Meeting Maureen – My Big Sis

Joe and I picked up trucks in Indianapolis, Indiana and they are being delivered in San Antonio, Texas.  Since in May  I had told Maureen when we come through there I’d let her know, I had to keep my promise to her.

On Friday I text messaged our impending blast through her town and asked if she would be busy on Sunday.  A flurry of text messages ensued Friday evening and on through Saturday.  Maureen is such a sweetheart, she wanted to put us up in a hotel that would pamper us.  Sounded so good to me, but alas, we were still a long way away on Saturday and Sunday night we would be heading back up north to get to Oklahoma City for our next load.

Maureen and I

Maureen and Joe

When Joe and I knew we would be making a stop in San Marcos, Texas I looked through my truck stop guide to find a place to park our trucks for a few  hours close to where Maureen lives.  There is one just a few miles from her home and we agreed to meet there.

Not having met each other prior to this, I was not sure what she looked like.  A car pulled in with a lone woman and I waved at her as though I knew her.  She waved back, turned around in the lot and parked in front of us so this had to be my Big Sis.

This year I have been blessed by women that have reached out to me and enveloped me in their friendship – sight unseen.  Truly an awesome gift.

As we traveled to San Marcos Sunday morning I had the same worries about meeting Maureen that I did with Jann when I met her in Nashville.  Maureen and I have only written notes to each other.  Would she be disappointed in meeting me?  Would she regret her impulse to send me the Kraft Mat?  Would we be able to talk about general stuff?

When she got out of her car, and I got out of the truck I was driving, my fears were gone.  I was wrapped in a welcoming hug that made me feel as though we were long lost friends.  We began chatting comfortably and didn’t stop until it was time for us to leave.

Joe and I got in her car, me up front and Joe relegated to the back seat.  Both of us had our cameras and off we went.

Pub downtown

Restored Downtown


Maureen took us for a trip downtown to show us the area she has come to love and call home.  Beautiful old buildings that have been restored in the business district with lots of patrons going in and out of these establishments.  Maureen told us there is quite a scandalous story with the first building pictured here.  Because of all the windows of the Pub building, light streaming in all through the day, some enterprising individual took advantage of this attribute and had quite a burgeoning marijuana greenhouse thing going on inside.  It was good while it lasted, until the police raid happened and shut the guy down.  Now it is an Irish Pub that does quite well for itself, possibly trading on the scandal to get curious tourists to come in hoist a pint and hear a good story.  The locals enjoy coming in to tip one back, too.

Old buildings, built in the 1800’s and through the 1920’s are my favorite ones to gawp at.  The intricate patterns carved out of stone or wood and  hoisted high in the air to be affixed to the tops of these buildings…leaves me awestruck to think all that was accomplished without COMPUTERS, and a lot of them without ELECTRICITY!!!  No power saws, no computer milled filigree, no air nailer.  Just pure raw talent and skill with the hands.

Legendary Hero

This statue is in the town square.  Long ago, when this part of Texas was wide open with very little in the way of settlements a war was brewing between the Indians that had claim to the lands and the white men that wanted them out.  This man gained quite a reputation as an Indian fighter during the settling of these lands.  I suppose he also lived through the time of the Mexican War as well.

Maureen told me his name, all I remember is “Jim”.  I was so busy gawping at all the beautiful buildings I was only half listening.  His name is Jack Hays, Maureen told me.

Texas, this part of central Texas, is rich in history and legendary men that put their lives on the line for the common folk to make a home for themselves.  It was a bloody time in our history, and to some an unjust time.  Nonetheless, it is our history and the people that created change in the way of life long ago has brought us to where we are today.

Chief Placido

A tribute to Chief Placido stands next to the river that runs down the middle of San Marcos.  A river fed from crystal springs that come from underground and nurtures the area with clear waters.

Chief Placido was of the Tonkawa tribe which inhabited Central Texas long before the settlers began coming in the 1840’s.  Through the auspices of Chief Placido the early settlers were befriended by his tribe thus making the lives of these early settlers considerably safer and less harsh.  Especially since most of the settlers came from the east where the land was filled with trees that bore fruit, crops that yielded vegetables, and lots of deer and other game for meat.  Out in Central Texas there were not many trees, less fertile grounds, and a lot of plants that the settlers weren’t sure they could eat to sustain their lives.

