Friday morning, I got up at ye gods o’clock, bundled the fat(cat)boy off to the pet hotel and mom and I hit the road to Pearland again. The Pearland
Hyster Historical Society has their annual luncheon in October and mom wanted to attend, so off we whooshed. It’s about 550 miles from up here in the flatlands to down there near the Gulf. You will recall they had a hurricane there not so long ago and had a gawdawful amount of flooding in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area. They’ve got most of it cleaned up now, although the recovery is still ongoing.
I didn’t realize until we were on the road that I forgot to pack my camera, so all but about three pictures here were taken with my phone. My mom took the other ones.
We got there with only one small hitch — construction on Interstate 20 had the exit to State Highway 36 blocked off and we had to take the scenic route (FM 603) through Eula to get to it from the interstate. We encountered a lot of road construction this trip, but we still made good time — We left at 7:45 a.m. and got to my cousin EJ’s house at 5:15 p.m. We made our usual pitstop at our favorite gas station in Comanche, which is just about halfway. My 2015 Corolla averages 30-31 mpg and I can make the drive easily on a tank and a half of gas.
My mom called my cousin EJ when we were about 5 minutes out to let her know we were nearly there, and we were told, “Never mind the sweet potato vine, park as close to the railing as you can.” The vine grows in a pot on their back porch, and was just about to die off for winter anyway.
EJ is the daughter of my mom’s older sister VY, who was famous for her chocolate meringue pies, and she passed the secret on to her daughter. My mom had this beauty waiting for her when we arrived.
Of course, the whole state is all in an uproar because the Houston Astros are playing in the baseball World Series, so we had to watch them play. Somehow in the years since my dad passed, my mom has turned into a rabid sports fan, and she and my cousin EJ had to watch the games they played in Houston. (After watching my cousins little 48-inch flat screen TV, my mom has since decided she needs to get her one for her bedroom to replace the miniscule 19-inch TV she’s had for probably 20 years. We’re going to go get her one tomorrow. — if she’s going to fall asleep watching sports games, better to fall asleep in her bed than in her recliner in the den.)
Saturday, we went to the cemetery to visit the graves of my uncles and grandmother. I had not seen my uncle HJ’s or QJ’s graves. Here is my mom by her mother’s gravestone. Her father died when she was very young and he is buried somewhere else. My grandmother’s second husband’s name is on the headstone, but he did not adopt her children, who all kept her first husband’s name. He was originally supposed to be buried beside her, but his relatives had him buried in their family plot near his birthplace. It’s very confusing. Unless you know the story, you would never connect my grandmother to those of her children who are buried next to her as they have a different last name.
After we left the cemetery, we drove down Yost Boulevard. (The boulevard was named for EJ’s father’s people.) Some of her cousins from that side of the family have bought my late uncle HJ’s house on Yost Boulevard and the property next door that was where my grandmother’s little house (below) was and where my mom was born has finally been sold to someone who has cleaned it up and is actually building on it now, which is great.Then
Then we went to the Historical Society luncheon. Naturally, we had barbecue and all the fixin’s. They had potato salad and beans for sides. It was good. My mom is a year older than the mayor of Pearland (at left), and he always gets a kick out of seeing her.
My mom, at 93, is the oldest living graduate of Pearland High School (below). The class of 1941 only had 14 students, and she is the only one still alive.
After the luncheon we went back to my cousin’s house. Various family members gathered at her house to talk over old times.
The two ladies in the middle are my mother’s sister EW’s girls, MW and WM. It was WM’s cows that I was worried about when the Brazos River flooded (cresting at 59 feet) during Hurricane Harvey. She did lose a few of her cows, but she also lost two of her four “guard donkeys” that she keeps with her breeding heifers. (The donkeys are very aggressive and will chase off any coyotes or dogs that try to attack the newborn calves.) She was really lucky she lost no more animals than she did. The dark haired lady on the right end is my cousin EJ’s daughter R. The bearded fellow on the left end is my cousin PJ.
