1/25/03 Day XXXV of the

1/25/03

Day XXXV of the HeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHawwwwwwwwww! Road Trip

Center Point, TX to Cut & Shoot, TX

So before any of you start asking any questions about the town I’m actually in, let me just prove it to you right now:

Cut & Shoot is part of Greater Conroe, which in turn is a distant satellite barely revolving around Houston, TX. I sit here tonight in arguably the most earthy down-home environs we’re likely to find during this immense Iliad and Odyssey we’re on. Off in the distance, packs of hunting dogs are chattering away at each other; the horses are whinnying in the black, and some kids are having a campfire/tent night about 200 yards off in the woods, where no doubt someone is enjoying their first kiss.

We came here to see Nonnie, Tessa’s grandmother, who has lately been stricken by a car accident that destroyed her jaw, and might have also had a stroke (although we can’t find any evidence that it slowed her down). The nursing home looks rather exciting compared to the dreary environments where they stuck my great-grandma Pearl and my Grandpa Red’s mother. Normally, you walk into these places and can smell the desperation and try to ignore the craned necks all hoping that you are their long-lost kids.

three generations: Tessa, Nonnie, Sandy

There was no barf here, though: we walked in and stepped right into a raucous game of dominos played by five old-timers who barely cared we were there. Nonnie herself was in the TV wing bored senseless by “Wheel of Fortune” turned up to 11, and was damned glad to see us. She can barely talk, but after 5 minutes or so, you realize how little diction you need to fully understand pretty complicated phrases.

Since we’re going back to the nursing home tomorrow, we cut out pretty quick and went to the Black-Eyed Pea where I got the Chicken Fried Steak Fried Chicken Steak. We got to Cut & Shoot an hour later, greeted by Tessa’s Aunt Brenda, along with her kids and their kids too. Brenda herself is the Nicest Human on the Planet and her place is done up with every last rodeo, cowboy, leather and Lone Star artifact ever created. I thought it was a bit much, but then I realized I’d probably do the same thing with North Carolina stuff if Tessa would let me. I have to say, though, I’ve never actually used soap shaped like Texas before, nor have I slept under leather curtains.

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