Monday, September 26, 2011

The family reunion comes to an end

This will be my last blog about the family reunion. I need to write it down, before I forget what happened that weekend. But I have my pictures and access to everyone's pictures to help me remember. But I didn't take my camera to Kristi's cabin Saturday night for the "finale"...our traditional "all-get-together-for-games-singing-talent show-or- whatever". So far, I have not seen any pictures from the event.
There was singing - by Sammy and Liz Tilley - Jessica sang with the Karoake, before someone played a trick on her...I didn't get what happened - but everyone roared with laughter!! So it must have been funny. A few people went to the microphone and shared a little of what has been going on in their family this last year...I say "a little" because these last two years have been difficult for several families, with bad health problems, deaths, broken relationships, and lost jobs, etc. but this family keeps going on and facing each difficult thing, taking one day at a time, and we all have each other's back and will be there when they are needed. That is a loving family. So we mostly shared the good things, and looked for the Silver Lining to give us hope and there was much laughter, and love and we were all together under a canopy of love. It made me feel so warm and happy inside, because I knew what everyone had experienced - some I didn't know - because despite what Julie always tells me, "Mom you know everything!", I do not!!! Sometimes I would rather be in the dark! And just pray!
The highlight of the night was the game we played, "The Zook/Wauson Chinese Gift Exchange". Everyone brought unusual gifts, funny gifts, family treasures, and there was so much fun and laughter, I nearly fell out of my chair, because my family is so hilarious - funny - drama queens - we all laughed so much, our sides hurt, as everyone fought over the 'treasures'.
To end it, my precious great-granddaughter Dylan, age 3, performed for us as she did a tap dance to music. She loves to dance. She takes dancing. She kept dancing and long as the music played...if it had played for an hour I think she would have danced for that long and not get tired. She was a doll. Hope I get pictures soon.
The night ended about 11:00 PM and we all went back to our cabins, and Derek and Lil Red drove back to San Antonio. Several families had already left after dinner that night. and Helen and her family didn't come over, they went to bed. So we missed all those people.
The next morning everyone packed up and cleaned out their cabins so as to be out by 12 noon. I had coffee over at Beverly and Yvonne's cabin outside. Then several people gathered on our front porch to chat before leaving the site. They young people had a "tattoo party" over at their cabin...someone got a tattoo kit last night at the "party". Everybody got tattoos, including me! And Gerry and Margaret! The ages ranged from 12 to 79!!!
As people said goodbye, hugging and kissing, and talking some more, I realized no one wanted to go home. I sure didn't. I would have liked to stay a few more days.. I think we were the last ones to leave the River. The day was cool, after the rain, and the place was silent again. With a lump in my throat we headed back to Floresville.
In fact I had a dream the day after that.... that we all were still at the reunion, and it was Monday. And everyone was still there. They all gathered around talking how they didn't want to leave, so they had called their work to say they were not coming in till Wednesday...they were taking another two days off!! Everyone was sooo happy and hugging and laughing because we were going to have two more days together. Wasn't that a nice dream?
The weekend was one to remember. Maybe I will take these four blogs and make them into a book with pictures ...a story...for the next family reunion...a remembrance for people of what our family was like ...back then...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rain, food, karoake, swim, bbq supper...doesn't get any better than that!

