10 Texas vacation observations

I took a day off from work recently to spend time with my wife over a long weekend. We went to a local resort on the edge of town—we didn’t go very far away—to try to save money. Key word: try. My mind never shuts off, for better or worse, so here’s some things I noticed while we were away:

  • The place, on the outskirts of Austin, has a lazy river-type feature—great for unplugging and spending time with one’s kids or relaxing. Yet people—adults, not children—still had their smartphones on them in waterproof carriers tied around their necks. Sheesh.
  • I wore a hat of my favorite baseball team, the Round Rock Express—the Triple A Minor League affiliate of the Texas Rangers—to protect my head/face from the sun, yet it was a perfect chance for me to wear my cowboy hat—which I forgot at home.
  • It was something like 110 degrees Fahrenheit outside. If it weren’t for the invention of air conditioning and swimming pools, I don’t think many people would live in Texas.
  • Despite the 25-plus years since I was a kid, Texan kids today aren’t much different from what I remember being in Ohio. The ones I noticed seemed well-behaved and whatnot. I think younger generations get undeserved bad press from older generations.
  • I found myself thankful to have a job that allowed me to take time off work. Anyone who knows me somewhat well knows I love my job, so it is a little tough for me to be away from work and its invaluable structure. But it was good to get away for a bit.
  • I thought it was exciting that the pool area had a chair to assist older or disabled folks with getting into the water. Most places these days have such devices, but they were not prevalent when I was younger. There’s more handicap-accessible hotel rooms, too, it seems. I think society is slowly getting better about accommodating all people.
  • We had cable TV in our room. We haven’t had cable at our house in years, so it was a little strange to flip through the channels again. MTV still has too many commercials and no music programming, but “Catfish” remains an epic TV show.
  • I don’t go out of my way to talk to people—even as a grown man, I can be shy. But I always like saying hi to the people working at hotels for some reason—the housekeeping staff and bellhops, for example. They’re usually the nicest people I encounter on trips.
  • Somehow I got bit by a fire ant while in the pool. Twice.
  • The resort had a lot of Texas paraphernalia on its walls—pretty much everywhere in Texas does because it’s Texas, and Texas loves itself—and a Thomas McKinney of yore was featured prominently. It got me thinking about my ancestor, Robert McKinney, who fought at the Alamo. Why did he decide to do that—why come to this hot, unforgiving place and die for it?

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