Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lone Star Adventures-- Part 2.

Check out Part 1 of our Lone Star Adventure here.
Saturday morning, we woke up again to a homemade breakfast from Claudine.  This time, it was the Texas delicacy of hoecakes!!  I'm fairly certain that I've never had them before, but I absolutely loved them.  I need to find a recipe so that I can make my own now... 

Right after breakfast, we headed out for a very long day of driving through small town Texas and visiting Donny's dad's family, almost all of whom I had never met.  We had multiple stops planned for the day, but first was Morgan, TX (population 493), where Donny spent his childhood.  He drove me around the town, showing me his school, where he had lived, places that were important, and telling me stories.  
Morgan's town hall

We came across this church, and I had to get a picture of it.  There's something about small country churches that I love. 
After driving through Morgan, we stopped in Meridian (population 1,501) to visit his grandpa and Uncle Ronnie. We spent quite a while there, and then his grandpa announced that Donny's other uncle (he has four uncles on his dad's side) and his wife were coming over.  So, we also got to visit with them, which was great because Donny hadn't seen his Uncle Dean and Aunt Mary in over a year.  With them, came three grandkids, including baby #3 of the weekend, Wyatt.  They were all so nice and welcoming to me.  This first stop put me at ease over a day that I had been fairly nervous about.  Around lunchtime, we left his grandpa's house and drove to Clifton.  But along the way, we saw the BEAUTIFUL Bosque County courthouse, since Meridian is the county seat.  Country churches and old courthouses-- I love them both.

We had a quick lunch in Clifton (population 3,457), and Donny drove me by the place he had his first real job. Clifton has a cute little downtown that I wish I had gotten some pictures of, but alas, I was just riding around enjoying the view not remembering to pull out my camera.  

Beyond Clifton is the teeny tiny little town of Cranfills Gap (population 282).  This is where Donny's dad (Donny Sr.) and quite a bit of his family lives.  We stopped first at his dad's house, where we were greeted by Donny Sr., his wife, Charlene, her grown children, Danny, Gary, and Jeanna (and her boyfriend Dustin), and Donny's sister, Tracy.  Danny's kids and Jeanna's son were also there, which made it quite the full house.  (Not to mention the zoo that these people have-- I think I counted ten dogs, one cat, one dragon lizard, and a snake.  Ah, small town USA...)

Donny Sr. was planning to grill out for dinner, so while he was prepping the grill and food, we went to visit some other family down the road.  I can't even remember who all we saw-- aunts, uncles, and cousins by the dozen.  For a girl whose entire family can fit around her parents' dining room table, it was a little overwhelming... Lol.  But everyone I met was so nice and welcoming to me.
Donny and Tracy
We spent the rest of the evening with Donny Sr., Charlene, and her other two grown children, Mark and Lynette.  Mark was one of Donny's groomsmen in our wedding.  He had other plans for that night, but when he heard that we were in town, he quickly changed them and came to see us!  Mark and Lynette are the two step-siblings that Donny was and is closest to, so I was glad to have a chance to spend a good amount of time with them.

On our way back to Cleburne (which, by the way, feels like New York City compared to the places I had spent my day...), we stopped again in Morgan to see Donny's life-long friend Richie, his wife Akasha, and their son Ricky, who is seriously the cutest thing ever (and also baby #4 of the weekend).  He gave me a potato chip and his handheld game, so clearly we're BFFs...
Sunday morning, there was no homemade breakfast since it was church day.  Instead, we went to Whataburger, where I got a taquito and felt like I was cheating on Taco Cabana.  But I got over it because the Whataburger taquito is yummy.  (Just slightly less yummy than the TC breakfast tacos.)
After breakfast, we went to Donny's former church for Sunday School and worship.  Much like everywhere else we had been that weekend, I felt like a celebrity.  All weekend long wherever we went, I had heard people exclaim "Donny and Katie are here!!" and rushed to come see us.  And church was no different.  There were so many people there who were excited to see Donny again, and to meet me since he kind of likes me apparently.  

The church had a special event that Sunday morning by some group in Cleburne that I can't remember.  But they had the entire Old Testament on scrolls, one of which was as old as the 14th century! 
The 14th Century scroll from Morocco.  It's so large because it's the entire Torah
The guy who spoke during the service was a Messianic Jewish Rabbi who told about the scrolls and how they are made and the reverence with which it is done.  It's an incredibly meticulous process, and it generally takes a scroll writer a year to transcribe one scroll.  Pretty cool stuff.

After church, we went back to Buddy and Claudine's house for a delicious lunch and to watch the Daytona 500! Donny's mom and sister came over, so I spent most of the afternoon with them.  I so wish that they lived closer!

It also FINALLY hit 70 degrees for the first time of our trip, so I pulled out my flip flops that I've missed so much!  :)

After the race, we went to Burleson to pick up Donny's "little brother" (Donny was a big brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for the last few years before he moved to NC).  We took him to dinner at their fave place-- Buffalo Wild Wings-- and then went next door to Best Buy, where Donny and I were sucked in by their blu-ray sale...

Later that evening, we finally managed to catch Anna at home Sunday night, along with her whole family.  Her mom Donna is so cute.  She's short like me and was so excited to have someone around who was as short as she was.  She cracked me up!  We didn't get to stay too long because we still had to get home and pack for our super-early departure the next morning.  

We were listed on an 8:20am flight from DFW, but our goal was to get to the airport early enough to switch to the 7:10am.  (We fly standby on buddy passes from my mom's BFF who works at US Airways, so we could switch without penalty.  Without them and the SUPER discount they give us on airfare, we wouldn't be able to travel the way we do.  I'm SO thankful for them.)  But to make this happen, we had to get to the airport around 5:30 to have time to drop off the rental car, catch the shuttle to the terminal, change our flight, and get through security.  So, we woke up at 4am since the airport is an hour north of where we were.  It was a VERY early morning.  Buddy and Claudine, who are truly two of the kindest people in the world, woke up to tell us goodbye.  They even had bananas and juice ready for us to take on the road!  What a blessing they were to us this weekend...

We made it to the airport with a few minutes to spare.  I had packed more stuff in the checked bag than I had flying out, so I was a little nervous about it being over the 50lb limit, but it checked in at 47.  Win!!

Since we flew standby both ways, we knew there was a good chance that we wouldn't get to sit together on either flight, but they managed to find two seats together for us both times!

Just like every other time I've been to Texas, the trip was over far too quickly.  There were still a ton of people that we DIDN'T get to see.  But it was great to be back to a place that I consider my second home, and I'm already anxious to go back!


  1. I find small towns fascinating! When I drove cross country I drove through some really small towns. There would be a sign w/ population and one was under 100! It looks like you managed to fit a lot in during your trip. Glad you got to meet so many of Donny's family that you hadn't met yet.

  2. Look at you reppin' the burnt orange!! Cute. Glad y'all had fun here. You were SO SO SO close to me...next time y'all come we will have to try and squeeze in a coffee or something!!

  3. Nothing like a trip to Texas! I'm from Dallas and love love love it :)

    New follower!

  4. I worked at City Hall for several years. The Mayor that I worked for actually went to that church - Methodist Church. When I first moved to Texas I would see some of the teenagers hanging out at the church at night.

  5. What a fun time it sounds like you guys had!!! I love small towns :)