I finally got to sleep Friday night after the excitement of the night before. Saturday morning I got up and had my coffee out on the porch. It was nice and cool, as Cindy, Steven, Helen and Norman joined me on the porch. One by one people appeared on the porch next door, so I went over to talk to them and have coffee. I love the Hill Country in the morning. Such fun laughing and talking and catching up with everyone's news and what is going on with their family. Later on we all had breakfast that Scotty prepared ...eggs,sausage,potato casserole, with salsa, picante, or whatever, and huge biscuits with butter, jelly, and preserves. And orange juice and coffee...I think everyone went back for seconds, or even thirds!
The morning was spent talking, singing Karoake songs, taking pictures, taking a walk down to the river, kids playing....and then it started to rain...when it first started up, since I had stated if it rained i would dance in the rain...I had to do what I promised. I got Liz to dance with me. And then it started raining more and more...finally we had a gully-washer as they say in Texas...with thunder and lightning! It was awesome. Later as the storm passed and it was still raining...the children went out to play in the rain and waller in the mud puddles...and make mud pies and cover themselves with mud. No one minded! It was such a rare thing to see rain. Let 'em have fun.
People sang with the Karoake, then some played dominoes, and many cousins gathered in our cabin to play Scattergories...
It was a wonderful Saturday after the sunny. Some went to the cabins to take naps, others went to the River to swim...and some of the men watched the Texas Longhorns play football..on our TV or Scott's. These were the only 2 cabins that had TV's.
I think Scott went on cooking. Bless his heart!!
Then up drove Derek and Lil Red from San Antonio. Yay! My son and beautiful daughter-in-law were there! They were surprised to see Rusty too. Derek, Rusty, and Scott and Kristi grew up together, but Derek and Scott were close in age, and I remember they teased Kristi unmercifully as boys! We took a vacation to Pt. Aransas with Mother and Daddy and Scott one time. Those two boys had a blast fishing with Eddie and Grandpa. Now here they were almost 50 years old, and still close cousins. That is family!
I went down to the river with a bunch of take pictures...someone helped me down the steep steps to the water, and I sat on one bank of the river, cause I was afraid to go out on the rocks...I wish I had worn my tennis shoes or I would have!!! It was beautiful down there. I couldn't find my camera, someone obviously had taken it, so I picked one up on the table, no one knew who it belonged to...and took it with me. along with Lil Red's camera. Surely I could get a lot of pictures with those two extra cameras!!
It was almost surreal down on the river. I felt like I was thousand miles away from real life...the colors of the trees, and the water, and the sunlight playing on the water as the kids splashed in the knee deep water, and the shadows of the trees, mixed in, and the colors of the people with different colored shorts and swim suits...I felt like it was not was almost like I imagined heaven to be like...laughing, murmuring, squealing kids....vivid colors..

It was such fun watching everyone. Especially Cindy, Steven, Carly, and Carson as the walked all the way down the river toward the swings ...the other swimming hole...I couldn't believe they were here with us. I have missed them so much all these latter we all have gotten older...
I was so happy they were here! I got a lump in my throat as I thought about it!! And watching the little kiddos as they splashed and played with rocks and sticks!!!

When we left I could hardly make it up the steep bank, and as we walked back to our campsite...Yvonne walked with me, slowly, thank goodness, because I was out of breath from all that exertion. It makes me so mad that I am old!! I want to be young again! I am so glad we have pictures to look at to remember this weekend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A starry night in Texas

It was about dark Friday evening and Gerry and I sat in Scott and Karen's cabin around the kitchen table at Criders on the Frio River in Concan. Scott was cooking for tomorrow's breakfast, preparing the potatoes that was going into the sausage, egg & potato casserole he was gong to make. He had informed us that he had a surprise for everyone later on that night. He wouldn't even give a hint. Then he said it was in the freezer and he would get it out about 8:00 or 8;30 and show us. We were not to look in the freezer!!

At about 8:15 he reached in the freezer and got a bag of frozen hash-brown potatoes...and said, "Well here it is! The last bag of hash-browns that I have to cook!"

We sat there dumbfounded! That was not a surprise. That Scott Zook. Scott roared with laughter and we laughed too.
Just like a Zook to pull a stunt like that, I thought. That was not too funny.

About 20 minutes later, Gerry walked over to their cabin, and I was out on the porch at our cabin, and I saw a car coming in the area and stop. The driver rolled down the window and Gerry walked up to him, and I heard Gerry scream! Who was it? I ran over to the car, and then I saw Rusty, my nephew from Phoenix in the car! Then the other doors opened and there stood Jade, his daughter and his fiancee Lali! We had no idea they were coming. Rusty wanted to surprise everyone! Scott and Karen knew, but they had kept it a secret. That was Scott's suprise. It wasn't the potatoes after all!!

