As in LOSER !
Is that not the saddest, dorkiest cheerleader you have ever seen in your life?
I know you just said yes.
Well, you're wrong! Dead wrong.
I may have been sad and dorky but some of these other girls were definitely giving me a run for my money. And hey, I had spirit, dammit!
Football is serious business in Texas. Even PeeWee football. And even though I was a major tomboy, the lure of regulation pom poms was strong. I also wasn't rebel enough to demand to play. It never even crossed my mind. Honestly, it's not that I wanted to be a cheerleader so badly, I really just wanted to be a cute girl.
Unfortunately, they don't make shoe pom poms big enough to hide the fact that I was skinny and buck-toothed and a head taller than all the boys.
I mean look at that lineup. A chubby girl, the only black girl in the entire league, an awkward white chick with an afro, a Yankee, and a skinny, knock-kneed redhead. There are two cute petite girls in there, too but I'm sure they had speech impediments or lazy eyes or something. Even our little mini peewee cheerleaders were tantrum prone. I knew we didn't look like the other squads. And yes, it hurt.
We were like the Bad News Bears of peewee football cheerleading. It's like they took all the gangly, overweight, minority, nerdy girls who wanted to cheer and put them on one team so as not to infect the other adorable squads with our dorkiness.
And we sucked, too. There was no movie ending for the Texan's cheerleaders. We didn't look ridiculous but rock the crowds with our coordination, spirit and style, putting all the squads of cute girls in good fitting uniforms to shame. There was no third act where the coach of the other squad came over and apologized for not believing in us as they handed over the trophe we should have rightly won but lost on a technicality. There was however a nasty episode where I overheard one of the football player's moms lamenting the fact that the Texans, our team of little he-men, had the worst cheerleaders in the league.
No, we were as bad as we looked. I wish I had more pictures, but just take a moment and try imagine us doing a pyramid. Or herkies. Oh, how we tried.
Okay, now shake your head and scour the image of me doing a herkie in that get up from your brain.
If you can.
Today's big stop was at a childhood favorite of mine. Out in the middle of nowhere in west Texas are about 4000 acres of sand dunes.
There's not a ton to do--you run up the dunes, you run down the dunes, you sled the dunes, you dig in the dunes. But it's heaven for a kid.
I remember being fascinated by them when I was young. It felt like a place where the environment matched my energy. I feel like we spent hours out there but, having been there as an adult now, I don't think it could have ever been more than an hour or two at the most. It's hot. Africa hot. And it's exhausting running up and down those dunes. Even the small ones. I think I have a little insight into what my mom was feeling on those family trips back in the 70s.
We just passed through the home of the world's first rodeo. And I just uttered the words, "Hey, you're bogartin' the Fritos."
This is the town where organic moms go bad and don't look back. We loaded up with Chili Cheese Fritos, Donettes & Gatorade and then we headed into the desert.
That just about tells you everything you need to know about where we are emotionally on this trip. I wish I could have gotten one of these too but Ma's looks like it's been shuttered since the interstate came through.
Apologies in advance to any Fort Stockton readers. The town we stayed in last night was just a patch of dirt full of redneck peckerwoods. I can say that because I come from a long line if redneck peckerwoods.
I'm pretty sure the guy we sat next to at the IHOP had swine flu. It's the first time we've broken out the Purell the whole trip.
Onward, to another redneck shithole...
I have some advice for parents of preschoolers...steer clear of fondue restaurants.
We went to one with my in-laws. I was thinking, as they were, that what with all the dipping and cheese and chocolate it would be a match made in heaven. WRONG! What none of us considered was the long sharp forks and pots of hot liquid at the table. There weren't any accidents but trying to eat fondue while nursing a baby and keeping Huck from skewering or scalding someone was no fun. But mmmm, warm cheese.
Austin is such a great funky town. We also ate at the South Congress Trailer Park Eatery. It's a weird little collection of trailers that sell food. Tacos, burgers, desserts. There's a swing under a big oak tree, lots of picnic tables with colorful umbrellas, a pavillion for live music at night and a whole flock of plastic pink flamingos.
Well, we're on the move again but in an effort to catch you up a bit on our trip, I'm going to post a few short highlight posts from our 2 weeks in North Texas.
About 5 years ago, my 85 year old grandmother took up the electric bass.
Do you know how much I love typing that sentence?
Meme goes down to the senior center and plays with the Bedford Ramblers every week. They play country, western swing and old boogie woogie tunes. They pass the mic, take turns singing, and have a great time. All comers are welcome to sit in or sing a song. And Meme's boyfriend Mac is the fiddle player. They also have a standing gig every Tuesday night at a little BBQ joint in Fort Worth.
Now with a set up like that, surely you know where I was last Tuesday night...
This woman has been dancing and enjoying music for most of her life so it makes perfect sense that as age started to slow her down (a little) she took a seat and learned how to play.
I remember a story she told me once about being a young girl listening to Willie Nelson when he was playing with Bud Fletcher and the Texans. It was at a tiny place outside the town of West, Texas waaaay before he was famous. She told me she sat on the edge of the stage and thought he was kinda cute.
My mom remembers that when Elvis was big and lots of parents were scandalized by those gyrating hips, Meme paid a teen-aged neighbor to come over and teach her how to dance to it.
I know how to two-step, square dance, and polka because of her and, although I don't have an ounce of her skill on the dance floor, I've learned a lot more by watching Meme have a good time...
Moss don't grow on a rollin' stone.
I hope I'm doing something like this when I'm 85. In fact, I think I'll reserve the banjo, right now. I won't even consider learning it until I'm at least 75. But after that...look out!
The thing about a long road trip with kids is that you really have to be flexible. We had always planned on hitting attractions all along the way but after Philly, DC and Shenandoah this leg of the journey we decided to adjust our plan.
The kids, though happy to get out of the car for a while, were not really liking the attraction part. We were having lots of fits and crying and it was all just piling on to our own stress levels as well. So we shifted gears, ditched our plans and just headed for Texas.
From Tennessee to Texas we really just leap-frogged from Cracker Barrels to rest stops.
At Cracker Barrels we enjoyed wide aisles, decent food, kid friendly attitudes, and child-sized urinals. I also liked being able to nurse the baby in a rocker on the porch before we got back in the car. Me and my boobs were like the official greeters. I half expected someone to come out and say something but i honestly just don't think they cared. What;s more country that a baby at your breast anyway?
Arkansas may have crappy roads but their rest stops are lovely, and really about all we saw of the state. After meals and for in between stops we'd find a rest stop and Stephen and Huck would play soccer while I fed Jemma.
The last 2 days of this leg weren't the action packed adventure we'd had in mind but it worked. The kids were happier doing this than getting dragged, tired and cranky, through zoos and museum. And we made better time which got us to our ultimate destination, and out of car seats all together, a whole day faster.
And here we are...in Texas with family.
We had a relaxing Easter weekend and are feeling more settled and rested for the excitement to come. Along with all the fun we have planned here in the Lone Star State, I've got some giveaways coming up, the Sheriff's Log will be back this week and then more Dispatches at the end of the month as we start our final leg back home. Stick around.