Yee Haw!

There was a tangible sense of excitement as the lead horse approached, dancing his way across the main street in Tomball that was closed for this yearly pilgrimage of trail riders to the Houston Rodeo, the biggest in the USA.  Then the crowd started cheering as they welcomed the wagons with mules and horse riders.

Sam Houston Trail Ride

There are 12 trail rides that come from all over the south Texas area to converge in Memorial Park in central Houston.  The Sam Houston Trail arrives in Tomball on their third day.  They are on route to Houston and the trail originates from Pinehurst, Montgomery County.  All the trails are astonishing when you think that they have to traverse a vast city full of interstates but it reflects the original settler’s routes which eventually turned into proper roads.

It tugs on my heart strings because I can envision how life was like for my early pioneer ancestors, especially my great grandparents, Sam Houston and Lillie Dellinger who settled in Oklahoma and north Texas.  He was named after the original Sam Houston, one of the original leaders of the Texas Revolution.  My great grandfather was an intriguing man, well named, some might say.  Even my father’s middle name was Houston.  All the signs were pointing to us ending up as Texan folks even though I was born in California.

I love all animals but I am particularly fond of donkeys and mules – an elderly donkey was one of my first sponsored animals as a child.  The wagons were just amazingly well restored.

One of the groups comprised of two charming brothers from Cajun Country in Louisiana.  They had taken the animals on trucks over to Pinehurst to join the trail.  One of them asked me if I would like to get on his horse!  He was so handsome that I would have been delighted if it was a euphemism… 😉 Teddy was there, however, and I stupidly wore a short skirt so couldn’t attempt getting on his horse without taking my skirt off first.  Maybe in 2022 we will have conquered Covid-19, the trail riders will visit again and I could try to get on my first horse!

This softly spoken cowboy was whispering sweet nothings to his adorable mare in case she was frightened by the crowd.  Everyone was so well behaved especially the little children.

 

Miss Tomball and Line Dancers

Isn’t she purty?  Before the horses and wagons arrived at Tomball, en route to Houston Rodeo, we were entertained by Miss Tomball 2020 and Line Dancers.  As I people watched I noticed that two little sisters were wearing handmade dresses with little horses on them – could they be any more cute?  One of the siblings looked at Miss Tomball as though she was a Disney Princess and showed her the dress.

OMG – look at her little boots!  Her little smile caused my eyes to tear…

Well, it wouldn’t be small town Texas without line dancers of a certain age…

Eventually folks from the crowd joined in with the line dancing.  Teddy and I met an older couple who had moved here from New York City.  Their lives had been terribly sophisticated with jobs in Broadway and learning Tango when they lived in Argentina.  How excited they were to find out that they could join the Tomball Line Dancing group.

I wrote this post to encourage myself that I still live in a wonderful place and it helped a little.  One day, I hope, we will get back to what to blessedly simple days like the one above, pre Covid-19.  In the meantime, think of others especially those most vulnerable and please, please wear a mask or socially distance.

Kerry Miranda

Can you believe this guy is a professional photographer?  WTH – I have a plant growing out of my head.  It is hard to imagine but there was a life before the Pandemic hit.  Every year Houston hosts the largest Rodeo in the world, natch.  As much as I would love to visit, there are just too many people in one place.  This year we decided to go to our nearest town, Tomball, where the Sam Houston Trail Riders arrive by horses and wagons from Plantersville for a reception/meal/bunk.  It was cold but gloriously bright (which is maybe why Teddy couldn’t see the plant), so we arrived early in great anticipation.  The location was around the old railway station so we had a look inside, for the first time in 16 years.  Why do we always ignore the history right beside us?

Which one is real?

My husband looks like a real cowboy – until he opens his mouth…  It has been a long time since there was a working station office at Teague or Tomball but there is still a working commercial railroad.  I was 20 minutes late for a dental appointment when I had to wait patiently on the other side of the line.  We met a charming docent who told us all about the train museum.  He was fascinated by our Scottish accents and had another regular Scottish visitor who comes to the museum when he sees family in Texas.  The world is full of train geeks.

Kerry got friendly with the station master…

Halfway through the rodeo, we got news that the Pandemic had reached us and for the first time in the Houston Rodeo’s history it was cancelled.  One of the first patients in our county had visited the Rodeo but had not traveled anywhere else.  After a month in our local hospital, he finally recovered and got to go home.  It was touch and go but he was one of the lucky ones.  More posts about the trail ride to come.