Hello from the frozen tundra, better known as Houston, TX.
I know I haven't written for awhile, the last you heard from me the Happy Couple had me in Shueyville, IA, but a lot has been going on and I haven't taken time to steal the computer. As you know, Shari's Dad, John Hamil, passed away January 22 and we made a hurried trip back to Iowa. More about that in a little bit.
To get you up to date, the Happy Couple spent the remainder of 2010 in the Cedar Rapids area, finishing with a lavish dinner party New Year's Eve at the mansion of Les and Sherry Minor. In attendance was the usual Friday night support group of the Hawkins, Zahradniks, Minors, and Frantzs but also, Mike and Kathi Benner. The Benners drove from Sanborn, IA especially to join in the festivities and, for Mike to get a free meal. A fun time was had by all!
The next morning, Dave, Shari, Moe, and I jumped into the car and started south. Old Fearless Dave told me my guiding expertise would not be needed that day as he knew where we were headed. I asked him where that might be and he told me Miami and he knew the way. So Moe and I jumped into the back seat and slowly drifted off to sleep with visions of warm Florida sunshine, the beaches of South Beach, young ladies in bikinis, and a fancy high rise hotel. Don't you think Moe would look great in a two piece? Anyway, about 4:30 PM good old Dave, our on-duty tour guide, stopped the car and announced we were in Miami. I jumped out of the car and about froze to death. Then I found out we were in Miami, OK and it was 32 degrees. No Beach! No Warm Weather! No Bikini-clad Ladies! No Fancy Hotel! No, nothing but a Super 8 Motel and football games. YUK! So much for Dave doing the guiding. From now on it is me or Maxine (the lady which does the commentary on Garmin). We just can't trust him no more. On Jan. 2nd I took over and we continued our trip to Gladewater, TX and Shallow Creek RV Resort. After a couple days of getting the house back in order, and seeing Joe and Renee Hanrahan's new country estate near Omaha, TX, the Happy Couple decided to move to the Houston area. So on Jan 6th, I skillfully guided them to Corral RV Park in Tomball, TX, which is a suburb northwest of Houston. The park was a very nice park but Dave and Shari decided it wasn't the area of Houston they wanted to be in so, after a week, we moved to San Jacinto Riverfront RV Resort in Highlands, TX,. This is a 300 unit park located on the San Jacinto River on the east side of Houston. This place is great, with a great view of the San Jacinto river out our rear window. The sunsets are fabulous.
While here in Houston, the clan has spent a couple of days with Shari's cousin Jerry, and his wife Cheryl, in Kingwood. Moe loves to go to J & C's as they have a fenced-in back yard with trees which means a lot of great squirrel chasing. Shari and Dave also like to go visit as there is always a lot of great friendship and great food. On Jan. 16th, friends Ed and Deb Romeo from Moline, IL. showed up at San Jac on their way to Mission, TX. With them came a change in the weather. For the most part, it has been cold and rainy since their arrival. One day it did warm up enough that Shari and Ed were able to get in 9 holes of golf. Since the Village Idiot doesn't play golf anymore, he walks along and gives everyone else technical advise. Shari and Ed said he did up until the 7th hole. That was when a little high school girl came up behind them and Dave invited her to join them. Shari and Ed said they never saw much of The Idiot until they got back to the truck. Sad isn't it?
This brings us up to date to where you received the updates from Shari about her Dad. Shari had been expecting this phone call since we left Iowa Jan.1st. She and Dave said their goodbyes to John on New Year's Eve day knowing he would not be with them when they returned in April. About 1:00 PM on Jan. 22nd, an amazing man returned to his Maker. John had a great 92 years and through those years raised a great family and made a ton of friends. He will be missed. That afternoon we (Shari, Dave, Moe, and I) jumped into the truck and went back to Iowa. After battling a snow and ice storm in Missouri, we arrived in Washington, IA on Sunday about 5:00 PM to see Shari's Mom, Betty, and her brother John. After a quiet visit we journeyed on to Burlington where we stayed with Mark and Beth Steingreaber for the week. The sad couple spent a lot of time going between Burlington and Washington for the next few days with John's funeral being on Wednesday morning. A lot of tears were shed Wednesday. A lot because he was gone and was being missed, but also a lot were shed while remembering all the great things he had done in his life. The man always had a smile on his face and knew how to make others smile. It was just too bad he always insisted on being a Cub fan. I asked Dave what most he remembers about John. He told me it was the way John always said goodbye to him. He told me when he was leaving John, whether it be at his home, at a restaurant, at a ballgame, after a bus trip, or anywhere, he would always hear John yell "See ya Dave". Dave said he would turn around and there would be John standing there with a smile on his face. Dave said he always answered "See ya John" knowing the next time they saw each other, John would still have that smile. Dave told me that, at the funeral, when he and Shari went to see John before they closed the casket, he could hear John's voice say "See ya Dave" and Dave answered "See ya John". Now it is my job to lead Stupid in the right direction to make sure those two meet again.
After the funeral and a couple of Emma's basketball games, Dave asked me to guide us back to Highlands which I did Saturday and Sunday. We got back here to only one day of warm weather. While all our northern friends were preparing for a little snow early this week, Dave was walking around in shorts on Monday. I'll tell you that changed in a hurry on Tuesday. The last two days the highs here have been in the mid 30s which is about 30 degrees below normal. Talk about cold! This whole Houston area closes down when it gets cold. Yesterday the weather forecasters were predicting one to three inches of snow and the whole area closed down. All government office, schools, businesses are closed today. How much snow did we get? None. We received just a light drizzle thru the night, but by 10:00 AM that was gone. These Texans sure are a tough bunch, I'll tell you.
What is in our future? We will be here in Highlands at San Jac until the 12 of February and then who knows. D & S have talked about the hill country of Texas, Gulf Shores, AL, and the peninsula of Florida. Your guess is as good as mine. That is why I write the blog. To try to keep you informed. When I know where we land I'll try to let you know in a timely fashion.
Until then keep warm.