Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trip to Abilene, Texas: Redux

Yesterday, my mom and I visited my sister in Abilene, Texas. And I don't want to generalize our family ventures, but they usually stem from my mom's regressive attempt to compensate for missing majority our childhood. Although I usually enjoy our vacation trips, they usually focus more on the location instead of the element of family. Don't get me wrong; our last trip was to Universal Studios Orlando was amazing, and it felt great to geek out over Harry Potter and the sprawling shops of Downtown Disney, but it was a vacation. On one of our last days, we sat on the Universal Studio's lawn and watched the sunset along the theme park's silhouette, and we knew in just a few days, we would be pumpkins. We were mutually sharing an experience meant to savor and romanticized for years to come, but in most regards, it lacked substance. To some extent, our trip to Abilene wasn't just a condensed vacation, but it was a glimpse of the present, the convergence of our childhood and upbringing meeting the cusp of our plans and future.

If you want, you can stare at this picture for
three hours and feel like you were there too.

Along the three hour drive to Abilene, my mom discussed the matters of change in the imminent future, which would have seemed a little heavy if it wasn't for the rolling hills and trees that littered across the stretching highway. Within the next year, my parents will (finally) pay off the house, and she mentioned different cities where they would prefer to live. With each new vacation, my parents immediately decide they could move there, which has led to several potential cities scattered all across the country. Afterwards, we talked about my job, which led into the inevitable lecture about increasing my 41K and the prospects of getting a new car depending on the cost of repairs on my old one. Eventually, we talked about the blue skies and puffy white clouds and the desolate but calming appeal of small towns and open pastures. The roads were smooth, the traffic was minimal, and for the last couple hours, my mind was free to wander.

After we arrived in Abilene, we drove across the highway, past the retired fleet of airplanes, the rural back roads, and a city wide pet cemetery across the railroad track until we were officially in the heart of Clyde, Texas, where my sister works as a paramedic. Although the ambulance station lies in a small town, where there were two hour lines and a prestigious ribbon-cutting ceremony by the mayor for the recent grand opening of a Chicken Express, their services stretch across Callahan County, which encompasses 901 square miles and nearly 13,550 citizens. Regardless of whether you're naive or unimpressed by the size and scope of things, you'd be glad to have their services when you're having a heart attack or you're involved in a traumatic car accident in the rural fringes of nowhere. Despite the fact that they deal with life or death situations on a moment to moment bases, it's surprising how collective everyone seemed, both in composure and as a group. And even though my sister shutters at commitment and the very idea of hugging someone, she considers it her home and its members as a second family.

Inside my sister's home away from home... away from home.

Essentially, my mom wanted to take it easy, and she was adamant about walking through Abilene's downtown. Theoretically, downtowns are meant to be places of activities, the place where people walk around and shop and bask in the condensed masses of people, but now we have malls. And I probably don't need to remind you, but malls have air condition. In any case, we strolled around the series of historic red brick buildings with their wide open side walks and charming light posts. We browsed through a flag strutted Texas shop, where my mom preceded to act like she's never been inside a Texas store with it's mini longhorn purses, Texas sized [insert anything], and redneck birdhouses, wineglasses, and literature. To be fair, it was a large, impressive building with a variety of Texas memorabilia that far exceeded most Texas stores in malls, and they supported local and state wide wines, jams, and sauces. Eventually, we stumbled upon the downtown park, and we took pictures along the different art sculptures.

I would eat them in a box. I would eat them with a fox. Maybe.

On our little stroll, we noticed different Dr. Seuss banners, which was hyphenated by the downtown children's library display of the original pictures and colorings of 'The Lorax' by Dr. Seuss. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures, but each page was neatly framed and the book's entirety stretched along the open room's three walls, and since there was no one else around, my sister read through the entire book. And I listened. It's easy to marvel at the original pages, the prints of a book that's sold millions of copies and inspired an environmental movement, but even just witnessing the broad black strokes and the initial crayon palette made the children's book seem like highbrow works of art.


Afterwards, we visited the center of contemporary arts where they displayed different artwork by Theodor Geise, Dr. Seuss, throughout his lifetime. And even though his earlier work seemed more abstract, they were recognizably seussical. It's interesting to envision a cultural icon as a man and a method. Beyond creating art and advertising, he created a way to inform people, whether it was illustrating pamphlets about malaria during the war or teaching the essential lessons and guidance for children. Also, it's interesting to see the influence of World War II through his work such as Yertle the Turtle's characterization of Adolf Hitler. It's an adult writing for children on adult themes, and it's almost mind boggling to analyze the book subjectively since I, along with millions of other children, grew up with these books and lessons. And since I'm an adult, those lessons seems so intertwined with my upbringing that I couldn't imagine my life without them.

Unorthodox Taxidermy. Unfortunately, all of these species 
are either endangered and/or fictional.

Also, they had free 'Green Eggs and Ham' buttons, and I'm not sure if they were free, but I donated a couple dollars to compensate.

Since there weren't any interesting movies, besides 'Brave' which I've seen twice, we leisurely browsed through a book store and eventually watched television at my sister's apartment while we played on our separate tablets. It's easy to enjoy different vacation spots with families since there are so many different activities marketed toward children and teenagers and adults, but if we were honest with ourselves, the most we could hope to accomplish with our families would be to spend time with each other. And while we casually laid together on my sister's pullout futon watching the first two episodes of Gilmore Girls, I couldn't imagine a better way to spend time with my mom and sister or if I would change anything from my past if it meant compromising the people we've become.


It doesn't really fit into the context of this blog post, but on the next day, we went to the zoo and the prairie dog enclosure at the park. It was awesome, and more pictures were taken.

To be completely honest with you, my mom was so excited about feeding 
the fish that children and other families cautiously backed away from us.

Nom nom nom...

It's like he was trying to speak to me...
Ironically, my sister was sorted into Slytherin.

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