Part Two of a Post Written 12/05
Posted to Seasonality 12/13/07
We met Alexis in Dallas on the Saturday before Christmas, and celebrated with my family that evening. John had to go back to Houston to work for a few more days, and Austin wanted to stay in Dallas to hang out with some old buddies, so the next morning I drove to Wimberley with Alexis. Of course, our first evening there, we had to go to our favorite little Mexican joint, Juan Henry's. Actually, I guess you can't really call it a Mexican joint anymore. Originally, the proprietor owned two restaurants. One was just off the town square, looking out over Cypress Creek -- where Inoz' is now. It was called John Henry's, and served burgers, chicken-fried steak, and such. The other one, out on River Road, was called Juan Enriquez's, and was strictly Tex-Mex. One year John Henry's suffered serious flood damage, and rather than trying to rebuild it, the owner combined the two restaurants, and the two names, at the River Road location. Thus, Juan Henry's was born. Still our favorite place to eat! After dinner we went back to the house, and I just can't describe what a thrill it was to see my little house twinkling festively up on the hillside. Once we were inside, we curled up in our cozy chairs by the fireplace, with our fuzzy lap throws tucked around us, and I presented Alexis with her first Christmas present. This was no ordinary gift, however.
Years ago, when we moved to Indonesia, Austin was just starting kindergarten, and Alexis was in third grade. Although I didn't keep a journal at the time (picture me slapping my forehead and saying "Doh!"), I did try to write weekly letters home to the grandparents, filled with everything the kids were doing, so they wouldn't completely miss out on watching the kids grow up. Just for my own entertainment, I tried to make the letters as humorous and interesting as possible.
Now, fast forward about ten years, to the time when John's mother had just passed away, and we were trying to empty out her house in Odessa before selling it. The one glimmer of light in a horrible, horrible task, was to discover a little bundle of 25 airmail envelopes, with my handwriting scrawled across the front. Could it be? Oh Joy, Oh Joy! She actually saved some of my letters! Because things were in such a turmoil at that time, I didn't tear into them immediately. Instead I took them home with me, put them up on the shelf in my closet, and savored the pleasure that I knew was in store for me one day.
Funny. I thought I remembered every single thing about those years in Indonesia, but apparently there was quite a bit that had slipped my grasp, and which came rushing back as I read through those letters. For instance, I had completely forgotten about the time when Austin was six, and we were all sitting around the dinner table. Out of the blue, Austin said "Dad, do I have any ann-brothers?" John said "That depends. What's an ann-brother?" Austin replied "Well, you know how Granny has all those ann-sisters she's always talking about? Since I'm a boy, does that mean I have ann-brothers?" Now, how on earth could I have forgotten that? And what about the time when the two Hall boys had just arrived on the compound, and had come over to play? Not long after they showed up, Alexis stuck her head into my room and whispered "Mom! I think I'm in love!", referring to the elder brother. Austin, on the other hand, ended up in tears, because the younger brother, Kevin, told him that all our video games were stupid. Alexis fell out of love rather quickly, but Austin and Kevin have been best friends ever since, and intend to go into business together some day, designing video games!
Anywho, I was planning to just sit there reading my book, while Alexis read all the letters, but every time she laughed, or gasped, or said "Oh my gosh!", I had to stop and ask her what she was reading about at that point, and that would get us to talking about the various events and the people involved. By the time she folded the last letter and put it back into its envelope, it was way past my bedtime, but oh my, my, what a wonderful time we had!
(to be continued)