In just a couple of weeks, the summer of 2010 is going to be history. Yeah, that’s right. Hard to believe it’s almost over. So before everyone eligible starts lugging around that backpack full of crayons and spiral notebooks, consider this: your boss, or teacher, might ask you to write an annoying essay on what you did on your summer vacation. What would you write? I hope you made a little popcorn kernel of a memory or two. If not, there are a few days left to perform a magic trick. Yep, just like the cartoon character Bullwinkle with absolutely nothin’ up his sleeve, try to pull a rabbit out of the old hat. This year my oldest daughter and I hung out while my special needs child attended summer camp. Katie and I started out in Galveston. Geez, I hadn’t been there since way before Hurricane Ike barreled through almost two years ago. First thing I noticed as Katie’s Honda sailed over the bay was, hey, somebody decorated the Galveston Causeway Bridge. The light pole cross beams are all wavy-lookin’ and the bridge lane divider between going in and leaving Galveston was, too. It was a nice nautical touch … and I was also pleasantly surprised there was no toll involved. I have to say the highlight of our adventure, besides our lovely stay at the Tremont Hotel on the Strand, and the self-guided tour at the Grand 1894 Opera House, had to be the gumbo at the Gumbo Bar. Good stuff. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. The little joint on Post Office Street has this lovely muddy-colored broth and lots of tasty stuff you’d totally expect floating around in it. But don’t be fooled when ordering. The “Lil Daddy” bowl, the smaller of the two choices, comfortably feeds two hungry elephants. Now if you look closely while strolling around the island, you will notice lots of businesses open, alas Col. Bubbie’s is not one of them, along with some ongoing building renovations. There are definitely little signs, literally, that a hurricane violently passed through the island. Some of the buildings have small, discreet markers, mostly at eye level, to show just how high the waterline rose during the hurricane. I couldn’t help but winch every time I passed one on the street. Totally puts living without electricity for a couple of weeks in perspective. Did I mention Katie and I did the Tree Sculpture Tour around the island? Put it on your list of top five things to do next time you pay the island a visit. Oh, you say you haven’t heard about the tree sculptures? There was an article in the daily rag about them a while back. It’s why I read the paper every morning … for articles just like that. Basically, in a pistachio nut shell, Galveston lost over 4,000 trees because of the hurricane. A couple of amazing local artists are going around and creating whimsical works of art from the remnants of trees. It’s my favorite story about making lemonade out of lemons. There are about two dozen of them now, most are scattered throughout the historical district, and according to the Visitors Center at Ashton Villa, they have become quite popular. Some of my favorites are carved mermaids, pelicans, angel sisters, herons, a geisha, a pod of dolphins with a mermaid, the Tin Man and Toto from “The Wizard of Oz,” and an upright Great Dane leaning on a fence. The Dane has had his left paw ripped off and replaced at least once, so keep your hands off. The wood carvings are mostly located in the front yards of houses. Get a handy, dandy map at the Visitors Center and just drive around, get out of your car and snap a photo. Note that we could not find any of the maps in the abundant brochure boxes around town. My personal favorite tree sculpture was the Dalmatian, probably because there is a story that goes with it. The Dalmatian is in front of the fire station and City Hall on 25th Street. The lady at the Visitors Center told us the story goes that the fire station never had a resident dog for one reason or another. The stately tree-carved version is about five feet tall, complete with spots, and is the fire station’s first. She didn’t know if it was true, but said it sure makes a good story. Katie and I nodded in the affirmative. I predict the fire house tale will soon turn into one of those urban legends. Is it fact … or fiction? You decide. So now you’ve been challenged. Here is hoping you haven’t been pulling grouchy old lions out of your magic hat this summer. Go for the magic of the rabbit. Dixie Frantz is a longtime Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location