Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Recap: Waco!

This picture was taken in front of a beloved restaurant/joke in our family - Cupp's Drive In - a hamburger place that my grandparents, mother, and I all grew up going to. I'm not really a fan. 
This past weekend I took a mini road trip to Waco, Texas with my boyfriend, Michael. OK, it still feels kind of surreal to say "my boyfriend, Michael". Eeeep!

Anyway, teenage-girl freak out aside, it was a wonderful weekend. Although the purpose of the trip was rather somber, we made the most of our time there. 

We left Houston on Saturday morning and got to Waco around lunchtime. On our way there we stopped to see this site called Tomlinson Hill that Michael knew about. It's an area where an old plantation used to be and now many of the descendants of the slaves that worked on the plantation still live in the area. There is a meeting site there (Old Settlers and Veterans Association of Falls County) that was established for Civil War Veterans (and all other veterans) that was really run down and kind of creepy. We saw probably the largest spider I've ever seen in real life. I wish I had taken some pictures, but I guess I was too lost in the moment. 

Michael used to live in Waco, so he was able to show me lots of neat things, places he used to work, etc. We were pretty hungry when we got there, so we ate at The Elite - which was super good. They served breakfast all day, which made me happy, and they had these really yummy rolls that came with coconut butter. That butter was amazing! 
This is Darwin, the Gorilla. He gets dressed up for the season. I guess this outfit is either leftover from the 4th of July or he's ready for the gubernatorial election. 
After we ate lunch, Michael took me to see Speegleville Park, where the bodies were found in the Lake Waco Murders. We both have a thing for true crime stories, so this was very exciting to us. If you're interested in learning more about the Lake Waco Murders, there is an excellent article from Texas Monthly

Later that evening we attended an end-of-life party for Michael's friend, Mike. This was the reason for the trip to Waco. Mike had cancer and was able to prepare for his own death. One of his requests was to have a party to celebrate his life, rather than a traditional funeral. His wife hosted it in their home and they had really good food, drinks, a slideshow, and music. There was prayer and people sharing their favorite memories of Mike. I had never experienced a memorial service like this one, and I really liked it. The idea of celebrating someone's life is beautiful and life-giving. Of course people were crying and sad, but it was nice to be in an atmosphere of enjoying their loved one instead of the sometimes sad, uptight, uncomfortable feeling I get in funeral homes. 

Sunday we drove around for almost an hour trying to find an open breakfast place and finally ended up back at The Elite. Haha.But it was so good, affordable, and the service was super friendly (both times). And we were desperate for coffee. Silly Waco and their being closed on Sunday rule. 

After breakfast/lunch we drove out to the site of the famous Branch Davidian debacle. Michael and I are also both really into reading about cults....or really any big, historical events. Once again, there's a really good Texas Monthly article about this incident. This stuff fascinates me and I was really excited to go to the spot where it all happened. Now, it just looks like a building and some mobile homes, but if you've read up on it, you can see where everything really happened. They still have a functioning church community, a memorial, and some brochures. The guy who runs it now does not believe that David Koresh was the messiah (that was kind of disappointing to me). To me, the whole thing was/is a tragedy. Religion can make me so sad; when people are so misguided, yet so sincere. Anyway. There were several dogs on the property. We met a really cute beagle that I REALLY wish I had taken a picture of. 

That building in the background is the new church, built on the site where the compound that burned was located. 
The "informative" brochure.
aka David Koresh
The bricks at the top of some of David Koresh's children.

After our cult fun we went back into Waco to see the Baylor bear and get some coffee at Common Grounds. Then Michael showed me the building on the Baylor campus that he used to work in and we walked around the new football stadium. 
The bear!
My iced candied pumpkin latte and Michael's frozen cappuccino. It was a toasty fall day in Texas. 
The view, walking across the pedestrian bridge, to the new football stadium.
The view while standing on the bridge. 
Up close. 
After that it was time to head home to Houston, with a stop at Buc-ee's.This was such a fun weekend! Both the things we did and the company. :)  

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