A Texas Tale

While researching day trips, I stumble across a website listing all of the towns in Texas. As I started reading the list, I laughed and told Steve, “There has to be a story in here.” So, here it is! Everything underlined below is the name of a town in Texas, or at least it was at one time. If you don’t believe me, check out Texas Escapes.


A blog Post by Laura Mahoney

Uncertain of her Fate, Mary stood with her arms around Granny’s Neck, Salty tears streamed down her face. While Granny was Happy to Comfort her, she had Little Hope Mary would not end up in Exile. Mary released her grasp and sat down next to the Running Water of Devil’s River, a Big Stinking Creek. A Big Lump rose in her throat as she sat to Ponder the Odds of her Birthright as the Diddy Wa Diddy of Toadsuck would earn her any Goodwill. Granny was the only person in her family who understood what she had done was as natural as breathing Air or putting Gasoline in a Mercedes. To her dad, what she had done was worse than drinking Java from a Teacup.  Her bothers, Mutt And Jeff, were squarely in Dad’s Corner. There wasn’t much Time to set the Record straight. With Dad being the Admiral of Zipperlandville, he had Ample time to Call Ranger Squeezepenny Who’d Thought It would be Best if Mary lost her Liberty. Squeezepenny was on the Cheapside and wouldn’t be swayed with the Dime Box that Fairy Kickapoo had given her. He had no sense of Fair Play and was, just in general, a Fink.

“Stop Weeping Mary, I have a couple ideas how to get you out of this mess,” said Granny, “I want you to get pen and paper so you can Jot ‘Em Down.”

“Granny, that Round Rock you are sitting on looks terribly uncomfortable. Don’t you think we should Retreat to the Alligator School House and sit on the Couch with a Blanket?”

“We don’t have time to go to the Boys Ranch if you want to keep your freedom.”

Granny was Midway through her sentence when the Bishop from Martha’s Chapel galloped out of the Green Meadow. He rode atop a Grey Mule and his Silver hair shone like a Gem in the Rising Sun.

“Mary!” he hailed. “I’ve just come from The Woodlands. Fairy Kickapoo told me of your troubles. I wanted to be a Good Neighbor and offer a Blessing from Saint Hedwig. And, as a Bonus, I’ve asked Saint Jo to ring the Bells at Fort Godbehere.”

Welcome, Bishop Ysteta. Thank you for your concern for my Welfare. How are things in the Woods?”

“Ah, I’m afraid the woods have turned into a Shadowland. Commerce has slowed down and there is no pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow. Mercury, Pluto and Mars have fallen out of the Zodiac like a Comet and folks have lost their sense of Security.”

“Isn’t a Mercury a Sedan not a Star?” asked Mary.

“Actually, it’s a planet discovered by the Gent on Science Hill. You are thinking of Saturn, which used to be a Car made in Detroit.”

Granny cleared her throat and said Point Blank, “If I could have a Word, Bishop Ysteta, we can Circle Back to your troubles in a moment. Right now, Mary has a few things she needs to do before Sundown! After which, I will be Content to Converse with you over a bowl of Oatmeal, if you brought a Raisin.”

“You are quite right, it won’t be long until Sunset. As I see it, there are Four Points Mary needs to make to keep her Freer than Shacklefoot.”

Three points,” interrupted Mary.

Okay, it’s your Choice, but you can’t make a Circle if you Zigzag all over the place.”

Just then an Easterly breeze crossed the Trio as a Canadian Crow flew to a nearby Arbor. It was like something out of Dreamland, it had a Bigfoot and a Baby Head. It looked more like a Turkey. It didn’t even look like it could Fly. As it started to squawk, a Chickenfeather fell from its beak. Granny turned Lily White and cried “Eureka! Now I know the Link between Frog and Frognot.”

Mary and the Bishop wondered if the entire Universe had gone Plum Looneyville. “Why the White Face Granny,” they cried in unison.

“I know how to get you a New Deal and that Nimrod Squeezepenny won’t be able to get a Nickel from your Old Dime Box! Gather around and I’ll tell you the Ideal plan,” said Granny with a Wink. It only took her Nine minutes to lay out the details. If things didn’t work out, they would have to Cut and Shoot their way back to Utopia.

The first part of the plan hinged on being able to get some Coldwater from the Artesia Wells and the Wizard Wells for a Bath. This would not be an easy task. The wells were at the back of a Cactus filled Canyon, just past the Burning Bush. The Stagecoach only ran as far as Electric City, so the three of them piled into a Van for the remainder of the journey, stopping once at the Oasis Gas Station. They were nearing Bug Tussle when Granny saw the Big Lake created by the Beaver Dam. Luckily, Hinkle’s Ferry was on the far side of the lake, so the Guy piloting it did not have a View of them.

