Monday, September 7, 2009

The End of an Era

My brother and sister-in-law recently bought a new house in Santa Fe, Texas. It is large enough that my mom moved in with them. With their move from Texas City, all my ties to my home town are now gone. Don't feel too bad for me. Santa Fe is only 14 miles from Texas City, so it's not like I can't go back--there's just no reason for me to go. Feels just a bit like I've abandoned a friend.

Texas City sits between Houston and Galveston on Interstate 45. It's not really a town you drive through. You have to exit the freeway and make the effort to drive into town. It's a port and the southern end of town is lined with refineries. It used to be home to one of only two tin smelters in the world. Fishing and water sports are big. Every summer the city celebrates Tackle Time, a type of fishing rodeo, that culminates on July 4th with a fireworks show over the water. It was a big deal to drive out on the dike, a man-made peninsula that jutted five miles into Galveston Bay, to see who was winning in the rodeo and see the biggest shark or stingray hanging on the scaffolding. (However, it was wise to keep the windows rolled up in the car. Dead fish and warm temperatures don't mix well.) Unfortunately, Hurricane Ike destroyed the dike.

Not much has changed in the city since I moved away more than 30 years ago. The restaurants have changed names, but the buildings are the same. The only high school looks exactly as it did when I graduated in 1972--although work began this summer on a new school building. The entire town celebrates Friday night football games. Palmer Highway is still the main street in town, and it only takes 10 minutes to drive from one end to the other. Residents still drive to Houston to shop. Although most have changed hands, the refineries still line the edge of town. Shipley's Do-nuts still makes the best chocolate filled donuts you've ever tasted.

I think it's that constancy and familiarity that I will miss. I may have to borrow Mom's car and drive back every once in a while just to make sure all is where it should be.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Home again, home again; jiggity jig....

My mom used to say that whenever we'd been out running errands or away from the house for most of the day. Recently, I was with her and quoted her line when we pulled into the garage. She told me the rest of the rhyme goes,"Off to the market to look for a pig; Home again, home again, jiggity jig." Don't know about the looking for a pig part, but I am definitely glad to be home again after a busy month.

You've seen the post about the girlfriends' visit to Seattle. The weekend after that I traveled to Hurricane, Utah for a staff retreat. (It's not pronounced like the storm, but "her ih cun" with the emphasis on the first syllable.) Hurricane is in southern Utah about 15 miles north of St. George in what is known as Utah's Dixie. It's a beautiful setting in the red rock country. My boss co-owns a home there, and the entire staff and their spouses travel down for a weekend of planning, fellowship, and fun. We get a lot done. But, it's also a lot of time on the road--five hours each way. Although, we do have fun on the drive as well. Last year we discovered one of our employees is a whiz at TV sitcom jingles. And you thought full-time Christian work was always serious! :) And we bring enough snacks to feed an army for weeks. You know how Baptists are when it comes to eating. :)

The following Thursday, I flew to Texas to help my mom pack to move. My brother and sister-in-law bought a house big enough for all three of them to live in comfortably, so the whole crew moved last Saturday. My sisters and I came to help mom get ready for the movers. Hooray for not having to move everything!! Packing was tiring enough. We didn't get finished by Sunday, so I stayed until Wednesday. We got mom completely packed and had time for some fun--Sunday breakfast with mom and the siblings at IHOP, Whataburgers for dinner at my brother's, and a quick trip with my mom's girlfriends to Coldwater Creek. Those ladies can shop!!

In case you're having trouble following when I was gone and when I was home, I was gone August 6-9, 14-16, and 20-26. I love to travel but I was REALLY glad to be home.

It gave me a new appreciation for what Tommy goes through every week as a pilot. A few days at home followed by a few days on the road--sleeping in a different bed each night and eating every meal out (assuming there's a restaurant open at 4 a.m. or midnight). Often adjusting to a new time zone multiple times in one day. Coming home and trying to catch up on what needs to be done here. Missing family. Yet, he does it with a smile on his face and a love for what he does. Thanks, Tommy. You're the best!