They parked the car and all got out. There were Jade's two little boys, Tristan and Gabe too. What a joyous time we all had hugging and kissing, and hugging and kissing some more! We had not seen Rusty for 3 years, and Jade since she was a little tiny girl. And we finally got to meet Lali who we all knew only on Facebook! She was as beautiful in person as she is in pictures. Inside and out! And Jade has grown up into such a beautiful wife and mother and especially a woman!

And Joshua, Rusty's son, was so overjoyed because he had not see in daddy and sister in so long. He was crying tears of joy. It was a happy time for all the family.

The evening meal was heavenly, hamburgers and hot dogs cooked by Scott on the grill outside and my hamburger was just the way I like it; Thick meat, melted cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce between a bun, I ate the whole thing! O and I forgot to mention with the hamburger I drank the most amazing cold beer...I forgot the name, Beverly gave it to me, I think it was called Octoberfest or something like that.

The stars that night were big and bright. We all went out to look up in the dark sky covered with millions of stars, and the Milky Way was so bright it was like a brilliant sparkling white gold carpet across the sky from end to end. The stars were so close I could almost touch them. Some of them were so big!!!

Then about 11:30 two cars drove into the area and there were my other kids!!! Kristi, her friend, Chuck, and then Taylor, Brett, and their little kiddos, Zayne and Dylan, and Jessica and her little boy Ayden. My heart was swelled with love and joy. My cup runneth over! They had driven from Ft. Worth, and had finally gotten there! More hugging and kissing, and surprised reunions with loved ones...Kristi was so happy to see her cousins ...Beverly, Yvonne, Rusty, Scott, Cindy, and Steve...who were all still awake....I finally went to bed about 12:30 am, and Kristi and her crew went on to their cabins to rest and put the kids to bed...but I think the cousins sat out in the dark talking till 2:00 am.

And that was just the first day of the reunion. Lots happened to make it a very full day!
And we still had Saturday ahead of us! I was too excited to go to sleep that night! My mind kept going over everything that transpired. I was glad to be alive. Finally I fell asleep.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thoughts from the Zook/Family Reunion

