Beyond Phoenix (travel) Blog

Howdy!

One of the places my father was briefly stationed while he was learning to fly jets was Kingsville, Texas. A little s-hole 45 minutes away from Selena’s grave in Corpus Christi, pass a few cotton fields, desolate highway, and the town’s pride and joy, the Wal-Mart Super Center, and boom! You’ve arrived in s-hole Kingsville.  Yes, s-hole is paying homage to the podcast S-Town…any fans here? It’s SO good!

I spent the 7th grade knowing we were only there temporarily, and that was the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have some pretty funny memories from that time. Like waking up the morning of my 12th birthday and anxiously waiting for my parents to wake up so I could have official permission to shave my legs.  We had a rule that I couldn’t shave my luscious blonde leg locks until I was 12 years old.  I took it quite literally and held my parents to their promise.  Not too long after that, my brother and I were invited up into the air traffic control tower to get on the radio as my dad was doing a “touch and go” on the runway in his trainer jet, where I could give him the heartiest “Roger Ball Daddy” a 12 year old girl could muster over the radio as he asked air traffic control to clear him on the runway. Come time to move, we were so happy to get out of there. I’ve always felt indifferent to Texas since then.

I couldn’t help but reminisce on those times a little bit as we were in Texas this weekend. We were on our way to a  little town about equidistant from San Antonio and Austin called New Braunfels.  My husband’s brother, wife, and 6 month old baby girl live there and we went to make the little lady’s acquaintance.  We are so tickled that Clara has a little cousin on her dad’s side to play with.  We didn’t think that she would, but Tom’s brother decided that his early 40’s was the perfect time for his first baby.  A pleasant surprise we all welcome!

We took the day off of from work on Friday and got to Austin in the early afternoon.  Clara did amazing on the flights to and from Texas.  As we boarded the flight to Austin, the pilot who was standing at the front greeting everyone saw her coming and said “She needs to sit in the pilots chair.  Do you think she would like that?” Ummmm heck yes she would!  I excitedly told her to turn to her left towards the cockpit, and as I whipped out all of the cameras big and small, the friendly copilot lifted Clara up into the seat where she was clearly overwhelmed by the sight of a million buttons and knobs.   Being cute sure has it’s perks!  I know there are a lot of adults who would be so lucky to get invited into the cockpit of an airplane.

We spent Friday visiting at our family’s house, and venturing out to a local BBQ eatery called Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ where they do not have plates and you can order your food in half pound or pound increments.  We had smoked brisket and sausage, and absolutely delicious creamed corn.  Clara had to test the chocolate pudding out of course, and I tried my first ever buttermilk pie.  Didn’t know that was a thing, but now I do, and I can say that it’s not much to write home about.  Maybe because we’ve recently cut sugar out and that thing was LOADED with sugar.  We closed out the evening as any other family would with lots of sparkling wine, and political and worldly banter.

Saturday was a real treat.  We went to a little placed called Buttermilk Café which specializes in good down south comfort food (these Texans sure love their Buttermilk).  I’m not hatin’, just observing.  Nonetheless, I was able to pork out on fried green tomatoes, sweet tea, and cheesy, buttery, salt and peppery grits.  This southern raised girl was crying tears of joy inside.  I squirted some more when I saw Clara mowin down grits too.  Food is my love language and, ugh, I was beaming with pride at that moment.  We stopped by the river close by to admire it’s emerald green waters, and jealously watched tubers with coolers of beer hop into it and drift off with their friends.

Grandma and Grandpa graciously offered to watch the kiddos so we could venture up the road to Austin since I had never been before.  We drove up and parked off of 6th street and hopped out right by an arcade bar called Kung Fu Saloon  where we took a few moments for a photo opp.  One of my favorite features of 6th street was the giant beer pong at The Rustic Tap Austin and the horseshoes game made from toilet seats and plungers.  We topped our adventure off with delicious bowls of Ramen from Michi, where our server asked us if we required noodle refills.  What? I was blown away by this. That’s the kind of world I want to live in. We covered about a mile of 6th street, popping in and out of some bars and shops, getting a feel for some folks taking the “Keep Austin Weird” motto very seriously.  It’s all good, its a treat for the eyes…and sometimes nose.

We didn’t let any cool street art pictures pass us by either.  Tom’s family was being good sports about my obsession with our DSLR this weekend.  We had bought one right before our daughter was born and I just now dusted it off and watched YouTube videos brushing up and learning about the features of the camera.  Thank God for the internet!   Now that I have this blog, I want to up my camera game.  I was thrilled we got to snap some pics of our family by a pond surrounded by wildflowers on Easter.  There was a tin shed by the pond that I knew we would have to have some pictures in front of.  They came out so darling, see some for yourself below.

I think we can all agree that the best thing about a vacation is the coming home part.  Not that we didn’t enjoy our time away, but by God, walking into your own front door after being away is such a joy.  Ahhhhhhhh, we’re home.  There’s nothing more comforting. I think I feel less indifferent towards Texas now.  That was a lot of fun, and I love how green central Texas can be. I could do without the creepy crawlies, but I think it’s so cool that deer just come and hang out in your backyard.  I’m a little bummed we didn’t see any fireflies but we’ll just have to go back I suppose.

Sending you sunshine,

Audria

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