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Texas in my rearview mirror

The much discussed trip to Texas is now fait accompli. For some reason long drives seem to be longer than when I was younger. I remember driving from Ft. Lauderdale to Hyannis with one short nap somewhere, in some Carolina or another, in a roadside rest area. That came after working all night in a bar that was open until 4:00 in the morning. I had a bucket of KFC, a case of beer on ice and was off to the land of Kennedy for the Cape Cod summer of 1977.

This trip, with my daughter’s Australian Shepherd, Stella, took about 31 hours, with approximately 5 hours of sleep time here and there, maybe an hour of “Wait, that’s not what Mapquest said” time, and one stop in Okeechobee to pick up additional furniture that wasn’t going to fit on the truck anyway.

There were highlights along the way; one being the city of Biloxi, Mississippi at night. The skyline is lit up with reds and blues and was very pretty. I also enjoyed the bridge I thought would go on forever across a large portion of the Louisiana Bayou.

By the time Stella and I reached Ocala, she had settled down, but the early part of the trip promised to be a disaster. I picked up a cheap Styrofoam cooler for water and soda, something I could leave at my kid’s house as the Mrs. and I were flying home. I hadn’t reached Palm Beach when the dog put her paw through the top of the cooler and I almost wrecked the U-Haul trying to get her free from the lid and not lose the ice. Talk about multi-tasking.

The Texas town where the kid and grands are moving is Coperas Cove. I don’t understand the “Cove” part. Here if Florida, a cove denotes an area of water as in an island or a bay. The only water I had came out of a Zephyrhills bottle and the only boats I saw were pulled up next to pasture fences and they all had for sale signs on them. I have a difficult time remembering the name Coperas Cove. I keep thinking it’s somewhere between Corpus Christie and the home of Mark Twain’s celebrated jumping frog, Calaveras County. Beats me.

The only real downer came at, of all places, an Applebees. The Mrs. had been there several times prior to my arrival, but we went there for lunch Friday. I had a couple beers with the meal, and as we left, the ladies were going to Walmart for some things for the house, and I suggested I might sit at the bar, have another cold one and watch the end of the Men’s Wimbledon Semifinal. So far so good. Later we were back at the house and about 8:00 we headed for the hotel, deciding to have an appetizer and cocktails before turning in, and as Applebee’s was right on the way, we went there again.

Sitting at the bar, we ordered drinks and the bartender asked if we had Texas driver’s license or military ID? The wife said no, I asked why. With no explanation she tossed a pad on the bar saying she could only serve us if we filled out the information requested on the membership sheet. Remember now, I had already been served there twice that day, the Mrs. had had drinks there other days that week and never filled out any paperwork. With this in mind I decided it was arbitrary and selective and decided “No. I’m now filling out your stinking paperwork.” Granted, I was tired, and not in the best mood. After discussing the situation with the manager, he explained they were in a “Dry County” and the only way they could serve us was if we were members. He had no explanation for the earlier oversights when no ID was required. By this time the Mrs. already had the car pulled up to the front door and was waiting for me. I like Applebee’s, but I think it may be awhile before I return. At least to the one in Corpus Coperas Calevaras, Texas.

It’s good to be home. I know our daughter and grandaughters will thrive in The Lone Star State and I can’t wait to see them again. Hopefully at my house, not in Texas…

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