I love my family a lot. In fact, I love them enough to not only make that turnaround trip, but to lose sleep in order to spend as much time with that lovable crowd as possible. Most notably, though, my brother-in-law's mother was in town. I totally love her, and I had to see her before she left for SCOTLAND, so the trip was completely reasonable when compared with her flight over the Atlantic. But you know what a bummer is, the fact that we didn't get a picture together! DAMMIT!
So, I'm driving from Dallas to Houston in the a.m., which I think is the perfect time to be on the road. The sun is still low and so is the traffic. Anyway, I think I've described this drive before, and this one wasn't much different, though, the reward of McKenzie's Barbecue wasn't the light at the end of the tunnel. But what I did notice, as I passed through long stretches of pastures populated only by cows and the occasional gas station, were these amazing trees. During the spring, the last time I made this trip in the full-fledged daylight, you couldn't tell, but they are the kind of trees that you see on the cover of young-adult thrillers: thick trunks that all the sudden split into the most amazing, complex structures. Full of crooks, twists, turns and tapering out into delicate webs. I wished so bad that I wasn't in a hurry, that I could stop on the side of the road and take a few shots.
I only stopped once on my way down, and that was in Fairfield. The entire service station smelled like urine, so I didn't hang around to stretch my legs.
I finally arrived at the salon, got my hair cut, and we picked up some lunch at a nearby deli. We went over to my sister's house, which has been a big labor of love for her and her boyfriend. They've put so much sweat and tears (didn't ask about blood!) and it is starting to really take shape! While we were there, I took a few shots:
And then I headed over to my other sister's house to visit with my niece and my BIL's mom (who is awesome!!!!). There, I took even more photos:
"Wow! Auntie Jo is so cool with that camera! I want to be like her someday!"
"This bottle is sooooo good, but I'm watching my waist, so I'll puke up some of it later."
My BIL has the most awesome salt water tank. It's great picture fodder! And, boy, are his fish grumpy!
And my BIL's mom showed me the most awesome knitted blanket I've ever seen:
Seriously, guys, that's a lot of lace.
So much detail!
I can't believe that this thing is all handknitted! So many awesomely executed k3togs, and that's just an unbelievable number of stitches!
So, we went back to my other sister's house and she said that Dorothy had brought a few holiday treats for us all:
Mince pies and Christmas pudding
And then we took silly portraits of one another, and of the bell pepper-shaped cookie jar that needed a brownie:
And of a cool glass that my grand mother made. She would pick up wine bottles off the side of the road and cut off the tops:
And then we decided to have banana splits for dinner and watch "The Dark Knight," which I highly recommend. SO AWESOME! At first, I didn't think I would like Heath Ledger as the joker, but it was fabulous. Too bad about him. Fine actor.
I went to bed early, and woke up the next morning a little later than I would like. I made coffee, drank it up quickly and wrote a few things down in my Moleskine:
1/04/2009, 11 a.m.
I was just thinking over a conversation I had with my sister about her new digital camera. She rarely used a 35mm SLR, and most likely never had a chance to really learn about film.
So we were talking about her new DSLR, and she asked me about what, exactly, ISO is, and what does it do? On the inside, I laughed a little. We've so embraced technology when it comes to photography, and yet, the business of pictures is still spoken in the language of film.
I got dressed in a hurry and headed over to my parents place. Now, on my way down to Houston, I called my mom to tell her I was on my way, and she said she had news for me:
"You know what happened this week?" she asked.
"I got my first deer!"
"You know what happened after that?"
"I got my second!"
So, my mom got 2 deer this season, and so did my father, and my brother got one. That's so much meat that they had to run out and get a chest freezer!
So, I arrive at my parents' house, and my dad is in good spirits and my mom is processing deer in the kitchen sink.
And my dad says that, come to think of it, I look a lot like my great-grandmother now that I'm older and wiser. I'm cool with that, mostly because she was good lookin'.
So, we eat some ham with warm mustard (awesome!) and everyone sort of converges on my parents' house and we hang out, and I go outside to take pictures of random things:
The rusty door of the barbecue pit.
The misplaced lawn toilet.
Some old trailer tires.
Some veggies in their garden.
And a huge aloe plant.
And then, I packed up the car and turned around. It was a long, lonely trip back. I miss them all already.