Cappy and I did have a fun drive over, tho, listening to CD's...especially one that our friend Linda sent us.
I'd never been to the Houston area, so when we arrived during rush hour in a rain storm, we didn't know which toll line to pull into. We shuffled back and forth til we found what we thought was the correct one, and immediately traffic pulled in behind us. Too late. The machine wanted correct change, preferably, quarters. Oh oh. Cappy was only carrying bills, so I feverishly began rifling through my purse, and glancing in the rear-view mirror at the traffic pileup behind us. One or two quarters and some tic tacs. I told Cappy I had just cleaned out my purse and put about three or four dollars worth of quarters someplace in there, then continued rummaging. Nothing. Nothing. I think horns started sounding; I dunno, maybe it was the blood rushing through my ears. I wanted the people behind us to know we were trying, so I grabbed two handfuls of my hair and pulled them up in the air like that cartoon guy Dagwood used to wear his hair. Cappy grabbed my purse, in desperation, and stuck his big paws in there trying to locate the missing quarters. He came up with a couple of pennies and a nickle. I looked out the side window for perhaps a human from one of the other toll booths to come to our aid, but there was nobody walking around in the froth of traffic swirling around the other toll booths. From here and there, under the mat, down beside the seat he came up with a hand full of change and said, "Here...just toss it all into the basket and see how close we come!" I fed the beast the fistful of coins. It needed one more quarter to make the $1.50 before it would release us so that the rest of the herd behind us could start moving, too. I could almost hear time ticking, ticking, ticking. I dove back into my purse and came up empty. Beside my seat...Thank God A Mighty... I found the quarter that would save us and tossed it in,...!?... then we were off. I wanted to get as far away ahead of what I feared would be a posse behind us. (Later, during a pit stop, looking for hand wipes, I located the neat little nest of quarters, demurely and innocently smiling up at me. I told Cappy, "Ohhh, here are my quarters". I only got a look from him.) Ah well...typical "Us".
We finally did make it to our hotel without too many other side-tracks, then to cousin Mark's house for his 50th surprise birthday party. Cousin Mark feigning surprise, and his wife, Susan. He'll also be feigning 50...cuz he said he'll take the gifts and everything, but he won't take the bein' 50. Yeah, I guess "the BIG 29th Birthday" aint the easy one. Since he is an avid golfer, we got him this sign. In our past blogs we wrote about the deep respect we have for this guy. Not to settle for having been given medals and honors, then made a Major in the Air Force, having served time leading troops in Iraq, he was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel!! No wonder whenever we mention we named our dog after him, we just get a blank stare and no comment.
It was a fun evening, spending time with family and friends. Mark and Susan's daughter, Emily, is about to have her baby girl any minute now. We know she's going to be a beautiful baby...look who her new mommy is. And what a sweetie! It was great seeing our good-humored friend, Cathy and our sweet cousin Cindy.
We met a few other new (to us) faces, and enjoyed seeing Mary and cousin Kim, who not only lost about ten pounds, but what appears to be ten years in the process. (grrrr...that shoulda been me.)
I mentioned we had lost pictures on our computer...I also lost all the pictures I took. I swiped these pictures from Cousin Larry on our sister website. I had so many pictures I wanted to show 'Yall'. I think these are pretty nice, tho.
Somebody had made a washtub full of Jello shots. I had never tried any of those things before, so I ate/drank...swallowed one. Gah! Blech! Well, they must be pretty good or they wouldn't have stayed so popular all this long. Here's Aunt Marguerite downing one; she looks pretty happy about it.
The next morning we got up and rode the shuttle bus to the Texas Renaissance Festival with the rest of the family, who met us at the hotel. Mark and Susan were in period dress. They looked so coool. At some point Cappy and I would like to have costumes to wear...Cappy a pirate, and Pegody, some kind of wench...but a wench with an high neckline.
We met our friends, David and Ginger & the boys, Owen and Patrick at the front gate, and hung around with them most of the time. (Cappy and I kept wandering around like two kids, not paying attention to where we were going, and kept losing them...dang! Even with the map Cappy is studying, we still got lost.) Practically the first thing, Ginger and I got flower head wreaths, which was fun.
I'm still bemoaning the pictures I took, and SAW before they were erased. David is Cappy's childhood friend. The picture I had taken of them together made them look as though they were still 8 years old. It was the best.
