Sunday, March 06, 2016

Charlie's Week In Texas

Charlie brought blue skies to Seattle from Texas. He and I flew from Houston on Friday and when we landed at SeaTac mid-afternoon, it was rainy and dark. But on Saturday morning, skies were blue and the weather was balmy. Today looks like more of the same. Hurray!
Charlie and I had a very fine week together and I noticed that our good vibes continue on in Seattle. We are used to being together and he smiles at me with familiarity. And such busy days we shared in Texas. Last Sunday, we drove to Clear Lake on old Highway 3 - the original highway between Houston and Galveston - with a stop at Brady's Landing so he could see a bit of the Port of Houston and the confluence of Brays and Buffalo Bayous.
Charlie was not greatly impressed, but having driven through old Harrisburg - the first capital of the Republic of Texas in 1836 - and surveyed a view of the Port of Houston, he'll be able to recount a Texas history lesson that includes more than the Alamo.
Clear Lake meant a visit with Tavo, Earl's grandson, which meant video games with a like minded fellow and lunch at Carraba's. Charlie ordered shrimp and scallops, true to his love of seafood.
Monday was another big day. We began our morning with a visit to Carrie Made the Cake, so Charlie could see a small commercial kitchen - and have a chocolate cupcake Carrie frosted especially for him.
On to UH Alumni Center Hall of Fame which was, for Charlie, a bit of heaven. He wandered and took photographs of exhibit cases that displayed Hakeem's trophies and Clyde Dexler's jersey, they of Phi Slama Jama fame.
And then there was our walk around campus, through the library and across the quad. Charlie proclaimed an affinity with UH. And asked about TSU and Rice U.
Supper at Goode Seafood Co. where we sat at the bar and Charlie ate fresh shucked oysters, a crab claw and a plate of fried oysters and shrimp with plenty of fries. He also drank two root beers which put a dent into his ability to finish off the fries. Or have dessert. I love to watch this grandson eat seafood and I now am on the lookout in Seattle for a Swedish Smorgasbord. Think he'd love it as much as I loved the Hotel Abbey's Stockholm restaurant back in the 1950s. 
Tuesday morning we headed for San Antonio - after a cat rescue and a trip to the vet. Farrell did not come home on Monday night and after calling his name repeatedly on Tuesday morning, I tracked him down to the abandoned house next door. He'd found his way into the attic and was unable to find his way out of a house that's not been lived in for over 25 years. Charlie and I carted my ladder over to the house, asked a neighbor for assistance, and I used scissors to cut the screen over the porte a chere. We pulled a frightened Farrell from the attic crawl space, wrapped him in a towel and I walked him home. Farrell was filthy with dust, so we took him straight to the vet for a bath and only then, headed west on I-10. 
Stopped at Buc-eee's for gas and the Buc-eee's experience. Then on to San Antonio, our hotel and at last, the Alamo, followed by a stroll on the Riverwalk with sno-cone in hand, followed by an early supper at Mi Tierra where marches sang the Chicken Dance for Charlie. A very big day.

And then there was Wednesday and a visit with Pat and Hall Hammond. Pat can enchant with her curiosity, word plays and games. Charlie learned to balance six nails on the head of a seventh, create a chain letter, enjoy a bowl of ceviche for lunch and entertain three adults with his enthusiasm.
Thank you, Pat and Hall for a beautiful day. We didn't quite get to the front door of the San Jose Mission; we lost steam and saw it from afar and left this historic site for a much needed respite before the Spurs vs Detroit game at 7:00.
And suddenly it was Thurday morning, and after a Mexican breakfast in a favorite Aggie Eyster spot, we were back on I-10 East. Non-stop to Houston and Mancuso Harley-Davidson in under three hours for a visit with John and a tour of his original store at 535 North Main @ North Loop 610. Charlie was bedazzled by the motorcycles - and loved John's two cats who sleep all day in a box on a desk in his offices.
There is more. Charlie remembered that we'd talked about soul food in the Fourth Ward at This Is It. We'd seen This Is It Soul Food on a food channel at Christmas time and I'd told Charlie we could add it to our week's itinerary. So off we went with Earl at 5:30 for braised beef ox tails and meatloaf, both served with generous sides of sweet potatoes, green beans, squash casserole and mac and cheese.
A week with Mameau isn't over until it's over and we are on the plane back to Seattle. Charlie, I will miss not seeing you every day. What a week! What good days! What a wonderful time!

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