The first thought in my mind and the first words out of my mouth this morning..."I'm tired..." even before my feet hit the floor. Probably not the best way to start a Monday, but I wouldn't trade this past whirlwind West Texas weekend for anything. It was totally worth the exhaustion, and not just because I had all three of my kids together again. (There will be plenty of time to sleep in January...right?)
The weekend started Friday morning...my crew headed west to Lubbock for Tommy's girlfriend Kirby's graduation from Texas Tech University. We were driving through Abilene before I realized we would be passing within single digit miles of my cousin Sherlyn's house (this is one of my problems - sometimes I focus on the big picture in an abstract way...in this case, the graduation...and forget about the details...like the journey out there.)
"Hey, Sherlyn...what're you doing?"
"Having lunch with a friend. What are you doing?"
"Driving through Abilene..."
She was at a restaurant right next to the highway, so we met her there and followed her back to her house for a quick visit with her and some of her kids. We promised to stop on our way back home for lunch and a longer visit on Sunday.
I love driving through West Texas...but that always always catches me by surprise. In my mind, it's flat and empty...in reality, it's full of surprise drop-offs, canyons and plateaus...vistas that go for miles and miles. Beautiful! How can I forget them?
My only prior experience with Lubbock was passing through on my way to Colorado, and I have to admit, it had never really impressed me before...it seemed a little, um, drab. But by the time Sunday rolled around and it was time to leave, I was hoping we could come back some day - we never even made it to the Buddy Holly museum or the Llano winery, much less Palo Duro Canyon, only a couple of hours away. (Bucket list #44..."Return to Lubbock")
However, we still had a packed weekend...besides the graduation itself early Saturday morning, we got a taste of Kirby's college life outside of class (drinks at Crickets Grill and Draft House on Friday night and margaritas at Chimy's on Saturday afternoon). Also on Saturday, we celebrated with her family at a luncheon at her sorority house and a dinner at Lisa West's Double Nickel Steakhouse (melt-in-your-mouth steaks!), and even slipped in one side trip of our own...a visit to the Windmill Museum!
We were happy we could help Kirby celebrate her graduation - despite transferring from another college and switching majors, and being treasurer of her sorority, she still graduated in only 3 1/2 years with a degree in finance! That is something to celebrate!
Just seeing the university was special for me for another reason, though. After World War II, my dad attended Texas Tech for one or two semesters (it might have been more - I never can remember) before leaving to follow his dream of becoming a Texas Highway Patrolman.
We made it to Sherlyn's by lunchtime on Sunday. I'm ashamed to admit it, but even though they live less than four hours away, until this weekend it had been almost eighteen years since we'd been to their house. (Thank goodness she had made trips to Houston and Austin to see us!) We vowed to be back soon.
I was eager to get home, though. I worried about Max being left there without Charly. (Frankie is company, but he's not Charly.) I needn't have worried; Max was fine. Frankie actually seemed the most relieved that we were home...he hovered near the door and snuck inside when it opened, taking advantage of us being loaded down with luggage. He made a quick inspection of the livingroom, then, satisfied it was safe, I guess, headed out the French doors when Tom went out to get some firewood. Good guard guinea.
Scenes from Kirby's graduation...
Windmills...a Dandy like ours...old next to new...