The great thing about a trip to Bryan is that I get to see all of Gulley’s extended family. They all live in Bryan and if there is an occasion such as a birthday, y’all better believe they are all going to be there. I can remember many a time in college when Gulley and I would have to hit the family birthday party circuit before we were free to go on with our evening. Oh, and I could write a book on the summer we went to the Decatur Reunion, which isn’t just a family reunion, it’s a TOWN reunion. And people stay all week on the fairgrounds and like, camp out and stuff. With no air-conditioning.
Texas summer + no air-conditioning = 182 levels of wrong
Nena grew up in Decatur and her daddy still lived there until he passed away several years ago, but for years there was always the guilt to attend the Decatur Reunion because chances were good that Gulley’s great granddaddy wasn’t going to be with us by the next summer and even though he could no longer remember who anyone was, it would “just mean the world to him” to have his whole family at the reunion.
Anyway, since it was Gulley’s mama’s birthday, the whole clan descended on her house for a cookout. Uncle Glen came in carrying a laundry basket full of purple hull peas and dropped it in front of Gulley’s mama and said, “Happy Birthday, Sis. Here’s your present. I hate to eat and run, but I’ve got to be at Joe’s Bar before all the good lookin’ girls are taken.”
I got a lump in my throat witnessing such a tender moment.
He told us he had his eye on two special ladies. One he referred to as “Blue Bell”, the other “Sweet Hips”. Between those terms of endearment and the tender gift of a lifetime supply of purple hull peas, it really is a wonder some lucky gal hasn’t snapped him up.
Not to mention the fact that he lives in the middle of nowhere in a solar powered log cabin.
At some point in the evening, all the kids were running around the backyard and Uncle Johnny, who raises racehorses, noticed that Caroline is pretty fast. So, he gets Jackson, Will and Caroline to line up and run races to see who is the fastest. I honestly think he was about to start placing bets and discussing trifectas, when Caroline finally decided that her legs were “too TI-RED” and stopped running. I carried her inside and told Nena about the running and she said, “Well you know, Johnny’s horse finished NINTH last weekend at the races! NINTH! Can you imagine?” Somebody asked, “How many horses were there?” Nena said, “Probably just 10.”
And I just have to mention that Nena had on some darling, polka dot capri pants and when I said, “Well, Nena! Look at you, you are so stylish”, she said, “Oh, I know it and did you see my purse? It’s fabulous.”
It was fabulous, and she kept it with her all night long just because it added to her outfit. Every now and then she’d set it down and then remember she needed it to perfectly complete her ensemble, so she’d send someone in search of it. While retrieving the purse, Gulley discovered that Nena actually had nothing in there at all. It was purely for ornamental purposes because Nena is all about the style.
The other person we got to see was Nena’s good friend, Dorothy Jo. Dorothy Jo was wearing a hot pink suit and Nena said, “Oh Dorothy Jo! I just love that suit!” and Dorothy Jo said, “I know, I just love it, too. I bought it right off the rack and you know on a normal person I think these are supposed to be capri pants, but they fit me just perfect.” The whole look was very chic or as Dorothy Jo would say, “CHICK”.
“Oh! Your hair looks so CHICK!”
“That dress is just so CHICK!”
“Well, you know, she buys her clothes at Steimart and they are just so CHICK!”
It’s gotten to the point where Gulley’s mama, Gulley and I can’t even look at each other for fear something might be declared “CHICK” and send us into uncontrollable laughter from the likes of which we’d never recover.
And a trip to Bryan wouldn’t be complete if Nena hadn’t presented me with a gift she found at a garage sale. It’s been years since I have been the recipient of prime garage sale material, but this visit put me back on the list. Actually, truth be told, she had bought this item with Gulley in mind, but Gulley (who has been using this same tired excuse for the last 17 years) told her that, sadly, it didn’t fit. So, Nena told Gulley to give it to me because “it will fit her for sure and everything looks just beautiful on her! Just beautiful!”
Alexis Carrington Colby called today and wants her shirt back.
Of course, I may wear it one of these days. Someone might tell me I look chick.