Texas Series - the Travel
We all took seats in the white Minivan, and Dad pulled out of the airport parking garage. He asked what to do next; go home, grab some dinner, start some sight-seeing? I mentioned I was hungry with just the three peanut bags in my stomach, but no sooner were we on the highway and he pulled off at a castle.
Seriously, a castle. The building was called Medieval Times and they held a dinner and tournament show. Tony, the adopted little boy, had wanted to see the show a month prior for his birthday. The tickets were rather expensive though, but Dad ran inside to grab a schedule for upcoming events. A few minutes passed as small talk was passed throughout the car. I was still having a hard time figuring out how to talk to these small people. Kaylee had already warmed up to me and asked lots and lots of questions about myself and my horse Milo.
Dad came back out to the car and said there was a showing in an hour. He wanted us to watch the show. Not sure what was in store, I was only mildly hesitant. But there were horses and jousting in the event, and dinner would be served in an hour. My grumbling stomach made no complaints of that knowledge. We entered the castle, Kaylee grabbing hold of my hand. It felt strange holding the hand of a kid.
Tickets paid, we entered into a grandly decorated and acted room. Our photo was taken with a man and a falcon and we were all given paper crowns to wear for the duration of the evening. We walked around the crowded holding room, and went to the viewing windows of the stables to see some of the horses. I was blown away by the amount of stalls the barn held, all with beautiful stall fronts. I was a little smitten with the black horse in the window, aptly named Blacky as his stall plate read, who was tied to the wall and I assumed would be used in the performance.
Kaylee was still attached to my free hand, and jabbered and talked away to me. Her spunky personality was starting to be revealed, and some of her practical jokes were displayed as well. She was awfully amused with herself. We stood around watching birthday kids and even a seventy year old adult get their dream come true being "knighted" by the king. We stood together closely and I felt only slightly uncomfortable with the situation. It was a strange situation to be put into seeing my Dad, his wife, and their two newly adopted, and very small children all in tow. This new family unit I had not seen before or been a part of made me a little nostalgic, and somewhat out of place being a grown up and distant biological daughter.
The doors opened to the arena and tables and by the color of our crowns, we were directed to our seating locations. Yellow was ours, which meant that the yellow knight was who we rooted for. We took seats, and by only paying for three adults and one child, meant that one of the kids would be sitting on laps throughout the tournament. Guess who wanted to sit on my lap.
She poked at my face and said jokes, all the while asking more and more questions of me. Talk about feeling really awkward now. As someone who doesnt connect with children anyways, having a strange one sitting directly on my lap and completely fascinated with me was a strange event in and of itself. I quickly had to come to terms with my personal bubble space as it had been invaded long ago.
The tournament started with a beautiful free display of a man and a white horse, an Andalusian it appeared. I tried to take pictures but the child on my lap made it difficult and the camera was handed off to Rena who took on the role of photographer. The knights were soon introduced by the chancelour riding a beautiful black Friesian. Our knight, as it so happened, was aboard the black one I admired in the stable, Blacky. The yellow knight threw a white carnation into our crowd which fell just behind Kaylee. I reached behind and grabbed it for her, and she was really smitten. There was another display of horsemanship through "the Guard" running a drill pattern set to music, and another single man with a bay Andalusian displaying a typical Dressage pattern. There were elements to it I could tell weren't running according to plan, the horse was giving him some minor difficulty, but I tried not to nit-pick the performance. Finally, a group of four white Andalusians or Lipizzaners, were brought out being handled on the ground. Here they displayed some of the medieval war tactics taught to them including the well known Capriole. Dinner was being served simultaneously, and we were given an entire half chicken to eat individually, without silverware provided. Kaylee needed to dismount my lap at this point so I could actually satisfy my grumbling stomach.
Now the events were really beginning. Each knight ran through a series of different tasks; retrieving a ring on the end of their jousting lance at high speed, hitting a target with said lance, and others. All were doing well and would advance to the jousting portion. Throughout the tournament, the event kept a story line going, with the King and his Princess leading it, and even an "unknown bad guy" coming into the picture to challenge whomever won the tournament. At each interval between events where the audience was expected to root and holler for their knight, we all raised hands and cheered for our yellow knight. I couldnt help but look over two seats away from me and watch my Dad, arms raised and totally supporting the event for the children. Crown worn and all, I saw the big kid I always knew, but somehow the familiar feeling was still tinged with some pain from our own history and the knowledge of the new family he had.
The jousting now began and in each round one knight was eliminated. Each round not only had the horseback jousting part to it, but at the end a sword fight on foot was enacted. Sparks flew from the hitting of their blades and it was quite a performance. Kaylee now seated back on my lap, but she annoyed the heck out of me rubbing the white carnation in my face. My words of distain only seemed to fuel her fire and seemed to encourage her to continue her antics. I was getting weary of her constant need to me, and questioned how long I could hold my patience with her.
The end of the tournament drew near and unfortunately our yellow knight, who had made it into the final round, fell to the blade of the green knight. But no one had forgotten about the unknown bad guy who made his final appearance and spectacular display against the tournament winner green knight. Of course, however, good triumphs over evil, and the green knight finished in glory. We all stood at the end of the performance and exited the arena.
Walking back to the van now in the dark of the evening, the children were deep in questions and comments on the tournament. Kaylee still needed to be attached at my hip as we walked across the parking lot, and I was getting tired from my day-long travel and weary of her high pitched voice demanding my attention. I couldnt help in the car, however, smirking at some of the questions she asked of me. Like how come I hadnt brought Milo along with me to Texas. She had wanted to see him so bad, why didnt I bring him? Logistics of how far away we live just didnt get through to her and she insisted. Moving away from Milo, the question now was how come I didnt just move down to Texas and live with them forever? I asked if she would pay for me to move down and find me a job. "Ya" was the confident and unwavering reply. She had a whole seven dollars. She had money. I couldnt help but laugh at this innocent comment. Five year old minds can converse and talk, but certianly could not grasp distance, time, money, or anything substantial like that.
After driving through downtown Dallas, we started on our way back to Lakewood Village, the small suburb that their house was at. Kaylee pointed out and described each important landmark; her school, stores, and finally their house. As we pulled into the drive and I got my first look at my Dad's new home, I suddenly became washed in emotion. This entirely new family unit that my Dad was a part of. The new life and routine he shared with these kids he adopted. The drives to school, to church, and to work were all a part of the daily happenings of his life. Far away in Dallas. Not inclusive of myself or my brother and sister, all states away from him. I couldnt help but feel some pain at this knowledge that was now before my eyes, not in some distant location only known of by talking over the phone with him. It was real now.