Well, the family reunion has come and gone. This past weekend almost 60 kinfolk gathered in the Hill Country between Leakey and Concan at Criders on the Frio River for three days. I counted 57 people that were there! What a wonderful time we had.
We arrived Friday afternoon about 4:30 pm, after driving over 2 hours from Floresville. Many people had a lot farther to go. My sister Gerry and her family from Austin and Round Rock, and my nephew Steve and his family from Dallas (well Carly his daughter had flown in from S. Carolina the night before), and his sister and brother and mother from Austin.
My nephew Scott and his family had arrived at 2:00 to start cooking. Bless his heart. Scott and Karen were working all weekend! I hope they had a chance to rest this week. O I forgot Scott was going to Arlington for a school. Happy Anniversary Scott and Karen!!! Today is their anniversary!! Oops, I'm wrong. Today is Scott's birthday!!! Happy Birthday Scotty!!! Their anniversary is later this month? Am I right? Or wrong?
So when we got there there was already a crowd!! Then I found out that my brother Sam and his wife Rose and grandkids were over at the other cabins...which were 3 bedroom cabins...which we all found out when we got there ..were too far away to walk!!! They were on the other side of someone's property (in between on the river) and the people didn't want anyone trespassing on their property! So everyone over in those cabins were isolated from all the rest of our cabins! What a bummer!! Next time we will know!!! That was the only thing that could have been better, that we all were together in one place!!!
So after we all hugged and kissed and gathered around, we all decided to go down to the river to see how low it was...there is a such a drought in Texas... the rivers and lakes are drying up. No tubing on the Frio River this year! The river is just a tiny stream..But it is still beautiful down by the river...the huge cypress trees are still there, and the beautiful trees reach down to the water but you have to walk down steep steps to get to the river. But it was fun being with all my nieces and nephews and my sister Gerry ...
We watched gleefully as Joshua hunted in the water for a large catfish he had seen earlier...he made a long spear and was going to spear it!! But I guess that fish hear the rumor and was hiding under some rocks or branches. We didn't see him!
The weather was not too hot. It was cool because of showers earlier in the day, and partly cloudy the rest of the day..A perfect day in the Hill Country.
We all went back to the front porches of the cabins, sat around talking, laughing and getting to know each other again. I was so happy to visit with Helen and her three children. It was the first time they had been to one of the Zook Family reunions. The Zooks are kinda wild and crazy! But the Zooks and the Wausons are the same kind of people. WE fit together like gloves!! They all like to have fun, laugh, and joke around, and talk! That is why Margaret and I decided to marry into the Wauson family!!! We sat our hearts to get Eddie and Johnny. And we did!
Now we are ONE BIG HAPPY ZOOK/WAUSON FAMILY. With our 8 Zook kids and their 6 Wauson kids we are hard to beat. Having Helen and her kids and grandkids there was one of the highlights of the weekend. I am so glad they were there. I will always be grateful for Helen. She held me together with her presence in 1982, when my world fell apart. Just being around her in the hospital that year, made me stronger.
I don't think she ever knew what that did for me.
So, as the sun set in the sky, and twilight came, and darkness set in, I sat on the porch and looked at the people around laughing and talking..I got a shiver of excitement because Kristi and some of her kids were coming from Ft. Worth later that night, and I would be seeing my great-grandkiddos!!
And then I realized I wasn't the oldest one at the reunion this time!! Helen was there in all her 87-year-beauty. (I am a young 79)
This lady still gets her hair colored and her acrylic nails done at the beauty shop every week! And she has Alzheimers just like Eddie did, and she is as sweet and happy and positive he was! She is such a joy to be around just like Eddie!
I felt really blessed to be there.
A little later we had an awesome surprise which was probably the high-light of the weekend!!! But I will tell you in the next blog. This one is getting too long!LOL

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How the USS Sandoval was a sign

It was after 5:00 PM in San Antonio. I had had a very interesting 4 hours at the Mazda Dealer, the Hertz Rental place, and at Princeton Nursing home on Bandera Rd. where I had spent the last hour and a half visiting with my family. I was fixing to head south for the long drive back to Floresville.

Mark from the Mazda place has called me with the good news. It was not the computer for the air conditioner. It was the water pump that was causing the air conditioner to cease working when the car got to hot. The car needed a new water pump. I said I had to call my son, Derek, who advises me on large purchases like car repairs. I would call him back. Then I called Derek. But low and behold my cell phone had died, and I had left the charger in our car at Mazda. So there I was with a dead cell phone. So I borrowed Sam's cell phone to call Derek.

I called several times, and it was always busy, which means it goes to the fax machine. Finally Derek answered. I was surprised because Lil Red answers their phone usually. All his business calls are on his cell phone. When he answered I told him what the mechanic had found. It needed a new water pump. Derek asked some questions, I filled him in on what Mark had said. Then I told him about what Mark said when he found out Eddie was a Navy man and Mark was too. He had told me that he was going to give me a military discount because my husband had been in the Navy in W.W.11.

Then Derek paused and said, "I think i just had a confirmation of what to do".

Derek said, "When you called, I looked at the caller i.d. to see who was calling because I was busy with customers calling. If it had said "Mom", I would have let Lil Red get it. But the called i.d. said "Sandoval" so I answered it. That was the name of Dad's ship in the Navy! (USS Sandoval). Who is Sandoval?"

Because their cell phones are in their daughter Andrea's name I told him. Andrea Sandoval is her married name.

"I think that's a sign that you should trust that you should go for it" he said, "and $400 is a good price for a water pump and installing it."

God speaks to us on the telephone sometimes!!

I went out to my car, and started the long trip home in rush hour traffic. It was so easy, and I just went with the autos, no stop-and-go. I just went with flow like God had taught me to do. Don't get bent all out of shape. I listened to K-LOVE all the way home, and the music immersed me with the sounds of love. And I love the rental car. I think we will get a new car soon. I was kind of in heaven! So comfortable. I could see my self going on a long trip by myself. I know I can do it. I am NOT too old!

