Tag Archives: Huntsville

Living Large

Big Sam up ahead!

Big Sam up ahead!

When we drive to visit our beloved baby boy at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, one landmark along Hwy. 45 lets us know that we’re almost there: The big, white statue of Sam Houston.

Every time we pass Big Sam, I say to the Mister, “That’s on my Sam Houston bucket list. I want to see the statue up close and personal.”

Our final chance to check out Texas’ former president (chiseled concrete version, of course) was last Saturday when we made our last trip of C.J.’s freshman year to pick up most of his assorted knickknacks, paddy whacks, and gaming systems and haul them home. C.J. will follow with the rest of his stuff, which should easily fit in his Ford Fusion, when he’s done with finals Wednesday.

It’s a tiny visitor center.

It’s a tiny visitor center.

Once we were back on the road after lunch at the Farmhouse Café and warm goodbye hugs, it was obvious that the Mister either was up to something or missed the turn to get on the interstate (both of which are equally likely).

Happily, he had listened to me (it does happen on occasion) and was headed for Big Sam!

Sam gets a-head. This could be for photo ops.

Sam gets a-head. This is on the ground for photo ops.

It seems ironic that the visitor center, gift shop, and grounds are so small, given that Super Sam is 67 feet tall (plus another 10 feet for the base). But the statue is bound to dwarf most large parks.

We snuck up on Sam from behind.

We snuck up on Sam from behind.

David Adickes sculpted and donated the mammoth monument in October of 1994. It took about two years to complete.

Look up!

Look up!

The dapper giant really is breathtaking, especially on a cloudless day. You can’t help but be impressed by its magnitude and Adickes’ skill.

Lots of helpful info

Lots of helpful info

It’s also nice that there’s a handy plaque listing Sam Houston’s many accomplishments for those of us who haven’t taken Texas history at least twice (fourth and seventh grades for our sons, as well as in college).

I’m glad I was able to cross another item off my Sam Houston bucket list. More importantly?

The Mister was a tad grumpy having to look into the sun.

The Mister was a tad grumpy having to look into the sun.

The Mister and I snapped a selfie with Big Sam! Smile, Sammy!!

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Half and Half Putting

Ready to practice

Ready to practice

The Mister and I attended a wedding (casual attire; loved it!) last Saturday afternoon about a half hour from Huntsville. When we were done, I called C.J. to see if he’d like us to visit and take him out to dinner.

Is chocolate my favorite food? Yes, indeed!

So we drove north. With about a half hour or so to kill before we were hungry, we, naturally, first went to Eastham-Thomason Park for the guys to toss some discs. While the Mister chatted up another student who was playing, the kid and I hung around the practice basket and talked while he putted.

C.J.’s been plagued by poor putting lately, and his initial short-distance attempts failed to clang the chains with any consistency. So he decided to try a new approach.

There’s no need to look!

Hi, Mom!

Let’s call it blind putting. C.J. took two putters and, without looking at the basket, sent each on its way, one at a time. Without fail, he canned the second putt after completely blowing the first.

Peekaboo!

This one misses.

It was pretty funny! C.J. would throw that first disc, and I would tell him which way he missed. Then . . . boom! . . . the second one would find chains and the tray.

Made it!

Made it!

Of course, making 50 percent of your close putts isn’t a great number when you’re playing in a disc golf tournament. And I’m pretty sure that the kid’s doubles partner, Eric, won’t approve of this new technique if they play together at Am Worlds in April.

But it sure beats missing so much of the time!

One-Word Wednesday

It’s still winter in Huntsville . . . .

It’s still winter in Huntsville . . .

Stark!

. . . but not for long!

. . . but not for long! Spring is around the corner, I hope.

Accidental Special Effects

The disc golf course is on Little Egypt Road.

The disc golf course and park are on Little Egypt Road.

Last Saturday the Mister and I drove to Huntsville to visit our baby boy. We wanted to see the new apartment that he, RJ, and two other pals plan to move into this fall (a pause, please, when we consider four boys living together and the subsequent chaos and mess, plenty of which will come from our own cutie), as well as sign the necessary paperwork.

Because it was such a nice day (spring has finally sprung in south Texas!), the guys naturally wanted to play disc golf. C.J. specifically was interested in trying out a course called Little Egypt in Conroe, which is close to Huntsville. So off we went!

Woods, woods, and more woods

The woods proved challenging.

There was only enough daylight to complete 13 of the 18 holes, but the guys got a good taste of the layout. Which was not yummy at all! Trees as far as you could see impeded plenty of drives and upshots, adding to the frustration of rusty putting.

I had opted to bring my lightweight Nikon V1 to document the event. Fortunately, being able to up the ISO to 800 and 1600 meant that I could snap decent, in-focus pics as day turned to dusk.

The disc looks stretchy on C.J.’s putt.

The disc looks stretchy on C.J.’s putt.

Well, except for the disc. When shooting under low-light conditions, which leaves you with a slooow shutter speed (these were mostly around 1/50th of a second), you’ve got to pick your poison: Either the person will be in focus or the disc.

The Mister lasers in a putt.

The Mister lasers in a putt.

Naturally, I prefer crisp-looking people. But I was intrigued when I checked out my photos in Photoshop: The out-of-focus discs looked so elongated! Almost like spaceships.

