Friday, December 04, 2009

A few visits, and the drive home.

Saturday night, after the 6th Floor, The three of us drove around Dallas lookin' for some good Chinese food. Bryce wasn't interested in Mexican food, and I'm not familiar with the Chinese food places in Dallas. We ended up on lower Greenville av., at a place called Big Wongs. It was great. It wasn't a buffet, which is what we were lookin' for, but the food was wonderful.

After that we drove on to Arlington, lookin' for some TCU gear for the kid. With their team winnin' these days, Bryce was fixated. We went to a place I knew off of Cooper and I-20 and he found everything he needed. It was like Christmas. I think Denise was makin' up for the fact that she doesn't live there in Kentucky with the boys, where she could spoil them on a regular basis.

Then it was back to the hotel and several adult beverages while we watched Bryce try to pack his ill gotten gains in his suitcase. He'd busted the one he came with, so Denise gave him one of hers. I asked her why she didn't just buy the boy a good sized bag, but my input wasn't required at that point. She had a few extra layin' around her place, so that did the trick.

Sunday morning, the three of us got up early and drove the 20 minutes or so up to D/FW airport to send the kid home. It was very emotional for Denise. She came back from his gate in tears. She wishes she could live there with them, but her job and her man are here in Texas.

We went back to the hotel to shower and gather our gear, and then we drove off towards Arlington to have breakfast. I'd made a date to meet one of my long lost high school buds there.

I haven't seen David Cavenah in 25 years, ever since he came back from a stint in the Air Force and I moved on to a four year college. It was cool to meet him again, and his lady friend, and get caught up on some things.

After a good breakfast at an I-Hop off Eastchase and I-30 in Arlington, I shook hands with Dave and we talked about how we should keep in touch. Since then he's signed up with Facebook, so that'll be easier to do.

Denise and I got back into her Camry and drove over to Ft. Worth. I had one more stop to make. About a month or so ago, my old friend Keith's mom had called to tell me she had something of Keith's that she wanted me to have. I was surprised, and had no idea what it could be.

You may remember, I found out that Keith had killed himself a few years ago when I got reconnected with my high school class for the 30 year reunion this last summer. I came up to visit his mom before the reunion, and it was wonderful to see her again.

Keith and I ran together from the 8th grade until, like David, I lost contact with him when I went to college. When I called his mom after 25 years and told her who I was, she said "You mean Big Jeff?"

It's great to see her now, and to see how good she seems to be doin'. Still, it always makes me sad to see her there alone. It's normal, almost expected, for a woman to lose her husband and become a widow late in life. But your kids aren't supposed to die before you do.

So much that was expected... So many good expectations that were taken for granted have withered and died in that house. It's very sad. But that's the way things go. Life goes on, and Margaret seems to be doing a great job of movin' on and making a life for herself.

Anyway, after we got there and spent some time playing with the dogs, she wanted to walk me over to the kitchen table to show me what she had for me. I couldn't believe it when I saw what it was.

I instantly remembered this poster from when I'd come over as a kid. Keith had it on his wall for years. It's Robert E. Lee and all his generals. It had been one of Keith's most prized possessions. She'd had it framed for me...

And she'd had this inscription placed on the back. I almost busted in to tears when she walked away to talk to Denise about somethin'. I said somethin' to myself like "Keith, you dumbass! What the hell were you thinkin'?"

Along with the poster, she gave me a cool Civil War time line book, and this Stonewall Jackson porcelain decanter.

It's about 12 1/2 inches tall, hollow, with the head glued to a cork stopper. Apparently there's an old story in the family that they have some connection with Jackson. I remember Keith sayin' something about that back in the old days. I'll have to fill it with some George Dickel and see if old Stonewall can still hold his liquor.

Also, while we were there, Margaret brought out this old Rifle and asked me if I could figure out what it was, and what it was worth.

I could tell from lookin' at it that it was in rough condition, and I had no earthly idea what it was.

