Saturday, November 28, 2009

For the Duchess

Squired Her Ladyship and two young Lords (that would be His Lordship Mr. Baby and friend Lord Sebastiano) to the Texas Renaissance Festival yesterday, a marathon trip it was: I am still unable to comprehend how a 250 mile trip (one-way) takes 6 hours: that would be about 40 mph and, last I checked, that weren't no Model T we wuz drivin'.

Okay, yes, there were distractions and detours: after dislodging Lord S from his hilltop castle home, there was a quick run into the ubiquitous grocer and, yes, the obligatory road fuel at the equally ubiquitous green awnings, but to our credit, once out on the long crawl of I-10, we did not give in to the temptation of Buc-ee's, the Death Star-sized truck stop slash Xanadu to many of my traveling middle school urchins at the Instituto. I felt a bit of the traitorous apostate in not paying homage to what has become lore, right up there with the endless speechifying in The Iliad that attends even the (ten pages later) death of a man with a spear lodged in his throat. I promised myself that I would pay my respects on the return trip, but sadly, in trying to up my mph to, say, 47, I passed on the Death Star twice in the same day.

And yes, the Brenham Airport (that's right, Duchess, airport) Diner did waylay us for a delightful home-cooked meal, ushered and stewarded and served by a bevy of bobby-soxers right out of "Happy Days." Ashley was our waitroness, equipped with the sturdy musculature (this was remarked upon by our Ladyship, not by your squire, to said Ashley) of a gymnastics slash cheerleading coach. We of course poured some gilder into the resident juke box and, as with all ancient juke boxes, were entertained by a throbbing bass line and not much else. At meal's end, we were out to the tarmac for some Cessna shots, by which time Lord Sebastiano had teamed with the inner child of Her Ladyship to pronounce yet another detour to the now regionally infamous Emperor of Ice Cream. In addition to his role as co-conspirator with the young avatar of Her Ladyship, Lord S was also our traveling statistician: he thumbs-upped the diner's food to the tune of 10 out of a possible 5. Them's was some fine onion rangs.

To our blissful amusement, on our way to the Emperor's Palace, we passed by a CVS pharmacy, grandly proclaiming a sale on the frozen lactose of two equally well-known Vermont purveyors who, in deference to the Emperor, shall remain nameless. Likely, those CVS-ers are just the kind of people who would blithely drive by the aforementioned Buc-ee's, sans even the slurpy guilt of Your Squire.

As we pulled up to the towering Emerald City (albeit in trim Federalist brick), Lord Mr. Baby opined that it looked like "the Government of Ice Cream," at which point I told the assembled of Mr. Stevens' poem to the Emperor. We went into the palatial digs, where I ordered, as is my wont, one scoop of butter pecan and one of pralines and cream. Doubtless, at least one of you five readers out there are wondering, as did my masters, what "the hell" (no, the Lords did not themselves use that particular word, but this is my telling) difference there was between the two flavors. I refrained then, as I will now, from making that distinction, as it is not a line of demarcation that needs delineating to the truly obsessed lactoidesseurs. We were all amused when, moments later, while lounging at our table, we heard yet another infidel wonder aloud at the serving counter as to the difference between those same two heavenly flavors.

Her Ladyship, a more restrained and refined eater than her traveling companions, dined on one scoop of frozen strawberry yogurt. Sniffed Lord Mr. Baby: "That is the broccoli of ice cream, 'Mom.'" I'm afraid the lad was right; I sampled the paltry doings myself. Lord S proclaimed his flavors 47 out of a possible 23.

Did they ever make it to the Festival, you are perhaps - and understandably - wondering, and yes, they did, after yet another final time warp into the East Texas pines. Disembarking from their Korean carriage, they heard the wonderful drums in the distance and the roar of the arena crowds and soon they too were through the gates of the city and into the magic that is, well, the magic that is. Lovely ladies and handsome gentlemen abounding, merchants with their wares, dragons on their best behavior, and, this year, wonderful Ents, declaiming in their deep well-sprung throoming voices. Your Squire set himself down at one point in a green sky chair, a hammocky configuration, and would have been content to wile all of the rest of his afternoon floating in that one delicious spot. As the pounding of surf and the wailing of wind seaside is sure to blow all manner of hoohaw out of the human spirit, so do the gentle lights and blithe spirits of that piney fest soothe the fevered brows of all who enter and partake.

The parking lot devas were with us, as we made a quick and merry escape when the time came to leave Lothlorien. Back to the Emperor's town we made our way once again, stopping for repast at the Ant Street Inn. Under a beautiful and huge Tiffany glass chandelier, we dined heartily. Lord S sat with a looming Lady Liberty standing right behind him in the corner. Once back from a visit to the "facilities," I pronounced it in need of a Parental Guidance designation, as its elegant walls were bedecked with a bevy of paintings of completely skyclad beauties. Lord S forswore any need of its services, denying us a statistic that may have broken his tidy mental calculator. I can imagine that many of the Emperor's sons have spent a good many hours lost in contemplation of the splendor of those walls.

