Susan, the Capitol & a Pool Party

Susan Branch was as lovely as I knew she would be.

I mentioned a few days ago that we were spontaneously heading south to Austin, to hear Susan Branch speak.

Indeed we did, made the drive down, got there an hour early and it's a good thing because most seats were already taken. We grabbed a sandwich from the bookstore cafe and ate them from our seats, waiting for her. Sure enough right on the money, in walked Joe - her other half. His entrance into the room added 25% to the male population, one of which was my sweet husband. I loved watching him blush as the women applauded his entrance.
Susan spoke for about 30 minutes, took questions for about the same amount of time, then we waited for two hours to get her to sign a book for us. It helped that she'd arranged for us to each have little treat bags filled with cookies and pastries from her cookbooks. The coconut macaroon from her Christmas book was beyond divine.

And I gave her my gift - a package of Bonine to prevent motion sickness when she travels to Scotland this fall. She was the most gracious, lovely, wonderful sort of person. She gave all her attention to every single person who stood waiting to speak to her, as if there was nobody else in the room. Four hours after we walked in the bookstore, we walked out, to see her van sitting in the parking lot. Goodbye, Susan and Joe - it was so lovely meeting both of you!

Afterwards we had steaks at Austin Land and Cattle, which CS declared to be in the top 5 steaks he's ever eaten! Then he took me for a drive around Austin, by the capitol all lit up, with the Texas flag flying - this native Texan loved every minute of it.

taken with my phone, that I got the Texas flag in is pure luck!
The next morning we drove through the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, home of the Longhorns, while CS gave me a quick lesson on all the universities in Texas, where each is, and what they are called, what their mascot is (what on earth is an Aggie?!), then we aimed our minivan toward Dallas Fort Worth, and drove home. (Link here re shooting from clock tower)

on the campus of Univ of Texas - this is the clock tower where a sniper shot and killed 14 and wounded many others, back in 1966

I'd overhead the day before that Susan and Joe were driving to DFW that day also, to visit friends, and it was heartwarming just knowing we were sharing the highway. She's that lovely.

Soon as we pulled up in our driveway the party started - our son, our daughter-in-love, her mother, her sister and our two Texas littles joined us. For the next few hours or so our yard was filled with squeals and epic splashes from cannonballs into the pool, watergun fights, impromptu swimming lessons for the littles, playing music on my new portable waterproof speaker, grilling burgers and brats, watermelon, loads of guacamole, and homemade strawberry shortcake, cherry and pecan pies with Blue Bell ice cream on the side.
All the ingredients for an absolutely perfect summer weekend.


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