Monthly Archives: May 2016

Wicked

Let’s just say we have seen it before.

Perhaps six times before.

Peggy and I travel to New Orleans to see the touring plays at the Saenger Theater. It is one of our favorite things to do. And “Wicked” is unquestionably one of our favorite plays.

The trip also usually includes a meal at the Palace Café. It is right down the street from the theater and is simply spectacular. It is also close to the hotel we stay at when we want to make a weekend of the trip, but this time we just drove in for the evening.

Dinner was tremendous (as always), and the show was fantastic. If you have not seen it, you need to. If you have seen it, you know that the quality of the show mostly depends on the quality of the actor playing Elphaba. She was amazing, so the show was amazing.

This show also has the added bonus of making you think about who your best friends are and how they became your best friends. Like the characters, most of us become friends with people we meet at school, whether that is college, high school or preschool. We never know what it is about that person that “clicks” but we are forever grateful that it did.

I am lucky enough to have a group of guys with whom I have been friends since I was eleven years old. We still get together at least every other year as a group, and the older I get the luckier I realize we all are.

If you get the chance to see the play, I highly recommend it. Just be prepared to be emotional and to think about some people you may not think of often enough. Then pick up the phone and call them.

More plays, less therapy. Your public service announcement for the day…

Chad was amazing. One of the best service experiences we’ve ever had.
Lucky number seven…

Happy Mother’s Day

I know I am technically a week late, but our week celebrating Mother’s Day at the Island is ending today and it is time to head back to Baton Rouge. Have I mentioned I love this place?

We made the decision to celebrate Mother’s Day all week, and I spent it with the woman I love at a place we both love. This was her first Mother’s Day without her mother, and my fifteenth without mine. Another good reason to travel, do something fun and make a memory for Mother’s Day.

We talked in the car today about our lives without our mothers. Since Peggy and I started dating so young, she was very close to my mother, too. In fact, during those early years when I was not really a happy addition with Peggy’s family, we necessarily spent a great deal of time with mine. I think the loss of my mother impacted Peggy almost as much as it impacted me, and now she is dealing with that kind of pain again.

If you still have your mother, love her well. You literally never know when you will no longer have the chance to do so.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! I hope you got to celebrate all week, too!

Last night visit to the Gnarly Gar sporting the Magnolia hat

It’s Biblical

You should be aware that the apostle Paul wrote to his protege’ Timothy and instructed him, “Stop drinking only water, but use a little wine for your stomach because of your frequent illnesses.” It was pretty cool of Paul to not only give us permission but to also write it in English so we can all understand.

Right up the road from the Island is a wonderful Texas winery called Flat Creek. Each time we come to the Island we usually make the drive once to taste what’s new and see how things are going. When we lived in Texas we were part of their club, but they do not ship to Louisiana. If we want wine from them now we have to buy it and tote it home.

The tastings here are a terrific experience, and there is also an excellent restaurant on the premises. If you ever have the opportunity to visit you should do it. You can tell them I sent you, but they have no idea who I am.

It is a great way to spend an afternoon. And it leads to a great way to spend an evening. And it’s what God wants you to do. Paul said so.

 

The restaurant at Flat Creek
Outside on the grounds

Come back to the Island

This place is just awesome.

Every time we come we kind of forget how great it is. You walk down to the pool with the incredible views of the lake and the cliffs on the other side and you can actually feel the stress begin to leave your body. There are no restaurants on the island, so you either need to plan to cook or leave for meals. If not for that we would probably never get dressed for anything other than the water…

Today is chill day. We hung out at the pool until we got hungry, then we went to a very unique restaurant in Point Venture. The restaurant has had at least three names in the years we have been visiting, and is currently known as the Gnarly Gar. It floats on a barge in the lake. When the lake is low it is quite a hike from the parking lot to get to where the restaurant is floating, but it is always worth it.

You sit outside and eat in the breeze. The food is good and the drinks are cold, and most of the people who arrive are still in swim attire. It is appropriate as many of them arrive by boat and dock at the pier (which is one of the former names of the restaurant, by the way).

