Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Change of Plans

Well, the Family Reunion was a huge success.  Some of us were in RV's in the campsites at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, and several stayed at the beautiful, newly remodeled lodge in the park.  We met together at the lodge for breakfast, then there were several group activities during the day.  The hostess for this year's reunion was Tim's cousin Kathy, who still lives in Mena.  She has a gorgeous home just outside of Mena, where we gathered Friday and Saturday evening for wonderful catered meals.  

Tim's grandparents - They had 18 children

We had a very good turnout, around 80 cousins and a couple of aunts by marriage, although all of the 18 children are gone now.  I love how family is so important to this family!  They come from all over the country to visit with each every 2 years.  It's great!  And always fun.

Tim's mother and her baby brother, Bill.

Can you stand the cuteness!  Tim and his 4 brothers, and their daddy.  
Tim is the little one, front left.

It was a short drive from Mena to Branson.  We've enjoyed a couple of shows (Pierce Arrow and Dixie Stampede) and we've eaten at a couple of new restaurants.  However, we have decided to cut our stay here short.  We've had some sad news from home, and we want to be there for our family and friends.  But I know we will be back!  There's so much here that we haven't done yet!

We are heading home so that we can help our loved ones through a difficult time, and so that they can help us.  Earlier this week I told a friend that God doesn't give us more than we can bear, but He may give us more than we can bear alone.  I firmly believe that one of the best gifts He has given us is family, and friendship.  Our family and friends help us to bear our heavy burdens.  We feel His love through their kindness.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cowboys and Gators and Bears! OH MY!

Queen Wilhelmina State Park

The Cowboy promises me he won't be trying to catch any bears while we're here. 
I just hope no bears try to catch him!  (Or me)

We're here at Queen Wilhelmina State Park for the Wagner Family Reunion - Cowboy Tim's mother's family.  She grew up here in Mena, one of 18 children.  Eighteen children.  18.  Ten plus eight!  No matter how I write it, or how many times I say it or hear it, my mind has a hard time wrapping itself around that number.  They could have had their own tv show.  Except they didn't own a tv.  Didn't need one.  They didn't have electricity.  

But what fun they must have had, growing up in these Ouachita Mountains!  
It is so beautiful here!  We took Charlie for a little walk last night and I took lots of pictures.  

Cowboy Tim took these pictures (above) for me so I would have to walk through the mud and weeds.
He's pretty handy to have around.  


This is called "The Wonder House."  Built in the 1930's.  It has 9 different levels.  
There's a tour scheduled tomorrow afternoon, I'm hoping to go.

My phone doesn't take very clear pictures of animals.  Can't get close enough.  
I'm really hoping for a good camera for Christmas.  Any suggestions about what kind to get?  
I don't know anything about photography.

This is the lodge at the park, where a lot of our family group will be staying.  It's just been remodeled.  The first lodge was built in 1898 by a railroad company for their passengers.  The company was owned mostly by Dutch investors, so they named it Queen Wilhelmina Lodge to honor the queen of the Netherlands.  The campground is in walking distance from the lodge.  This photo is from the park's website.  Hope they don't mind me using it!

There's a miniature train between the lodge and the campground.  Last time we were here for a reunion, our oldest grandgirl had fun riding the train, and playing miniature golf.

They also played on this old engine.

The reunion doesn't start until Friday afternoon, but one of Cowboy's brothers will be in town today.  And some of his cousins still live here.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Catch of the Day!!!!

Well, my Crazy Cowboy did it.  He really did it. He caught an alligator on his fishing line.

We are pulling out this morning, but he had to give it one more try before we left.  And he succeeded.

I wasn't out there to see it, but he took pictures.  Yes.  That's right.  He had a 3-4 foot alligator on his fishing line, and instead of letting the alligator have the rod, reel and line and turning and running back to the trailer, Cowboy held the rod with one hand, dug his phone out of his pocket with the other, and took several pictures.  And a video.  (You see the kind of crazy I have to deal with?)

So, for your viewing pleasure (and at Tim's insistence), here's a photo. It's not a great photo.  But I'm really glad he didn't take time to focus real well.  And I'm especially grateful that he didn't get any closer to Mr. Gator before he finally cut the line and got out of there.  Honestly, I'm kind of surprised he didn't wrestle the creature for the hook!

You can see the creature's head just beyond the plants.

He also took a video, but I can't get it to run on the blog.  I'll try again later.

