A trip to remember

Well, here we are again, another road trip, this time with my daughter and one-year old great-granddaughter and much farther afield than my last one! (Between 500 and 600 miles). Last Thursday morning, my daughter arrived; we loaded the car and set off to attend a wedding in Alabama. My great-niece was getting married and my daughter had volunteered to take me on a road trip to get there. The trip was going to be a long one and we were breaking it into two parts as we were starting out a little after 9:00 a.m. Our first obstacle to making good time was the fact that there was a wreck at IH 45 and IH 69 in the Houston area that delayed us about 45 minutes. Once we got past that on-ramp, we were fine and made great time until later in the day when we ran into a rain storm that delayed us for a while. The rice fields in both the Texas and the Louisiana area were underwater in most places; you could see the markers in the ponds where crawfish were being raised. In fact in one area a man was out in a boat checking his traps. We didn’t have time to stop at any of the many restaurants/cafes that said that crawfish were a specialty.
We had hoped to be at our hotel in Covington, LA by 7:00 p.m. or so and didn’t get there until well after dark. The baby was pretty good almost the whole trip, we stopped a couple of times for food and bathroom breaks and everything went well. The hotel we stayed at was great and the room very comfy. We were up early the next morning and back on the road and had no real problems, except for being directed off IH 10 and put onto some side roads and then back onto IH 10. It was a very scenic ride. The countryside is beautiful, nice and green and with lots and lots of pine trees. The highway we were on meandered through several small AL towns and at least, it was different and interesting. The highways are divided and in most places it is as if you have a forest between the two directions of traffic. We arrived at our destination of Troy, AL, with plenty of time to have a rest before I had to dress for the rehearsal dinner. It turned out that our hotel and the one that other family members were staying in was across the parking lot from one another.
The dinner was at a very nice venue in Troy, and then after it was over we went back to the hotel where some of the bride’s family was staying for time to sit and visit. Since I had not seen some of the family for several years, it was a lot of “Oh, my goodness” time. We all had a great time visiting and getting to know the newest additions to the family. After a great night’s sleep, and a morning just being lazy, and lunch at a local restaurant that was walking distance from our room, it was time to get dressed for the wedding.
The wedding was beautiful, with family and friends from all over. The bride had family from as far away as north Texas, the Dallas area, and of course my daughter and I from Wimberley, and this area. The groom’s family was from Montgomery, AL, or at least it seemed as if most of them were from around there, so they didn’t have quite as far to travel! As far as I could tell, there were no glitches. That may not be true, but it seemed so to me. There was a lot of love and probably a lot of tears that I couldn’t see. After photo taking, we headed to the reception that was at a venue quite a distance out in the country. It was another scenic route to find it and the buildings themselves were set in a large grove of pine trees with a very nice interior and a large open area out in the back where the children could play, that for evening receptions had a fire pit and other amenities.
We got back to our hotel shortly before dark and just enjoyed calming down for a while before it was time for bed, as we knew we had a big day ahead of us on Sunday. We made the trip back to Texas in one long stint of twelve hours.
We had food and drinks in the car and decided we could handle this drive in one stint, if we took only 15-minute stops for gas and restroom breaks. This worked fine until we drove into a thunderstorm that lasted quite a few miles. We drove out of that and everything was fine until we came onto an area of only one lane of traffic due to construction, and that slowed us down for a while again. We finally got past all of that and went through Mississippi and on into Louisiana to Texas without further mishap. Our next problem turned up in Texas in the form of a 5-car wreck between Orange and Houston. It was about 45 minutes before that traffic jam was cleared enough for us to continue our trip. About 15 or 20 minutes after we were back on the road, we saw fire engines etc., on the opposite side and that side of traffic was blocked up for miles. We were happy to be where we were. We did really well, the baby and I were in the back seat and we entertained one another, she and I got along great, as there were plenty of toys and boxes of cereal, and then meal times with some goodies as well as healthy stuff. The trip was tiring but it was also fun, and yes, it was great to sleep in my own bed on Sunday night. Monday morning we were up bright and early as my daughter had to have the car back in San Marcos by 9:00 a.m. Her husband would pick her up at the rental agency and take them home. As for me, it’s after 8:30 on Monday morning and I have my whole day ahead of me to do some laundry, and a few other chores!
Our first official three-day weekend of summer will be next weekend. Memorial Day originated in 1868 and was celebrated on May 30. It now is celebrated the last Monday of the month, as are many of our holidays to give the working folks a long weekend every now and then.
Memorial Day was formerly called Decoration Day and as I stated above was celebrated on May 30. General John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic originated this day to honor the war dead. It is a legal holiday in almost all of the fifty states. In some places, the observance consists of civic parades and the placing of flowers on veterans’ graves. In San Antonio, there is usually a special service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. This very impressive ceremony, with taps and a 21-gun salute, always reduces even the strongest to tears as they realize that these men and women who are buried here gave their all for their country.
There are services in foreign cemeteries honoring the American servicemen and women who are buried on foreign soil. There are water services for those who died at sea, and there are ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It has long been the custom to fly the flag at half-mast until noon here in the United States.
The verse that follows is one of the best known and is written about the Buddy Poppy. Everyone is familiar with this little red flower that is offered for a donation either just before Memorial Day or around Veteran’s Day in November.
John McCrae (1872-1918) is the author of this famous poem. He is remembered for what is probably the single best-known and popular poem from World War I. He was a Canadian physician and fought on the Western Front in 1914, but was then transferred to the medical corps and assigned to a hospital in France, where he died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918. His volume of poetry, “In Flanders Fields and Other Poems”, was published in 1919. It is said that John McCrae was standing in the cemetery and saw the beautiful, red poppies growing over the area, that he was so impressed and moved that he wrote the poem.
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
In Flanders fields
The Poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place;
And in the sky
The larks, still bravely
Singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the Guns
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn,
Saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved,
And now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take Up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing
Hands we throw
The torch’ be yours to
Hold it high.
If ye break faith with us
Who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
This is a beautiful verse that stirs the hearts of almost everyone who reads it!
Now, are you ready to have a party on Sunday or Monday to start summer off with a bang? Here are a couple of recipes for you to try.
If you are cooking chicken or some other type of meat, a good ‘sop’ really helps keep the meat moist, without scorching, while you are cooking. When I was growing up, one of my uncles or Grandpa made the ‘sop’, and then applied it with a mop made by notching a stick a little larger than pencil and typing a piece of sugar or flour sack to it. Remember, back then, sugar came in cloth sacks, not paper or plastic bags.
After telling you about ‘sop’, here is a recipe similar to the one my uncles and Grandpa used. It does make a difference to the taste of the chicken. Of course, they usually cooked it on a rack of some type with the coals in a hole in the ground. Now, we all use grills!
Ben and Frank’s Sop
1 cup cooking oil
1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice (you can use vinegar, if you like, just be sure to squeeze out at least half of a lemon and leave the lemon shell in the pot)
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place oil and lemon juice in pot, cut lemon in half and use that juice also and place the lemon in the pot. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil Use a brush and baste chicken frequently while it is cooking. Cook chicken until done. Serve with barbecue sauce if desired.
Frank’s Barbecued Chicken
Chicken halves
Salt and pepper
Season chicken halves with salt and pepper, place on grill and cook until done, basting frequently with the sop. It can be kept inside the grill if you have one that you shut the lid on when you use it. Just be careful to pick the pot up with a potholder, as the handle will be hot.
Have a great Memorial Day!