On this 4th of July weekend, Evan’s big concert week ended and he returned home while Mel, Erin, and I drove down to the Dallas area for a weekend getaway.

We had no plans until the last minute at which point Mel decided that she did not want to do the usual shoot-fireworks-and-eat-watermelon 4th of July weekend.  Instead she decided that the annual outfit-Erin-with-back-to-school-outfits marathon and the holiday could be combined.  This left me holding the shopping bags.

We drove down to Grapevine and checked into a nicely affordable but new motel.  From this base of operations, Mel and Erin planned a shopping trip like Eisenhower planned the Normandy invasion – with maps and everything.  The details are unimportant; suffice it to say that we hit a gigantic outlet mall in which they shopped for six hours and I took my time in a bookstore until I had seen everything.  Then I shuffled along behind them playing games on my phone and trying to ignore all the cacophony.

It wasn’t what I would have chosen to do for the weekend but it was a one of those moments when one must learn to appreciate what makes other people happy and come along to be a part of it.  Throwing the car keys to your family and saying “knock yourself out” is not the best way to nurture relationships and so amongst the shopping trips we also ate at some nice restaurants and did some swimming to give the weekend a broader appeal. Plus, I got a chance to do some reading while everyone else was sleeping in.

I was amazed as I always am by how much growth that area has experienced and continues to experience.  My first trip through that area was in 1982 and I drove the length of highway 121 from Fort Worth to McKinney and never saw anything other than a gas station.  Indeed, at the time, I was worried about finding that because my tank was low which is why I remember it.  Now the place is crisscrossed by multilane turnpikes and gigantic shopping areas.  It is one long chain of chain restaurants:  Chili’s, Fuddruckers, Olive Garden, Cheddar’s, ad infinitum.  We did find a couple of local restaurants thank goodness.  We found ourselves in the city of Southlake which I remember as being no town at all but which now finds the public library and town hall in the center of an upscale shopping area that contains not only lots of expensive stores but apartments as well.

Yes, you can now live at the mall.

On the actual 4th of July, we sat in our motel and looked out the large window at the Grapevine fireworks display and could also see part of the Lewisville display as well.  Having a chance to sit in air conditioned comfort and watch fireworks is not the worst way to spend your time and I was quite happy with it.

We got home mid-afternoon on Sunday and Evan rolled in from his 8-day road trip about two hours later with a car full of smelly clothes, hundreds of photos, and many stories to tell.  We went out to dinner to hear all about it and tell him all about our journeys.

As usual, I don’t want to go back to work; I want the holiday to continue.  I guess if it did, it wouldn’t be a holiday but we’ll see about what happens when I retire.  I’ll find a way to make every day a holiday.

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