Chief Placido, and other brave tribe members fought alongside Jack C. Hays, Ben McCulloch, and General Burleson to defeat the Comanches in the Battle of Plum Creek near Lockhart, Texas.  This statue honors the man that was instrumental in helping settle Texas.  I have to confess….the above information was directly taken from the inscription on the bronze sculpture.  I don’t know who these men are 😦

Enough of the history lesson.  On with the fun stuff.

Pedestrian bridge over the San Marcos River

San Marcos River

San Marcos River

Maureen took us to a place the local people enjoy in the summer time.  She and her family have spent many days floating down this river on inner tubes and enjoying the cool water and warm sunshine.

This is a favorite place for the locals to spend a hot day relaxing.  While we stood on the bridge and looked out at the beautiful sight before us I had quite an over powering urge to jump off the bridge and into the cool waters below.  It was so  hot this afternoon.  Temperatures at 102 degrees, a cloudless sky and that cool water below.  Tempting, very tempting.

River tubing

Joe could not help himself.  This pretty young lady had a camera and was taking pictures of her trip down the river.  Joe thought she had a cell phone in her hands and he called out to her to hold her cell phone up again.  She and the young man she is with tried to tell this old geezer that it was a camera and not a cell phone.  By the time they went under the bridge, Maureen and I had to raise our voices to him telling him it is a camera.

When they came through the other side he did see it was a camera and made fun of himself not understanding what was going on.  I got a picture of her taking a picture of us crazy people.  What fun that was.

Pleasant people on a leisurely trip down the river and an old man flirting safely above.  Joe makes me laugh often.  I sure do love him.

Wild Texas Rice

Maureen told us the “sea weed” growing in the waters below is actually a type of wild Texas rice.  The people that care for the plant life in these waters take extra pains to make sure this wild rice continues to grow and thrive.

Maureen said that it feels really strange when the currents cause the rice to scrape against you as you go over it.  It is rough and scratchy instead of velvety as other “sea weeds” are in waters.

As I stood and watched the rice move below me in the water’s current it made me think of an old Arthurian tale of the Lady In The Lake with long hair that trailed behind her as she moved about in her domain.

Kind of eerie and hypnotic at the same time.

Web Worm

As we have traveled around this country there are things I see that cause me to ask many questions.

When we moved to Oklahoma I saw a lot of these webs in trees.  Thinking there was some gigantic spider that I needed to be aware of I had a bit of a fright each time I saw one of these bag like webs.

I asked Joe about them one time, telling him of my fear that a huge spider resides in the middle.  It turns out this is the home of a worm, or caterpillar.  It builds a nest within the web it weaves and nurtures itself on the tree.  If there are several of these web worms in one single tree they can actually kill the tree.

They seem to like only one type of tree, what the type of tree it is they like I haven’t a clue.  It is this one, though.


Geese near the flume

The flume

Maureen took us to a restaurant that sits near the waters of another place the local people enjoy coming to in the summer and playing in the cool waters.

In the larger picture you will see to the left of the left most goose water bubbling.

There is an area in the dam that allows the water to release itself into the river below and this raging water flume is what is just beyond the geese.  Imagine one them them getting sucked through that hole.  Won’t be a very pretty sight when it is all over with.

More of the San Marcos River

Crystal waters

A fish

This is such a beautiful place that Maureen shared with us.  Standing under the shade of many trees, listening to the waters flow past, was a balm to my wrangled nerves having been in some really rough riding International trucks.

Maureen said she was sure there were fish in these waters but no one did any fishing here.  I had to go search for the illusive fish.  Found one, it is to the left in the photo, just to the right of the yellow colored weed thing in the water.  What can be seen is the tail of the fish as it saw me looking for him.

Old restored house

Restored grand house

Restored home


After lunch, at a restaurant overlooking the waters pictured above, Maureen took us on a trip around her town where the old homes stand that have been in San Marcos since the town was settled.

Beautiful old homes with such character and grace.  Most people call them “stately” which I guess is an apt term to use.