That really IS a disc heading from C.J. to the basket.

That really IS a disc heading from C.J. to the basket.

These formerly round, odd-looking aliens added a new dimension to my disc golf photos. I guess that just like with life, disc golf can be a blur!

One-Word Wednesday

It looks like fall at Eastham-Thomason Park in Huntsville.

It looks like fall at Eastham-Thomason Park in Huntsville.

Red!

But every other tree and bush around was green.

But every other tree and bush around was green.

The Beauty and the Cutie

Aunt Dorothy is surrounded by Mike, Carol, and the Mister.

Aunt Dorothy is surrounded by Mike, Carol, and the Mister.

Last Saturday the Mister and I drove to Huntsville for two reasons. First, we joined his brother, sister, and sister-in-law and visited with a true beauty, the Mister’s aunt, who was celebrating her 94th birthday in a facility there.

Practice makes better!

Practice makes better!

And then we moved on to this cutie! We picked up my younger son at Sam Houston Village and drove the short distance to Eastham-Thomason Park so that he and the Mister could throw some discs.

Teeing off into the gloaming.

Teeing off into the gloaming.

It was fun spending time with the Mister’s family. And, of course, we can never get enough of our beloved baby boy (or his equally beloved big bro). What a wonderful afternoon and evening we enjoyed!

Simply gorgeous!

Simply gorgeous!

The fiery sunset? Icing on the proverbial cake!

A Wet and Not-So-Wild Weekend

Avoiding eye contact with people, aliens, and cameras

Can you tell that the kid isn’t a morning person?

The best-laid plans of mice, men (dads), and moms too often can get waylaid by the weather. That’s what the Mister and I experienced as we tried to enjoy our first Sam Houston State Family Weekend with our younger son last Saturday.

Come along for the ride as I recap most of our unusual day.

The museum is minutes from our son’s dorm.

The museum is minutes from our son’s dorm.

One of the highlights of our visit was checking out the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and grounds (the Mister and I are history buffs). 

The kid tries his hand at tomahawk tossing.

The kid tries his hand at tomahawk tossing.

Before we entered the building, our son got to test his skill with a tomahawk. Good athlete that he is, he hit the target twice and probably would’ve sliced off at least a toe with his third effort.

Sam lived a colorful life.

Sam lived a full and interesting life.

After the kid’s weapon wizardry, we went into the museum to learn more about his university’s namesake. All three rooms were packed with photos, paintings, artifacts, and information; it was fascinating!

Santa Anna . . . or Elvis? The kid wasn’t quite sure.

Santa Anna . . . or Elvis? The kid wasn’t quite sure.

What most intrigued our son, though, was a talking diorama of the injured General Sam Houston interrogating Mexican meanie Santa Anna after his defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.

Note the sword behind Sam

Check out the sword behind Sam.

More specifically, it was the sword behind Sudden Sam that sparked the kid’s interest. Oh, how he wanted to touch it! I told him to fight that urge, as I turned away. Next thing I heard was a loud, female, somewhat robotic voice saying, “Get out of the diorama!”

Yep, the kid had touched the sword, which set off a sensor. Embarrassing yet so funny that I’m sure we’ll be reliving that moment again and again and again. Hey, son, get out of the diorama!

Bowers Stadium

Bowers Stadium (note the ominous clouds)

After we ate a catered lunch and dropped the kid back at his dorm (supposedly to study), the Mister and I walked to Bowers Stadium to watch SHSU hopefully defeat rival Eastern Washington (they were nationally ranked #4 and #3, respectively, in the Football Conference Subdivision).

Along the way, it was drizzling a bit. Unbelievably (for me), I actually had not only found two ponchos (just in case) but also remembered to bring them with us! Really, folks, that’s pretty miraculous when you’re suffering from CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) disease.

Again, note the clouds.

Again, note the clouds.

Once we got to our seats, that drizzle turned heavier. On went the ponchos just in time, as the dark skies opened up with torrential rain, thunder, and scary lightning. Naturally, we left our metal seats and looked for an overhang. All of them were packed with soaked people.

When the announcer said the game would be delayed for at least an hour, the Mister and I decided to bag it and spend time with our beloved baby boy at his dorm. Eventually, the storm moved out, and SHSU came away with a victory, by the way.

A crowded desk

A crowded desk

Although we would’ve loved watching the game, we enjoyed being with the kid more. He insisted we watch the first season of “Seinfeld” (he’s become addicted).

Father and son get the comfy digs.

Father and son get the comfy digs.

It was just like old times with our son . . . except for the cramped quarters and soggy shoes and socks. While the Mister napped, the kid and I had fun tossing around his Tigger ball. Later we threw a little football and mini discs. Just like home, except that the mess stayed while I left. I liked that part a lot!

After we had eaten dinner, made a Walmart stop, and enjoyed some great SHSU volleyball, it was time to bid adieu to our bearded boy and drive the 90 minutes back home. As I hugged him tightly, I was glad we got the chance to see how comfortable he is in his new environs, as well as enjoy some of what makes the campus unique (thanks to General Sam).

Next time we get the chance to see the Bearkats’ football team in action, at least it will be indoors against Stephen F. Austin State, the Battle of the Piney Woods, at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

No ponchos necessary!