Hanky’s 2nd Birthday

I didn’t even get the chance to recover from the culture shock of experiencing Cleveland again when Texas welcomed me back in a very Texas way.

To celebrate Hanky’s birthday, Sarah arranged for us to take him to a real working farm. Our friend Amanda’s parents work a goat farm (with a bunch of other animals too) in rural Sunset, TX.
So on the same day I woke up in Cleveland, flew home, met up with them, drove to the country, picked up a bunch of goats and neutered them… all before lunch.
That’s right. Amanda’s step dad asked for me and Josh’s assistance in hooking up the livestock trailer, picking up some newly-purchased goats, taking them back to the ranch, separating them, and elastic-banding their nuts. Just another day in the life of Matt Walker.
We had a great time. Walking the field with Hanky, showing him the animals, checking out the livestock graveyard, etc. He loved the critters. And there was a little mud, so luckily we had some newly-purchased fireman galoshes for Hanks.
We then had some giant burgers and cake and presents for Henry. It was a pretty long and exhausting day for me. But what 2 year old could ask for a better birthday? Come to think of it, what exhausted dad could ask for a better Sunday?

Dick Finnigan’s Wedding

I went to Cleveland for a couple days for the honor and privilege of attending Dick and Sandi’s wedding. That was one of those wedding announcements that floored everybody who opened it. They have been together for 32 years. Making me 4 years of age when they first hooked up. And they basically said they weren’t going to marry whenever we asked like 12 years ago.

I flew in on Friday afternoon and went to Dinner with Ian, Trish, Nate, and Phoebe. I was surprised to realize how much I see relation now between Phoebe and Henry. They start getting big enough to have more noticably individual qualities, and they’re definately related. It was weird driving around in Cleveland again. it had been so long. I still very much dig that town. I enjoyed some crazy times in my early 20′s and single days. I wanted to go back for ages. But now for the first time I realized that if I did go back it would be for entirely different reasons, but still good ones. Anyway, Nate and I were going to see Dick and Sandi that night to catch up. It was a bit awkward because Ian wanted to see me too. They hadn’t been speaking for quite some time. I forget why. He finally decided to come along and say hi. So he did, and all was well. We took a tour of the sweet new pad they bought and stayed up late catching up. It was good to see they buried the hatchet. Their new house is amazing. Right on lake Superior, and you could play a baseball game in the living room.

Next day Nate and I decided to go pick up our tuxes…at the costume shop. We went to the wedding, and I got to see alot of old familiar faces from what seems like a lifetime ago. I also noted that I wasn’t the only one who sort of burned out on competitive bagpiping and was in a state of pseudo-retirement at a young age. As Dan “Rub-a-Cabbage” said, “There seems to be a lot of that going around.” And met alot of cool new faces. I didn’t know Dick was actually related to anybody. Some might think he just landed here on planet earth. It was funny to talk to other guys who looked entirely different, but had the exact same unmistakable deep gravely voice. I would have mistaken them for Dick himself if I didn’t see them.

We ate and drank and had a great time at the wedding, then went back to Ians and caught up with Ian and Trish a bit. He showed us around his sweet new house. A bit of a fixer-upper but still roomy and classic; about 100 years old.

Unfortunately, it was a whirlwind tour. I blinked, and it was time to fly back to the big D. But it was good. If my cash flow didn’t blow so bad, we’d probably make a habit of visiting there a little more often.