If you stay until evening there is frequently live music, but we try to be back to the Island before sunset. It’s kind of a ritual for us here.

I may or may not post something tomorrow. Chill, you know…

Chillin’
Gnarly Gar. It won’t be the last time…

Magnolia or bust

Waco.

I have a feeling most people never heard that word until a little TV show called “Fixer Upper.”

My Texas girl went to college here. We lived here for the first year after we were married while she finished school and I worked as a youth minister at a small church.

Today I did something I can honestly say I never thought I would do. I left the Island to drive to Waco. Because Chip and Joanna.

Who are these people and what have they done to my wife?! It was interesting when the show came on and we knew some of the couples. It was cool when they worked with an old friend of ours making furniture for them. We got sucked in like the rest of ‘Merica.

It’s basically a hundred miles up to Waco from the lake, so we made the trip. I have to admit, it was pretty great to see what they have accomplished, and Waco looks a whole lot better than when we lived there thirty years ago. I also can’t believe they bought those rusty old silos and didn’t clean them up, but that is another topic altogether…

We made the pilgrimage. We made our offering at the altar and left with a hat and a t-shirt. The Baylor girl left happy.

And we still got to go back to the Island.

Baylor girl returns
Chip and JoJo got it going on

What a mother

The year is 2008.

My son went off to college in August of 2007, and Peggy and I embraced the roll of empty nesters. Within a month of his departure we made trips to New York and Las Vegas (Mike’s observation — “You guys suck!”) as well as multiple trips to Baton Rouge. Once Mike went to LSU, Peggy somehow became a big football fan. Go figure.

Valentine’s Day. I decide to do something romantic and find a hideaway with a remarkable view (Peggy’s delight). Searching online I discovered an unusual spot called The Island on Lake Travis outside of Austin, TX. The online photos were almost unbelievable, so I thought it would be a perfect place to check out.

Strep throat. Not particularly romantic, but we went anyway. I figure if you feel like crap and you still enjoy a place it must be pretty good. We have been going back to the Island ever since (and eight years later I still cannot recommend it highly enough!).

Mother’s Day approaches. About three weeks out it occurs to Peggy that Mike will not be home for Mother’s Day since it falls during finals. Suddenly the empty nest actually feels a little empty.

I decide to book a cruise out of Galveston for the two of us to get away and for her to be able to think about something other than a Mother’s Day without her son. We have an absolute blast. A tradition is born.

It is now 2016 and for the first time these two traditions that started in 2008 are going to be married. That’s right, we are staying at the Island for the entire week of Mother’s Day! Two great tastes that go great together — how did we not think of this before?!

I’m pretty fired up about it, so I am sure this will not be the last celebratory post…

 

We got here in time for sunset. Always a key!

Friends

Peggy and I drove from Baton Rouge to Texas City, TX this weekend to sing with friends and celebrate Mother’s Day. Texas City is a little north of Galveston and is the heart of refinery country in Southeast Texas. Let’s just say it is probably not somewhere we would travel except for…friends.

When you’re young the concept of friends is pretty simple — you grow up together, you go to school together, live near each other, whatever. Somehow it gets more complicated when you get older, but it’s really the same idea.

We met John and Marcy when John became the Minister of Music at our church in Katy, Texas. We immediately hit it off for all the reasons friends become friends. For ten years we helped raise each other’s kids and quite literally traveled all over the world singing and worshipping together.

Life happens, but friends are friends and support each other when the junk occurs.

We had a blast this weekend. We attended a concert on Saturday where a friend of ours, a young girl who is bravely battling cancer, had the opportunity to sing with the symphony. Then we led worship with our friends in their church¬†for Mother’s Day on Sunday morning. And we went out to lunch to celebrate with them before we left for the lake.

This much I know — the people you can count on when stuff knocks you down are the only real friends you have. I am lucky to count these folks as real friends.

And it doesn’t hurt that we laugh a lot…

Forever friends