Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

An outdoor Thanksgiving, with Chris, Kelsey and the kids, has become our tradition, ever since moving from Albuquerque to Temple. Last year's plans were sidelined, and moved indoors, due to weather, but 2012, 2013, 2014, and this year we've been blessed with good weather and the beauties of nature.

This year we met up with them at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, near Jasper, Texas (which is about 40 miles from the Louisiana state line). We spent most of Wednesday and all day Thursday at the campground with the kids, and then, as is Dan's and my habit, "camped" at a hotel with a comfy bed and hot shower, while the kids and grands all stayed in their cozy camper trailer. 

The campground sits alongside a large lake (B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir), and several sloughs meander through the park, providing some really interesting scenery, like none I've ever seen before. I'm told there are alligators in the water, but we didn't see any.

Wednesday was pretty relaxed. It was Robert's birthday - his 7th! Although he'd had a party last weekend with some of his school and church friends, and although he had already received his brand new bicycle from Chris and Kelsey, we saved our gift for his actual birthday, when we'd be able to be with him. We got him a Modarri car kit, as suggested by his mommy. It has a little screwdriver that can be used to customize and modify the car. Seemed right up his alley! He played with it off and on all day, and into the night. 

Chris cooked up a great batch of chili and some cornbread for dinner Wednesday night. He has become quite the outdoor chef, cooking in his cast iron Dutch ovens. He puts coals beneath and on top of the pots, and cooks up some delicious dinners. 

After a good night's sleep in Jasper, we came back to camp for Thanksgiving Day. Soon after we got there, I went across the road to the restroom, and was met by a little fawn, nibbling the grass. I went back to get the kids, so they could see it. The little deer wasn't at all frightened of people. The kids walked up quite close. Eventually it did move away a few feet, but didn't run off. Clara was glad to get some pictures of it.

We ate our Thanksgiving meal in the early afternoon. Chris and Kelsey did all the preparations, and it turned out great. 

Kind of a blurry picture, but I liked it anyway.
The ecosystem in this part of Texas is so different from anything I'm familiar with. The trees are a combination of pines and deciduous trees. At the edge of the water are cypress trees, which I haven't ever seen before.

On Thursday afternoon, we all went on a little hike. The kids were hunting for a "letterbox," which was supposed to be on the trail we were hiking. They didn't find it, but it was a great hike, anyway. (I didn't know what "letterboxing" was, either, until Kelsey and Clara educated me. If you don't know, check it out on Wikipedia, here.)

Here's a REALLY tall tree we saw along the way. Robert thought he wanted to climb it, but changed his mind when his daddy boosted him up. 

Grandpa and I relaxed in the late afternoon, while the younger crew went on a second hike and succeeded in finding the letter box they were hunting for; and while they went on a short canoe trip out into the lake.


We drove home Friday and ran into rain part way home. We are grateful for the good weather we had for our time together; and most thankful for our family - Chris, Kelsey, Clara, Robert and Tim (who is still in far-away Albuquerque, and couldn't be with us for Thanksgiving). 

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