The vacation posts on Beemsville have often tended to be late for a variety of reasons. This summer’s entry saw us traveling to Dallas, TX to visit cousins and my sister. That’s right. We weren’t satisfied with record highs and drought conditions in the home state; those hundred degree days in Illinois were just to get us in the mood. We really wanted to experience early August in North Texas, get the full effect. Yes it was hot, but actually a little cooler than home for a couple of days.
Of course the real draw was family and a chance to reconnect. My sister had been down there for over a year and we miss her. And staying with my cousin Andy, who grew up a couple of miles away from us, who played sports together , went to school together, worked on the farm together, caught frogs, snakes, fish, and lizards together – well, this trip had been in the making for years.
Our kids are roughly the same age and they had a blast. Watching the Olympics had them in the mood for competing in different events, complete with homemade medals and medal stand. Time in the pool greatly improved the kids’ diving ability and variety of swimming strokes, and helped their mother and I relax and get through chapters and chapters of our various books.
They spoiled us with their excellent cooking and hospitality. We had the chance to spend some quality time with my sister, see her place and work, meet some friends and co-workers, and swim some more. We even had a grown-ups night out. In the midst of this, Andy basically conducted his normal work week with a few extra hours off here and there.
Our hosts made us feel welcome. No mean feat when you consider we were crashed out at their house for a week. They adjusted their routines to us, fed us well, came along on side trips… So hats off to the Texas cousins.
Of course since Andy and I grew up together, we seem able to easily fall into conversation about a variety of subjects without pretense or concern. When subjects like politics came up (and we generally agree about such subjects), I could tell he was feeling a little self-satisfied. What with his adopted home state not having crippling debt, an unsustainable pension crisis, and you know, relatively competent state government. My counter to this has been consistent: the last laugh is on you, residents of other states. Who do you think is going to bail Illinois out of this mess? We can’t do it. It’s your tax dollars that will be diverted to us (and California). We are like Greece and Texas is like Germany. Yes, Texans, we are messing with you.
We took three day trips/side trips in the greater Dallas area, all of which we would recommend to others:
- Museum of Nature and Science at Fair Park – the Planet Shark exhibit was excellent; a lot of other hands-on activities for the kids.
- Fort Worth Stockyards – definitely touristy, but fun for all the cowboy and Old West thematics. Kids enjoyed the daily cattle drive with the longhorns, and the Rodeo Zone was a big hit.
- Medieval Times – available in many other cities, this is just a fun show. Always impressed with the skills of the performers. And we were lucky enough to be seated in the Champion Knight’s section, which made the kids’ night.