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Texas Fun – Deep in the heart

Posted Sep 17 2012 12:41am

My recent visit to Texas confirmed the cliche that everything is bigger there.  My time spent in this special state well exceeded my expectations, which were already big.

After my son Josh picked me up at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport two weeks ago, we sped away to Waco, home to Baylor University where he’s a senior. That night we caught the last half of the first Baylor football game of the year.

The next morning, Labor Day, after I enjoyed a tasty breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to Homestead Heritage at Brazos de Dios near Elm Mott, TX.  That particular day they celebrated a Sorghum Festival with demonstrations in so many ancient crafts: blacksmithing, weaving, grist milling, pottery making and farming. Complete fun, and an escape from all things California.

Hungry, and unable to wait 1.5 hours to get a seat at the Homestead Heritage cafe, we made our way to Cracker Barrel, where we had to wait only 20 minutes for a table.  No worries. We easily spent the time scouting their gift shop for the perfect birthday present for his girlfriend. Only a mom could help him solve this problem.

After a lovely lunch we took a break to read in the campus library for a couple hours–I with my i-Pod reading “Invisible Man” and Josh with some kind of textbook.  Eager to meet his roommates, I implored him to take me to his apartment where his friend told me they would be.  They are just as charming as Josh’s description of them, polite and modest.

Off we then headed to buy us some bubble tea (with black tapioca in the bottom). Mine, an almond concoction, was divine in every sense of the word. We took our drinks over to a famous suspension bridge that crosses the Brazos River. Following tradition, Baylor students throw corn tortillas over the side to see if they land on a concrete pier. If not, the ducks dive and swoop for them. Everyone wins.

Next on the whirlwind tour was a visit to a local park laced with trails and views. Josh coaxed me into climbing the 89 stone steps of Jacob’s Ladder. The problems?  I’m out of stair-climbing shape, the temperature well exceeded 100 degrees, and almost every step was higher than a standard step. The next day my legs paid for it, but it was worth the exertion. Anything to have fun with my son in the sun.

The next park destination was Lover’s Leap, which overlooks the river. A fun place to take photos of the view–and of us!

The afternoon wasn’t complete without a kayaking excursion. The Baylor Marina sported all kinds of water craft that day when the students were off from classes. We headed out onto the river and explored inlets. A thoroughly magical excursion, especially when I thought I might never kayak again because our lake house must be sold.

The day still hadn’t ended.  We feasted our eyes and taste buds on a local Thai restaurant, a favorite haunt of Josh and his girlfriend. The evening wouldn’t be complete without topping it off with a frozen yogurt complete with delish condiments: fruits, syrups and candies. Fun stuffed us to the gills!

We ended the night watching the movie “Madagascar” at his apartment, a flick requested by yours truly. When he took me back to the hotel, I still had energy for a short swim and hot tub immersion in their indoor facilities.

If this wasn’t heaven, I don’t know what is.

The next day Josh had classes, so he picked me up late morning and we ate lunch at the college dining hall. This place was food court heaven, with any type of cuisine you might desire. Taking advantage of this rare opportunity, I filled my plate high with salad, main entrees, and wraps. Then I went back for a big bowl of soup. You’d think I were a starving refugee.

After lunch Josh dropped me off at Common Grounds , a popular coffee and music hangout adjacent to the campus. I reveled in the funky nature of my environs and the college conversations all around me.

When Josh picked me up he gave me a leisurely tour of the campus, including the building where he spends most of his time. Of course we had to make our obligatory trip to the college bookstore, where I purchased a Baylor University Mom decal. Then we stood in line for root-beer floats at the afternoon Dr. Pepper Hour.

Soon enough, it was time to be dropped off at the campus Starbucks while Josh attended his last class of the day. Sipping a skinny vanilla latte, I listened in on various conversations as I tried to read my book. Soon Josh came and we went out for TexMex at a dining establishment with hubcaps on the ceiling. We finished the night watching “Madagascar 2″. What else could we watch but a sequel?

The next morning, after a hearty omelet breakfast at his dining hall, we headed for Dallas, for my lymphedema conference. More on that experience in my next blog post.

For this post I decided just to focus on the time Josh and I could spend together. I had been looking forward to this trip for two years, since the last National Lymphedema Network conference in Orlando.

And it finally came to be.

The campus visit was far more than this mom (with all the physical and emotional pain she has experienced over the past year) had anticipated. I probably gained five pounds in two days. But I was deep in the heart of Texas, where my son resides and my heart belongs. Where bluebonnets spring up along the roadside at certain times of the year. Where else would I want to be?

Where do you enjoy going when you take a trip? Do you often see family?

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