Steamy heated ocean breezes, the feel of pure sun toasted sand squishing between all ten of my tiny little tooties. I could surly squeeze in at least one warm December afternoon lying on the beach where the temps rarely fall below eighty. Yep,this Ozarks farm chick was leaving the cold Ponderosa's snowy forecast behind and headed to the tropical tip of Texas. My parents abide in Brownsville but that's just a hop, skip and jump over to 'The Island'. Ahaaah! South Padre Island is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre Bay. A place where Hubby and I love to escape for a late evenings stroll along the beach and take in the breathtaking sunset. The Island paradise where one can go horseback-riding against the oceans fine mist or grab a boat off the jetties to watch the dolphins dance on the water. South Padre is an excellent spot for a fella' who loves to fish but para-sailing, jet skis, dune buggies or hand gliding are available for the more adventurous lot. Yep, right after feedin' the masses Thanksgiving Day we packed up shorts,sleeveless ware and my 'kini and headed south to a warmer land. I laid it on as thick a a triple cheeseburger that we here headed to a place where the snow won't blow. This chick was commin' back to the Ponderosa toned and tanned!
I can hear the words of my Granny Walden echoing 'round my eardrums, "now, that'll learn ya!!!" Well shut my mouth 'cause I am now eating a bowl full of my boastful words with a big old spoon. Have ya ever heard of Red Tide? Caused by the Karenia Brevis organism, it develops a toxic algeal bloom that can plague shores causing breathing problems, burning eyes and skin irritations. Padre had issued a Red Tide Warning. We had messed with the stuff a few years earlier and developed sores on our legs that rivaled the Egyptian boils. Besides, thousands of dead fish of all sizes had washed ashore killed by the crimson tide left the ocean air less than desirable. Nope, not goin' there, wouldn't be prudent.
The temperatures dropped like a pair of loose uppers eating a caramel apple the day after we arrived never rising above the forties. Did ya hear me???? I said... the highs did not get out of the forties. Did I mention the rain? Tons of rain! Now in Brownsville any cold or rain is normally in and out in less than twenty~four hours but this stuff stuck around the whole trip following us around like a crazed stalker. It was a cold nasty windy winter rain and this chick knows winter when she feels it! The unkind weather beckoned one's heavy red wool winter coat with the hood up. The one left hanging in my coat closet. I had a full beach bag packed that never saw the light of day. I had a supply of CK shorts and cute little shirts to top them off. There was plenty of tanning lotion, swim-shoes and ponytail ties but I did NOT pack for a winter storm in south Texas!!!
Time is always an issue on these trips to visit my parents. As the rest of us,they aren't gettin' any younger and we try to cram as many of their needs as we can into five short days. Dad served on the Sandia Army Base in Albuquerque where the Home of the National Nuclear Security Administration Laboratory is located. In the fifties many nuclear tests were performed such as the testing of the A-bomb. Dad, as many who served during this time, developed a rare form of leukemia that he's battled for well over twenty years. The man's a true survivor who has beaten the odds again and again amazing not only us but his staff of doctors. We just laugh and call him Timex, ya know takes a lick and keeps on tickin'. Mom has had hip surgery and had cataract surgery just before our arrival. Hubby went with Dad and did man stuff like patchin' on the hurricane tattered roof, putting together his table saw stand and helping him set up a debit card. I went with Mom taking her shopping, gettin' her glasses and taking care of other girlie needs. Don't get me wrong, these are things we desire to do while we are there and have the chance.
My Sis, who lives in Brownsville and works on the Island, was not given a day off my whole visit. I was looking forward to some intense sista' time with her but the moments were few. My Mom, Aunt and I enjoyed a lunch at her workplace just to squeeze a little glimpse of her. The big bad evil boss-lady let her off for two days the day I left...go figure!
The night before we left Hubby and I decided we needed to spend a little quality together. It had been rare this trip so planned our date night. Betcha' ya'll are excited for me right now. First we made a trip to a local Mexican grocery store, El Global, to find Mexican Vanilla and true authentic hot sauces to bring home. After that big adventure we headed to Bennigans to split a burger. That's it, but we were together and we had fun. Really, I'm entertained quite easily. The following morning before the sun rose, we hopped in our well heated car and made the 1145 mile excursion back to the Ponderosa. Driving onto the carport I gazed deeply into Hubby's big browns and announced, "I need a vacation!" I hit the ground running and exhausted but I'd lost days in my Christmas preparation that had to be made up.
Yes, in July of 1962 Connie Francis sang her hit song that entered the Billboard Hot 100 ,V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, adorned with words like, "the weather's warm but were playing it cool" or "we're on v-a-see-a-t-i-o-n, we're gonna have a ball." I know some weekend after the first of the year Hubby will whisk me away to a warm themed hotel room in Branson and this old tired farm chick will have a real "Vacation!!!"