Ten Years and 1,001 Posts… Texas Hospitality

Linda Leinen from her Word Press blog, The Task at Hand, and I in front of her Liberian masks in League City, Texas.

Safety Harbor, Florida: I had intended to make a big deal out of my tenth year of blogging, which, surprisingly, coincided with my thousandth post. But both slipped right by. Post #1,000 was on Balanced Rock in Arches National Park. I was eager to get it up and totally missed my landmark occasion. We’ve covered a bit of ground since and are now in Florida with our son Tony, his wife Cammie and our grandsons Connor, Chris, and Cooper. There hasn’t been much time for blogging— or even backroads. So I am even further behind!

Given all of this, I decided that Texas hospitality would make an ideal blog for post #1001. It began with celebrating Peggy’s 70th birthday. We stopped off in Georgetown, Texas where Peggy’s brother John and his wife Frances live. They spoiled us rotten— feeding us salmon, ribs and steak. When we left, they loaded us down with chocolate cake, pumpkin bread (a true weakness of mine), and beautiful, large, garden tomatoes.

But our spoiling wasn’t over. We drove from Georgetown to League City just outside of Houston where Linda Leinen, a good blogging friend, had prepared another Texas feast for us. It came complete with brisket, potato salad and fruit salad finished off with Blue Bell ice cream topped with cherries. (Linda has been raving about Blue Bell for a long time.) She had also stocked in Texas beer and Texas wine. I’ll get back to Linda; but first, John and Frances.

John and Frances share a moment with Peggy on a hiking trail in Sun City.
“You have to try my biscuits and sausage gravy,” Frances insisted on Peggy’s birthday morning. “It’s a true Texas dish.” And it was delicious. I gained a pound just looking at it. Frances is a great cook. Breakfast came with Bloody Marys that John made. “They are light on vodka,” he assured us. “Only 25%.” Hmmm, they were BIG Bloody Marys. Light probably meant a couple of shots. At least.
John and Francis live in a the developed senior community of Sun City near Georgetown. Its suburban nature does not discourage the wildlife. Peggy awoke on her birthday morning with four large, whitetail bucks parading by our bedroom window. John and Frances call them ‘The Boys’ Club.’ They are frequent visitors.
A turkey and her chicks also came by and drank out of the bird bath!
And a fawn stopped off to drink out of another bird bath strategically placed at fawn height. The wildlife made Peggy and me feel right at home!
I love it when people have a passion for doing something. John’s is building magnificent sailing ships. It goes along with his passion for history, which we share.
The attention to detail is incredible.
John was working on putting together canons for his latest sailboat project. Everything from wheels to recoil ropes needed to be meticulously added. “How long does it take you to do a ship?” I asked. “2,000 hours,” was his response. Now, that’s passion!

Georgetown has a bit of family history tied to it. The Mekemsons/Makemsons came down from Illinois prior to the Civil War and were among the early settlers of the area. William Makemson was sheriff of the town following the Clvil War and later served as editor of the town’s newspaper. He eventually ran for Governor of Texas on the Republican ticket but lost. It was a time when only Democrats won. Texans still blamed the Republicans for freeing the slaves and for the ‘Reconstruction’ period that followed the Civil War.

A Texas historical marker provides background information on the Steele-Makemson building in Georgetown.

While we were visiting John and Frances, I got a note from Karen at the WP blog, Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge. “I can’t believe you are in Georgetown,” she exclaimed. “My family had the original Spanish land-grant for the area!” Odds are that our families would have known each other. It’s possible that they even intermarried. Like Linda, Karen lives in the Houston area.

Visiting Linda had been on my agenda for several years. We had almost pulled it off four years ago when Peggy and I had re-driven the 10,000 mile route I had followed on my bike trek around North America in 1989. I had ridden my bike across Texas at the time. It’s a long way by car, so you can imagine what it is like on a bicycle! We had missed that connection with Linda on our road trip, but this time we succeeded.

In addition to enjoying blogging, photography, nature and wandering, we have another bond. We both lived in upcountry Liberia, West Africa. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer there from 1965-67. Linda was connected with a Lutheran Mission in Liberia starting in 1970. We often share tales of our experiences.

When Peggy and I walked into her house, I immediately noticed Liberian tribal masks on her wall and decided we had to have a photo with them as a backdrop. There was also Liberian country money on display. Even more significant to me, she had a wood-carved crucifix from the leper colony in Ganta. If you have read my book, The Bush Devil Ate Sam, the carving of the bush devil featured on the front also came from the colony. It’s possible that Freddy the Carver did both of our pieces. My friend Morris Carpenter, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ganta and introduced me to Freddy, had a crucifix from him that looked quite similar to Linda’s.

The bush devil was possibly carved by the same leper that carved Linda’s crucifix. Sam, BTW, who had worked for us as a 13 and 14 year old, would later become a physician and work at Phoebe Hospital where Linda had spent some of her time working while in Liberia.

We had a delightful evening with Linda. At 73 she is full of both energy and laughter and can still put in a full week sanding and varnishing sailboats in the harbor next to her condo, which is how she makes her living. She shared some of her fascinating history with us, which I will leave up to her to share other than to note the time she hitchhiked from Liberia up to London. If you have ever been in Africa, you have some idea of what a monumental task that would be! It speaks to what an adventuresome soul she is.