My dad used to introduce Tim to people by saying, "This is my son-in-law, the bull rider, Golden Gloves boxer, rattlesnake hunter.  How I wish Daddy was still here to add "alligator fisherman" to that list!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Still in Ashdown, Arkansas

Yes, I know I haven't posted anything in several days.  No, I haven't forgotten about you.  I have a very good reason for not posting.  Nothing...I mean happening worth writing about.  Not that we haven't enjoyed ourselves.  I am, after all, the queen of lazy.  Nobody sits around doing nothing better!  And Tim is happy, as long as he can drop a hook into some water.  The two little lakes here on property are perfect for him.  I think he's hoping to hook an alligator like we heard one man did a few days before we got here. 

And, there have been a few outings.  We went into to Texarkana one afternoon and saw this...

It was a very good movie, good story, good production, good acting.  I don't usually like war movies, but this one cuts back and forth between the fathers in Viet Nam, and the sons, in present time.  And there was enough humor to keep it from being too sad.

So, there was that.

And I walked around the rv park and got some photos for you.
Just because I love you all!

Trumpet vine

Passion Flower 
(Why don't I ever sees these back home?)

And here's the little lake behind our fifth wheel where Tim's been fishing.  
That's the group picnic area behind it. 
And behind that is the flooded golf course. 

 So, Tim took these photos of the golf course.  These lakes?  Not supposed to be here.  
They're saying it will take months to get the golf course back in shape.

The RV park is practically empty. Even over the holiday weekend, there were very few people here.  Probably because the golf course is closed, Millwood Lake is flooded and there are very few activities planned here at the park.

But the pool is open.  And it's huge.  And most days, we have it all to ourselves.  Heaven!

And, First Baptist Ashdown has been the highlight of our stay here.  We attended Sunday School, Sunday morning and Sunday Evening Worship.  The people are just delightful. I want to take them all home with me!

Today, we are driving to Texarkana.  Tim's hoping to play golf (if it doesn't rain) and I'm heading to the mall.  Then we'll meet up again for dinner at El Chico.  

We plan to move on to our next stop tomorrow.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday in Ashdown

I have mixed emotions about Sundays on the road.  On the one hand, I miss everyone back home.  I know and love the people there, and I know that they know and love me.  I know how everything works.  I know the songs we usually sing.  I know when to stand up and when to sit down.  I know our pastor, and I know I can trust him to preach the Word, straight from the Bible.  It's just..., well, it's just comfortable.

Going to a new church can be a little scary.  Especially for an introverted, socially awkward person like me.  But it's also exciting.  Will the people walk right past us like we're invisible, or will they rush to greet us and make us feel welcome?  Will the preacher rant and rave about his own not-so-scriptural ideas?  Or will we be blessed with a fresh insight into God's Word?  More often than not, visiting a new church is a wonderful experience, but believe me, we have run across some crazy stuff!

Since Millwood Landing is one of the RV Resorts where we can stay at no charge (because of our membership in Ocean Canyon), we come here often enough to have a church we call "our church" when we are here.

We attended Sunday School and the morning service today, and felt like we fit right in.  
Pastor Butch Riddle grew up in Texas.  He remembered us from our previous visits, 
and made us feel so welcome.  More importantly, 
he preached a very solid, thought-provoking sermon.  

After church, we had lunch at a restaurant we'd been to before.  (There's only 8 or 10 restaurants in Ashdown.  We've tried most of them at least once.)  This is one of our favorites.  The food is pretty good, but my favorite thing about it is the name - 
Jim's Place (but Carol runs it).  
Isn't that great!  There's got to be a great story behind it, don't you think?  
Next time we're there, I'm going to ask about it!

The rest of the day was spent napping and watching tv and...well, that's about it!  I have no idea what we will do tomorrow.  The main reason Tim likes to come here is because of the golf course on the property, but most of it is literally under water right now.  I like the swimming pool here, and there's water aerobics scheduled for next week.  There's also some craft classes in the activity center.  

One thing I won't be doing is taking Charlie for long walks along the lake.  They tell us several alligators have been spotted here, since all the rain has them on the move.  So I'll be sticking pretty close to the RV all week!  The Cowboy, however, would never let a little thing like an alligator keep him from going fishing!  Although, thankfully, he doesn't plan to put the inflatable boat in the water!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Honey Grove

Here's the photos from Honey Grove, Texas.  Honey Grove calls itself "The Sweetest Town in Texas."  I had to see for myself, so Tim graciously indulged my whim and drove the 15 miles to see what was so sweet.  He hunted for a geocache while Charlie and I walked around the square and took pictures.