These are the older homes that had house servants daily to keep the house and gardens neat and tidy.  Children ran the halls and stairs, boys climbed the trees while the girls played safely on the grounds.

I see these old homes and wonder, rather crazily, if the houses miss the people that first built them and lived within.  Do any of the homes rebel at the new people that have taken up residence?  Are these old homes only glad to keep a new family warm and dry from the rains, winds, and heat that yearly come to this town?

Such odd notions I get in my head at times.  Makes me wonder if I’m not far from the men in white coats catching up with me.

Maureen took us to her lovely home where we met her three children and her husband.  The oldest daughter is preparing to go off to college.  Near enough to home that traveling at school breaks is not long, but far enough away from home for a bit of freedom and spreading of wings.  Why do our children have to grow up and go away?  I guess the same reason that we did the same when our time came.

Joe spent the time talking with Maureen’s husband.  The two of them huddled together in the living room solving all the worlds ills while Maureen gave me a tour of her crafting space.  She has an enormous cabinet that holds much of her crafting items.  Proudly she told me she put it together all by herself.  You Go Girl!!!  Quite an accomplishment since it is one gigantic cupboard.

Maureen shared with me a couple of her scrapbooks.  Flipping through the pages of her life when the children were small and progressing in ages to just a few years ago.  Thank you Maureen for gifting me with that special time and being welcomed into your life for a peek.  I am honored by that.

All too soon, 4 p.m. came along and Joe and I had to get back on the road to make our delivery to San Antonio.  Maureen took us back to our trucks and we continued on our journey.  The relaxing time we had on this  afternoon was, indeed, a special time for me.

I have been blessed to meet two strong women through this crazy thing I began last year.  I started out trying to sell products to anyone that would buy from me.  What I have received has been worth more to me than money.  I have received friendship and acceptance by many and my “Day Job” has allowed me the opportunity to meet these new Girlfriends.  How can I be more blessed?

About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

18 responses to “Meeting Maureen – My Big Sis

  • Maureen Mathis

    I didn’t realize that you just started doing this one year ago! What an accomplishment!

    As far as the homes welcoming all the families into them, I can tell you that at least one of the homes we looked at would love nothing better than to get rid of them! But THAT’s another story for the next visit!

    I realize that I didn’t take you to probably the best place to photograph the river; I was just too nervous! There is a restaurant right there, but most of the seating is out on the deck, so it wasn’t a great choice for lunch on a hot day! But I meant to drive by after lunch – oh well, we’ll catch it next time!

    Thank you so much for taking an entire afternoon to visit. It was an honor to spend time with one of the most beautiful and geniunely gracious women I have ever known. You have so much love in your heart, and a gentle charisma that draws people to you. I am blessed to know you and look forward to many more years of friendship ahead!

    I wanted to tell you so many things, but just did not have the time. Maybe I can use that desire to channel some energy into actually doing something with that blog of mine. Joe was very encouraging about my efforts. I really appreciated his kindness. He’s really a great catch. I’m so glad you found each other.

    Let me know when he’s ready for those “end of the road” cookies!

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you Maureen. I had no idea you were nervous. Spending time with you was such a treat, and I look forward to doing it again. Soon I hope.

      I’d love to hear about the house that wants to oust the family. Our daughter, Tiffany (the embalmer), would be running to the house and wanting to do some serious “Ghost Hunting”.

      I look forward to reading your blog once you begin. I’m glad that Joe encouraged you to think about doing it. Yes, he is a really great catch – even if he is a bit deaf and looney 🙂

      The cookies. That is so funny. We’ve passed that Collin Street Bakery and thought about stopping for years now. Today we did and he loaded up on the cookies for our trip home. He ate one and was not impressed. He ate half of another kind and told me to toss them out. He harrumphed in the seat and said “Where are Maureen’s cookies. Her’s are so much better than this “grommet” stuff”. I had to laugh out loud at that. Neither of us are much into the gourmet foods. He’s so disgusted with gourmet that he calls it grommet. Your cookies, according to Joe, were “an Absolute Hit”. He’ll take some from you any time you want to give them, he’ll not decline.

