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The Indefinite Article.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Valley Report - day 3, Saturday

Breakfast: Hotel Buffet (free)

eggs, hash browns, pineapple slices, one pancake.

We woke up much later than we really wanted to. We left the echo hotel much later than we realy wanted to. Our original plan had us home, in Houston, at about noon. We left the hotel at around 11:00. We stopped at the nearest HEB and picked up some water and fruit for the trip. Once i got on 281, i realized that i was going to spend that entire BEAUTIFUL day in the car.

We quickly got off 281 and hit 107 to drive by Carol's old house: the house where we looked at each other at her brother's wedding; the house where we were married in her parents bedroom; the house where i fell asleep on the couch after a huge homecooked meal; the house that saw carol drive her car through the living room wall when she was learning to drive.

We drove on a small dirt that ran along side her house, up and down, about four times. I stopped to take photos. I used up one roll of film (120) - it felt like six rolls. (taggart, if i send you the negs, could you scan them for me? on the imacon? - i guess i could also go to carl's place if you couldn't)

HCHM, or the Hidalgo County Historical Museum. Admission: $4 - We went to the newly renovated HCHM. Nice place. Look at some photos

From there: LUNCH

Carne Guisada (Tres Portrillos restarante)

We had lunch with my sisters. By this time, it was 4:30. We left the valley from there. We took the back roads to Elsa, past Delta Lake again. In the distance a black column of smoke stained the sky. I thought immediately of the sugar cane fires that light up the fields around Delta Lake in october. I didn't think sugar cane lasted this far into the 'winter'. As we passed through the other side of the lake the sugar cane fields were still there with their heavy green manes waving in the northern winds (norte´┐Żos).

These are the same winds that would blow the smell of rotting cabbage into my dad's new home when i first moved in with him in 1992. What is now a pretty established neighborhood was then a dirt filled lot outside of weslaco next to some fields. At the same time the weather got nice enough to have your doors open, the fields behind us were filled with rotten cabbage.

We made it to Odem, TX before we had to stop at the Dairy Queen. This is the same town (and the same DQ!) that my mother & father would 'make the trade' after the divorce. The exact halfway point from Houston to wherever my dad was was the Dairy Queen in Odem. Lots of weird and somewhat painful memories. I wish they would build a Whataburger in Odem.

The baby ran around charming the pant off everyone in the place for about half an hour. I had a hot dog and a side order of incredible guilt. Luckily, he fell asleep once we got back on the road and it wasn't until we were 10 minutes from the house that he decides to wake up and scream; scream because he was still in this damn carseat; scream cause he couldn't be in his mother's arms.

Home. The feeling is indescribable. I went to bed happy.


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