According to Wikipedia, David Crockett rode through the area on his way to the Alamo in 1836.  He wrote home about all the honey-filled trees he found, and that's how the town got it's name.  He helped found the town, and told friends he intended to settle here, but then history happened.  

One other interesting factoid I found while searching the 'net is that an episode of the TV series One Tree Hill was filmed in Honey Grove.  The episode was titled "It Gets Worse at Night" if you want to look it up.  I've never watched that series, but I may have to take a look!

But, by far the coolest thing about the town are the many old buildings still surviving.  Here's just a few.

McKenzie United Methodist Church

First Baptist Church of Honey Grove

Honey Grove City Hall.  These brick streets run all the way around the spacious town square.  Love!

Bertha Voyer Memorial Library.
An inscription on the side of the building says 
for the Cultural Advancement 
of the Citizens of 
the Red River Valley"

I have no idea.  

The post office is in the middle of the square.  
Honey Grove is in Fannin County.  
Bonham is the county seat.

First State Bank Building.  
Looks like it is being restored.
The buildings may be a little tired and run down, 
but these streets are perfect!

Another building I couldn't identify.  These days it houses an antique shop.  
I saw at least three antique shops around the square.  
It was too hot to leave Charlie in the car, so we didn't do any browsing.

I haven't seen too many wildflowers this trip, but someone had planted these 
beautiful Passion Flowers along the sidewalk just off the square.  

We left Bonham yesterday morning and drove to Millwood Landing RV Resort, near Ashdown, Arkansas.  So many of the bridges crossing the Red River are closed, we felt blessed that the crossing Tim chose was still open.  So yesterday was pretty routine...just unhooking from our site, driving, then hooking everything back up in the new site.  

We've been here so many times, it's almost like coming home.  We went to our "favorite" nearby restaurant for dinner last night (the only restaurant within 15 miles!) We even have a church in Ashdown that we consider "our" church when we're here.  Not that any of the members there know us.  But we did meet the preacher a couple of years ago, and he's a Fort Worth native, so we somehow feel connected.  

Millwood Lake is totally flooded.  The Millwood State Park, which is right next to the lake is completely under water, except for the office.  And it rained again last night.  We need to drive into Texarkana today, if we can find a bridge that's open.  

This is our constant prayer.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bonham State Park

We had never even heard of this park.  Evidently, no on else has, either.  Small as it is, there were only about 8 campers there, not crowded at all.  Yesterday morning, Tim was the only one on the lake.  Charlie and I walked right past him on our morning walk.  
He said he hadn't caught a thing, not hardly even a nibble on his line.  

Right now, there's water everywhere, but there's still evidence of the recent drought.  
I hate seeing dead trees.  Fortunately, there weren't many.  And they were at the 
opposite end of the park from where we were camped.

This is much better.  This "tree tunnel" on the entrance road to the camp is about half a mile long.  Beautiful.

But wait...there's more!  Lol! 
We drove into Bonham later in the day, and found lots of stuff to do.

Fort Inglish Village - This is a recreation of the fort built by Bailey Inglish (the founder of Bonham) and other settlers, to protect from Indian raids.  The town was founded in 1837, and by 1843 the fort was abandoned because the native Americans had moved further west.

Sam Rayburn Library  -  Sam Rayburn (1882 - 1961) was a Democratic lawmaker from Bonham.  He served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years, the longest tenure in U.S. history.  Completed in 1957, the Classical style building contains many mementos of Rayburn's life and career.  One of the most interesting features is said to be an exact replica of the Speaker's office in Washington.  The furniture was in the national Capitol office from 1907 until 1957, and the massive crystal chandelier hung first in the White House and later in the Capitol.  We didn't go inside...have to save some stuff for when we come this way again!  

Statue of Mr. Rayburn in front of the library.

Sam Rayburn House Museum   -  Now a museum, this home was built by Sam Rayburn in 1916.  Contains the original Rayburn family furnishings.  You can also see Mr. Rayburn's 1947 Cadillac!  This is a National Historic Landmark, a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 
and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.    

After exploring Bonham, we drove 15 miles east to the tiny town of Honey Grove.  I'll try to get those pics posted later tonight or early tomorrow.

God bless all our friends and family.  These are strange times we live in, but one thing I know, God is still in control!

One more picture of my Cowboy.  Just because!