“The canyon should be just around the next Bend,” Mary said. The only container they had to Draw the water was a Leaky bucket Granny had taken from Skellytown.

“We Needmore water or it’s going to look like we came from Mudville,” said the Bishop.

“Well, that’d be a Damsite better than Cementville, if you ask me!” replied Granny.

Thinking quickly, Mary grabbed some Clay and used a Sharp Stick to plug the hole in the bucket. Now I won’t lose another Drop she thought. After cleaning up, everyone put on a Crisp pair of Knickerbocker(s), anxious for the next part of the plan – the disguise!

Granny sat Mary in the Center of Ransom Canyon and wished she could have gone to Paul’s Store or Twin Groceries to get supplies, but keeping the Cost down is the number one Rule when you are on the Run. The Key is being able to Roundup whatever you need.

“We’ll just have to make do Mary. First, we are going to Dye your Golden hair Black, then we’ll use a little Carbon to add a Dimple to your chin. Bishop, hand me those Scissors, I need to Cutoff the Dull Swastika on her shirtsleeve. It’s nothing but Scrap anyhow.”

Granny beamed with Pride as she thought about her days in the Orphan’s Home. Who would have known all those Art classes would come in handy. Now, you couldn’t tell if Mary was a Pearl or a Pebble. Just a bit of Cologne and they would be ready for phase three. They Heard the Boom of the Cannon before they saw the Gunsight, but Mary had Grit and wasn’t about to let the Hunter find her.

“Run child, you know what to do now,” hollered the Bishop as the Impact of the cannonball sent Deadwood flying around them. It was looking like Gun Barrel City as Mary reached the Junction of Moonshine Hill and the Medicine Mound. As she turned West, she saw a Mustang standing on the Lawn of Chapman Ranch, almost as if it was waiting for her. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, she swung her leg over his back and began to gallop. She was beginning to have Hope.  As the Pony began to tire, she decided they should stop and rest awhile near Cat Spring. Perhaps she could catch some Catfish for dinner and she could really use some Coffee or a Coke. She dismounted when she found an area with some Seclusion. She didn’t want the Hunt to be over just yet. Exhausted, she had almost let the sound of the Dripping Springs Lull her to sleep. When she heard a Click in the distance she was instantly alert. Mary yelled Geronimo and threw herself into The Ditch. Keeping her head low, Mary was able to see through the Groves of Cedar trees. It turned out to be Joe Lee from Fort Spunky.

“Mary,” he whispered. “Mary, are you here? Bishop Ysleta send me! He said the password was Ding Dong. We have to hurry, Mary, Ranger Squeezepenny is Hot on your trail!”

Mary rose from her hiding spot and came face to face with Joe Lee. He was a handsome young man, but a bit of a Lone Wolf. Mary was leery of accepting his help, but sundown was only hours away. Without him, she’d never make it across Iron Bridge and would be captured before Dawn.

“Captain Crawford told me to assist you any way I can. I’m ready to be your Shield, Ma’am, your Humble servant. The Captain told me there were others indebted to you but they will remain Nameless.”

“I don’t think that will be necessary, but, you are right, we should ride.”

Joe Lee was not a Novice horseman and the miles flew by. Finally, they reached Newcastle, alit in all its Glory.

As Mary walked across the drawbridge, Prince Onalaska ran to meet her. “Be Careful my dear, the moat is full of Quicksand. How did your family take it when you told them I asked you to be my Valentine?”

Since the Pickens were slim around here, Mary knew she had to get her Hooks in him before the last Sunray crossed the Earth. “Father was beside himself! He sent Ranger Squeezepenny to Pflugerville to find me. They want to exile me! But, my Loving Granny has a plan. She said if I make you my Groom and we decorate a Nursery, they will have to let us live happily ever after.”

Since Prince Onalaska liked living on the Edge, Mary was just his Type. “We will be Trueloves forever,” he proclaimed.

“I will Telephone the Temple and Tell them the good news,” Mary promised.

“And I will send a Telegraph to your father, at once.”

It was a lovely spring wedding up on Flower Hill. Everyone was in attendance and as the happy couple rode off into the sunset, the last thing anyone heard was Goodnight.

 

THE END


Have you ever visited any of these places? What is the strangest town name you know of?

No Such Thing as Too Much Fun

Let me introduce you to the Marcus Lindsey Band! Marcus, Jeff, Dizzy, Scott and David.

