Tag Archives: Port Bolivar

The Prince and the Showgirl and Me

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The Prince and the Showgirl and Me

When I was 9 years old I remember going to our beach house with my grandfather. It was a special place- built by my Great Grandfather. He called it a fishing shack- a place to spend the day out on the bay on a boat named “The Finnegan Jethro” stringing together enough fish for a feast. (I just realized I’ve always wanted to know where that name came from, and the person I would most like to ask is no longer here). It was a bit musty with paint peeling from the boards that fastened together a two room cabin- but that simple little house could somehow sleep 40 people. Fancy furnishings of the 1960s scattered here and there showed that my grandmother had once tried to put her upper-class decorating spin on the place, and hence the shack was transformed into “the beach house”. Still, it was decorated with little people made out of seashells and googly eyes and strings of coke tabs folded into chains to hold back curtains and hang plants. I can picture my great-grandmother gluing those funny little eyes on her seashell finds of the day.

There’s a story in here somewhere that I really wanted to tell, but the more I type about my great-grandparents (Daddy ‘O and Mama Jimmie) and my grandparents (Softy and Robbie Doll), the more I’m overwhelmed by memories of just how special these people were and how lucky I was to be raised in such a family of jokesters, fishermen, poker players, magicians and fancy decorators.

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Trying to pack!

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We are twelve hours to departure for our big road trip and I’m trying to pack. It’s not going so well. I gave up on my idea of a last-minute garage sale to pad our trip fund because last night I just didn’t get as far as I had planned to on my terrible to-do list. Even though we cleaned out 7 closets and had tons of stuff to part with, I just didn’t have it organized near enough. I was a little busy last night having a birthday party for Double Trouble! The twins turned 5! They aren’t toddlers anymore… it’s so weird. The babies aren’t really babies, but that’s a good thing! (As long as they’re still little enough to get in FREE everywhere!)

Double Trouble, turning 5, ready for a Sugar High!!

So this morning I decided to skip the garage sale and hit the to-do list. First I had to clean out the fridge, no one wants to come home to a science experiment brewing. Then I went to Wal-mart. You know how I love Wal-Mart. (I have a whole category of blogs dedicated to the sickening corporation, feel free to read them all in your spare time! And by spare time, I meant by next Tuesday.) We thought we’d save money by having a few picnic lunches along the way. I started out with a relatively short list, but this is what I left with: Read the rest of this entry

She’s Already Gone

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The news is going on and on this morning. It’s the first day of hurricane season, and the announcement leaves a numbness in my soul. For us, there is nothing really to prepare for, not anymore.

When I was a kid, I spent many summer weekends in this little cabin my grandpa called his fishing shack. There were 2 cabins really, and a little trailer in the middle. The trailer was Kid Central. It had these 2 twins beds that somehow slept 20. Okay, maybe not 20, but at least 15! The grown-ups would be having poker parties in the cabin, while we had our very own fridge full of sodas in the kid place!

I’ll never forget the year my mom’s friends came down. Their boys were of the “home grown, corn fed” persuasion. Boys, girls, cousins, friends, siblings, we were all piled up in that little trailer when I hear Mark say “damn skeeters!” (In his thick southern draw.)

“Skater? Where?” I’m looking out the window for cute boys on skateboards and he’s slapping mosquitoes on his leg! Ok, so Blondie’s not the only one to have a little “moment”…

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You Say It’s Your Birthday, Well….

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It’s my birthday too! Funny how the older we get the faster these birthdays sneak up on us. I love birthdays, I’ve always loved birthdays. I love birthdays so much I don’t even lie about my age. Today, I’m the big 3-0! (Plus 6). If I can, I will mark your day with some kind of fanfare, whether it be Birthday Pancakes or Birthday Dinner or a special cake or a fantastic party, I’ll do my best to make sure your day is celebrated in some way and if I can manage a surprise, well, surprises are my favorite part! Those Christmas Eve jitters every kid goes to bed with on December 24th always hit me as I closed my eyes on April the 8th because I just couldn’t wait for our special day.

April the 9th, 1976 – Retired Lt. Col Wesley Pyle was celebrating his 40th birthday in Hawaii when his very first granddaughter decided to make her debut into this world a month early. I’d like to tell you I did that on purpose. I knew he would need a special bond with me, and that I would need him even more. Don’t ask me how I knew this in utero, but I did. And for 27 years, we shared our birthday in fantastic ways.

The little cabin my great grandparents built.
It stood the test of time until Hurricane Ike...

Every now and then our birthday falls on Easter or Easter Weekend, and as a kid we spent these birthdays in Port Bolivar, digging up seashells and crabbing off the jetty’s. On my 16th birthday, he took me to take my driver’s test, and then I drove us to James Coney Island for lunch. We shared a many a birthdays over enchiladas at his favorite restaurant, Loma Linda’s in Houston.

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And on July 1, 2003, our days together did just that. I called him on the phone, and said “you’ve made my life so very special” and moments later he was gone. I was told that my name was the last thing he said before asking the angels to hurry up and take him, and to this day that breaks my heart with such a mixture of joy and pain that its completely indescribable. I guess the pain is partly because he is gone, and mostly because I couldn’t be there to hear those last words in person. I live about 3 hours away from Houston, and I was on bed-rest with preeclampsia when his final day commenced. I will forever regret that my hand was not holding his at that very moment. The words of James Taylor fill my heart. “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end, I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, But I always thought that I’d see you again…”

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