Thursday, October 14, 2010

How we spent last week.

This is gonna take a while, so brace yourself.

Remember, Denise's family drove down from Kentucky weekend before last, getting here on Saturday afternoon. Before they arrived, Denise and I went over to her house to clean it up. Denise worked inside and I mowed the lawn. I was in the process of sweeping up and trimming when that huge friggin' red Ford pick-up drove up.

We relaxed that afternoon, getting pizza from our favorite place and hangin' out at the house.

The next day, Sunday, we took them on a trip up to the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco. You can check out the pictures here. I've been there a few times, and it's always fun. I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful guns and Native American relics. The Apache arrows are cool as hell!

A day or so later I drove these folks up to Gatesville and took them shooting out at my buddy Dave's place. Denise's daughter Chantel, who is a Nurse in Kentucky, took to shooting with appropriate humor and wonder.

I don't think she'd done a lot of shooting before, but she enjoyed the hell out of it. Her sons enjoyed it too. The eldest, Bryce, had been up there shooting at Dave's before. He's the one that floated the idea for the shoot.

I gathered and brought an appropriate arsenal, and Dave added one of his Garands to the mix (we shot my ammo), and we set ourselves up out beside Dave's house.

Chantel's youngest son, Colin, wanted to shoot everything, but he's so small, weighing in at less than 100 lbs. (he's 13, but looks to be about 7 or 8), he could barely lift the full sized rifles.

I had him shoot my AKMS with the stock folded, from the hip, so he could hold it up. I brought the M-1 Carbine because I figured he'd be able to lift it.

He did a great job, though his gun safety knowledge needs improving. His mom needs to set him up in a class.

Here, you can see that he's too weak to hold up my AR-15 and pull the trigger.

Later, while we were eating steaks in San Antonio, I tried to get him to get over his usual reluctance to eat. He's picky as hell, and usually doesn't finish his meals. I told him to eat up! "That's protein boy. You need to eat all of that you can. Build muscle and get big." I think he bought it. We'll see.

We had a wonderful time at Dave's, and then, the next day, we had another wonderful time in San Antonio.

We had a great time on the River Walk, ate great food at Texas Land & Cattle, and then moved on to the Alamo.

I can't tell you how often I've visited this shrine to Texas History. Truly, a Shrine to human liberty. When we lived in San Antone, in the early '70s, the school used to take us there on field trips about five times a year. Even so, I was surprised at how moved I was by this visit.

The crowds were light, so we didn't have to wait to get in. After visiting the church, we moved to the garden behind the main building. There, a guide gave a history talk about the Texas Revolution that was surprisingly similar to the one I would have given to my class.

Sitting there, listening to how our forefathers and mothers were subjected to a murderous campaign of ethnic cleansing by that peacock Santa Anna and his armies, I allowed myself to become submerged in the history. Later, looking up at the visages carved into the Cenotaph, thinking of the sacrifices that were made so that we could live with freedom, and not as subjects of an authoritarian government in Mexico City, I found myself almost in tears.

After that, we all slowly walked back over to the river, and made our way back to our cars. We drove back home, and got back late. The next day, after sleeping in (Denise had to work), I took the folks out to Ft. Hood. I got yet another pass and took them to have lunch at one of the big food courts out there.

After eating, I took them to the 1st Cavalry Museum and the 4th Infantry Division Museum, including the memorial to the folks who have paid the highest price in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can see some of the pictures here.

Later on that evening, after Denise got off work, we all drove down to Austin and had a wonderful Tex-Mex dinner at Pappasito's. It'd been a LONG time since Denise and I had been able to enjoy their fare. I think it's the best Mexican food you can get, anywhere. My favorite thing is the Brochette Shrimp. I told John, Chantel's boyfriend, that he'd love them, and he did. Denise and I enjoyed the Fajitas, sharing a large order between us.

On Friday, with Denise going back to work, her kids went back to San Antonio and went to Sea World. I went back to Austin with my buddy Glenn and attended the first day of the three day Austin City Limits Music Festival.

It was a great time. We got there in time to hear the last half of Blues Traveler's show, and then set up our chairs for the Black Keys.

