|Taken just before leaving for Texas. Notice that the sap is starting to run.|
Today we are visiting Anne’s sister Gayle in Brownsville, Texas. Everyone is looking forward to the warm weather and sunshine. Today though, the weather was very rainy and the temperatures struggled to reach 60 degrees. In spite of the weather, Will and Abby had fun playing in Stephen and Gayle’s home. Abby is finally not the smallest cousin, Nathanial is. Abby had fun today, running around pretending to be mama with her 2-year-old cousin, Nathanial.
|Abby and Will at the Texas rest stop. "Look |
Anne, even the Texans celebrate our North Star."
"Don't let any Texans hear you say that my dear!"
Upon our arrival at the (national chain) motel where we were staying we would experience several different occurrences that were out of the normal for us. It was interesting in that our Internet went down upon arriving. Anne and I were told by some around us, that it was the wind that caused the problem. We were hoping that our service would be restored today. In talking to maintenance, they said there was a fire last week just above our room, and the water damage done from the fire truck was causing havoc on the cable system, this left us with a very unsettled feeling. Anne teaches at several online colleges and we need good Internet service so she can teach her classes. Later that night our concerns took flight, and we heard fire alarms going off in our motel around 1 a.m. Evidently, someone had pulled the alarm, whether by mistake or on purpose, we were never to find out. Fortunately, our van was next to the fire exit and we were able to get into it and escape the rain. In spite of the problems, it has been nice to meet new people and be with Anne’s family.
|Cousin Nathaniel and Abby playing on the computer.|
During our struggles with not having Internet use, I met the head of maintenance. Joe was his name, and he was very helpful and kind. As I talked with Joe, we shared with him that we were from Minnesota. He told me that he had lived and worked in St. James, Minnesota a few years earlier. Joe said that because of family health problems here in Brownsville, he felt the need to be close to them here in Texas. I told him that I was the principal at the Middle School in St. James a few years ago. As it turned out, he lived there around the same time that I did. All in all, Joe was a very kind man who was very helpful when assisting us in getting our TV working and our bed moved in our room. The people here are very kind and Mexican food is very good. Also, eating my brother-in-law’s cuisine is the highlight of the trip today. I have to say that he is a very good cook, and Gayle, his wife, made us feel very welcome.
|Uncle Stephen and Will play Civilization on the computer.|
|Will, Abby, and Anne at the Alamo.|
When driving to Texas, it was interesting to note the change of seasons as we traveled further and further south. It was as if we were traveling ahead in time. The grass started to get greener and the buds came out on the trees. I also noticed the animal species on the side of the road was changing as well. Yesterday when about 100 miles from Brownsville, I noticed a dead wild pig lying on the side of the road. Skunks were in abundance as well, though judging by their smell, it was hard to know if they were dead or not. Down here it is not uncommon to see Armadillos walking across the roads and sidewalks as well. Being this is the wet season, their Resaca’s are full of water. It is not uncommon for people living near them to keep their pets on leashes due to alligators in the Resaca’s. Life here is very different for us, but it is not dull by any means. We have found that the people here are very friendly and helpful. People are very courteous and thoughtful. A Hispanic man came into the restaurant with his wife, at the time he arrived, I was throwing away our table waste by the door; this gentleman opened the garbage door for me while his kind wife waited for him nearby. This man wore a Vietnam veteran hat and I could see that he was very proud of his time in the military. I noticed in the different restaurants we attended that many Hispanic families truly cherish their children. They laugh with them and include the children (no matter there size) in all their conversations. My father in law said that when he lived and taught here in the area, it was not uncommon for a business deal between executives to be based first in getting to know one another and their families first, before concluding a deal. This was considered more important than the business transaction itself. I was impressed by this way of doing business. Over all, I am learning the remarkable ways of a culture much different than my own, and that is very good.