As I am back here at this digital contraption, it is quite evident that we did indeed make it back from our travels into and through time. It is a quiet and lazy Saturday morning; His Lordship Mr. Baby is behind me, off in his own little digital world, and Her Ladyship is resting from her travels still. Lord Sebastiano is no doubt regaling his own family up on the hilltop, with tales of swordsmanship, kettle corn, mead, and all the merriment that is a day lost in time and space.



Blogger Dee Martin said...

I am now being fanned and given sports drinks and having my tired brow wiped by mi familia as I recuperate from nanowrimo. Since the Sunday Scribbling goddesses have not sent their weekly decree from on high - I thought I would stop and enjoy some leisurely reading (sans the voice of the dictator whispering in my guilty ear to stop procrastinating and write). It sounds like the royal family had a lovely day and I personally cannot see how anyone would EVER need to ask the difference between Butter Pecan and Pralines and Cream. Blasphemy! Braums has a flavor called Cherries, Pecans, and Cream which cause groaning from my offspring as we stand in line and I peruse all the available flavors while they complain and tell me to just go ahead and order since they know that I will end up with my favorite. Pralines and Cream, however.. that is a whole 'nother level of goodness :)

2:16 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

No, the only flavors that can be considered even half way good are Thin Mint Chocolate Cookie and Extreme Moose Tracks. But then I am a chocoholic and need large quantities of dark chocolate to help me digest the surrounding lactose.

Sounds like a wonderful day, Sir Murat. I wonder that you are a mere paltry Squire when your progeny is already a lord. Did you anger some dragon royalty and get demoted to toad status for a long time?

9:14 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: Here's hoping that all the pampering also includes a fair share of hand massages. I'd say that anything resembling pampering in your book is fair game.

9:51 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: I wuz wondering that very thing myself. Not sure about dragons and toads: probably something more Kafkaesque. As long as the pack mule merits ice cream status, though, he'll be jez fine. I believe I will have to investigate them Moose Tracks.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Definitely, do. They are divine!!!

So you have gone from squire to mule??? Isn't that a little asinine? I was referring to dragons and toads in keeping with the spirit of your Renaissance Fair. Of course, Pinocchio was also a story of that time period (not the Disney version). Did you tell a number of lies, by any chance? Skip school? Good heavens, your school is a skip a minute, teachers taking the students for a window-shopping spree around the plaza and calling it "math class". No wonder you all grew donkey ears!

10:13 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: Maybe more just a mulish (mule-headed) squire, one who thinks outside the stall. And speaking of outside the stall, it appears that's exactly where I'll have to go to track down the Moose Tracks. Our local grocery near-monopoly HEB (for Howard E. Butt) does not stock the frozen elixir; all the grocers who stock it are in Austin - something to think about, next time we are up there. Perusing the flavors, I've got my eye on Mocha Moose. What with all the fauna flavorings, I was surprised to see that there are no Donkey Tracks.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

It used to be an Alaskan microbrand called "Denali" before it got bought out for distribution nationwide. All the flavors feature animals native to the 49th state. They are all super delicious.

10:54 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Though it may involve spurning the beloved and homegrown Amy's Ice Cream shop, I'll be on the lookout the next time we roll into Austin (should be soon, considering my sister's imminent move there).

3:54 PM  
Blogger MichaelO said...

Several times I drove by the fairgrounds. Never did make the festival though. Quite the marathon event you and your tribe!

3:54 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Miguel: All round the world and back. And that was without Buc-ee's...

6:55 PM  
Anonymous missalister said...

Grandiloquentastic! Oh, my poor homesick self! I had to visit the TRF website and sniff the monitor, but alas it smelled like plastic. At least the sights were worthy. Two of my favorites from Scarborough Faire were there: mainstays Sholo the Nubian and Christophe the Insulter. The latter has in the past re-calipalpitated my mental calculator. Fortunately, my attention this night was diverted by the subtlety of your frozen fancy being along the lines of my cookie dough atop cookies and cream. Ben and Jerry wouldn’t give a hoot. They’re billionaires. And I don’t care ‘cause I can go anywhere atop the magic airport carpet, even Texas : )

11:27 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Duchess: Not even patchouli plastic? Alas, poor Yorick. The wonderment of this all is that we have simply scraped one tiny nano-flake of the gold leaf off this Elysium: there will always be more and more to return to, like the first time I went to Florence and was having such a gloriously drunken mess of a time with the Italians that the "obligatory" visit to the Uffizi seemed entirely unnecessary: there would always be time again for such things. There are oceans of time to return to the magicks of those piney woods.

Much like always returning to the essence of muchness.

7:52 AM  
Blogger anno said...

Even a week after Thanksgiving, I'm feeling the bliss of finding yourself in another time, and in another world. Good thing for ice cream -- otherwise, I fear you might yet remain in that green sky chair, surveying your domains, paltry squire or not (and I suspect not). Sounds wonderful!

12:43 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: In a green sky chair, I would be lord of all: my minions could fetch me all the gelati a reposing lord could want.

Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

12:56 PM  

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