The Lovely Linda has an inquisitive mind and likes geography, not just a pinpoint on the map or a collection of stories, but the place itself. What it looks like. What is smells like. The color of the air and the people. The way towns are laid out.
For this trip, she had a request. "Show me where you grew up." She's been hearing stories about Brookshire and Katy and Hockley and Waller and Cypress for two years and even seen pictures, but now, she wanted to see it firsthand.
So Day 3 was about going home.
From the looks of the morning, it was going to be a hot one, so we jumped in Holly's Jeep (which has air conditioning!) and headed northwest. First, we had to wrangle with the soft sided windows, but figured it out and off we went!
Suffice it to say, the small farming communities of my youth are no longer small farming communities. The urban sprawl of Houston has closed the gap between these small towns and the nation's 4th largest city. When I was little and we drove into the city, there was nothing, nothing, nothing and total darkness for the 32 miles between Katy and Houston. Now it's "planned communities" and cookie-cutter subdivisions for as far as the eye can see. All developed on top of once fertile rice fields. And they wonder why it floods so bad when it rains. Here's a tip people...it's supposed to flood.
Rather than bore you with the mile-by-mile trek, here are a few highlights:
- Heavy industry seems to be grabbing up land and setting up shop out on the prairie just as rapidly as the housing developers
- The United Rock Salt Mine is still operational in Hockley and is the home of Ranch House Salt. It's at the end of the same road as the family farm.
- Rice dryers still dot the landscape, but of all the ones we saw only one appeared to be operational.
- Hearing the hum of a rice well and getting caught by a local walking through their fields in search of rice. We picked the wrong field to drive through, but the rice was there, just down the road a piece
- Walking around the house I grew up in. It's now a dentist's office. They were closed, so we got to peak in the windows. Although he's done some cosmetic work to the outside, the bones of the house are the same and the pin oak trees are HUGE!
- Lunch at Dozier's for authentic Texas barbeque
By now, Holly and Leanne were home so we headed to their house, excited to hear about their wedding and see pictures. They were levitating after 5 days on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, which climaxed with their wedding ceremony overlooking the falls. Thanks to the digital age, we were able to view all 500+ photos on their wide-screen TV and hear about their adventures and firsthand accounts of how warm and affirming the Canadian people were.
Congratulations Holly and Leanne...your love it a beautiful thing!
Exhausted, we fell into bed because...
Let the celebrations begin!