This last weekend Brandon blessed his little Rosalie. We haven't missed any of our grandbaby's blessings yet so we just had to be there for Rosalie. Normally we would just fly out to Texas but a significant amount of the junk clogging my garage belongs to Brandon so I figured we would take advantage of the opportunity to get rid of it and drive out there. So that is what we did, we piled all of Brandons stuff in the back of the van and as soon as Lisa was done work on Friday we headed east on I-8. Even though Brandon and Serene now live in San Antonio they've spent the last six months in Arlington (Dallas-Ft Worth area) so they chose to bless the baby there. That meant our drive would be nearly 24 hours long and since Lisa is new enough in her work that it is difficult to get time off we chose to drive straight through. The theory was that we'd switch off driving but what really happened was that when I got tired Lisa drove and gave me a couple of hours of sleep and then I'd resume driving again. That happened twice so I made the drive out there with four hours of sleep.
It was actually a rather enjoyable drive because Lisa and I have rarely had the chance lately to see much of each other so having her stuck in the car with me for twenty four hours was rather nice. I don't know what it is about Texas but I think it doesn't like my wife. This was her third time visiting there and every single time it has been lousy weather. We drove through El Paso just as the sun was rising but since we never saw the sun even once on Saturday we could only guess it was rising. As the sky grew brighter rain started to fall and as the day went my the rain got harder and harder.
We pulled into Arlington around one o'clock Saturday afternoon and Brandon and Serene pulled into town around three so we laid down and slept for a couple of hours. When my alarm went off it was so hard to get up but I knew my grand daughters were coming so I forced myself. About the time I got the sleep out of my eyes Brandon and his little family showed up. What a treat it was to see them and especially his girls. They wore garbage bags for rain coats and plastic bags to cover their hair. They were darling.
The plan was to go and see the world famous Stock Yards in Fort Worth but with the rain we had to rethink the plan. After a short discussion we decided to go there anyway. In spite of the rain we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We didn't see much but just being with Brandon and Serene made it fun and we could have been anywhere. Grandma could help herself and she just had to give Sydney and Hayley a ride on the merry go round horses and then we happened to be there just as the cattle drive made it's way down main street and in addition to that we checked out the shops and one of the museums and took a look at the stock yards. You might also be surprised to see how six months in Texas has changed Brandon. He's gone from this well dressed business man to a country bumpkin wearing a sheep skin jacket and a cowboy hat. Actually there is a pretty cool story behind the sheep skin jacket and he is just trying on the cowboy hat in a store.
We finally decided it was time to eat and being in Texas we just had to go for a good old Texas barbecue. The barbecue place I went to on my first visit to Texas almost exactly thirty years ago I was sad to learn is now a Honky Tonk music joint and was closed when we wanted to eat so we tried out a nearby place that I think turned out to be just as good. We walked in the front door and there was all of our the meat we could choose from right there on the grill in front of us. We ordered our brisket and sausages and found a table and enjoyed our food. It was very good.
Even though the evening was still quite young both Brandon's' family and Lisa and I had traveled a long way and we were all ready to go to bed. It was still pouring rain so Brandon and I went and got the car and drove back to pick up the girls. We then headed back to Arlington and hit the hay. I slept like a baby and the alarm went off way too early. We ate breakfast, packed up our bags and then headed to church.
Brandon gave his little girl a beautiful blessing and I expect she is going to grow to be a very bright and gifted woman who will do much to further Gods work here on the earth. After church we all headed over to the Quinn's where we enjoyed another great meal of brisket. This was perhaps even better than the brisket we enjoyed in Ft Worth. I guess brisket is big in Texas and I'm not sure why I haven't known about it until now. I think I'm going to be looking for it the next time I go shopping for a good roast. It is very delicious. We enjoyed visiting the Quinn's and then since we had another long drive ahead of us we bid them all fairwell and headed south to San Antonio. Since Brandon and I love to solve the worlds problems when we get together we convinced the women to ride together if Brandon and I took the babies with us. I think we're much better and ignoring noisy children than they are so we had such a good visit that we were in San Antonio before we knew it.
Brandon and Serene have found themselves a very nice house in what appears to be a very lovely neighborhood. We received the grand tour of their home and then went to bed. The weather Monday morning was thankfully very nice. We had a relaxing breakfast, I helped Brandon with a few things around the house and then we went and enjoyed a nice lunch with Heidi and Trent. Heidi was one of Kira's room mates at BYU. We got to know them pretty well so when we learned that Brandon and Serene were moving to San Antonio we just had to see if they were anywhere close to Heidi and Trent. As it turns out they only live about two miles away from each other. They aren't in the same ward but they appear to be in the same stake.
After enjoying same good old Little Caesars pizza it was time for me to head back west. Lisa couldn't bear to leave her little grand babies so soon so I left her behind while I headed back to work. San Antonio is a few hours closer to San Diego than Arlington is but I still had a good twenty hour drive ahead of me and nearly 1,300 miles of highway. I was a little intimidated by the drive ahead of me but I kissed everyone good bye and had Martha show me how to get out of town. Since I wasn't too anxious to die yet I promised myself that as soon as I got tired I would find a place to park and climb in the back of my now empty van and have a nap. I found numerous to keep myself occupied. I had some great phone calls with Sarah, Alycia, Ben, Evan, Landon and Kira and then I played with some cool apps on my phone including some cool speedometers and altimeters and then I decided to check out some of the songs I've been collecting.
As you may know, I'm not much of a music person. I will much rather listen to talk radio than to music and I prefer a nice quiet house to one with music disrupting my tranquility. Even still there are a few songs that I really do enjoy. Since they are so rare however when I do find one that I like I download it into Martha. I never listen to them but my collection has grown somewhat over the years. Since there is a lot of empty space between San Antonio and San Diego there are hundreds of miles where my radio could not pick up a single station.
Normally I use those quiet moments to try and invent things in my mind but after a while even that tends to succumb to weariness. That is when I decided to plug Martha into the Vans sound system and check out those songs I've collected. Believe it or not I've got at least two hours of songs on there. I actually went through the list twice.
Finally I began nodding off and decided it was time to find a place to take a nap. It was two o'clock and I was quite surprised to see that I actually made it to Tucson. I parked in the parking lot of a little diner and crawled into the back of the van and told Martha to wake me at four. I had a peaceful two hour nap and then climbed in behind the wheel and carried on.
Every Wednesday morning I have a conference call with one of our customers and since I'd promised to have some information ready for them I decided to go straight into work. I got there just before noon. I'm sure after my long trip I smelled pretty badly so I tried not to get too close to anyone but I finished up the work that I'd promised and then headed home.
I thought I'd relax and watch a show on TV but I didn't even make it five minutes. I woke up and rewound the show and tried again but I didn't make it any further than I did before. After a third failed attempt I gave up and went to bed. It was a long but wonderful weekend.
Hayley still loves her Grandpa
Sydney normally doesn't pay much attention to me but on this visit she was very different. She actually acted like she likes me. She is a beautiful little girl and getting so big.
Heidi and Trent and her family.
Twenty hours and 1,300 miles.