I just knew it was OLD, and beat to hell. When I got home I took some pictures of it and sent them out to all the usual suspects, chummin' the water, hopin' for a bite. My old gunsmith, Randy Kline, who has built several cool guns for me in the past, quickly replied with the right answer.

Here's what the rifle is supposed to look like. It's a Belgian Flobert .22 rifle, from the late 1800s. Notice, there's not supposed to be a brass patch box on the butt. Someone added one to Margaret's rifle. What's worse, it's lid is busted, flopping open freely, with a small nail there to try to hold it in place.

The rifle is missing all but one screw, and that distinctive trigger guard. No tellin' where I'd try to find all those parts. I called her early this week and told her what it was, and that I didn't think it was worth anything. I told her I'd bring it back the next time I came up.

Anyway, we parted ways after a while, me packin' all my new loot in the car, and Denise and I started the drive home. Just about then, the drizzling rain started to get heavier.

I was pooped, so Denise drove. That means I was free to play with the camera and mess with the driver.

I can spend hours playin' with the camera, experimentin' and tryin' to see what's possible. It turns out I had plenty of time to do all the experimentin' I wanted to do.

The weather and the holiday traffic played havoc with our timetable. It was good we didn't have to be somewhere on time. I-35 was backed up all the way down to Waco. It took us about two hours to get there... Twice the normal time.

Still, we stopped in the little town of West, South of Waco, at the Czech bakery there. I wanted to get myself some Jalapeno Beer Bread. It's wonderful stuff.

It took us from 2:30pm to about 7pm to get home. After that, we were ready to do nothing but plop on the couch, nuke some Thanksgiving left-overs and watch football. It was a good, busy weekend. Bryce made it home in one piece with all his pillage, and Monday morning would come soon enough.

After that, this weekend is gonna be a breeze. I'm gonna go over to Salado today to get my hair cut, get my laundry from the dry cleaner in Temple, and take mom out to eat at BJs. There are chances of snow this weekend, which means a warm, glowing fire in the fireplace and lots of snuggle time.

I hope you guys have a great weekend too. Cheers.


Suldog said...

"Big Wongs"? LMAO.

As for the rest of the post, hell, I almost cried when you got to the part about the Lee photo, nevermind you. And I didn't even know the guy. Damn nice lady, his Mom.

Suldog said...

A bit of further explanation.

Quite a few years back, a drummer I knew was killed very young. A bunch of us, from other bands, put on a little concert to raise some money to offset the funeral expenses and whatnot. After the concert, his mom wanted to show us all how much it meant to her. So, she had framed a poem and a photo of her son, and presented each of us with one. On the back, she wrote a small personal message to each and every one of us. The photo you showed here reminded me so very much of that. I was deeply touched then, and now viewing this.

BRUNO said...

Man, all that open-space in Texas, an' it STILL ends-up in a bottleneck! The state's just gonna have to get bigger!

Big-Wongs? Are ya' sure it wasn't just a full-service Chinese whorehouse???

Mushy said...

A touching post dude, and now you're an official Rebel!

Don't believe I would have been able to hold back the tears. Wow!

So, are your eyes brown or blue?!

Love me some of that bread too!

FHB said...

Sully - Big Wong's was excellent. Not sure we'll go back though, unless the boy's with us again. Denise and I were lookin' forward to Mexican food.

And yea, it was very emotional. She's great!

Bruno - Yep, it still get's crowded, even with the big open spaces. Sucks to live in an ant hill. And no, that wasn't on the menu, but you might just talk to the little Chinese dude that runs the place. But then, you might end up on the menu yourself. Nobody'd notice, so long as it was done in Chinese.

Mushy - Yep, it was very emotional. I kept it together untill we were drivin' away.

And I've always heard they were hazel... Blue/brown. Looks mostly brown to me, with some other colors fightin' for time.

And I'll bring you some, next time we come. It's like cornbread, with a kick,

FHB said...

Hmmm, maybe mostly greay, with some brown. No clue.