I left y'all at the zoo. I hope you were able to find your way home from there. I've never been at the zoo after dark, but I think it could be rather creepy, don't you?
The day we were at the zoo was HOT. Like over 100 degrees hot. We sweated buckets and really just wanted to experience some air conditioning for the next 2 months or so. Ron wasn't able to come on our expedition to the Dr Pepper Museum the day before so he missed out on the soda fountain DP. That seemed the perfect place to cool off and take a short rest. He got a large DP float and declared it "pretty good." I had a A&W Root Beer this time, and man, oh man, it was absolutely the best root beer I've ever had. I'm spoiled for life now.
Not wanting to sit around like sloths, but also not wanting to face that heat again, we decided to go to the Texas Ranger Museum next. Does anyone else think of the baseball team when I say Texas Ranger Museum? Even though I was born and raised in Texas, (or because I was?) the phrase Texas Ranger does not conjure up images of crime-fighting cowboys from the old west. It conjures up images of baseball uniforms, green playing fields, and hot dogs. If that's wrong, I'm sorry.
Here's a real Texas Ranger. OK, not a real one, but not a baseball player either.
This was something I found really interesting. It was adapted from the writing of a real, live Texas Ranger in the 1830's or 40's. (What do they mean adapted?) Take time to read it. You won't be sorry.
And this? This was a real jail cell door. I do not think I would like to hear this slamming shut behind me. That's why I never break the law. The sound of that door would just be so...final. And loud.
After the museum we ventured across the street to Waco's first public cemetery. Does anyone else out there find old cemeteries irresistible? I couldn't wait to get in there and walk among all those old tombstones. To imagine who those people were and how they died. How they lived.
Richard Harrison was a doctor. But it didn't keep him alive past the age of 55.
Here's the full view of Doc Harrison's tombstone. I'm sure he was an important man in Waco in the 1800's. But I bet people still called him "Doc."
Mrs. George T. Coates lived just short of 23 years.
And here's Little Kate. This tombstone actually answers the question of how Mrs. Coates died. If you'll notice, Little Kate has only one date, her birth and death were the same day. Her mother, Catherine Minerva, wife of George T. Coates, died 2 days later. I didn't actually notice this in the cemetery. I wish I had. I wish I could have spent a little more time with this family. They are all buried there together.
By the time Ron got his morbid wife out of the graveyard, the temperature had cooled a little bit. We'd promised the kids we would take them to the old suspension bridge that spans the Brazos River near downtown.
And when I say old, I mean old.
It's still open for pedestrian and equine traffic. We walked the span of it's creaky boards and fell it sway and bounce. It was quiet, with just a few other people around and a lone fisherman in the river below us. I could almost hear the clop of horse hooves and the squeak and groan of a wagon belonging to a family coming to Waco to settle down, to live here. And as proved by Waco's cemetery, to die here.
I love to visit old places. I love to try to imagine how it looked when it was new. I know in the grand scheme, none of this is really very old. But there's still history here. Lots of it. It's enough to make you want to stop, listen, and just soak it all in.