      Thank you so much for the afternoon. I am pleased that it went so well and will continue for a long, long time.
      Love you Big Sis.

  • Pati

    Oh, sounds like you all had LOTs and oodles of fun, good for you, saw different sights, ate different foods, even ( grommet ) cookies, so glad Maureen”s cookies were better.

    So glad sis you found a friend, actually, another friend, go for it sis.

    What a ride you have begun within just a year with all this craft stuff, you started with ONE idea, and now see where it has taken you, the sky is the limit, we can accomplish so many things in life, just enjoy your time as you go along.

    Just 21 more days till our vacation, cant wait, love you both.

    • Message In A Fold

      We did have a great time with Maureen and her family. Joe is the “Cookie Monster” in our family and I heard for many miles how good, m-m-m good Maureen’s cookies were. I had one at her home and it was delicious. She packed both of us off with some of her cookies. I’m savoring mine and enjoying one each day while Joe has already gone through his goody bag 🙂 I’m not sharing either!
      Love you Sis

  • Lynn Claridge

    What a magical time you and Joe had with Maureen and later with her family. It is a beautiful place that Maureen lives in, I’d love to walk alongside that river.
    All these friendships are wonderful aren’t they?

    In some houses I have a feeling that they are happy houses, others are sad and one or two are cold because the people in them are cold towards each other. I have stayed in many homes over the years because I used to ‘house sit’ for folks that were going to be away on holiday. I would be paid for keeping the house safe, quite often I had pets to look after and, in some cases, precious plants and greenhouses. One place I stayed in I had rams, cattle, geese and many hens to look after as well as 7 cats! Most of the homes I looked after were warm, happy, friendly places but one house was so sad that I spent some days in tears it depressed me so much. Turns out the couple were going through a very difficult time in their marriage and the house felt it! I fear the white coated men will be here soon 🙂 So I don’t think you have crazy thoughts Leslie. I can go a bit further in my craziness too – I love the feel of certain leaves of trees and shrubs and some trees just cry out to have their trunks stroked as the wood is warm and satiny 🙂 I have some people who think I am about to be recaptured and sent back to the institution whilst others have realised that there is beauty in leaves and tree trunks!

    Hugs and love

    Lynn xxx

    • Message In A Fold

      You are correct, Lynn. All these friendships are wonderful. Even though we are a diverse bunch we seem to have found each other – of all places – on YouTube. Totally Awesome!!!

      You must be a “sensitive” if you can feel the energies in places and things. I don’t think you are looney, so you don’t need to fear the men in white coats – just yet.

      You do have a fantastic garden with tons of flowering shrubs and trees so you would have more hands on knowledge of the trees and leaves than I would so I can’t say you are looney in that area either. I suppose it is a lot of hard work to have such beautiful grounds. Will you miss not having dirt to root around in when you move? I would think you will miss it and have some dirt around you in pots and boxes full of riots of blooms.
      Love you

  • Nancy

    Yay for meeting Maureen! That’s all I can say! Yay for both of you!! 🙂

  • Nancy

    Oh…me too Leslie! I’m sure you could deliver some of those trucks up here in Saskatchewan!! That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? 🙂

    • Message In A Fold

      Yes, that would be crazy cool! But it would have to be before the snow begins or long after it melts. I’m no “Ice Road Trucker”. Joe say that as soon as the first snow flake begins to fall I go running home, and he is about right 🙂

  • Nancy

    Well…you should have lots of time yet before that happens! At least until it stays on the ground! lol It’s hard to say just when that will be since our weather patterns seem to be changing. We never know what to expect now! I actually don’t like winter driving either! I like winter hibernating! haha
    I sent you a link to my youtube debut in your youtube inbox…just in case you wanted to see it! 🙂

    • Message In A Fold

      I saw your YouTube debut. Love that your friend went “rogue” or I would not get to see your goodies up close like she showed them. Awesome bear you made. Articulated head, arms, and legs!!! I know the amount of work that goes into making those and you did a fantastic job. Go ahead, I’ll put your shoulder back in its socket. Pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.

