Thursday, October 16, 2014

October is Pumpkin Month at First United Methodist Church

Texas celebrates the month of October with all the goodness of pumpkins. You can drive to Dairy Queen and get pumpkin blizzards, you can go to any coffee shop and get pumpkin spice lattes, and you will find pumpkins decorating porches and tabletops.

The best place to find pumpkins in Seguin is in the front yard of the First United Methodist Church.

  *     *  WELCOME TO THE PATCH  *   *  

There are mini- pumpkins and gargantuan pumpkins….

Lots of volunteers are on site from October 1st through October 31st to assist pumpkin shoppers and pumpkin lovers. The church sells pumpkins each year to help fund their outreach ministries. Some of the money helps their preschool programs, some goes to a local food ministry, some helps youth work and mission work, and all of it goes to worthy endeavors.

This year, there were several new treats to entertain the kiddos including a scavenger hunt and a coloring station.

*   *   *  ARE YOU A PUMPKIN?  *   *   *

Did you know that pumkins float? Mr. Helpful Volunteer showed me a pumpkin floating in water.

He took me to a pumpkin that had been cut open and held up the top so I could see the pumpkin flesh and seeds.

Then I looked inside the pumpkin and saw all the empty space in the middle. That is why they float! They are filled with air.

Along with a variety of pumpkins, there were also some colorful gourds for sale. These gourds look like ducks, don't they? I don't know their latin name, so I am calling them duckhead gourds. Go figure.
 I hope I get to return to the pumpkin patch on a day when children are visiting. I would love to watch them have fun as they listen to pumpkin tales, hunt for pumpkin scavenger tokens and as they pick out their very own bright orange pumpkin to take home.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

2014 Guadalupe County Fair Parade Shows Off Local Youth

 Why are there so many spectators lining the streets to watch a local parade? Why, it's the kids, of course! Parents, family and friends stand proud and cheer as their young ones pass by. Whether they are marching in a band, showcasing a school play, cheering for their school teams or just riding a float, everyone loves to see the children and teen-agers.  So what do we have here?

Matador trumpets, a Seguin High School drama student dressed as a witch, Mighty Matador Cheerleaders, members of the Navarro Panther Band, and youngsters on a float. If you see someone you know, let them know you saw there picture on Wild About Texas's blog.

By the way, have you noticed the ads on the sidebar now? Click on them once in a while to help support your faithful blogger. Little pennies add up after a while, and my CEO says I ought to make a few coins once in a while, lol.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 Guadalupe County Fair Parade Begins

As 10:00 approaches, the folks lining the northern side of Austin Street, the side which gets the morning shade, patiently wait. The mid-term elections are a matter of weeks away, so Republicans were out canvassing for votes as they passed out hand held fans. This gent with his Buffalo Bill mustache wore an NRA shirt and sported a Greg Abbott campaign button. 

Since the whole purpose of the fair and the parade are to celebrate agriculture in Guadalupe County, it is fitting that young people from Guadalupe County 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) lead off the parade.

Looking at the State Bank and Trust Clock, one of the icons of Seguin, it is easy to see that the parade is now a whole 15 minutes old. Hard to believe that there are only going to be another fifteen minutes before the entire parade has passed. That's not too bad, though for a farming county in rural Texas.

Parade Marshalls this year are past presidents of the Guadalupe County Agricultural Fair going back to the 1950's. Here are several of them riding in a place of honor.

Texas parades always have beautiful young women dressed in fancy western wear. Many Texas pageant queens don't wear a traditional tiara crown. Instead, thier tiara sits atop thier Stetson hat.

I wonder if there is a class on giving proper royal waves to the fair royalty? Princesses, Duchesses, Runner-Ups and Queens all same wave as they travel the parade route.

2014 Guadalupe County Fair Kicks Off

Since 1859, folks in Guadalupe county have celebrated the harvest season with an annual fair and the fair now kicks off with a parade. Ah, small town parades are the best. The kiddos get out of school for the day, the main street though downtown is blocked off, and folks meet and greet each other as they wait for the parade to begin.

A rare thing happens right before the parade starts. Traffic is rerouted along Austin Street. There are no cars parked on either side of the street. For a brief few moments, a photographer can capture the beautiful old buildings of downtown Seguin in all their glory.

The stark lines of the American Bank of Texas provide what will be a dramatic backdrop when the parade participants pass by, but for now, the gleaming white and harvest orange building stands clean and proud for all to admire.

