My stomach is a glowing red - too much sun, too little sunscreen. Tom and I tubed the Comal River in New Braunfels for several hours this past Saturday with our longtime friends Bob and Lisa, their son Justin, his girlfriend Patty, and friend Eric.
I've heard people say the Comal isn't as rough as the Guadalupe, but in all the times I've tubed the Guadalupe, I've never flipped, even over Slumber and Huaco Falls. This time I was tossed like a pancake - a wave broadsided me just as I emerged from the Shoot, and there was nothing I could do. The second time around, the wave got Tom (as well as his sunglasses and the hat Bob loaned us.)
The rest of the float was pretty uneventful, which was fine, because we had a lot of catching up to do. Somehow, we'd let two years slip by without seeing Bob and Lisa. That summer of 2006 we met at Aunt Tilley's on Lake Travis to see Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes, and also attended Justin's graduation party (from Texas State) in South Austin. That was a memorable party - it was on our 24th wedding anniversary and was probably the best meals I've ever eaten (at least one of Justin's friends is a chef.)
During those two years Justin has traveled the world, teaching English in several countries. That's where he met Patty, who was also teaching English abroad after graduating from the University of Tampa - definitely kindred spirits. It was fun just listening to them talk about their experiences. Eric and Justin have been friends since sixth grade - he's stationed in San Antonio, so Justin got him to join us. He's getting married in October, so I think spending a few hours with two old married couples was probably educational for him.
Bob and Tom got to be friends while serving in the Coast Guard together at Ellington Field outside of Houston, and they met Lisa while working at...ah, I can't remember the name of the store, but Tom remembers Lisa eating jalapenos straight out of the jar for lunch. Tom introduced me to them -Lisa very pregnant with Justin- soon after we met. We spent our first New Year's Eve with them (Justin had arrived by then and Lisa's beloved, fun, grandmother Mernie also celebrated with us that year.) In fact, we spent lots of New Year's Eves with them - they always threw great parties.
This weekend we stayed in Oma Gruene's Bed and Breakfast, within walking distance of everything in Gruene. Friday night we danced to the music - guitar and beautiful vocals- of Mark, set up right in front of the house. He's half of "Mark and Dave Guitars" (I think that was the name). We hoped he'd come back the next night, but a storm hit. We got soaked running to the restaurant just behind the bed and breakfast, but the food was so good, it was worth it.
We all agreed we need to do this again another weekend, but in the meantime, Tom and I promised to come to Houston more often. Life's too short to let that much time go by again without spending time with them...
Here are moments together from the past...distant (New Year's Eve 1981) and recent (this past weekend - the jump is Justin and Patty's signature pose, so they got us to try it, too...)