Day two in the big and bold state of Texas.....
Day two dawned freaking early.
Remember it was already into Sunday by the time I got back to my room.... let alone crawl into pjs, brush my teeth and get settled in my room.
We'd agreed that Richard would pick me up at 7:30 in the morning. Why so early? He was going to drive me 4 1/2 hours south down to Mission (down by the border) in order to go to church at his ward. Somehow this boy was actually excited to show me off... and I was looking forward to seeing a bit more of where he was currently living.
So my alarm went off at 6 am.... which my body rightly translated to 5 am back home. I hit snooze, rolled over, and passed right out again.... for about 7 minutes until my alarm went off again. No point in hitting snooze again, so I climbed out of bed and headed for the shower.
The nice thing about taking a long drive was that I could dress in normal clothes, and just hang my dress up in the backseat....I still had time, so I did a thorough job of ironing and was still doing good for time as it was only around quarter after 7. At that moment I got a call on my phone from Richard. He was outside and was it okay if he just came up now or should he wait in the car?
I'd just finished ironing my dress, but still had to blow dry my hair and paint my face. Luckily I have that down to about a 10-minute routine, so after receiving a perfectly chaste good morning kiss, Richard patiently waited in a chair by the window for me to finish (strange how being all girly and dolling myself up in front of him was not an issue....) I did, however, make sure that I opened the curtains before letting him in the room.... no impropriety here, thank you very much.
By 7:30 I was taking a last couple laps around the room to be sure I'd packed everything, then he hauled my bag down to the car and drove me around to the front office to check out and pay my bill. Since I knew I was staying Sunday night down in Mission I only needed to reserve a room again for Monday (when we would be back in San Antonio) then we hit the road for Mission.
I'll tell you this much, Texas is flat-out gorgeous. Considering we were on the road at a good clip, and not stopping for pictures (there were a few I wouldn't have minded taking, but they will have to wait until my next trip down south) I was just drinking in a lot of the passing scenery. Its pretty flat, with a lot of mesquite and cactus, but still amazing to gaze at. I am used to having mountains and lakes and trees to look at, and this was refreshingly different, and still a pleasure to behold. We'd drive along and the brush would continue on as far as the eye could see; breaking only occasionally for the entry to yet another ranch, or for some longhorns grazing in a field, or the odd oil pump, drilling away to untold depths.
What was also amazing was that during the long drive south, Richard and I kept up a non-stop conversation with no effort. I knew we had no problems filling the hours with phone calls and Skype, but it was nice to have that easy camaraderie in person. I also discovered that Richard is infinitely patient, as the poor man had to answer question after question that I peppered him with about the things I was seeing. It must have been worse than driving with a toddler... he'd just finish answering one question when another one would pop into my head. But he'd just smile and answer me, and sometimes tenderly kiss the back of my hand, which he held for the drive down (turns out automatic cars really can be good for something...like freeing up a hand to hold!)
We actually made good time (maybe it was my incessant questions pressing him to drive faster?), and we were able to unpack my things and I had a chance to chat with his sister (Kim) and brother-in-law (Merce) before it was time to change and head to church. We'd met and talked before on Skype, but it was nice to get to meet them in person.
By this time the temperature was soaring. Up to this point I didn't know what all the fuss was about.... I'd flown in the night before and it felt nice out... not too hot and the humidity just added a slight cooling touch. When we'd left my room that morning it was still cool out... but by the time we hit Mission it was nearing 105 and I was a puddle of melted girl. I am not a fan of heat under the best of times and this was pretty draining. Luckily it wasn't a long drive to church (his a/c is rather spotty).... and we were back into air conditioned coolness.
Church with Richard was quite the experience. For starters, I don't remember ever being in such a small congregation... if there were 50 people in attendance I'd be surprised. Everyone was nice and friendly, and I was introduced to what seemed like everyone in a very short time. Sitting together in Sacrament meeting was a bit of a hoot at first because, as I stated before, I am a bit taller than he is, and so we had a few moments of whose-arm-is-going-where before the meeting started. I wasn't worried about introducing myself in Relief Society, although the sisters apparently gave Kim a hard time about being sure to be there to introduce me. The time came for me to be introduced and my future sister-in-law was nowhere to be found! So I introduced myself (I'm not that shy really, so it was pretty easy). It helped that, including the primary age gal we had in the class and myself, there was I think only 13 women in the room. In fact, the Relief Society joked about how I really ought to join their congregation rather than haul one of their members all the way to Utah, where there are already more than enough members of the church. I think there may have been one gal not-so-thrilled with my news though. As soon as she heard I was marrying my boy her face sort-of fell. I think there may have been a bit of a crush there, because she didn't look my way again for the rest of the meeting.
I can't count how many people who couldn't wait to tell me what a wonderful man I was getting in Richard... which was oddly touching. That and his Bishop kept glancing at us during the meeting and smiling at us.....I'd accuse Richard of paying everyone off, but somehow I am sure that it was completely sincere.
After church we had to wait while Kim and Merce met with the Bishop, so Richard and I sat quietly in the chapel and just talked. It was nice to just be alone with him again, no matter how brief the time. Then we all drove over to Chuck E Cheese, because Merce's nephew was having a birthday party, so we trooped in and spent the next couple of hours surrounded by screaming kids and being introduced to yet more people. It was kind of fun, but it felt odd to be partying with a huge mouse while still dressed in my church clothes. If I'd only known ahead of time how windy it was in Texas I'd have packed my jeans along... as we were leaving the car and walking into the restaurant a breeze popped up that had my skirt twirling up to my hips! You better believe I held it down everytime we stepped outside again, and had Richard walk behind me to block the wind. That was NOT the kind of impression I wanted to leave behind.
After the party we headed back to the house where we had planned to watch an episode of Doctor Who (that had apparently failed to air because TiVo hadn't recorded it), so we settled for a funny comedy show "Hot and Fluffy" that had me in stitches. They had all seen it before, but apparently its a favorite because everyone was laughing along with me. I found all the big-guy "fluffy" jokes a complete riot...so much that there were tears rolling down my face by the time it was over.
I was getting pretty sleepy by the end, so Richard blew up the air mattress he'd bought specifically for my visit and set up a fan to help keep me comfortable before everyone headed off to bed. I'll give her this... Kim is quite the watchdog.... no excessive kissing when she's around! As frustrating as it was, I have to say I am grateful for her little interventions....
And as for the fan? Well, I actually got too cold in the night and finally had to crawl off the mattress to find the switch to turn it off. What can I say but I am too much of a cream puff to handle what Texas was tossing at me.... what a wuss I am...but, all-in-all, it was a very nice day.