Sunday, my cousin EJ (2nd from right above) took us to eat at Red Lobster for lunch and then we headed for Galveston to see her son, his wife and their daughter. This is the little girl I made all the baby clothes for.
Needless to say, she’s not a baby any longer. She’s two years old now and a ring-tailed doozie.
Here’s her with her moma and daddy at left.
She’s my cousin EJ’s only grandchild. Here she is with one of her (several) caches of toys. With two sets of grandparents to spoil her, this child has made out like a bandit!
They live in this house that was built in the 1920’s on the highest part of Galveston Island, so if their house starts shipping water, the whole island is in trouble! It has rained so much this year that the oak floors in the living room have buckled in two places from the moisture. (They’ve had 52.51 inches of rain so far this year.)
Here she is beside Mickey Mouse who, we are reliably (and frequently) informed, is jumping out of the pumpkin. You will notice Meemaw (my cousin EJ) helping her hold one of the (real) pumpkins that was on the porch. (Peepaw sat this round out and stayed home.) She’s quite an active little girl — even without Halloween candy on board!
The port of Galveston is where my great great grandfather and most of the European immigrants to Texas landed.
It’s still quite an active port, with not only container ships and oil tankers coming and going, but also cruise ships. If you recall, there were several cruise ships stuck out in the Gulf during Hurricane Harvey because they were unable to make landfall at Galveston.
There were two cruise ships in port when we were there.
Here’s why gas prices have been higher. There are several large refineries in this area which were put out of commission for a while by Hurricane Harvey. I think all of them are back in operation by now, though gas prices are still high.
Sunday evening, my dad’s niece EG and her husband PG came by EJ’s house to visit. My cousin EG had both her hip joints replaced last month, within two weeks of each other. If you are otherwise in good health with no chronic illnesses, they now send you to “prehab” to learn all the exercises and to get your muscles in shape. Then, when they do the surgery, they spread the muscles apart to reach the hip joints, rather than cut the muscle attachments. This makes the surgery much easier on the patient, and they can get you on your feet much sooner. On the day of surgery, if you can get up and walk, and climb a short flight of stairs, they send you home! She’s been doing very well and walks with only a little stiffness at only three weeks out from her second surgery.
Bright and early on Monday morning, when I got into the car for the drive home, I saw my odometer read 10,001. When I pulled into my garage, it read 10, 573.
We set a new record on the way home. This is the second trip I missed the turn off for Interstate 610*, we took the scenic route through Temple because I missed a turnoff,** I missed the turnoff for the detour we took in Abilene (because we knew a key exit was closed due to construction) to get from Highway 36 to Interstate 20, and once I did finally make it onto the Interstate, I missed the exit for highway 84 West to Snyder!***
As a result of our various “scenic detours,” we didn’t get in until 6:20 p.m. on Monday evening. (We were under a bit of a time constraint, as if I didn’t get the fat(cat)boy checked out of the pet hotel by 7 p.m., it would have cost me another $20 to spring him.)
Coming back, we stopped for gas and a “pit stop” in Temple instead of Comanche like we usually do, and I had to stop to get gas on the way home from picking the fat(cat)boy up at the pet hotel because my “need gas” light was on and I had less than a quarter of a tank. My car has a “range” feature that gives an estimate of how many miles I can go based on how much gas is in the gas tank, and it was showing 27 miles when I filled up!
But I want you to know, I was unpacked, put away, had all my dirty clothes washed, dried and hung up before me and the fat(cat)boy snuggled in for night-nights. (And the chicken cacciatore sauce did come out of my shirt — !)
*Although to be fair, the signage was confusing. It showed one lane for 610 East and the lane beside it for 610 West. Then there was an exit, which I assumed was for 610 East (which we didn't want). But there was no subsequent exit for 610 West! What I didn't realize until it was too late was that BOTH lanes were supposed to take the exit and THEN split to go their separate ways.
**Although to be fair, the roads were all in a mess due to major road construction, and key signs were missing.
***Although to be fair, there was only one sign to indicate which exit we were supposed to take, so if you missed it, too bad. The other sign had apparently blown down, according to the guy in the convenience store where we asked for directions.