We are several days back from our trip to Texas, but this is my first opportunity to get to the library and blog. Benjamin and Paula are now married, and starting life together. I welcome the newest Mrs. Coder to the family.
We left Arkansas on the 20th... and my dress had still not arrived. I spoke with my mail carrier, and he was able to forward the dress to me when it did arrive the very next day. Friday night we stayed at my Dad and step-mom Kathie's house. We were about 25 miles from their home when realization hit me... this was the last place I ever saw Bill Joe. I cried the rest of the trip in... trying to get a grip on my emotions. I had certainly talked to Bill several times since I last saw him, pretty much every day!
Kathie took in my "back-up" dress to fit me, since at this point my ordered dress hadn't showed up in Decatur, and who knew if it would even fit me once it did arrive?
We got a fairly early start on down the road to Beeville. That was still a very, very long drive. We found a motel, unloaded the vehicle, and then headed south to the beach. Dan and Sam had never seen the ocean before.
The boys were soon out hopping the waves, playing and having a great time. Fear was on me... what if the rip tide catches them, what if they get swimmers cramps... what if what if what if! I had to stuff it down. Why not let them have fun? They are almost 16 years old and need to... MUST ... spread their wings! We only stayed a couple of hours, thinking we might come back the next night.
We got up and went to see Chris the next morning. He was doing well. It was a good visit. Too soon, we had to leave, due to the motel check-out times. We decided against going back to the beach, but instead hit the road for Ballinger. It was April 22nd, Tommy's 22nd birthday. So Becky had planned a birthday party for him in the park, set to start at 4:22 pm! (Get it? 4:22 on 4/22!)
We were late in arriving. The party was to have a scavenger hunt/ challenge, and the teams had been selected by the time we got there. One of the twins went to each team. Tom and I opted to stay at the park and let Tyrel and Kimber play. Each team had come up with a list of things to find or do, for the other team.
It so happened, several items on the two lists were very similar. One list had "swim the river and bring back a souvenir from the opposite shore." Tommy dived in, swam across, and found a nasty old beer bottle. The swim tired him so much, he came back across the dam on foot. He threw up in the dumpster, then laid dripping on a picnic table in utter exhaustion. Once he had a bit of strength back, his crew went out of the park for their next challenge (Get kicked out of Dollar General for being obnoxious).
The second team arrived back at the park, and a few walked towards the river. As it turned out, they also had a challenge to "swim the river... and back". Unknown to me, Daniel was the one who decided to make the swim. Benjamin watched Dan make a strong swim across the river, making it safely to the opposite bank. Then Ben had to go find the facilities at the park. Dan rested briefly before setting back across the river. At about the halfway point, Dan ran out of steam. He panicked and went under, flailing. One of the team mates was encouraging him, "SWIM, Swim! Don't panic!" Dan panicked anyway. This young man, Jake Huston, dove into the river to save Daniel. In his panic, Dan was close to drowning Jake, pulling him under and fighting him. Jake, as it turns out, can barely swim himself. He shoved Daniel towards shore, telling him SWIM!
He did this several times, until they were in water shallow enough for Jake to get a footing, then he dragged Dan ashore. Meanwhile, Jake's little brother had ran back to the park where Tom and I were, screaming for help, that "they are both drowning, oh please help us!" . Tom ran to help while I was trying to get a phone to work to call 911. By the time Tom got there, Jake had already rescued Daniel, so I didn't make that call. I still, at that point, didn't know who had been drowning. I didn't know Jake's little brother, didn't associate him with the group of kids mine were with, that had gone in that direction.
When I saw them leading Dan up from the river, I really lost it. I was as upset as he was, I think. Tom took Dan and I "home" to Ben and Tommy's house, where we both had to lie down for awhile.
The wedding, the following weekend, was beautiful. I don't have time to write about it right now, but we do have a few pictures up at http://www.moocrew3.shutterfly.com . There are at least two sets, one from my camera, and one from Kathie's. Becky was the official photographer, and will have her pictures to add soon!
(My dress did arrive and was a perfect fit)
Well, I am thinking that I had better get off here for now. Be blessed. Hug those you love.