Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hurrication


Oh my gosh, y'all. I am have the shakes from blog withdrawals. I have so much to get caught up on. I am going to try and write a quick post (as if that has ever happened in the life of this blog) so I can get back to talking about birthday parties and Barbie fashions and perspectives on Ike. The hurricane, not the baby. Well, probably the hurricane and the baby.

Where did I leave off.

We set out for Temple. Which is a delightful little town with some really great parks. And from what we saw, is also involved in a secret government experiment involving time travel, because we were immediately whisked back to c. 1973.

We got there late Saturday night - the kids falling asleep ten minutes before we arrived, like they always do - and were put up by this very sweet couple in their home that has not changed much since Joel grew up there.

A little bit about Joel.

Joel was Walker's roommate at Texas A&M. Joel is one of those guys that has a lot of stories about him. I know that my sons will enjoy hearing Joel stories twenty years from now, because I know I do. They never seem to run out - just recently I heard Walker tell a new Joel story about the dangers of cramming for a final, entitled "Preparation F." And I thought I had heard them all.

Picture an orange-headed John Belushi, with a sardonic wit, Diet Coke and nicotine addictions who changes his major at least four times a semester, and you will come close to envisioning Joel.

He also loves Jesus and is a great husband and dad, and all that. But those aren't the funny stories.

Anyway, being in the house that spawned Joel - and his three siblings - was velly velly interesting.

Most shocking was how incredibly normal his parents are. Cause, well, Joel's not normal.

Second most shocking was the amount of wonderful toys his mom -a grandma and a teacher - had kept since Joel was a kid. It was flashback-a-rama for me.

Remember this?


And this?


Not to mention every Golden Book I ever remember reading and about five hundred matchbox cars.

But the piece de resistance was this - the Fisher Price Family Play Barn. Circa 1967.



I LOVED this thing. I remember playing with it for hours at Mothers' Day Out. And I remember that the cow's plastic tail was the perfect texture for chewing.

(I have an oral fixation. Many of my childhood memories involve taste and chew textures.)

Guess who's already bidding for that farm - and the cow tail - on ebay.

Joel's dad, "Dr. Pickle" as he told the kids to call him (and yes, he really is a doctor. Because if he weren't, that would just be weird) was hysterical and Joel-esque and as Walker christened him, the King of the Non Sequitur.


We went to a great park in Temple that had one of those old rockets, which my children - including my 6 foot tall child - all wanted to climb



and while we were there, along came an ice cream man. I subscribe to the school of thought that says it is a CRIME to not buy ice cream from an ice cream truck. The kids had never seen one before, so this was a cool first.



Oh, the overwhelming joy of the ice cream man!!

Times have changed a little though - a slight glitch in the government experiment. For starters, my 1970s ice cream truck only listed the items in English. And had no frozen Dora heads for sale, the top pick for Eva Rose.

Nor frozen Pink Panthers. Which Maggie chose. Which probably says something deep about her psyche.


However, this ice cream truck did still have a Nutty Buddy, which is a blessed thing.

After we came home, Mags was covered in ice cream of course. Dr. Pickle was just coming in from the hospital and met us in the parking lot and picked her up to hug her. And upon touching her hands, remarked, "The family that sticks together...sticks together."

Ba bom cha.

Such are the things that stream from the consciousness of Dr. Pickle.

He also thoroughly amused my children by creating a swimming pool out of a cattle feeder



and demonstrating his very innovative rat catcher, made of PVC pipe, mouse traps, and electrical tape spelling out "the tunnel of love" which I am convinced could make millions on QVC.

My kids were in heaven.

However, my little kids are also very loud and messy, especially if you haven't had any living in your house in twenty years. And, ok, their parents are kinda loud and messy too. And my momma always said that company and fish start to smell after three days. We got ready to move on.

Problem was, after three days, we still had no electricity back at the ranch.

A perfectly timed email arrived, inviting us to our next stop on the Hurrication Trail. On Tuesday, we packed up the kids, said our farewells and million thank yous, and headed to...San Antonio.

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