How do I know the band? Well, it just so happens that Scott has a little home away from home right here where I work! The day he and his wife, Reja, came into the office to pick out an RV site, I knew there was something awesome about them. Scott was funny, quick-witted and, obviously, a great story teller. Reja’s smile was contagious and she genuinely made me feel like she’s known me forever. After work, Steve and I hopped on the golf cart for our daily ride around the park. Scott and Reja were finishing up making the site their own and we stopped by to check on them. Scott said he didn’t know when they would have a chance to get back “out to the lake” because he plays with Doug Stone and there were several upcoming concerts, but when they returned, we had an open invitation to stop by. (yes, THAT Doug Stone!) As we drove away, I said to Steve, “Holy @#&#, we have a country music star as a neighbor!”

Over the next several weeks, we would see them cruising the park in their golf cart or sitting by the campfire. Every time we passed by, they would ask when were we going to come by and have a few beers. Finally, one evening after work, we decided to take them up on the offer. A roaring campfire, a few beers and Scott picking away at the guitar. He told us the was going to be playing with the Marcus Lindsey Band at the Flyers Field Party Barn in Greenville in a few weeks and we should come out. The band received the 2017 Texas County Music Association award for album of the year. He said bring your chairs/cooler and come enjoy the music. Steve and I couldn’t wait.

The big night finally arrived. We loaded up the jeep and headed to Greenville (about 1/2 an hour away). Scott had put us on the guest list and we were ushered in to the parking area. At first glance, I knew this was going to be “too much fun”.

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Since we were a little early, we grabbed a spot next to one of several campfires spread around the grounds. The venue is run by Karen and Joe, two of the nicest people you ever want to meet. Karen came over and introduced herself. She wanted to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed. As more and more people arrived, the air began to fill with an excited buzz. The band took the stage and the crowd went wild!

**Note, all the pictures in this post were taken with my phone. This night was about having fun, not about photography. Lots of the pictures have a blue cast due to the stage lighting.

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Damn, these guys are good! When they went on break, they gathered around for a photo op…

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How many venues can you see a concert at with a campfire to keep you warm?

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It wasn’t long before someone stopped by our fire to toast some marshmallows…

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And no show goes on without a sound guy…

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It could have just been the atmosphere (or maybe a little liquid courage) but I couldn’t help but buy a t-shirt and show it off on stage…

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A special Thank You! to Scott & Reja for inviting us! Thank You to the Marcus Lindsey Band for putting on an awesome show! And last but not least, Thank You to Flyers Field Party Barn for providing an incredible venue!

And I’ll leave you with a sample of the fun… I have a 2 1/2 minute video of Fridaynititus  but apparently my internet connection doesn’t want to co-operate so this is a link to an online video sorry about the opening commercial, but it is worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

A FAIR-ly Amazing Day

I’m going to warn you right up front, this post is bursting with images. I was able to narrow down the 527 pictures I took to about 50. Give or take. Given the fact Fair Park is 277 acres, I think I did pretty well.

We have been planning our trip to the Texas State Fair for a couple weeks. We knew it wouldn’t be a cheap day, hence all of our recent freebie day trips. Fair Park is on the east side of Dallas and has been home to the Texas State Fair since 1886. You can read about all the history here.

We arrived just after the gates opened and scored a parking spot near the gate (all the empty spaces you see are reserved for the handicapped)…

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We bought our tickets online, part of a package which included admission and 100 ride/food coupons. We first ran into using coupons at Grapefest. I’m not really a fan of the system, I’d rather pay for my food using cold hard cash.  I think it is easier to plan using money than coupons, but I digress. Anyhow, our first stop was the cattle barn and judging arena…

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Most of the cows were lazing around waiting their turn…

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Others were being led to grooming stations…

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Where shampooing and combing awaited them…

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I’ve never seen a setup quite like this. Now, I’ve been to my share of fairs and always visit the livestock exhibits, but this really takes it to the next level! I was a bit disappointed there weren’t any longhorn cattle in the cow barn, afterall, this is Texas and longhorn are cattle. I wasn’t disappointed for very long! We stepped out of the building, on our way to the swine barn, and found this monster in a pen all his own…

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Yes, you read the sign correctly, someone was brave enough to get a measurement of this behemoths horn width. He was even more magnificent when he stood up…

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I absolutely loved his coloring.  On to the swine. I love piggies, always have. Of course I love piglets even more…

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Mama almost looks like she’s smiling. Cattle weren’t the only critters getting groomed for their showings…

