Only hillbillies go to the beach in the winter

My family is very large, in more than one sense of the word. We are always loud (to the point of obnoxious is others’ points of view) but always have fun, no matter the situation. I have so many childhood memories that I cherish of times spent at my grandmothers’ homes in Gause and Milano.

Others are at holiday gettogethers and birthday parties, and a few on vacation. One of my earliest childhood memories is of me at the beach with my mom Kay Lagrone (I mention her last name for those few who haven’t figured out I belong to that clan of hillbillies in Milano).

We made a trip to Galveston in the summer of 1981 to visit older cousin Bill Cass and his wife Charlotte. They lived in a waterfront condo complete with a place to dock their boat. As a three-year-old at the time I was highly impressed.

I was not one for swimming because I hated water on my head; I’d scream when Mom would wash my hair. When Charlotte wanted to take me to the beach, Mom was fine because she was pretty sure I wouldn’t go anywhere near the water. That was comforting to her since she was pregnant with my sister Janie at the time.

No sooner had my feet hit the sand at Stewart Beach when I took off running into the waves. Charlotte caught me just in time and “politely” carried me back to my mom, who was standing there in disbelief.

For the rest of our stay at the beach that day, I was mostly confined to a blown up plastic raft that had to stay out of the water. But the two smart ladies who were my chaperones did bring a hearty supply of M&M’s to distract me from the crashing waves.

Earlier this month, my husband Buck, our two children Bradley and Hannah, my mom Kay and myself, were in Houston for the weekend to visit my sister Janie (she turned 29 last week). The crew (minus Janie who was at work) made the trip south to Galveston. I had not been to the island with my mom since that summer in ‘81.

I know most you are thinking “she took her kids to the beach in January...what a hillbilly.” (See I told ya.) It was a rare warm day with sunshine and a light breeze. We didn’t actually swim, but did get our feet wet.

We were probably out there for almost two hours, playing in the sand, picking up shells and scaring birds. Yes, two-year-old Hannah found it most interesting to run up to the now traumatized seagulls and yell “fly... fly” as she flapped her chubby little arms. Bradley found a half-built sand castle and made it into a fortress (future engineer... maybe).

As we were getting ready to leave our sandy playground, the rest of us were putting on our shoes to head back to the car, but not Hannah. I looked up just in time to see her running toward the small incoming waves.

Her daddy got to her just at the water’s edge and “politely” brought her back to me. My mom just giggled.


After working at The Reporter for three and a half years, I finally decided on a “header” for my column head, “I Bleed Maroon.” I figured it was fitting as I graduated from both Milano High School and Texas A&M University, who both have maroon as their main school color.

Hubby Buck made it through his first week at A&M. He even figured out the parking system and told a few folks “Howdy.”

I grew up rooting for the Aggies and knew most of the traditions and yells before I was ever attending classes there. So before classes started I gave Buck and little run down of the traditions.

He’s still trying to figure it all out. But for a guy in his thirties who has gone back to school, has 40-plus college hours with a 4.0 GPA, has a family and works 30 hours a week, I think he has it pretty together.

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2011-01-27 digital edition

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