Greetings, my dear friends. Today is perhaps one of the biggest nutkicks in the calendar year. See, it’s the Monday after the long Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, and with the start of the Christmas Season, it seems everyone is dreaming of the next Holiday break. Sadly, we’re weeks away from that sh*t and today is get the f*ck back to work day. Boo Hiss.
Wednesday, when my lazy azz last wrote y’all, I was on the road to our family’s Longhorn ranch and looking forward to all the adventures the holiday held. As some of you long-time readers might know, whenever the Liberty Longhorn Ranch is involved, hilarity ensues. Would Angry Baby drop a deuce in the bathtub like she did last year, or perhaps I’d get trapped in a vehicle with a CAR FARTING SISTER, the possibilities for FUN were limitless.
This year, I decided the theme of Thanksgiving Dinner/Vacation was, “Low-Stress.” In the weeks leading up to the big meal, I coordinated with fellow attendees and planned out every aspect. Yes, my time at the Ranch would be as stress free as I could make it, but that meant shoring up lots of little details well in advance.
Tuesday Night, we packed the truck and Wednesday morning at 6:15am we started the 4.5 hour drive. My Moms in law rode with us and the trip up we passed time listening to Christmas music (Angry Baby’s one request,) trading bizarre trivia and reviewing our Thanksgiving dinner for 16 prep strategy. Hours melted away, as they often do when someone else is driving (Lover Fo’ Life = Drive Champ), and we arrived in Stephenville, a bustling town 30 minutes away from the ranch.
Stephenville not only houses my Moms in law’s alma mater, Tarleton University, it also is home to the ONLY Wal-Mart in the WORLD that I will shop at.
Usually, I love Wal-Mart like a genital wart, and refuse to spend a single moment in the Evil Empire’s clutches. But the Stephenville Wal-Mart is special, I anticipate visiting it each year. For starters, it’s got great stuff, the sporting goods section rivals a stand alone outdoor goods store, and most importantly, it’s filled with awesome people. Workers and patrons alike, you’re only going to encounter friendly and helpful folks at this magical location.
With our legs stretched, and our bellies full of delicious Grumps Hamburgers, Lover Fo’ Life, Angry Baby, My Moms in law and I assembled our final Thanksgiving grocery list and headed to the Stephenville Wal-Mart…at Noon on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Thanks to strategic list splitting, we conquered and were on our way to the Ranch within 45 minutes.
Once we arrived, a big lizard nicknamed a “Mountain Boomer,” was waiting for us on the side of the bunk house. Busy looking down at the leaves I was crunching, my hair nearly brushed up against the lizardy visitor. Thankfully, I was several feet away when L4L pointed him out. Here’s a photo:
The rest of Wednesday was devoted to unpacking and Thanksgiving meal prep, Lover Fo’ Life made the gang his world-famous grilled cheese sandwiches, while we waited for the family arriving later that night. Once everyone was there and had unloaded their respective cars, we started to catch up over several bottles of wine and beer.
Seeing as it was frigidly cold (in the 20’s with strong winds) we sat around the table inside and chatted it up until 1:30am. At that point, one of us got the idea it would be fun to go out in the cold and stargaze. After nearly freezing our chestnuts off, Lover Fo’ Life and his brother Thane-o, both Eagle Scouts, made a perfect fire that lasted just the right amount of time, we stood around the pavilion fireplace and yelled like braying drunk jackasses for the next hour. At 3:00am, just 2 hours before my Moms in law was set to put the turkey in the oven, I drifted asleep.
A measly 4.5 hours later, I was up. Going to the Ranch isn’t about getting sleep, it’s about seeing everyone at the 8:00am breakfast while the sun and sunny attitudes lift your hung over spirits. Thanks to my LOW-STRESS Thanksgiving theme, all I needed to do for the BIG MEAL was 1. Help anyone who needed it. 2. Warm up the savory sweet potatoes I made the day before, and 3. Prep and roast my INCREDIBLE Brussels Sprouts.
Each person was assigned/volunteered to bring a part of the BIG MEAL, and everyone did great. Thanks to My Moms in Law and Future Sis and Law Dos’ help, along with Nonnie and her Crew working in an additional kitchen at the main house, we made an incredible meal for 16 that cleaned up in less than 30 minutes.
Even Angry Baby joined in by providing the centerpiece, a one-eyed Turkey made of a toilet paper roll, and Check out the adorable Turkey shaped relish tray that Rhonda made!
After we were sufficiently stuffed, Angry Baby decided she wanted to go fishing. Nonnie, L4L, MIL and I joined her at my favorite of 3 three fishing ponds on the ranch, Dock pond. Dock pond is the smallest of the fishing holes and it is the only one with a dock. In the summers we paddle boat it.
Angry Baby and her Granny fished and finally gave up. Seems the fish were stuffed from their own Thanksgiving dinners because none of those sluts showed up.
No bother. We still had a good rock hunt, saw a massive skunk, and accidentally walked up on his skunk house.
That evening, my bestie, “the Rooster,” arrived with her husband and their 5.5 month old daughter, Lily AKA THE HAPPIEST BAYBEH, EVAH!!!!!!!
With the gang all there, Jimmy G. and my Baby Bro did a song swap at the pavilion while the rest of the family relaxed under heaters and in front of the roaring blaze.
To drink, I served the world’s most lethal and F*CKING AMAZING spiked cider. Even the Rooster, who’s usually “not a fan,” of apple cider, was savoring every sip of the delicious concoction. Don’t worry, I’ll post the recipe soon. Spoiler Alert: It’s the ONLY thing you’ll serve all season.
Anyranchings, after a night of singing, laughing, and drinking, we retired to rooms, and I was overjoyed that my “Low-Stress” themed Thanksgiving went off without a hitch.The rest of our time at the Liberty Longhorn was just as great and filled with laughter as the first 2 days. And deer blood. Lots of it. Thane-O caught a big ‘un.
As for the kiddo? She’s a lil’ rancher all the way. Angry Baby was in absolute heaven. After days of unbridled attention coupled with her running around/ playing with Petey, AKA her new best bud, she did not want to leave.
In the end, my uncharacteristic initiative and pre-trip productivity helped set us up for a great Holiday. The wonderful family I am a part of, the perfect weather and LOW-STRESS plans made sure it was perfection.
I hope all of you tramps had a great holiday. And if you didn’t, don’t worry: the spiked cider recipe I’m sharing very soon is going to make the rest of your holiday season a cheery blur of drunken revelry.
Until next time,