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And people were getting in some last minute runway practice…

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Every time I look at this picture quickly, I think those pink spots on his snout are tusks. But if I wanted to see real tusks, I need not look any further than Borris…

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Our next stop was the horse barn. All of the horses were in bar lined stalls and you couldn’t really get close enough to take any pictures, but I was able to sneak a picture of probably the largest horse I’ve ever seen. This is saying something because I’ve been up close and personal with the Budweiser Clydesdales!  Meet Rossina, she is a Friesian. She is over 17 hands tall…

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I thought we were through with livestock viewing until we came to the Children’s Health Barnyard. The squeals of delight could be heard long before we entered the building. Kids of all ages were having a grand time. It was more like a petting zoo than a barnyard, with animals from around the world…

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This zebu was far more interested in getting her neck scratched than eating some handouts…

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Just outside the exhibit was the little red barn I’ve been hoping to find. Barns here are the same as barns in the northeast. Most of the are pole barns, but this is the type of barn I love…

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It was getting on towards lunch and the choices were so numerous I couldn’t decide. One thing I learned is Texans will deep-fry ANYTHING…

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Or wrap it in bacon…

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As we were walking past one of the many coupon booths, the reflection in the puddle caught my eye…

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We still hadn’t decided on lunch, so we walked into the food court. Overwhelmed is an understatement!

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Unfortunately, we stuck with something simple (but still expensive). We should have…

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And how do you top off lunch? With an adult beverage of course…

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So, I’ve covered livestock, cute animals and food. What else could there be? How about the art…

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And the history…

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Then…there are the shows! As we were walking along the esplanade, we happened to catch the Zu Zu African Acrobats. Their skill, flexibility and agility were astounding…

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I kind of covered statues when I mentioned art, but there is one statue that literally can’t be missed…Big Tex himself…

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If the size of the Wednesday crowds leave you feeling a bit on edge, not to worry! The Dallas PD has you covered…

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Our final adventure of the day was a ride on the sky wheel…

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There are 44 car on the wheel. I don’t know how tall it is but the views were stunning!

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I haven’t come close to showing you all the things to do at the fair. We skipped the aquarium and the botanical gardens because, well, let’s face it, I’m not a kid anymore! It isn’t that I wouldn’t have enjoyed them, I’d have loved them, but I was pooped!!!!

We still had about an hour and a half drive back to Waldo and it was time to call it quits. The day had one more surprise in store for us…

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A beautiful sunset to round out our trip.

What is your favorite thing to do at the fair?

Day Tripping

Striking a balance between work and play is something everyone strives for. And when it’s time to play, lots of things factor into how that time should be spent. I know I’ve repeatedly said how much I like free things to do. We’ve found, if you plan it right, you can get LOTS of fun for free. Our last 3 day trips are great examples of frugal fun!

DAY TRIP #1 – The Salt Palace – Grand Saline, Texas

Grand Saline, Texas is home to one of the largest salt mines in the US. The underground salt dome is 1 1/2 miles wide and over 4 miles deep, yes, I said MILES. In the late 1890’s, there were several salt producing companies. Around 1920 The Grand Saline Salt Company acquired them all and later became known as Morton Salt. By 1930, they were mining over 500 tons of salt daily. The building which houses the salt museum has the distinction of being the only building in the world built entirely of salt blocks…

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Inside is a neat collection of Morton Salt memorabilia…

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Morton stopped doing mine tours in the 1960’s. but there was a 20 minute movie showing some of the history and the mining operation. The cost to visit – nada! But donations are accepted.

DAY TRIP #2 – Grapefest, Grapevine, Texas

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We chose to head over to Grapevine on Thursday because…wait for it…it was free admission day!  Score!! There was free parking and a free shuttle. Every year Grapefest highlights different regions. This year it was wines from the Finger Lakes Region of New York and Canadian ice wines. Several years ago, Steve and I did the Seneca Lake wine tour, so we were already familiar with a few of the wineries. Of course that didn’t prevent me from sampling their goods.

Historic downtown Grapevine would have been worth the visit even without Grapefest, from the train depot…

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To the arts…

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But, it really was about the wine…

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DAY TRIP #3 – The Eiffel Tower – Paris, Texas

You don’t have to travel to France to see the Eiffel Tower. You do, however, have to go to Paris. In our case, Paris, Texas. This was another cool Atlas Obscura find.

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Right next to the tower is the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial…

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The memorial is only partially completed, but it is really well done.

So, what are we gong to do with all the money we saved by finding free day trips? Well, you’ll find out next week!

How do you find free things to do?