When I was almost home, I thought how hungry I was. I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast...only a bowl of cereal. It was after 6 pm. I was thinking how I would love some pasta. I was hungry for pasta. I would cook some pasta when I got home.

When I arrived Julie and Rocia had already eaten supper. The food was still on the stove in the pots, waiting for me to eat. What was waiting for me? Macaroni and cheese! And a chicken dish like Chicken Alfredo! Wow! I had my pasta waiting for me!!

See how life is - if you don't fret, don't get all bent out of shape, and go with the flow? And trust God to let you see a silver lining.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A surprise awaited me when I walked in the room

Me and Lil Red finally found Hertz Rentacar near Bandera Rd. We went inside to rent a car since ours was in the shop...and we didn't know how long it would take Mazda to fix it. The air conditioning was not working which is a BAD thing in S. Texas when the temperature is over 110 degrees every day. And it was 102 that day!
The beautiful girl took my information to rent a car. She said they had a weekend special where I could keep the car for five (5) days for $28.00 a day!! Only $140.00. And it would be a 2010 Nissan Sentra. Wow. When she was filling out the papers I saw a picture/plaque on the floor with a big army boot framed in it! I asked her what that was. She said it was her boss's picture which his old unit from the army gave him when he retired from the Army.

He was sitting over at a desk and grinned as he told us how he "got the boot" when he retired. It was nice to talk to another Veteran about his experience with the service. I could tell he was proud of the Army and proud of that boot!! This right after I spent so much time talking to Mark about he and Eddie serving in the Navy. I was thinking "What is God showing me today?"

As Lil Red drove back home and I went out to my rent car. I planned to drive across San Antonio south to Floresville, before the traffic got bad. It would take me an hour in the traffic if I waited an hour. But I felt the Lord telling me to go see my family in the Princeton Nursing Home on Bandera Rd, As long as I was this close I wanted to see them. I had not seen them for over a month.

So I figured out where everything was in the rent car, and drove down Bandera Rd. to the nursing home. The traffic as not bad!!! The streets were sort of empty! Thank you Lord.

I arrived at the Home in about 10 minutes and went in, walked down the hall to Jack and Liz' room. They didn't know I was coming. I walked in the room and saw Liz. She was so surprised. Liz knows how to make people feel good. She always has good reactions that blesses us!!! I saw the room was full of people, and I could not even get in there!!! Liz, Jack, my brother Jr. who lives down the hall, and my brother Sam and his wife Rose!

We all went down the hall to the nice "private living room" where there are comfortable couches and chairs. And you can close the door and you feel you are in their living room. We had such a good time chatting, laughing, and Jack was on a story telling jag, which when he is that way, we know he is feeling great! And when a guy is an ex-deputy sheriff or constable, he has good stories to tell.

I stayed there till after 5:00 because I was having such a good time. Sam and Liz started singing together, and it was awesome. Things had been getting even better as the day wore on. I didn't care that the traffic was going to be terrible. I knew I could do it. God was directing my steps, after all. Wasn't he? Surely he would help a 79 year old woman drive on the freeway in San Antonio at the peak of rush hour traffic....wouldn't he? I was not going to get all bent out of shape. I was with my family ...all six of us. It was a family reunion!!! And before I left there, I had another "God thing" happen.
More in the next blog!!!

He was a Navy Veteran too

When I went in the service department at the Mazda Dealership in San Antonio, I talked to a man named Mark who was a nice friendly man who listened to my tale of woe and even called my mechanic here in Floresville to talk to him, about what he had found (Charlie is a good mechanic and is very busy, because he is probably the best mechanic in Floresville).

Charlie had put in a part two times, and it was still doing the same thing. He thought it must be the computer which was very expensive and only a dealer was allowed to do the work. He was the one who sent me to San Antonio...I trust Charlie....I was expecting it to cost over $1000.