The music was wonderful, but the idiots in the crowd were a pain in the ass. Why the hell would someone pay a lot of good money, work their way up to the venue through thousands of other people and then stand there and have a loud conversation with their friends while other people are trying to listen to the music?

I think it's because they're not really music fans. Glenn and I agreed, they're just posers, wanting to be seen at the gig. They want to be able to say they were there, but they don't really care about the music. We have to deal with this a lot, at many of the concerts we've attended together. These dolts stand there and ruin the experience for everyone around them, even hurling insults at the players. Assholes. Thoughtless assholes. You can experience some of it here. Eventually I just stopped trying to film any of the music. In retrospect, I should have moved much closer to the stage, where the real fans were. Here's where I should have been standing.

Still, the festival was wonderful. We both had a great time. After the Keys, we relocated ourselves over to the Clear 4G stage and got some food to eat while we waited for the next show. Glenn was particularly excited to see Robert Randolph and the Family Band, so named because it's filled with his siblings and cousins. You can experience their amazing, energetic show here.

The show ended with a concert by the band Phish. I'd filled up my camera card on The Keys and Robert Randolph by then, so I didn't get any video of that.

We set up our chairs and sat back to enjoy the show. About half way through it, somewhat tired of the endless noodling and jamming, we decided to beat the crowd and make our exit. I stopped long enough to get a few t-shirts, and then we got in line for the shuttle bus.

It was a long line, but it moved fairly quickly. I think I got home around 2AM. It was a great time.

The next morning, Denise and I got up early so we could join her daughter and family for breakfast at a local I-Hop. Turns out they'd had a long day of fun at Seaworld. The breakfast was great, but then the parting was tearful. The kids drove off to make the 16 or so hour journey back to Kentucky, and Denise and I went back to the house. Now and then during the day I'd look over and see her tearing up. That'd usually get me goin'. It was sad to see how much she missed them. Of course, I missed them too.

The rest of the weekend was a lazy time, resting up from the busy week. Monday, Denise went back to work, and I headed out to get the verdict from the shrink. So, now we're back to the routine of waiting. I'll tell you how it goes, when something does happen. Keep your fingers crossed. Cheers!


kenneth said...

Your arsenal is more purdy than my wildflowers, and probably more useful. You are just about the perfect host, but maybe that also says something about your guests. My relatives show up occasionally, but I'm usually tired of them long before the bounty hunters get here.

Shrinky said...

I certainly echo what Kenneth says about you being the perfect host, it sure looks as though a fine time was had by all. That Mexican meal is to die for - I'm jealous!

Good luck for the all clear from the Shrink, I think it's pathetic you have to jump through all these hoops just because some sad little prick read your blog (shrug). Hope you don't have to wait too long for the result.

FHB said...

Kenneth - Naaaa, your flowers and pond are way more useful than my guns, but my arsenal may be more fun to play with. It's just money tossed away.

Shrunky - I tried to be a good host. I think they had a good time. I wanted to show them more. There so much here to see and do.

And yea, it sucks. It's humiliating and frustrating to be put in this situation, but that's modern life. There's too many trip wires out there these days. They're too easy to find.

BRUNO said...

I was almost screaming at the monitor: "PULL THE TRIGGER! PULL IT, PULL IT, PULL IT, DAMMIT!!!" LOL!!!

Worst part was, I was aiming right along with her. By that, I mean, you know how you tend to inhale & hold, then breathe-out on the recoil?

She damned-neart made ME pass-out...!!!☺

FHB said...

Yea, I was thinkin' the same thing at the time. With the kid too. The elder son doesn't have that problem though. With him it's blam, blam, blam, fast as he can.

PRH....... said...

The VSPA(Vietnam Security Police Association) in which me and Mushy are both members had it's annual reunion at San Antone last weekend...looks like the Alamo hasn't changed since I was last there in 1969 for combat training....

Next years reunion is at Dayton and the AF Museum...which I know you are familar with.... :)

FHB said...

Man, it's too bad you couldn't come down. It would have been a blast.

Yea, it never changes, the Alamo, but I guess we do. Maybe it was more emotional to me now because I know more about what happened there, and I see too many parallels between those times and now.