The park setting was breathtakingly beautiful and so was the architecture of the buildings. The shows were hilarious. Pirate shanties, a skeleton puppet,naughty singing bar wenches, a mud pit skit, a Shakespeare parody, for instance. I tried to be inconspicuous while taking a picture of a Conquistador knight in shiny gold armor, but he saw me and came running over, knelt on one knee, took my hand and sang an absolutely bee-oootiful love song into my eyes, while Cappy laughed and snapped pictures. We rode in these swings which were festooned with long blue ribbons and hung down from about an hundred feet up in the tall trees. It was a refreshing ride because the temperature was hot that day. What I had looked forward to, because I had heard so much about him, was a Shakespearean recital by one of the regulars to the festival, who had performed there for years. I guess he wasn't on his game that day. The guy who showed up was (referring to my list of character from past blog postings), Dr./Prof. Onofrio Unctuousaur. He had no mic, quickly assembled a few picnic tables near to where he was sitting in the shade, and began a political rant, down-talking our government. Then he went into character. Ginger and I were both confused as to which character he was supposed to be at any one point...the Bard himself, or one of the characters Shakespeare had written about, such as Romeo. He spotted the confusion on my face and said, "Would you just look at the look on that woman's face...she thinks perhaps I am lying". He asked me a couple other questions during his pretend English accented diatribe, but perceiving I was a blonde dunderhead, not correctly responding, gave up on me. I still don't 'have a clue'. But I love Shakespeare, and I'll go back to reading it. The authentic him I understand.
I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful dresses that were worn throughout the park that day. As I said, the weather was hot, and as it was, in my thin, but black shirt, I was roasting. I can't even imagine how hot these costumes, many made with tapestry material and velvets...not to mention the armor and leather many of the men wore...must have been. Next time I go, it will be light-weight, light colored cotton for me. We watched a parade which wound it's way around the huge park. I'd show more photos of the parade, but suffice it to say, there was a lot of flashy flesh showing in these, Cousin Larry's, pictures. He does take nice pictures, but his interests don't, so much, lie in the architecture of the buildings or the landscape.
This is more typical of Cousin Larry's photo opps. I had to search for quite awhile to find the ones above this one. There are tons and tons of pictures like this available. Hey, it's what he likes. It's what makes him happy. I didn't notice Cappy complaining either. Personally, I didn't see all that many of the ladies dressed like this. I was was actually quite surprised Cousin Larry had found so many.
The next day we left early and wandered our way back home, listening to an audio book on CD. Once home Cappy spent hours and hours trying to get the computer up and running again. I won't even bother going into detail here. Suffice it to say, I think his beard had gotten a few more gray hairs. It was a very frustrating time for him. He did manage to cook out on 'da pit' one night. Our friend, Pam, came over and had supper with us. Cappy smoked four ducks for future gumbos, barbequed some spareribs, and of course the obligatory sausage. This pic is Cappy cutting up one of the smoked ducks. I made an andouille, chicken and smoked duck gumbo from one of the ducks. I can't believe I lived most of my life not knowing what real gumbo is. It makes me feel good when he says he taught me well. I plan on making some more of it when 'the Yankees' come down next month. We are thrilled that our bananas have gotten ripe and that we are picking pecans now. A very good year for them. He finally coaxed Raleigh into accepting his igloo dawg house, where he curls up on lots of comfy rags, especially when it's stormy and rainy. Yesterday we awoke a few hours before daylight, filled the SUV with his seabag, plus sundry other bags, ditty, and other wise, and headed for Houma, putting him back on da boat again, for another 28 days. Soooo, that's where we've been, and that's what we've been doing for the last two weeks. OH! And he said he LOVES his new Jeep! He drove it around some and can't wait til he gets off the boat the next time, so's we can take it 'over da levy' as he calls it, to go fishin'. Now. The next time he gets off the boat, Dan and his family, plus, Cappy's sister Maria and her family, friends and family, are planning on coming here for an early Thanksgiving! Anticipating that should make the days go faster for me. And now...as for me....I still have a lot of finishing up work to do on dis 'gingerbread house'.
We hope all is well with you and yours. We missed you! Hugs, Cappy and Peggy...and dese dawgs.