SibSab – A Long Overdue Visit
Continued from: SibSab – A New Beginning?
Early Saturday morning the four of us got up to drive down to Texas where our last living uncle lives. While my sisters had been to visit him several times previously, it was to be the first time that all four of us had seen our uncle in almost nine years.
Our plan was to meet he and his wife for lunch at a well-known establishment for some good home cooked catfish. It was amazing the similarity in looks between our uncle and our dad and how his mannerisms were so much like our dad’s. At times, it seemed as if we were conversing once again with our dad.
Well satiated, we struck off on a tour of some of the places he and our dad had grown up in rural north central Texas.
Our first stop was at the small cemetery where our grandparents and great parents were buried along with some aunts and uncles. The upper ninety-degree weather precluded us from spending too much time there, but it was nice to gaze at the birth and death dates of so many relatives. We then drove over to the farm where our dad and all his siblings had lived and farmed.
Our uncle was amazed at how much all of the trees had grown up precluding us from even getting a glimpse of the farmhouse. We tried driving around to the back side of the property but could not get a better look. We then drove on to see some of the homes our other uncles had lived in nearby.
Our last stop was at another rural town where our uncle had lived when our grandfather had given up farming. We had never heard of this town from our dad and so it was a bit of a mystery until our uncle explained that our dad had already gone off to college by the time our grandparents had moved there so our dad had never actually lived there. That night, our uncle took us out to dinner at a family restaurant they like to frequent for another delicious meal. After returning to our hotel, my brother and I walked over to a bar that served craft beer where we belatedly quenched our thirst from the heat that we had been in all day.
The next morning, we drove into Dallas to visit the 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (located within the former Texas School Book Depository building). For those of us who were youngsters at the time that President Kennedy was assassinated here, the controversy over what actually happened maintains a fascination for us with the events of that fateful day. Prior to my visit, I was not sure what would be included in the museum but once there I was amazed at what all was included.
The corner from where the shots were fired is glassed off, but its appearance is much as it was found having provided Oswald with his hidden sniper nest.
While it is not possible to take in the view from the partially opened window…
…it is possible to go up to the 7th floor directly above that corner and see the view of the street where the shots were fired.
This was basically the extent of what I imagined would be in the museum, but it incorporated so much more. Several exhibits explored Kennedy’s family life prior to entering politics and then the events leading up to first his election to the House and Senate and ultimately the presidency. It further explored his reasons for visiting Texas late in November of 1963.
With my love for all miniatures, I found the FBI model of Dealey Plaza fascinating as well as this exhibit of many of the cameras that had been used by spectators to capture the events of that day along with the photo taken with their cameras.
Upon exiting the museum, we took a walking tour of the plaza, and I was most moved by the discovery of Xs marking the spots on the road where the presidential limousine was when the shots rang out.
If you are ever in Dallas, I would highly recommend visiting this museum.
With our tourist activity for this trip complete, we next made our way over to a restaurant where we had lunch with two of our oldest cousins, one of which was celebrating her 85th birthday that day and her brother just a few years younger. Both of them looked great and with our parents having both died in their seventies, it gave us hope that we too might live long enough to become octogenarians.
That afternoon, we went back over to our uncle’s house where we had another nice visit. Since my brother and I had not seen our uncle in so long, we had a great chance to tell everything about our families and our professional careers. It was fun to amaze them with all the pharmaceutical and science knowledge we had gained over the years. Later in the afternoon, another one of our cousins came over and we got to share some more stories with him before heading out to dinner at a Texas Bar-B-Que restaurant for delicious Texas style brisket.
After taking our leave, my brother and I once again braved the extreme heat and walked over to that same bar for another craft beer. Our oldest sister decided to stay in the hotel room, but our other sister joined us even though she is not a beer drinker. Over our beverages, the three of us talked about what a great time we had had visiting first with family in Arkansas and now in Texas.
As we conversed, we came to the realization of how important it was for us to stay connected to our relatives. Having always lived in other parts of the country growing up, we rarely saw any of our relatives who mostly never strayed far from their roots in central Texas. The family that we visited with and those that we could not coordinate visits due to other conflicts represent almost the last of our living relatives. Our sister then suggested that maybe we should modify our SibSabs to include other family members. For my brother and I, this would mean having our wives along for these trips. And whenever the venue was close to some other living relatives, we would make a point to include a visit with them as well.
So stay tuned to find out what our SibSabs may transform into in the future.
I’m so glad you got to make this trip! And I teared up seeing the picture of your uncle. I remember meeting several of granddaddy’s brothers at the family reunion in Texas, and just being astonished by how similar they looked and spoke. What a gift to be able to see his last living brother. I sure miss him. Adding Texas to my list of places I’d like to go with you, along with Natchitoches!
I’m really glad we went too! It will be a fun pilgrimage to take in these places together one day.