Friday, May 15, 2009

Back to work, just in time for the weekend.

I got out of class at about 9:30PM Tuesday night and drove home. Denise was sittin' there on the couch waitin' for me, dreadin' the hell out of the drive up to Mineral Wells. But I talked her into thinkin' that we'd both be happier in the morning if we could sleep in till 8AM, rather than get up at 5 and have to make the two-and-a-half hour drive at the butt crack of dawn. She finally saw the sense in it, so we packed one bag, hung our dress-up fuferall on the hook in the back seat of my car and hit the road.

We zipped up 281 at a fairly legal speed, stopping once in Stevenville to pee and pick up a Diet Mtn Dew and some Jerky. You know... road trip food. We got to Mineral Wells by about 1:20AM, rollin' up to the Best Western on the East side of town. Ten minutes and Ninety some-odd bucks later we were slapped up in a king sized bed with a flat screen TV, the alarm set for 7:45AM

The next morning, as Denise got herself together, I went down to check out the free breakfast in the lobby. It was half assed. I managed to scrounge an English Muffin and some Philly cream cheese. We hit the road and headed West, back into town and towards the church.

The Funeral services were nice. They were held at the First United Methodist Church there in town. It was easy to find, right down behind the Baker Hotel. We saw Jim and Terry there when we drove up. Soon I recognised his mother and a few of his sisters, all of whom had flown in or driven up to represent their side of the family. It was great to see them all again, even in these circumstances.

When we got around to the front we saw Terry's Mom, Judy, surrounded by friends and family. She was being strong and cheery, just as she always is. Terry's son (from her first marriage) Kevin was there too, holding on to his Grandmother. They all complemented us on the flowers I'd sent up from a local florist. I was glad that they were well received, since I'd ordered them over the phone, sight unseen.

The service was very nice, to the extent that any funeral is pleasant. I blubbered through the whole thing. I couldn't stop thinkin' about dad. He's been gone a little over a year now. I miss him a lot.

After the service we drove out to a little cemetery in the country, out near the family farm, and there was another short service there. The drive out from town was a bit hectic. I'd never been in a funeral procession before, but I knew that usually there's a cop stopping traffic so everyone can make it through the lights. Sure enough, not this time.

I quickly got behind someone who I thought was part of the group and followed them. I didn't know where the friggin' cemetery was, so I got more and more exasperated with each red light we stopped at. I thought, "If this broad is goin' to her hairdressers and not the cemetery I'm gonna be REALLY PISSED!" But we didn't get lost. Everything turned out fine, and after a short stay there we all drove a little way further down the road to the Farm to relax.

They put on a nice lunch there after everything. We changed clothes, relaxed and spent a few more hours listening to hilarious stories about Tom, trying to comfort Terry and Judy. It was the first opportunity for Judy to meet Denise, and the first time Denise saw the farm. It was also the first time I'd been there in a long while.

The last time I was there, maybe a year or two ago, Terry had just discovered two black Lab pups down by the barn. The assumption is that someone had dumped them off, probably after a German Shepherd or something got into the chicken coop. No way to know one way or the other, but the dogs were precious. They were both little balls of energy, tearin' around the fenced yard with the other family dogs.

Both being male, they decided to name them "Jeff" and "Jim". Sounded funny to all of us then. Well, sure enough, Jim turned out to be a bit too rambunctious, snapping at poor little Jeff now and then, tryin' to be the alpha male in the house. When he bit Judy one day while she was trying to feed the two of them, they decided that was enough. They decided to give him away. The story goes that as soon as he joined his new family he calmed down and now sleeps with the kids of the house.

You can see from this shot that little Jeff is grown to be the very likeness of his namesake. He's a beast, but a lovable one. He's just like me... big and heavy, and yet surprisingly fast when he needs to be.

Like me, he's fond of laying around in a cool place, fond of water, quick to roll over and splay his legs in submission at the right signal, and quick with a nuzzle and a wet tongue for those who show him kindness and a soft touch.

That yellowish tan dog is Jim's little girl Sydney. Look how classy she is. She's always sittin' with those paws crossed. So elegant. He's trained her so that she's always under his control. We've taken her camping, climbing all over Enchanted Rock, and she sat up to keep the coons from getting in our coolers. Good dog, Sydney.

This is Scruffy. I got used to callin' him "Snaggle Tooth", because of the way his lower front fangs protrude out at funny angles. Makes him look like he's got a permanent snarl, but he's a sweetie, just like the others. These are all found dogs or pound puppies by the way. Mutts all, and all wonderful.

Here's one more shot of the twins. Can't resist postin' it. Jeff and Jeff. What a pair we make.

That porch is pretty cool too. Wide and long, like you'd expect in a typical ranch house. Tom and Judy really did build a marvelous life there together. He'll be sorely missed.

We left out of there for the drive home at about 2:30 or 3PM, driving out of the ranch and up onto 281, following it all the way back down to Lampassas. We made the turn there on a back road that leads you to the little town of Kempner, where we stopped for dinner. After Jaeger Schnitzel and such and the Brick Oven, we drove on home. It was a long day, but a good one.

The rest of the week has been uneventful. I gave finals last night on Ft. Hood and then went out to start a new round of 9-ball at a nice new place over in Harker Hights. I won again, so I must have been doin' somethin' right. Two big mugs of dark beer helped.

Today I'm in the Library at San Saba, making up the classes I missed taking off Wednesday. I'll head back to the jail in a little bit and do my evening class, and then the weekend will begin. There's more yard work in the plans, and maybe a trip up to Dallas to see my buddy Russell and his girlfriend Jude, both of whom fly in from Wales Saturday night. They're gonna spend about a week driving around the state, flying back out after Memorial Day. We'll get together at some point. It'll be great to see him again, and to finally meet Jude.

Anyway, It's about that time, so I'll hang this up and head out. You guys have a great weekend and we'll talk on the other side of this one. Cheers!


BRUNO said...

Oh a lot of people actually enjoy the "fellowship" after a funeral, but I just never could "get into it", you might say. Now, perhaps a day afterwards, I might be a bit more receptive to the idea?

Hammer said...

It's good you all got to reconnect as you paid your respects. Those dogs are really something else. I love the cross legged one.