Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Great Gobbler Visits Hondo, Texas

On Saturday, we were invited to a feast of a family we aren't even related to - such an honor. Our good friends, Michael and Regina, are lucky enough to have all of his family in the Austin area, and they often invite us to family gatherings, like Ashlynn's birthday party. We were thrilled to get to go to Hondo, a little town 30 minutes west of San Antonio, where they have a great ranch house on their family land.

There's a sign as you enter Hondo that says, "Welcome to Hondo. This is God's Country. Please don't drive through it like Hell!"

There were 3 fried turkeys, and they were good. Moist and not too greasy. (Later I caught Colin wandering around, holding a crispy wing, gnawing on the back attatched). All the invitees brought the side dishes. I saw several old aunt types mixing up Jello and CoolWhip "salads." (How can something with no vegetable matter be called a salad? Rest assured, Anthony was appalled.) There were other great offerings, cripsy rolls, green beans, squash casserole, dressing, and oh yeah, more turkey. Then there was the dessert TABLE.

When I unleashed the Pumpkin Cheesecake from the springform pan, Michael grabbed the pan and relieved it of several fingerfulls of cheesecake, which he shared with his wife and mom before properly cleaning it and returning it to me. There were also date bars, made with their Grandma's recipe. She's gone, but the date bars live on, even served on her famous china date bar platter. There was a homemade coconut cream pie with a short homemade crust that gave me pause, and a plate full o'cookies that every child snatched from.

After the big meal, it was time for the Great Gobbler hunt. Michael's very creative and generous mother knows the "Great Gobbler", who leaves a trail of goodies for all children (defined as those who have not graduated from college). The Gobbler leaves sacks of goodies tied to trees along the trails on their ranch, and the kids take turns driving the caravan of golf carts around the trails, pausing along the way for each to untie their goodie bag. Inside the tie-dye cloth bag was a bandana, monkey hat, and a wallet containing a real dollar, monkey necklace, and monkey tattoo. After the 18 bags were collected, we followed the trail of feathers the Great Gobbler left, to a pile of hay that contained candy and Lotto tickets. Hey, we won $10 with our scratch-offs!

After that, we were given a list of items for the nature scavenger hunt, things to find like lichen, a maroon leaf, and a burnt orange leaf. It was boys vs. girls, and everyone had to show what they found at the end, although everyone got a prize - custom burned CDs.

We talked and played until it was dark, then it was time to head back. Anthony and I didn't realize our invitation included an overnight stay, but we had left Montana behind, so we needed to get home. Both kids fell asleep on the way home, tired and happy, clutching their Great Gobbler bags.

Hondo ranch house, from across the pond.

Ashlynn and Anna played "doctor," operating on each other to get things out.

Ashlynn cuts Anna.

Here, Anna returns the favor. Hey, what can I say, both of them have veterinarians for Mommies!

The Great Gobber Caravan.

Colin and his snagged turkey.

The next day I asked the kids what they liked best about Hondo. Anna said, "Playing with Ashlynn." Colin said, "The swing. The ladder. The slide." I said I liked all the nice people and all the good food. Anna said, "Mommy, I have another one. I liked all the cookies."


Anonymous said...

oohhh, that sounds like lots of fun! I love the pictures of the "docs at work" cute! Funny thing is, I remember doin' that as a kid! =)

Colin looks like a caveman holding that huge leg of meat! I'm glad a good time was had by all!


Dad said...

Looks like you all had a good time. Too bad you hadn't taken Montana with you so you could spend the night and eat more turkey for breakie!

Aunty Norma said...

ahhh,I really enjoyed these 'comments' so glad that I have just eaten Beef curry and rice (home made) or I would be dribbling haha you DID have a good time! Bevie..did you NEVER play at 'Doctors and Nurses'?...I remember my most favourite toys were 'mini shops' the butchers shop had realistic sides of beef made from a paste that had lifelike blood on them..I loved weighing stuff..oh, and I had a tiny oven made from tin that I 'cooked' your Nanna Emily a carrot in hahaha memories again :o) xx

Aunty Norma said...

sorry have just read my little note to Bevie..I meant Jennifers' Nanna Emily of course..xx

paula said...

It sounds like such good fun Jenn, you are so very lucky to have all these great family gatherings to go to. Aunty Norma, you just made me miss Nanna soooo much!!!! I can just imagine you sat there as a little girl with your tin oven, "cooking" her a carrot!! So sweet. XX

Jess said...

Sounds like everyone had a great time! That sounds like an awesome place to be and I am royally jealous of the goody bags! Great post! I love the way you described everything in such detail. I could actually visualize the delicious desserts! Yum!

Emily said...

It does sound like a great time, and I'm glad to finally read something new on your blog! I missed hearing your stories.

EdamameMommy said...

Wow! Isn't it so appreciated when other people share their homegrown bounty with you? At this point (read:with toddlers) there is nothing quite as nice as a venue with plenty of food, outdoor activity and friends for both parents AND the kiddos. And all the cool bonuses like the Gobbler Hunt and dessert table...well, that sounded too good to be true!