Grumpy’s Day In the Sun

by Stefani on 22-April-2008

My kids call my dad Grumpy, which is kinda right on the money, only not where they are concerned. When it comes to “his boys” he’s Mr. Here’s A Five Dollar Bill, No Make it a Ten, Sure Have Two More Doughnuts, Anything You Want is Yours Baby!

A far cry from the man I grew up with.

My Dad was in the corp at Texas A&M. He trained as an officer for the Marines. After that, he flew helicopters for the Houston Police Department, followed by a stint as an undercover narcotics agent, then police chief, then investigator for banks (think fraud/forgery/etc).

So, you might imagine that he could be a bit of a hard nose. He ran his house like a tight ship. Trash cans in bedrooms and bathrooms should be empty at all times. Lines from the vacuum should be visible. If they aren’t it ain’t clean. There would be no sleeping in sister, there were cars to wash, miles to jog. We woke to reveille or the theme from Rocky and we walked the line.

Turns out though, having grandchildren turns you into a biggo softie.

My Dad revels in his new role. He thinks his grandkids are the best thing that ever happened.

So imagine his delight when the opportunity presented itself to take them to his alma mater, Texas A&M, home of the Aggies, for the weekend!

I don’t know who was more excited, the boys, or their Grumpy.

We started with a little trip to the world famous Dixie Chicken.

The Famous Chicken

This is more or less a yummy grub, honky tonk, pool hall, place to while away the hours drinking beer and playing dominos kind of establishment.

Make Mine a Double

It’s one of those things you just have to do, if you’re an Aggie.

What College is Really About

We managed to time it just right. There was a crawfish boil going on out back. My poor deprived children had never seen such a thing as a crawfish. They kept calling them crabs.

Their First Crawfish Experience

After that, we headed off to the campus bookstore for new hats. Cuz, you gotta have yourself a hat.

Lil' Aggie

Then on to the maroon and white scrimmage.

I know it’s silly, but it was really kind of goose bump inducing thrillicious to watch my fellas walk up the dark ramp and out into the big bright brilliance of Kyle Field for the very first time. They were gape mouthed.

First View of Kyle Field

Grumpy was tickled, head to toe.

From the national anthem, to the big scoreboard, to the Dippin’ Dots, to all the Aggie yells (that’s cheers, for the uninitiated) and the fight song to the fireworks… well, it was a lot of fun.

The Ags Go Marching On

And I think Grumpy got his wish… three little men went home all on fire to be Aggies someday.

Imagine, all of my shaggy headed little boys growing up to be big men, with crew cuts and uniforms, and girls waiting to dance with them down at the Chicken.

I might need a sedative.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeather April 22, 2008 at 10:02 pm

howdy! im delurking (i found you through OMSH) just to say whoop! im a senior at texas a&m this semester and i’ll be graduating (barring any unforseen complications, ha) this may and it tickled me to no end to see my beloved and wonderful school featured here. and aren’t the t-fries at the chicken to DIE for?! i have to get some every time! mmmmm fatty, greasy cheese and the nest fries and delicious, perfect ranch to dip in. geez, im drooling. :p

anyway, just wanted to say howdy and agree with everything you said here, and one random question- did yall come for the maroon and white game? is that what they got to watch? good times. 🙂 aggieland is the stuff of legends. 😀 i do hope your boys come to a&m someday. what they teach here can’t be learned in class.


Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeather April 22, 2008 at 10:04 pm

oops, that was supposed to say the “best” fries. 🙂

Anne April 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm

What a great time for all! I love the picture with the hat.

Allison Fouse April 22, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Hehehe. I like this story. =)

katherine April 23, 2008 at 4:29 am

When we lived in College Station we only had one car so the children and I took their Dad to work every day. One spring morning, with pink in the sky and a mist rising, we passed the Aggie Band all dressed out and rehearsing outside Kyle Field. I doubled back, threw the car in park, and the children and I raced in behind the band as they marched out onto the field. The kids and I climbed into the stands. The mist rose. Geese flew over. A train passed. The Mighty Aggies played just for us, sitting alone in the end zone. And when the band cut for 10 beats, marching, we clearly heard the seniors spurs ringing in that early morning silence. Me sitting there, one Mama out early with two babies, in such a rare and special kind of silence.

I’m really not an Aggie. I’m more of a two percenter. But for a moment I caught the Whoop for sure. And I just wanted to signify. My daughter still misses Texas, thinks she is a Texan, and may very well be one of the girls down at the Chicken waiting to dance with one of your young men some day.

amy April 23, 2008 at 4:53 am

sounds fantastic. Can I just say I so get that little moment of the boys walking up the ramp–those are the moments of life that get ya!

kristin April 23, 2008 at 4:55 am

your writing is like honey and butter to me.

thank you for sharing your gift.

