Isn't it great to have one more chance to make it right? to make a difference? to love, and to laugh? to breath in deep and take in all that is good and simple? I am so grateful, for this, as I sit here this New Year of 2008......
I have been in South Texas, (at the deer lease), for a week. I go there every year (with Allen and have for the past 11 years), after our big Christmas Eve Shindig. I work like crazy the days before, preparing Jewel's Christmas Cookies, Homemade Potato Salad, Cornbread dressing, Pistachio Salad, and the GREAT Banana Pudding. Allen always cooks both a turkey and a spiral cut ham. He stuffs the turkey, puts it in the oven, and it always comes out looking perfect! The night arrives~we eat, drink and open so many beautiful gifts with all our family. We get to bed usually right after midnight (or later).
On Christmas morning we open a few more presents (this time just Allen, Melanie and I). Allen cooks waffles or any other special breakfast we request. Then, the rush begins all over~packing for a week of hunting, golfing, and New Year's fun. Several hours later we are off~hitting IH-10~with great relief. Allen drives, and I usually fall asleep not far down the road. But not this time, as I am too excited. I love riding and looking at all the now barren pastures, and huge leafless trees (grass & weeds dead from the "mini" freezes we have had). I see mighty Live Oaks, large country frame and/or brick houses, ponds. I see cattle~hereford, angus, brangus, brahmas and mighty Texas Longhorns, dotting the fields. We pass signs that point to numerous German towns along the way~Sealy, Flatonio, Weimer, New Braunfels, San Marcos. We always stop at Bucees in Luling~a great pit-stop by the way! Then, back on the road. Next big city~San Antonio~wow, I am wide awake now. Once thru SA, we head 90 more miles southwest on IH-35 towards Laredo. We exit at a small town called Dilley. Then 16 more miles on that stretch. Finally, we are at the lease gate. Then about 25 more minutes, down a very rough road, to our camp. I am really wound up now. But once there, at camp, I relax. We no longer beat to the drum of the big city. We are on 6,000 acres of prime hunting property in south Texas. Blue skies, cactus galore, mesquite trees, iron-rich red dirt, rocks and so many different types of wildlife~white tail deer, blue and bobwhite quail, javalina, ferral hogs, dove, green jays, Mexican Eagles, and much more.
The next morning we get into our jeep, and ride to the deer stand. I breath in the fresh air. It is both relaxing and intoxicating. We climb up into the deer stand. It sits high above the mesquite trees. It is dark, and I see nothing. I dig into my hunting bag, pull out my binoculars, put them around my neck and recline back for just a few minutes. It isn't long before I see the big red ball slowly coming up in the eastern sky. What spectacular colors of red, orange, pink and yellow. I exhale, and remember why I love coming here.
This past week I took 176 pictures! But this shot was taken when we got back home. We both fell asleep way before midnight, and did not get to toast in the New Year. May you have a great year, this New Year of 2008~(Do you see the vintage cast aluminum ice bucket behind my champagne flutes? This was Allen's mother's bucket~part of a set he said she bought while they lived in Portland, Texas back in the late 1950's ~SWEET!)