This is an aerial shot of Texas Island in the Toledo Bend Reservoir, which runs north to south along the Texas/Louisiana border.
After a leisurely breakfast on the deck, the Lovely Linda was ready to see more, so we hopped in the Mom bus (her beloved Suburban) and headed to Hemphill for an up close and personal look at a small East Texas town dependent upon the timber industry and tourism for survival.
The drive over the the bridge to Six Mile was spectacular with the morning sun creating ripples of silver on the water. The horizon I so deeply missed was before me and my minds eye drank it in. I have to have ready recall of the expanse of the Texas horizon during Tennessee summers, where I can only see as far as the edge of the yard.
There original town square, complete with courthouse was a great place to start on our "tour". We found a parking space under the shade of a pecan tree and headed straight to jail...the Sabine County Jail, which is now a museum and library. One of the few "hanging jails" in the nation, it's been restored by the local historical society and gives one pause to reflect on the wisdom of capital punishment, exacted at the end of noose.
After a sobering visit to jail, we toured the courthouse and saw the handy work of a prisoner who was in for a long stint. Seems he passed the time using his skills in woodworking, building and restoring the banisters, benches, desks and jury box of the courtroom.
No trip to a small Texas town would be complete without a stop in the local feed store. There, we were greeted by the cheep, cheeps of chicks and ducklings and some curious kittens. A little more driving around town, looking at turn-of-the-century homes in varying stages of restoration (or tumbling down) and it was back on the road to Mom's and lunch.
On the way back, we stopped in at Mom's church (Oak Hill Baptist Church). This is a one room church set deep in the woods with an adjoining cemetery where my step dad Bill is buried. A bit of sadness fell around me, thinking of him out there under six feet of red clay soil, but I couldn't bring myself to walk over to his grave site. I think Mom sensed my mood and quickly diverted my attention to the air-conditioned portable building the church moved in next to the sanctuary to house all of her decorating supplies. Mom's in charge of decorating the church on Sundays and holidays. She needs a lot of working space for all her stuff.
Back at the marina, we prepared for a late afternoon lunch on the deck. It was a feast and gave us the energy we'd need to make the drive to Houston.
One of the highlights (besides the coconut cake) was the spotting of a male summer tanager taking an afternoon bath. I wasn't quick enough to grab the camera, but here's a photo I found on the internet:
What a handsome bird!
All too soon, the car was packed and pointed in a southwesterly direction to Houston. Arriving well past dark, we fell into bed to sleep off the road fatigue and prepare ourselves for the friends, celebrations and adventures to come.
Tune in tomorrow for the next installment...a trip back to my youth.