Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton
ralphmelton

Last weekend, we flew down to Kingsville, Texas, to celebrate my great-aunt Treba's 100th birthday.

I hope I'm doing that well when I'm 100. She is getting a bit frail and has broken a hip or two, so she's using a walker or a wheelchair. But she is still living at home (with someone coming in daily) and she still has all of her faculties. She takes a mischievous glee in being able to say, "if you think I'm acting funny, it's because I'm cuckoo with age."

~//~

Thursday, August 23: Flew to Corpus Christi International Airport (which has a total of 6 gates). Picked up by my parents, drove the 40 miles or so to Kingsville.

~//~

Friday, August 24: started with a pretty indifferent continental breakfast in the motel.

Went to take a tour of the King Ranch--fortunately, it was a bus tour, not a walking tour, because the weather was uniformly hot and humid while we were there. It was fairly interesting, though I don't know that I have any particular discoveries to report. One piece of family interest: at one time, there had been a school on the ranch grounds, and Treba had been principal there from 1964 to 1973.

Lunch at a college hangout called Young's Pizza. Pretty tasty, really.

Then went to the King Ranch Museum, in an old ice factory. There were lots of great pictures of cowboys and ranching from the 30s and 40s, but overall, I didn't really feel that the museum added up to a coherent story.

Then a brief visit to Treba's house to visit her. I remember she pointed out her favorite pillow on the couch: "It's good to be the queen."

For dinner, we drove down for a big extended-family dinner at King's Inn in Riviera (pronounced "rivera"). The theme of the dinner was fried seafood, served family-style. I liked the drum, both fried and grilled. I learned that I didn't much care for fried frog's legs--they had a pronounced fishy taste.

~//~

Saturday, August 25: Breakfast at a restaurant across the street called Gem's Pancakes. Tasty breakfast buffet, much better than the drab continental breakfast on Friday. I tried menudo for the first time I can remember; the spicy broth was tasty, but the tripe had a texture I didn't quite care for.

The afternoon was filled with a big gathering celebrating the actual day of Treba's birthday, in the social hall of her church. (I noticed that there was a plaque dedicating the social hall to her. There were probably 150-200 guests--certainly, Treba was chatting with guests almost continuously from 1pm to after 5pm. I wasn't as social as I would like to have been, but I did get some good conversations with my father.

One notable thing from Treba's scrapbooks: she had a commendation from the local hospital for ten thousand hours of volunteer work. That would be five years if she was giving it the hours of a full-time job--I can't guess how long it would take to accumulate while holding a job and raising a family.

Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant called La Tapatio, across the street from Young's Pizza. Very good Mexican food.

~//~

Sunday, August 26: Breakfast at Gem's again. Didn't get the menudo this time.

Went to Treba's church; there were fewer of us than there had been for the party, but we still filled several rows.

Lunch of sandwiches in the church social hall. (Sue Baker, the main organizer, did a magnificent job of putting the whole weekend together.)

After that, drove off to the airport with Evelyn Sparks, my mother's cousin.

Dinner was Hanlon's Barbecue in the Houston airport. For some reason, I had a bad impression of this place--but the barbecue we had was pretty good.

~//~

I feel that this journal completely misses the point of the trip--I've failed to mention all the family I talked with, such as breakfast conversations with Laura and Jeff, or talks with Adam about his students at Texas School for the Blind. But I've had so much trouble getting around to posting entries lately that I will post this now instead of trying to perfect it.
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