The holiday trip was a blast. Mostly, we were all excited about the new things going on around the First Grandkid - brother Ike and Jillian's little squirmer, Abby. First moments off the plane found us all grubbing down in a big way at Chili's. Not a bad meal, mind you. Great staff, quick service, but seriously, they use a LOT of bread on the burgers and all. Or maybe I'm just not so into bread anymore? The fun was in who could keep Abby busy so she didn't focus on the fact that teeth are invading her head. She loves going on walks with Dad, so they mostly do that. She's happy, we're all happy. Dad and Isaac take turns holding her and letting her get a look around the bright lights and bustling sounds of the busy restaurant. We get along, don't get me wrong. But my job is to take her flying inbetween someone else holding her, and remembering to keep a spoon in the freezer so she can get her gum on and keep the teeth at bay.
We're big on some basic things: games, popcorn and recorded shows on TV (no commercials that way). My brother wanted to play Monopoly, which I don't mind once or twice in my lifetime and on a good stretch of the day so I can loose on an epic scale over an extended period of time. But this time around whilst we gave our usual spiel on the games we had and him wanting Monopoly, another game actually made it to the table instead. That's right, Texopoly. It really exists. I played it. And after an hour of it we all threw in the towel and went for popcorn and a movie. Oh, "A Christmas Story", if you must know. On VHS. It's a tradition of sorts.
Ah yes, here we are playing football. Or actually this is the silliest shot I could get that still gets the point of us playing catch in the giant field across from the house. There used to be a large elementary school there and they razed the whole thing. The talks around town is that it might become a college soccer field.
In Texas they have a different way of distributing the snow. Dad pointed out that this year they were putting it all in large cubes by his shop. And by jove, he was right.
Dad got a super colorful tool for Christmas. We went to the shop and he put it in place on the table saw and demonstrated how it would work when assembled. Behind him is a seriously man-sized pile of sawdust. Seems there's been a lot of planing going on with the, uh, planer there. He's been doing a lot of great stands for our local taxidermist.
I know, it sounds a little crazy, but their showroom is like walking into a natural history museum. The shop is owned by a super great fellow that befriended me during my last semester of HS when we moved to Snyder, Jason Bynum. He's now one of the more sought after taxidermists in the land. Big game hunters get special licenses for the rare hunting opportunities available through proper and gov't sanctioned hunting channels and send the game to Jason for mounting.
Here are a couple of his with some really rare finds. Jason told us a story of a hunter that traveled to Africa to hunt for a deer-like animal that looked kind of like that guy on the far right of the picture. There's a large perimeter wall, or wire fence surrounding a game preserve, to keep poaching in check. The hunter decided he would go out early on in the morning and scout for some good photo shots, setting up at the fence. Well, what the photo doesn't really show you is that this bad boy's horns are between 3 to 4 feet in length, depending on the size of the beast. The hunter was found later that morning by his buddies, having set up to get the shot on the fence and not taking into consideration that if it charged it would still have about 4 feet of super sharp horns that would easily pass through the 6 x 6 inch wire square of the fence. So yes, his presence angered or challenged a male. And that male charged him, fence or no, and gored him like two-pronged fork before bouncing off the enclosure. And yes, the deer-like animal is pretty big in person. Larger than a dog, but smaller than a horse. Yeah, like a big deer.
Back to Dad's shop... Here's a stack of the painting frames for the upcoming year.
Oh, and in Snyder there's a special place for these endangered little rascals - Prairie Dog Town. It's an actual prairie dog sanctuary. It's a large square land enclosure at the edge of the city's big park. It's surrounded by a 3 foot concrete wall and these guys seem to thrive on the free food and great irrigation.
Not to say it's typical, but this is what you can generally find in the sky in any direction out there. That's when it's not too windy, too dusty, rainy or burning hot.
Ahhh, here's my brother and their golden retriever Bruce. He's the sweetest and biggest goofball puppy. At the moment he's a solid 90 pounds of love and is happy to do his own thing unless he really wants to play with you. And if you're outside, you must be there to play.
The funny thing is, this is the only time when Abby really busts out laughing. If Bruce drops in to check on her, or gets excited about his ball, she breaks out laughing. Hey, she's amused, we're amused.