As a multi-generational Texan, I am just not equipped for this. Texans are known to be overly opinionated, no nonsense, tough as nails, and yes, even a little surly. But when Mother Nature decides to be harsh, all of our strong Texan traits seem to fly out the window. We live in the deep South. We live here to not have to endure Artic blasts and bone chilling weather that sticks around for longer than a week. We complain about our long, hot summers, but smile from ear to ear when we hear the complaints about shoveling snow.
We were promised a weekend warmup. We were excited and looking forward to getting outside and to feel the sun on our pasty faces. However, the weather thumbed its nose at us. We had another weekend of gray mist and cold temperatures. The outside gray was always around and lurking like one of the remote controlled drones that my boys received for Christmas and has been hovering over our house ever since.
When Sunday arrived, we had had enough and cabin fever was in full force. John was up at 6:30 with The Food Network on heavy rotation. We sat completely glued to the TV as a BBQ show was tantalizing our taste buds and taunting us out into the weather. “We need to get the boys up. I just googled the best BBQ places in Texas. We are headed to Cooper’s in Gruene.” John surprised me. I looked at him quizzically, since I am severely directionally challenged. “You have seen it. It is right across the street from the Harley-Davidson shop in Gruene.” That rang a bell as every time we pass by my 14-yar-old, Austin, bellows out about some motorcycle he has to stop and look at. Having a car full of males ranging in age from 11 to 45, we usually oblige him. I can’t complain since one of those motorcycle stops has nabbed me a nice set of black, leather Harley motorcycle boots on sale. I proudly wore my Harley boots this very day because they keep my toes warmer than my The North Face furry boots do. Boots, any and all boots, are another Texan trait.
Austin and Jamison sprang up out of bed excited about breaking free of their home bondage, and in the mood for an adventure, even if the adventure was more of a culinary one. We made it to Cooper’s and realized that the rest of South Texas had the same idea. The line to get into the building was long, very long, and the boys were hungry, very hungry.
The brisket smell on the pits only made matters worse as a bad case of “hanger” set in. “Hanger” is the term for the feeling and attitude that sets in when you are so hungry that it affects your mood and makes you rather angry. Anyone with children is very familiar with “hanger.” I might be partial, but I am convinced that growing boys demonstrate “hanger” more than anyone else. The long line could not move fast enough and their “hanger” was immediately resolved as the BBQ did indeed meet their high expectations. Texans know good BBQ when we taste it and Jamison and Austin gave Cooper’s their seal of approval. Jamison was even more delighted in the fact that they offered macaroni and cheese. Jamison, 11-years-old, is a macaroni and cheese connoisseur. “They have the perfect cheese, noodle ratio.” He contently smiled while wiping gooey cheese off his chin.
After a little sight-seeing in Gruene, John spied a new campsite that intrigued him. We stopped and he and the boys explored determining this as their next camping excursion. John is preparing for his annual camping trip in August to Colorado and he and the boys are in need of a camping refresher. Last year I was a good sport and camped with them in the freezing rain for 3 nights. Oh, it was not pretty, and I still shudder when I reminisce. I had to wear 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants to find some semblance of warmth, and don’t get me started on what 4 days of no electricity did to my frizzy mane of blond hair. I (and everyone around) was grateful that John and the boys packed caps, which I never took off. Also, let me stress that we had 4 days without indoor plumbing. Well, that just wasn’t good for anyone. I was beyond cranky and in a perpetual state of “hanger” that had nothing to do with being hungry. I am just not a camping girl, although I gave it my all. So I put my Harley-Davidson motorcycle boots down and declared that this year it should be a purely male trip. I guess that I was so much fun to put up with last year, that John hasn’t protested my decision.
With everyone’s stomach full, cabin fever resolved, a new camping site found, and a trip in the works, everyone came home content and relaxed. Although the weather is still miserable outside, this BBQ excursion seemed to do the trick to erase the gray that had dampened our spirits.