This was one of “those weekends”. One in which old memories were brought back to life and new ones were put into memory.
Julie took Quinn to Arizona to see his foster mom that had come to the States from Korea. I wanted all of us to go, but with today’s travel expenses it was just not feasible right now for us.
So, I decided to take advantage of a weekend with the girls to myself and we headed out of town Friday afternoon to “stay at a hotel” and “see daddy’s school” as they excitedly proclaimed. Yes, it was homecoming weekend in Brownwood, Texas, at good ol‘ HPU. It has been years since I have been and I really didn’t want to miss another year. So glad I didn’t too.
I decided we would stay just outside of Brownwood in Eastland at a new La Quinta. So we headed there Friday and boy were the girls psyched up. Along the way I made the decision to stop for dinner at the old “SmokeStack Cafe” just off I20 in Thurber – an old Ghost Town of sorts chopped full of big time Texas history. We admired the old smoke stack still standing but no longer in operation and enjoyed our dinner in the 100 year old building. All of these years driving down I20 I had seen this place but never stopped. Now the girls first memory of the smoke stack will also be mine. I love that.
A few miles later we pulled over to our hotel, headed to Walmart (sorry Clint) for some needed items and “surprises” and then back for a “stay up late fest” that included Disney Channel hits and more. Around 10 we hit that sack.
The next morning we arrived in Brownwood and promptly visited the fellas old friend “Achmed” and his donut shop. He was shocked to see me and nearly in tears to meet the girls too. His donuts were fresh and hot! AND GOOD. The fellas used to spend many a late night in his donut shop giving him a hard time and listening to him dish it right back to us.
The HPU parade followed that along with meet and greet with tons of old HPUers such as: Barry Carter, Shane Davidson, David Marsden, Brad Pletcher, Greg Bowman, David Curlee, Morgan Bush, and Steve Camfield – all with their respective wives and kiddos. Others were there as well, including a small, but vibrant group of current HPU DeltaPi members. After touring the campus and showing the girls the old hallways and classrooms, we headed over for lunch at Underwoods – which of course nearly made us all cry with joy (is anything better, really?). Then we toured the old Club J area and downtown (takes about 47 seconds) and headed over to Gordon Wood Stadium to watch the Yellow Jackets play.
The girls were fascinated with the band and “Buzzsaw” – the mascot – and had a smile on their face all day long. I did too. As we sat at lunch and talked about old times, shared funny stories and discussed old friends and current happenings, it just sank in that this was one of the times to relish and put away forever. Sure we talked about how we would all stay in touch via the wonder of Facebook, but nothing will ever replace the face-to-face experience of being together.
I love creating memories because they are there in tough times to recall for a little bit of joy. HPU still is a place I cherish and will always be blessed to have been a part of from 1990-1993.
And this weekend I think I planted that first HPU memory into the minds of the two things I love more than life itself.
If only Quinn and Julie had been there…