Deep In the Heart of Texas

I was hoping to post this on Monday from Texas, but could not manage to log in from my iPad. It may be a little late this way, but it will also be more complete. Thanks for your patience.

We were last in Texas nine years ago. Joseph had asked to see the Alamo, and we obliged. In fact, we toured all five San Antonio missions, strolled the River Walk, visited the Texas Air Museum and the Tower of the Americas. We took day trips to see the USS Lexington at Corpus Christi and crossed into Mexico at Nuevo Laredo. We took Hanna to a college visit at Concordia University Austin and stopped to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the way home.

It’s been a while. Laura, 8, and Joey, 6, waiting to see the Alamo, 2004. They saw it again this year, but I’m willing to bet they did not have their picture taken together.

As you can probably tell, we don’t mind keeping busy on vacation. For that matter, it does not faze us to do a lot of driving. These traits served us well this past week as we rushed Laura from a week at Missouri Girls State to meet her youth group in San Antonio for the National Lutheran Youth Gathering.


Nine hours of road time Saturday took us from Warrensburg, Missouri to just south of Forth Worth, Texas. Then another four hours Sunday morning met us up with the youth group in San Antonio for lunch. This actually turned into four and a half hours since our GPS decided to deliver us to a warehouse on the south side of the city rather than a restaurant on the north side. But I digress (much as the GPS did). Then four more hours to Galveston.

I had planned a little getaway to test the waters of empty nest living. We checked into the Coppersmith Inn, a bed and breakfast in a lovely Victorian house about six blocks from the beach.

Our suite featured private access to the second floor veranda.

The following day we ventured into Houston. Phil wanted to see the USS Texas, so San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Site was our first stop. The USS Texas is the only remaining battleship to have been in service during both world wars.

This park volunteer turned out to be from Carthage, Missouri. He and Phil had a nice chat about battleships.

We visited Space Center Houston in the afternoon. Things have changed quite a bit since I was last there as a kid in 1968. We have landed on the moon. Skylab, the space shuttle program and the International Space Station have been developed. The experience of visiting the space center has changed as well, from strictly informational to a multimedia extravaganza. Despite all of the interactive displays, my favorite part of the visit was seeing actual spacecraft on the tram tour of Johnson Space Center. I would have loved to see Mission Control, but that tour was not running the day of our visit.

I got to touch a moon rock!

The best part of our trip began that evening, when we were invited to dinner at the home of a woman I got to know through an internet support group along with another member of that same support group. Priscilla and her husband Mark treated us to fajitas and margaritas. Kay and Dave brought their three beautiful daughters, the “curly girlies,” who entertained us along with the neighborhood kitties. I am so glad to have been able to meet up with them.

Three uncommon women, three uncommon neurological conditions: Sara, hemifacial spasm, Kay, acoustic neuroma, Priscilla, petrous meningioma.

The next day, another 8 hours on the road took us to Little Rock, the home of another support group friend. Angie and I share the same rare disorder, hemifacial spasm, as well as the even more rare and unfortunate surgical side effect of facial paralysis. Angie and her husband Hunter have three handsome boys, one newly adopted.

HFS twins. Even our facial problems are on the same side (left).

It was truly a treat to spend time with these remarkable ladies and their families. Thank you all for your hospitality.

Phil and I spent another six hours on the road yesterday. We picked up the dog from the neighbors and have settled in for a nice relaxing holiday at home. Laura and Joseph will be home in a couple of days, so we have a little time to preview the empty nest experience at home. It seems like just yesterday that we snapped the picture at the top of this post. That was nine years ago; we have just three more until Joseph leaves for college.

I can tell we are going to have to schedule more trips.

1 Response

  1. The shirt Laura is wearing in the first picture is one I bought her during the first National Youth Gathering I went to.

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