We had company last night, one of my wife's co-workers and his wife, who an hour north, almost on the Oklahoma border, and stayed with us rather than have to drive up all the way home after a party. We all had eggs and bacon this morning, and then I had to head to work.
I spent four hours revising a brief with another lawyer with whom I'm working on a case, and then headed for home. I took a brief walk on the way, and then took a longer walk in little Glendover Park, just down the block from my house. One tiny little blackish bird flitted away, making a pleasant little peep-song as he went. It was 60something degrees today, one of those pleasant days that make north Texas winter so bearable.
My brother and his wife came by to pick us up for an evening together. We went to Ole Whiskers, the all-you-can-eat catfish buffet. I don't eat as much fried food these days as I once did, but I save room for catfish. I'm a bit of a snob about catfish (sunflower seed over peanut oil, corn meal must be stone ground, no beer in the batter, must deep fry in a cauldron, hush puppies from scratch), but this catfish was, if not stunning, perfectly acceptable. Just last night I offered, when the weather breaks, to get people over for an old-fashioned southern fish fry. That might be fun. One of the nice kids last night was talking about frying "white perch", which is such a charmingly Louisiana thing to call a crappie.
We all adjourned from our non-health-plan meal at the catfish restaurant to Braum's, where we dined on sundaes for dessert. I had the brownie fudge sundae, and if the fudge was not quite as hot as I prefer, the ice cream was from Heaven.
We sat around my brother's house and talked about everything and nothing. We told the standard jokes which we tell--my oft-repeated claim that our parents dressed me in brown, while they dressed my younger brother in the more favored color of blue, for example. He has blue eyes, after all, and that must mean they liked him better than my ever-changing hazel eyes. I love having hazel eyes, though. Usually they are a light brownish color but sometimes they are a deep, deep brown and sometimes they are almost green. Now that I've posted this, I will undoubtedly have to invoke the miracle of google to find out why hazel eyes appear to change color. I just know mine do. We all had such a good time tonight--I love having family with whom I get along so well.
I was driving home on back roads, as the freeway was a bit busy today, when I detoured off into an apartment complex by mistake. I looked at one back yard which backed into the parking lot, and a set of full-grown sheep looked back at me from a suburban back yard. Welcome to Texas. At any rate, the farmer and the cowman are largely friends now. Our friends last evening were telling the story of the neighbor who raised imported Russian boars for packaged hunts. The boars wandered off their range, though, becoming a nuisance which rooted up pasture. When I was a kid, wild hogs in the woods were the most frightening menace. One can escape from or deal with a snake, but a feral pig can be a fast, intelligent difficult and often very temperamental encounter. It's not the animal's fault, of course. But the only time I've ever dealt much with wild pigs, I kept a climb-able tree well in sight. Like a lot of folks, I was taught to shoot a weapon as a young man, but we don't own guns and I could never imagine taking a gun to the woods. I will have to rely on my skill at backing away from snakes and climbing pig-proof trees.
The thought of snakes reminds me of a vacation a few years ago we took to Oregon. We love to hike, and in general had been disappointed with the hikes we took near Mt. Hood, after prior years' hikes in British Columbia had really excited us. But then we hiked near one of those Columbia Gorge waterfalls. What scenery, and what fun being in close proximity to the mist of the falls! I'll never forget seeing the colorful rainbowy tails of king snakes, slithering away into the ferns. Our friends last night spoke of having a friendly hognose snake in their yard, which does not bite but instead mimics a cobra with a "puff adder" look, and then, if this threat is ineffective, assiduously plays dead, including tongue lolling out the side of its mouth. They described how their daughter would pet the snake. The story was great, but I do not have a hankering for a local tame snake in our yard. One neighbor had the non-poisonous but non-charming rat snake, which have no venom but will bite, and I say "no thanks, no thanks!". I think snakes are cool, but they can be cool in the wetlands someplace.
I stopped by the remaindered book store, and what amazing books I found! Some I will keep, some I will mail off. My favorite was a book about miniature bonsai. Bonsai plants just an inch or three high--so fascinating! I lack the patience for bonsai, but I love the pix.
Tomorrow I must do one hour of mandatory continuing legal education on line, do dozens more Xmas cards, get my gift shopping going for family members (thankfully, my wife had me get her the "big thing" she wished for, a new yard tree, already. Don't ask me how a yard tree counts as a "present"--I don't get it. But that's what she says she wanted to be her present. It's a cute decent-sized tree--a native bigtooth maple, to replace the fast-growing but unsuitable for Texas silver leaf maple which our builder had originally put in. Silver leafs belong in other places, and grow brittle and disease-ish here. Now all we need is a lacey oak, and our tree scene will be complete).
We got our vacation plans set up for the week of January just after the first of the year. I am ready for some time off. My law practice has been quite busy this year. I don't work the insane hours I once did, but it is still rather demanding. I should work tomorrow a bit, but I am inclined instead to go hear a church Xmas program (if I can find the church and remember the time), get more holiday cards done, and get that dreaded legal education stuff done.