So, Mark was filling out the papers that I would sign leaving the car with them, and we got to talking about Floresville, and how he would love to move to a small town, but his wife did not like the idea. I told him how I love living in a small town. I told him how I had left the Wilson County over 60 years ago, vowing not to come back. Then we did move here in '07 when Eddie went to live in the Veterans Home.

I said, "Eddie was a Veteran of World War 11. He was in the Navy."

Mark looked up from where he was writing with a surprised look on his face, and exclaimed, "The Navy? I was in the Navy too! I am a Navy veteran too."

I told him about how Eddie was in the South Pacific for two years and all what happened to him including the Japapese Kamakazee plane hitting their ship, the USS Sandoval and how he lost friends who died in that tragedy, but God saved Eddie's life when he left his station to smoke a cigarette. And that was where the plane hit.

When I was getting ready to leave Mark said, "You know...since you told me about your husband, I am thinking that I am going to give you a military discount. It will be a good discount...since he and I are Navy buddies."

I found out that he was on an aircraft carrier called USS John Stennis ... for seven (7) years. He served in Kuwait, Iraq, and other places in the Pacific and Middle East. He decided to get out because of his wife. He didn't like leaving her behind all the time. He was so nice and sweet.

Lil Red came to pick me up to take me to Hertz where i was going to get a rental car. I felt I had made a good friend in Mark.

I was thinking "I wish I had given him a hug! Like a grandson!"

Marc said he would call me when they found out what it was and what it would cost. So, we went to find the Hertz Rentacar. And it was so cool in Lil Red's car! and she was driving, not me! I was in heaven! So far so good! But the traffic was horrible. Poor Lil Red. Bless her heart. I was so glad she was driving. She did good though. But the day of surprises wasn't over! It even got better!
To be continued in my next blog.

Don't get all bent out of shape!

So, have you noticed how things work out for the good, if you don't "sweat it"? Don't fret! Don't worry. Don't get "bent all out of shape". When you say to yourself I am just going to let God handle this. See what He wants me to do. That has been my thinking these last few years, since I have been "driving in the slow lane" of life in Floresville. Well I began to do that when Eddie started showing signs of Alzheimer's. I just didn't fret about what was going to happen down the road, in the years to come. When the doctor told me I needed to start looking for a facility for Eddie to go to in 2003, because he was getting worse, I didn't want to, I said, "I will just take one day at time, and I won't worry about tomorrow."
I just went with the flow. And it ended with me winding up in S. Texas in a little town, and in Wilson County, a county I had left 60 years before, and couldn't wait to leave! God directed my path. The Veterans Home was the place he would go, and he liked it and so did I.
And it is well with my soul.
So, Wednesday, when I found out I had to take the car to the dealer in San Antonio, 30 miles away, to have the air conditioner fixed, I didn't get "bent all out of shape". Even though Liz had the next four days off and I didn't have her to depend on to help me with Julie - stay with her, or drive me to the big city to leave the car. I would have to do it myself.
I said, "Lord show me what to do".
So.... I called Rocia and asked if she could come stay with Julie yesterday while I took the car to the Mazda dealer on Fredericksburg Rd. which is on the North side of S. A. I dreaded the long drive in the car with no air conditioning on a day that was to get to a hot 102 degrees. And I dreaded the traffic that I would encounter. I hadn't driven on the north side of San Antonio for over 2 years! But I didn't "sweat the small stuff". I prayed, "Lord send the angels to protect me and the car!"
So, I left Floresville around 12:30 noon. While i was driving on the highway I realized the air conditioner was working! So I was cool all the way to San Antonio right up till I got on Fredericksburg Rd. I had to roll the windows down right because the air conditioner was NOT cooling, when I drove in the Mazda dealership!! It was a morning of miracles!!! Things were going so well and I was calm as a cucumber even in the midst of the terrible San Antonio traffic. Thank God. And it even got better! A day of miracles!!! I kept praying that the Lord would direct my steps all day. And he did!!!
To be continued in my next blog!