As we left, I noticed that Linda had a collection of rocks in a basket on the floor. I was going to comment on how they reminded me of the collections of rocks you find scattered around Georgia O’Keeffe’s house in New Mexico. Before I could get my observation out, Linda commented, “I collected the large rock from below Georgia O’Keefe’s house.” Forever generous, she reached down into her collection and came up with a fossilized snail from Texas and handed it to us as a memento of our visit.

Later that night, I thought “Darn. I meant to take Bone in to meet Linda.” Turns out she had her own bone that she wanted Bone to meet. “Next time,” she told me in an Email.

Bone, wearing his Covid-19 mask, took an immediately liking to the fossilized snail. I think that he decided that the snail would make an excellent Texas hat! I told him that it made him look jaunty.

Our thanks to John, Frances and Linda for showing us the true meaning of Texas Hospitality!

NEXT BLOG: Who knows. The good news is that I have plenty of new blog material. The bad news is that I don’t have any time to blog. From here we are heading up to North Carolina where our kids have rented a large home on the Outer Banks as another celebration of Peggy’s birthday! She isn’t suffering. This morning, our son Tony took her flying while I finished this post!

49 thoughts on “Ten Years and 1,001 Posts… Texas Hospitality

    • Mother Nature has become so hard to predict, who knows, Ray. At least we are a little early for hurricanes. I think. 🙂 And yes, it is a wee bit warm here! We’ll be on the road again on Wednesday. We are fortunate that the kids have a pool. –Curt

  1. Congratulations Curt and Peggy!!! 10 years blogging, 1001 posts, and 70 years on this earth – how wonderful. All celebrated with great family, friends, and food – it just doesn’t get any better than that. Safe travels you two. 🙂 ~Terri

  2. What an outstanding trip you’re having, Curt. Family, friends and good food! I was thinking, the minute I saw the deer, that it was similar to your place and then read that you thought the same thing. We may not have much wildlife around here any more, but at least I know they’re still out there!
    Thank you for taking me along on your journey.

  3. How fun to see you and Linda together! Seems like we may have been on the road together at some point during your time in Texas … we just returned from Colorado and New Mexico by car. I was aware you and Linda had Liberia connections, but some are even closer than I knew – very cool! Glad you got two doses of Texan hospitality; although I’m not a native, I have come to love many things about my adopted state (although its response to the coronavirus is not one of them!). Safe travels onward, and happy birthday to Peggy!

    • Thanks, Lexi. Linda was a delight. It would have been fun to get you, Linda and Karen together. Maybe next time I make it out to Texas and Covid-19 is a thing of the past! I’ll pass your message on to Peggy. –Curt

  4. The very est to both of you on these big occasions! It sounds like it will be an ongoing celebration. Blogging can wait as the life experiences take priority. Safe travels and enjoy!

  5. Love this post. And now I want to eat breakfast with John and Frances and stay at the Outer Banks at the expense of your kids. What great friends & relatives you have — and deserve. Happy Birthday to Peggy. And congrats on passing the 1,000 mark on blogging. Keep on keepin’ on.

  6. Happy Birthday Peggy and Happy Blogiversity. 10 years is quite an accomplishment when you take so much care with your words and pictures as you do. Write on!
    (You haven’t lived until you’ve had Blue Bell ice cream. So glad Linda had the traditional spread for you. Between the three of you , probably the stories went on and on. I’m sure fun and smiles were had by all. )
    Relish all that traveling, the destinations, and those kids

    • Milestones. I know. Like how many thousands of pets have you transported? 🙂 That was the first of Peggy’s birthday celebrations, Annie. They tend to go on and on. Grin. –Curt

  7. Wow, Curt. You and Peggy don’t half live an active and happy life judging by your tale and wonderful pictures.
    You sweep through Florida and forget your tenth and thousand achievements.
    Congratulations to you!
    Then you find yourself in Texas where Peggy deservedly gets celebrated.
    I love the photo in blue. So perfectly matching T-shirts, like the sky.
    Hip, hip hurrah, Peggy 🌹.
    Love the guy who so patiently build these beautiful ships.

    Better stop here. 🤗.

    Miriam

    • We are lucky Miriam to have good friends and family and to be able to wander through often beautiful and always interesting country. Thanks! 🙂 I’ll pass your comments on to Peggy and John. –Curt

  8. Well, this will teach me to keep up with my blog-reading! It was fun to read about your other experiences, and more than fun to share an evening with you. It used to be a ‘thing’ to have gatherings of groups of bloggers from an area; the next time you come through, it would be wonderful to do it again. Give Peggy a hug for me, and tell Bone I’ll give him a tickle the next time we’re together!

    • Peggy and I were delighted to meet you in person, Linda. And Bone still hasn’t forgiven me for not bringing him along. 🙂 He quickly adopted the fossil snail and says it gives him visions of ancient seas— and dinosaurs.
      And yes, next time we are in Texas, a non-Coved-19 Texas, we will definitely have to plan another get-together. Thanks so much for a great evening. —Curt and Peggy

  9. Lots of impressive things in this post. 10 years. 1000 posts. (100 a year? Twice my effort on a good year.) Good good and company. And I suspect Linda in person would be a fascinating person to talk to, based on her blog.

  10. That’s a pretty comprehensive catch-up, Curt, during what sounds to be a pretty busy schedule! Inspired by your get-up-and-go, I’ve resolved to read more posts by WordPress bloggers so expect me back soon … 🙂

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