On Saturday, January 11, 2014 The Texas Instruments Houston Alumni Association journeyed to Austin, Texas to learn more about our State’s Capital. I was so excited that this was such a well-received trip. I had 25 to sign-up for this trip. Illness took its toll on this adventure! I had 8 people cancel just days before the trip and 2 as I was picking up the donuts for the trip. We were exactly 15 strong when we left Bayland Park. Many thanks to those that showed up: Dorothy Wanza, Betty Parker, Mary and Rudy Gomez, Della DuHart, Sarah Harvey, Mary Lee and Howard Cameron, Tom and Cynthia Croissant, Gwendolyn Dickey, Deloris Baugh, Bernadine Denis, Mary Brown and Della DuHart’s guest Shirley Tezano. If anyone of these had not shown up we would have dined on donuts and coffee in the parking lot of Bayland Park instead of visiting the State Capital. (Editor's Note: Harris County sets the minimum number for a bus trip to go at 15 people.)
You could have not asked for a prettier day. Upon arriving at Bayland Park there where 2 busses in the parking lot as luck would have it both where going to Austin and to the Capital. Della being one of the first to arrive got on the wrong bus. Her clue was that she was not wearing a RED HAT. TIHAA’s bus left after all were accounted for. As we flew down I10, I acted as stewardess on the Precinct 3 Express to Austin. Our break along the way was at Buc-ees in Bastrop. Della said that was her first time at a Buc-ees. I believe she will be looking for these for a pit-stop on all her travels (they have anything you want and super bathrooms). We played a little Bingo and it seemed that Bernie had the lucky card she won twice.
Upon our arrival at the State Capital I was greeted by my daughter, Nikki, granddaughters, Lilly and Kathryn, grandson, Nicholas, son-in-law, Danny and his mother JoAnn. They all live in the Austin area. I did not see much of Lilly after she met-up with the group. She attached herself to Della. I am hoping Della and everyone else she enlightened with her stories believe they are only a figment of a child’s imagination. After going through security at the Capital we were greeted by our guide. She informed us that the State of Texas did not have the money at the time to build the Capital. However, the state had an abundance of land, so an article was adapted to the state constitution which authorized the sale of public lands for that purpose. So, the builders of the capitol (John V. Farwell and G. B. Farwell) , known as the Capitol Syndicate, were paid with more than three-million acres of public land in the "Panhandle" region of Texas; this tract later became the largest cattle ranch in the world, the XIT Ranch. They believe that this was one of the largest barter transactions of recorded history. She points out many beautiful details of the Capital; such as, the construction of the Capital is of sunset granite mined from an area around Marble Falls, the eight inch by eight inch hinges are inscribed with the words "Texas Capitol" and weigh over seven pounds each. She reminds us that the State of Texas has only had two women that that have served as Governor: Miriam Amanda Wallace "Ma" Ferguson (served 2 terms) and Ann Richards. Texas has had 47 Governors. Their portraits are hanging on the rotunda walls going to the fourth floor. When a new Governor is voted in the monumental task of moving all the portraits over one space is set into motion. In our exploration of the Capital we discovered many more treasurers and history. However, we were limited on the amount of time we could spend there because we had reservations for 1:00pm at El Mercado Restaurant.
At El Mercado we were pleasantly surprised to have Jeanne Brandt and Ramona Forfia join us. Jeanne had called and said she might be able to meet us at the restaurant; however, I did not tell anyone in case she was unable to make it. We had a delightful meal. After which we headed back to Bayland Park.
I am sorry that everyone was not on this trip. But if you are in Austin make the Capital one of your stops I know I will.