonic was busy, but I pressed the red button and waited to order. How long does it take to get a response? “Longer than you might think” is my answer to the question.
The General astutely made the observation, “It might help if you pressed the red button”. I responded, “I did”. “No you didn’t” was her reply. Okay, so she’s been gone for a half a week. How did I ever make it without someone telling me I didn’t know what I was doing? She went on to explain: “Do you see the gray colored banner at the bottom of the screen. It reads: “Press the red button for service”. She added: “You just thought you pressed the button, you really didn’t”.
Actually, she was pretty convincing. So am I delusional? Be careful how you answer that question. I pressed the red button, and sure enough the gray banner at the bottom turned to red and read: “We will be with you shortly”. I said to the General, “You know, I think I will have iced tea as well.” She looked at me and said: “What do you mean? I don’t want iced tea?” “Yes you do”, I responded. You said you wanted iced tea! Where was Jenna and William when I need them. How about a soccer ball to the face and a poke in the eye? (Just kidding) The General was adamant,”I want a cup of ice.”
“You clearly told me you wanted iced tea” was my response. “I pushed the red button the first time when you said I didn’t. Now you’re telling me you want ice instead of iced tea. Help me understand what’s going on here?” She was resolute in her response, “I told you clearly that I wanted ice too.” Presto – “Ice too” is close enough to “Iced tea” that anyone could misinterpret what they had heard. By the way, the red banner that stated: “We will be with you shortly” had turned back to the gray banner that read: “Press The Red Button For Service”. We went through that exercise two more times before we finally got ice.
It was very dark and very late when we got home. “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.”
All My Best!