The awning of the Lone Star Barber shop provides a shaded spot for folks. Some have brought their own lawn chairs, some sit on the curb and sidewalk, and some stand, but all are comfortable.

The parade starts at 10:00. Get ready!

 Come back in the next few days to see more of the parade and the accompanying carnival at the fair grounds.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From Blue Skies to Jet Contrail White Skies

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The stars at night, are big and bright,
deep in the heart of Texas,

The prairie sky is wide and high,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage in bloom is like perfume,
deep in the heart of Texas,
Reminds me of, the one I love,
deep in the heart of Texas.

The coyotes wail, along the trail,
deep in the heart of Texas,

The rabbits rush, around the brush,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The cowboys cry, "Ki-yip-pee-yi,"

deep in the heart of Texas,
The dogies bawl, and bawl and bawl,
deep in the heart of Texas.
(June Hershey, 1941)

Deep in the heart of Texas,
 the skies were blue, the clouds were white, 
until the jet contrails began to make
 a tic-tac-toe pattern across the sky.

While travelling from San Marcos to Cleburne, last week, I watched as the clear blue skies were lined with a myriad of jet contrails. Straight lines ran across the sky and then were crossed like the letter T, then as more lines ran up and down, right and left, the blue sky became more like a patchwork quilt.

The contrails gradually expanded, no longer pencil thin lines. The contrails became more like long, fluffily pieces of yarn floating across the heavens.

As the day worn on, the fluffy pieces of yarn expanded and stretched, pulled apart into hazy mats of white. The sky was covered with old and tired contrails. No longer looking anything at all like the exhaust from jets, the condensation now resembled or became clouds. I am not sure which….

Goodbye blue skies, hello clouds….

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taking the Train..Amtrak Cleburne Station

Many people have flown in airplanes and they have a pretty good idea of what a terminal looks like. Train travel, on the other hand, is a little bit of a rarity, so folks often ask me lots of questions when they find out I routinely take the Amtrak train to visit my grandchildren. 

This blog post is for the people who are curious about what a typical train station looks like. First of all, let me say that each station is unique. Amtrak stations are not cookie cutter carbon copies. Having said that, I will say that the Cleburne station is smaller than the gigantic, sprawling Fort Worth station, and it is larger than the San Marcos bench (about all there is at the San Marcos stop).

If you look closely, you can see your faithful blogger reflected in the window as she takes the photo of the exterior of the station. This side faces the tracks. I am standing about as far back as I can without stepping on the rails, which is not very far at all. So, if you are dropped off at the Cleburne station, you just walk from the parking lot, through the small building, and a few more paces to the train.

The interior of the station is very clean and spacious. If you have to wait in the winter, you can stay warm, and if you have to wait in the summer, you have cool air conditioning to keep you comfortable. 

The gentleman wearing the cowboy hat is travelling to Austin for the weekend, just to have some fun. He plays the blues on the guitar, and he plans on spending some of his time in Austin listening to the great musicians that play in every bar, cafe and bus stop there. His "Duck Dynasty" friend is keeping him company while he waits for the train.

This young man made his reservation on line, but he needed his ticket. He could get his ticket here if he had his confirmation number, which was unfortunate for him, because he did not have it. When that happends, you can get a ticket from the conductor on the train, but your ticket costs a bit more.

The Texas line starts every day in San Antonio at 7:30 am and heads north to Fort Worth, where it is supposed to arrive around 2:10. There are often delays, because Amtrak rents the use of the rails from the train companies that own them, and their freight trains take precendence over Amtrak. Some times, the Amtrak train must pull over into a siding and wait for a freight train to pass. It may take a few minutes or it may take a while. You never know. So, you travel better if you have a patient nature.

When I arrived at the Cleburne station to head south, the north bound train had just dropped off passengers. For a minute, when I saw the train, I though I was late, but thankfully, it wasn't my train. My train ended up being about twenty minutes late, which is not bad for Amtrak.

When you have to wait, it is nice to have access to snacks. The Cleburne station has a snack machine and a Coke machine. At least you won't starve.

I got to the station at 2:30. The northbound passengers should have debarked at 1:10, so they were about one and a half hours late. That is not unusual.

Now, don't get me wrong. Even though I have mentioned the tardiness of the train, I want to say that I love travelling on the train. It has roomy seats, a great view out the windows, friendly staff, and the fellow travellers are generally very quiet and courteous. I just wish Amtrak had more routes.