      I was laughing so hard when she said you must be famous and don’t want to make videos to let everyone know who you really are. You may be famous and incognito for sure, but I had to laugh anyway. Not in a bad way, just that not everyone wants to be center stage, and we that jockey for the plum position can’t understand why you guys do your magic in the shadows, so to speak.

      There are some that take the scripture “Pride cometh before a fall” to heart, while the rest of us don’t. Foolhardy lot we are. Then too, if the horoscope has any kind of credence then me being a Leo is part of my problem.

      Your friend did you proud, in my opinion. She was so happy with the things you made for her. Considering her color choices and knowing what she likes you made the package specific for her and that was a very special thing you did. You are awesome and I’m so glad to claim you as my friend 🙂

      Love you Girlfriend

  • Nancy

    Thanks for watching it Leslie! Thanks for saying you liked my stuff too! lol She’s been really sweet and has sent me a few parcels of supplies that she knows I can’t find easily up here. Totally unexpected! My problem is that it sometimes takes forever to get things done lately since my migraines like to interfere with my intentions! They don’t work themselves into my schedule properly! haha By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you…what’s your favorite color? Can you let me know please? 🙂

    • Message In A Fold

      I thought I had answered this. Sorry. I did not know you suffered from migraines. I meet more and more people that have those debilitating headaches. Our California daughter has them. She’s had MRI’s, CT’s, and all kinds of neurological work ups done and the doctors can’t find anything wrong. Her migraines have gotten so bad she now has seizures from time to time. Some of the medicines the doctors have prescribed have made her drowsy, or altered her mood, and one particular drug causes her nose to bleed. I’d have thought, by now, with so many migraine sufferers there would be more of a knowledge base and a better drug or treatment for them. I’m so sorry that you suffer from those nasty headaches.

      Heidi Jo’s doctors thought they had the answer when they did allergy tests on her and found she had an allergy to corn. There is almost nothing you can get pre packaged that does not contain corn products in it. And of course her favorite fast food place is Taco Bell. She cut corn out of her food intake and it has not helped at all.

      Favorite color? I am saddened to say that I don’t have a favorite. I’m worse than a kid in a candy store. Oooh, oooh I like that, oooh wait – no that is the best, oooh oooh look at this. It just gets worse and worse. The paper designers are out to get me, I swear they are. Each color has a range of hues. Then the paper designers have to tweak them just a bit and add a texture, or sparkle, or a print. When I make something for someone and they tell me what their favorite color is I’m totally stumped on what to do. Blue for example, Pati said Les likes blue. I have blues in nearly every hue, print, and texture. When I go to pick a paper to make his book cover I’m dreading it because now I have to pick one out of all of them. I’ll waffle and go back and forth until I just get so frustrated that I just grab one.

      Bet that helped you out a whole lot now didn’t it? :-p

  • Nancy

    Actually…it helped in the way that I totally understand it! lol I could NEVER pick a favorite either! I would just feel too disloyal to all the others!! haha I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings! 🙂 I used to say that my least favorite color was yellow because I just cannot wear that color…I can’t have it anywhere near me or I look ill! But I’m crazy about sunflowers and have decorated my kitchen with them…so I must like yellow, right? lol I’m certainly not going to make you pick a favorite one…so nevermind! 🙂

    • Message In A Fold

      I was just looking over your blog. The sunflower pictures you posted are fantastic. I’ve never seen a sunflower with red/pink streaks (that’s what I’ll call them). Love your photos of the sunflowers. I’m glad you understand my problem with a favorite color. Long ago, before all this paper became the “in thing” I used to like most colors except green. Can’t say that anymore 🙂

  • Nancy

    Thanks for popping in my blog again! Feel free to leave a comment there too…I love that! Did you see the one with the bee? I’m not a big fan of bees so that was taken using the zoom…I wasn’t that close! lol I really like sunflowers that’s why I had to decorate my kitchen with them! I wanted to enjoy them all year long! 🙂

    • Message In A Fold

      Yes, I saw your bee. Great shot! Sunflowers are not only in your kitchen they are on your blog page as well.

      I’ve posted a new item which includes a link to your blog. I love, love, love your two page layout with the clouds and metal hinges. I really like what you’ve done with the Scripture Challenges but your layout caught my attention!

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