Aunt Murrell, Jon and Hanna visit Austin

Last weekend, Aunt Murrell, Jon and Hanna Weakley (my family – from North Carolina) all visited Austin. It was part of Jon and Hanna’s first visit to Texas.

They got to Texas sometime the week before, and had been touring all over south and east Texas. I know they spent some time in Kima, Beaumont, Houston, and parts in between there and Austin. They got to Austin on August 11th, and Christine and Jack drove out to Debbie and Raymond’s lakehouse to meet them and welcome them to our hometown.

I was still in Detroit, so when I got home (at 1:30 in the morning on Friday 8/12) I went to bed, and planned on meeting them on the 12th.

Around noon or 1:00pm on 8/12, they all came to our house in central Austin, before we headed to lunch at Jason’s Deli. Jon and Hanna were really hungry (actually, they’d been eating lots of food all week, so that’s sort of an inside joke). Christine and Jack stayed at the house to take a nap.

After lunch, we headed over to the LBJ Library, and tootled around the exhibits. They’ve got a really nice view of downtown out the 10th floor windows there. And the Presidential Limo that’s on display there is pretty cool. I also didn’t make the connection that LBJ presided through a lot of crap this country had to go through: War, Civil Rights, a depression of sorts, and other stuff… I should learn more about our history sometime.

After the LBJ Library, we went to the Bob Bullock State History Museum. We walked the first floor of exhibits before heading up to watch the “Story of Texas” mini-movie. That was lots of fun. They all enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it. We then walked a little of the second floor exhibits, trying to figure out what happened at Goliad. It was a massacre.

After we were “Bullock’d out” we walked down to the Capitol Building. I showed Jon how you can stand in the very middle of the bottom floor, right under the rotunda, and if you talk, you’ll hear your voice echoing, but no one else will hear the echo. Pretty neat stuff… especially since I remember that from my first visit (my Mom took Allen Hillboldt, Bradley Froebel and I there when we were like 10 or 11 – almost 20 years ago, ugh). We also walked into the House and Senate chambers… it’s neat to be so close to one of the great statehouses in the country. It’s too damned bad our legislature can’t actually get much done (like school finance reform).

Then we met up with Christine on “the drag” just to the west of the UT campus. We went into the Student Union building and got our tickets for our tour of the UT Clocktower. The Clocktower is fairly well known as the place where, “On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, a student at the university, barricaded himself on the observation deck and began shooting passers-by with a rifle. At the time, the shooting was the nation’s worst mass killing. It lasted 93 minutes, ending with Mr. Whitman’s being killed by the police, but its after effects have spanned two generations.”

The tower was closed to the public in 1975, due to a rash of suicides, and was reopened in 1999, to guided tours. The tours are led by student workers, and they’re lots of fun to listen to.

The view from the top of the Tower is pretty cool. I’d recommend the sunset tour, if you ever plan on taking the tour. I’ve heard it’s pretty cool.

We also found Aunt Murrell’s dormitory from when she attended UT back in the 1930s. I think Austin’s grown a bit since then…

Afterwards, we headed to Trudy’s for dinner, but they were packed, so we drove over to Serrano’s on Red River. Great food, but we were all exhausted.

Evan, Shadel and Ella got to Austin while we were eating dinner, so Christine, Jack and I headed home to visit with them, while the rest of the gang (Murrell, Debbie, Jon and Hanna) headed to the lake.

On Saturday, the 13th, the girls (Shadel, Ella and Christine) went to the Mall around 10:00 a.m. The boys (Evan, Jack and I) stayed home and played, then watched a little TV. When Jack woke up from his morning nap, Evan and I took him out to the lakhouse (we got there around 12:30).

We all took a dip in the pool, and then ate lunch. Christine, Shadel and Ella showed up around 2:00 or so, and around 3:00, we all headed to the lake. We’d rented a jet-ski and a pontoon boat from Hurst Harbor Marina. I piloted the pontoon boat, while Evan and Shadel drove the jet ski out. We headed out of Marina Point to the west, and parked in a little bay cove just around Lakeway. It took us around 25 minutes to get to where we were going, so we really only had an hour on the lake.

Jack slept in Aunt Murrell’s arms, all the way there. Ella napped on her Grandma’s lap too.

After parking the boat, we all went swimming in the lake, while we took turns driving the jet-ski. First out was Evan and Shadel, then Evan and Hanna (Evan drove). Debbie went out with Evan next. Then Jon and I went out (we let Jon drive). It was Jon’s first time driving a jet-ski, and he did pretty good. Then he let me take over for a little bit. I was a bit rusty, and ended up throwing us both off the jet-ski in a high-speed (attempted) turn.

Then we let Hanna drive, with me on the back. Ha! That was sooo much fun. Hanna was pretty content with testing out the jet-ski first, and seeing what it could do, then she slowly started pushing it pretty hard after we did a few donuts and figure eights while waiting on the pontoon boat to catch up with us. That was the most fun I’ve had on a jet-ski in a while.

At the Lakeway Marina, I traded in Hanna for Christine, and I rode ont he back with Christine all the way back to Hurst Harbor. It was Christine’s second time to drive a jet-ski, and that was just as fun for me as riding with Hanna had been… Christine was pretty funny… she scared herself good a few times, and forgot to let off the gas because she was gripping the handles so tight.

Then, right before we got to the marina, she threw me off the jet-ski by goosing it good while I was showing off by not holding on to anything.

After we put up the boats, we all piled back into our cars and headed to the lake house. Aunt Murrel cooked a really good shrimp-boil and veggies for dinner. I told Jon that I’d bought him his very own domain: (Jon’s had a business since he was 4 or 5, if I remember correctly, called Jonagon. I thought he should own the domain); so look for more from Jon on his new website.

We celebrated my Mom’s 55th birthday after dinner. She got lots of fun cards, and some great gifts.

When it was good and late, we all said our good-byes and called it a weekend.

Christine got up on Sunday morning and drove Jon and Hanna to the airport. Jack and I stayed home and played… it’s so much fun having him all to myself every now and then ;).

Sadly, we forgot our camera at home during this weekend, so I don’t have any fun pictures to show you, but we all had a great time.

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