Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Places and people I remember...Texas edition

My junior year of college, my best friend Rachel and I embarked on our Spring Break adventure to the great state of Texas. We had no real plans other than to swing by College Station and visit her high school roommate Laura. Laura attended A&M (gig ‘em) and was back in school after just having her spring break the previous week. So she couldn’t join us on all of our adventure since she had things like homework and classes to distract her from our good times.

Rachel and I were going to drive down to Texas from Minnesota. We left as soon as Rachel finished her last final. I had finished my finals earlier and driven back to Rochester to get some parent time and probably to get some clothes washed before the trip. We met halfway between Rochester and Mankato at the Happy Chef parking lot in Owatonna.

We’d decided that my car would be a better choice to drive since it ran pretty consistently. I drove most of the way down. We stopped in Kansas City for a beer and a game of darts because we really had our priorities and we were getting awfully thirsty. We finally crossed the border into Texas at an ungodly hour and immediately pulled into the rest stop to sleep. Yeah, we slept in the car at a rest stop. We were in college, but apparently not that bright.

We started our adventure by heading to Irving to get some photos of Texas Stadium for my brother, who is a Cowboys fan. We then proceeded to get lost in Dallas, ending up in some less-than-comforting-looking areas and trying to quickly escape the area. I don’t remember seeing a single person outside, which was sort of unsettling.

Our Texas tour took us to Galveston, Houston, Corpus Christie and North Padre Island besides College Station, but maybe those stories will be told another time.

This post is more about College Station, and our 2 nights there. Laura took us to two different bars while we stayed with her in her dorm room (which was twice the size of mine at Mankato I must say…AND she had her own bathroom). The first night she took us to a country bar. This was at the time that Rachel and I were big into two-stepping and such. Since we were out-of-towners we were quite the novelty for the young men down there and spent most of the night on the dance floor. We were schooled too late on the meaning of taking a boy’s cowboy hat (blush) but didn’t have any issues with not following through on the deal. I think it was one of the most fun times I’ve had at a country bar. Everyone knew how to dance and everyone did dance. I bet there were fewer drunk people because of that. The men in Minnesota who could dance tended to be in their 40s or older. Not too promising for a girl on the lookout for a good man!

The other night that Laura took us out, we went to a karaoke bar. The bouncer at the door who checked our IDs got a big kick out of the way us Minnesotans talk. “Minnesooooota,” he kept repeating and laughing. I guess we draw out the long o a bit.

The first time Rachel and I went to the mike to sing we made sure to play up the out-of-towner bit. You see, at this karaoke bar heckling and booing is the norm. We were not deterred though. We were seasoned professionals. Plus we had liquid ambition.

“We’re from Minnesoooooota. Ya, you betcha.”

I don’t remember what we sang. Probably The Lion Sleeps Tonight or something from CCR. Whatever that first song was it didn’t really matter. It was the mention of Minnesota that brought Staples to us.

Staples, or Randy as his parents liked to call him, was from Minnesota. He sought us out after our song to shoot the breeze with fellow northerners. He was in College Station attending college, but his family still lived in Staples, MN. (See how clever we are with the nicknames?)

Randy and Laura hit it off, shall we say? Which was good since the two of them were the ones who lived in Texas. They spent roughly a half-hour saying good-bye that night. Oh, and when we got back to Laura’s dorm? He called her.

Yep. It was love. Brought about by Rachel and I being dorky Minnesotans.

They dated. They got married. They had babies. They stayed in Texas.

This morning I got this email from my friend, which was forwarded from Laura:

It is with such a heavy heart that I'm writing you to tell you that my dear Randy has joined his Father in heaven. He was in a horrible motorcycle accident this past Saturday near our house. The surgeon was with him for over 24 hours but was unable to save him. His injuries were just too great and he was losing too much blood. He received over 100 units and that still wasn't enough.

He managed to stay with us until his mom, step-dad and sister arrived early Sunday afternoon, but he was fading fast - kept alive only by machines. His family and I had to make the extremely difficult decision to let him rest in eternal peace.

His funeral is being held this morning here in Loveland. Never did I imagine when he proposed to me 10 years ago today that this is how I would be spending that anniversary.We will also be holding a memorial service for him in Tomball, TX and it will most likely be on April 26th.

Please keep R (9), G (6) and me in your thoughts and prayers. We're going to need a lot of those in the days ahead as I try to figure out what our lives will be like without him. It's still very hard for me to imagine that, since I spent over 1/3 of my life with him.

You really never know when it's your time, do you?

Please keep this family in your thoughts...

10 people like me!:

slouching mom said...

i'm so sorry, heather.

how very sad.

susiej said...

Oh, Heather. I'm so sorry. For your friend, his parents, and especially R&G.

Beck said...

Oh, this is so sad. I'm sorry about your friend.

angi said...

I totally did not see that coming!

I am so sorry, you really never know, which is scary. What a togh time for everyone involved :(

Mrs. Swizzle said...

Oh, no! I don't even know these people and I have tears in my eyes for her.

They will all be in my thoughts.

Sandy said...

That is more than tragic.

I'm so, so sorry for them all.

chelle said...

oh my. that is so sad. I am in tears. wow. I cannot imagine. I am sorry for your loss, her loss, the children's loss. hugs.

Michelle said...

Oh, Heather, I'm so sorry.

Scribbit said...

Hey congratulations--your name came up as a winner for one of the mysteries I had up for grabs here this week. To claim it get in touch with me at scribbit at

Damselfly said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry. I'm glad you have such rich memories.

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