…And what do we do on Sunday, kids?
Early this morning we woke, grabbed breakfast, and packed the car. OK, let me back up for a moment. I’ve always had this thing where, whenever I sleep in a new place for the first night I tend to sleep fine but usually wake up at an ungodly hour. This morning it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 6AM. Oddly, during the school year that’s a little on the late side. However, I didn’t get to sleep last night until 2. So on four hours of sleep here I was wide awake. After about a half-hour wherein I was able to grab my coffee and collect my thoughts, I returned to the room to discover that my son was also wide awake. Last night he was examining the little laminated card listing the TV channels. For some reason he latched onto the Golf Channel as THE thing he wanted to watch. I can’t figure it out. I have absolutely no interest in golf, never picked up a club or whatever you call them, and have never discussed the game with the boy. Yet somehow this is what he wanted to watch. So when I walked back into the room, there he was sitting up in bed, excited to be awake so he could shout out to me “Daddy, the Golf Channel!” Fortunately, when I had been in the lobby moments earlier I observed that the only other hotel guest who was awake at that hour was dressed in a block-patterened polo shirt and white shorts, staring at the giant screen, practicing his “swing”. When he realized I was also in the dining area he dropped his “club” and pretended not to be playing imaginary golf. Either way, some major golf event was on and I happily obliged my son by bringing him downstairs to eat breakfast and watch golf. Lucky me.
After we had all eaten we headed to mass. Yes, that’s the thing we actually do every Sunday. Interesting church. We drove south a bit to a little town called The Woodlands (TX). This is kind of interesting… Following the signs and the navigation to the Catholic church in town brought us to what I can only describe as an industrial park for religion. First we passed the Baptist church, followed immediately by the Methodist church. OK, those are traditionally the big 2 denominations of Texas, although the Catholic Church is now a plurality of all affiliated faiths in the Lone Star State. I kind of expected to see these two megachurches as we rounded the corner. What I was not expecting was a two block stretch with a Lutheran church, an Assembly of God church, a Quaker meeting house, a Latter Day Saints building, a kingdom hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and something called the Temple Emmanuel of Jesus Christ in God and the Spirit of the Law. Finally we found “our” church. You can imagine with all of these houses of worship in close proximity to each other the traffic was a bit of a pain. Good news is that the kids were relatively well behaved.
After mass we met up with an old friend at a Cracker Barrel down the road. It was a lovely time. Sunday morning, around 11:30, chain restaurant on an Interstate, right after every church service known to man has just let out… That wasn’t crowded at all. Still my wife got a kick out of my order of a double meat breakfast with a side of bacon. I thought she would be used to that by now.
Driving on, we made it to our next hotel. I won’t mention the name of this hotel. It’s a well-known chain that we got on Priceline. Driving up to the door I got the sense that we might just be the only occupants of this place. The fact that there were NO cars in the parking lot was a good indicator. Indeed, it was a strange experience. The hotel itself wasn’t bad, per se — the decor was a little lacking but it was clean and quiet — but the feeling that we were alone in this place was odd. As it turns out there may have been a few other people staying here. We didn’t really wait to find out because after a quick change we headed out to a little town called Kemah (Key-mah) for dinner at the aquarium. Astute readers will remember that we stopped at an aquarium-themed restaurant in Houston last year on our way to Galveston. And last year, as this, Wilma and I indulged ourselves in a
few several drinks in commemorative hurricane glasses. Keep in mind that the Houston area in July (actually, most of the year) is known for its humidity and heat. After drinks we stepped outside and sweated ourselves to the point of near death as we stumbled down a gangplank. A what?
We boarded a pirate schooner! And this was the highlight of our day. Ahoy, matey’s! First we got the kiddies changed into their costumes. Yeah, costumes. Sonny Boy was an honest-to-goodness pirate. This made me especially proud considering that his old man went to a college who’s mascot is a pirate. But Baby Girl took the cake in her mermaid get-up. They were too cute for words. But I’ll try anyway. They couldn’t have been cuter if they’d tried to be and they weren’t even trying. The
booze cruise was delightful. There were all of ten passengers and five of them were us. We had been instructed to bring our own bottles should we desire. The cruise headed out into Galveston Bay at a slow speed. The “crew” (one guy named Jim) raised the sails and actually all was right with the world. About an hour out, the captain (a guy named Chris) instructed us to take our seats around the edge of the boat as the boat would be turning back. It was only a two-hour cruise. And as soon as we made our turn we spotted them. That would be the dolphins! Leaping out of the water with abandon — I was actually afraid that we’d ride right over one of them — these playful creatures prompted a discussion with my son about how they weren’t really fish but mammals. After a few minutes I began to find it odd that the dolphins (and now seagulls, manatees, and even the occasional krill) were swarming our boat. That’s when I noticed that Wilma was tossing food off the stern. The most unusual thing was that she was tossing the remnants of her dinner. What do you think they serve at an aquarium-themed restaurant? Yep, our Wilma was enticing the sea-creatures with fish. “Wilma, exactly how many of those mai tai’s did you have back there?”
And like that we were back at our slip, heading to the car with two very excited and very tired children, one intoxicated old salt, one always-laid-back Aunt Jane who had joined us earlier in the day, and a relaxed Mommy and Daddy. Tomorrow we actually arrive at our destination. I can’t wait! And from the looks on your faces as we carried you into the hotel, kids, neither can you.