Tracy April 23, 2008 at 5:50 am

Aw, cute. I live less than a mile from my alma mater, and it feels sort of the same. College bars, college kids, college football. It’s great. I wanna be a college kid forever. Minus the dumpy college apartments.

I think I might like to visit your grumpy’s college town. 🙂

beki April 23, 2008 at 6:25 am

That sounds like a fun time. If I’m ever in College Station again (watching an LSU – Aggie game) I’ll be sure to check out Dixie Chicken 🙂

gonzomama April 23, 2008 at 7:45 am

I might need a tissue. What a big moment for you all. I get a chill just looking at the picture of them walking up the ramp. I so look forward taking my boy to his first ball game (though it will be baseball).

Tipper April 23, 2008 at 7:52 am

Funny how becoming a grandparent changes parents.

Kristy April 23, 2008 at 9:04 am

Whoop! Gig ’em, Aggies!

Cripes, you don’t even know what this post did to me. I alternated between “Oh!” and “Aw”. The Dixie Chicken! Kyle Field! The 12th Man jersey! The band!!

Sniff. I need a moment.

Hubs went to grad school (masters and PhD) at A&M. Five of the best years of our life were spent there, in the Armpit of Heat.

We have to go back to visit soon!


And grandparents – yeah, I don’t know what happens to them. I’ve said to my parents often, “Who ARE you people??” It’s like the Softie Aliens come possess them, leaving only their shells behind.

miss chris April 23, 2008 at 11:00 am

Love this. Well, I enjoy pretty much every post you write. (Especially the chicken papa one. I cried!) Anyway, this one gave me goosebumps for your dad, and I’m a *Mizzou* fan. xo

Jade April 23, 2008 at 11:22 am

The Dixie Chicken, plus the crawfish boil sounds wonderful! There were live crawfish at HEB yesterday and the kids just stood there in awe. Makena kept saying “we don’t eat those!”

Crystal April 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm


That is funny.

k April 23, 2008 at 2:33 pm

We missed you by a week! We were there for parent’s weekend and to see my oldest get to wear his boots for the first time! He is the first Aggie in our family but we have definately caught the maroon fever! Even if we make our home in the land of the longhorns! (Saw them off!!! & Whoop!)

Molly April 23, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Oh, those crawfish! I’d seen them before, but hadn’t tasted them until my friend and I went to Louisiana last month!

Molly April 23, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Oh, those crawfish! I’d seen them before, but hadn’t tasted them until my friend and I went to Louisiana last month!

Sarah Jackson April 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm

How fun! And maybe they’ll still be shaggy long haired boys when they go to A&M. 🙂

We order crawfish a couple of times a year and have them flown in, since they’re not exactly native to these parts. Then we throw a big crawfish boil party in the back yard. Super fun!

Keri April 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Ha ha! My friends and I used to skip school and hang out at the Dixie Chicken all day. Um, when we were still in high school. There was always this rumor that underage drinkers had to go upstairs to talk to “Mr. Chicken”. I’m not sure if it was true, or if there even WAS a Mr. Chicken, but it sure had us scared! lol

Cheryl April 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm

I was going to say whooop but I’m not an aggie. I’ve dated ’em, I’ve been to bonfire (back in the day) with ’em, and I ultimately married what I call my “reformed” aggie because he transferred out his senior year – VERY TRAUMATIC – except that he met me – the love of his life 😉 I nearly had to put him in therapy over the fact that I couldn’t understand him getting his ring when he didn’t actually graduate from there.

OMSH April 24, 2008 at 6:05 am


I will not admit Mr. OMSH and I play Reveille loudly and marching around the house with a bunch of yelling kids.

I will not admit how very much I love it when the Aggies score.

I will not admit to indoctrination at an early age.

I have no idea how long it took me to get to the bottom of the pitcher where my ring was dunked.

We go to College Station once a month to visit my aunt and uncle who served as surrogate parents to me and my husband during our school years.

The nostalgia truly never ends.

MadWoman Meg April 24, 2008 at 3:05 pm

That was a fantastic story, I could almost feel the joy coming out of those boys.

I can’t wait to take my kids back to the UK to my old haunts and have them watch the rugby.

Good post!

Thistle Downs wool design April 25, 2008 at 7:13 am

wonderful story!

Kristi Richards April 27, 2008 at 6:08 pm

what an aweomse experience!! LOVED the Dixie Chicken in college, just went to Blinn instead of A&M

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