Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hooray for La Feria Teachers!

I was recently honored to chat with the teachers, librarians and principals of La Feria ISD, which, I thought was near Corpus Christi (about 4 1/2 hours away) but it turns out it's waaaaay south. It took me and my Romance Writer Pal Emily McKay oh, about 12 hours, including getting lost on the loop in San Antonio, (around and around and around--I'm pretty sure the engineers who designed Loop 410 did so on a cocktail napkin at a happy hour at the Stagger On Inn).

Those of you who know me know that I have no concept of time or distance, which makes me a pretty crappy employee, but I've heard it makes me an interesting date :)

The teachers were totally worth the traffic ticket outside Raymondtown and Emily accidentally drinking her contacts which were kept safely in a Dixie cup beside the sink at the La Quinta. Well, all that stuff actually happened to Emily, but she is a very good sport and assured me that yes, she'll go on a road trip with me again, but we're going to actually look at a map next time *sheesh*

After our 12-hour trek through lots of long, straight, very sunny roads, we finally got to the Harlingen La Quinta, but we were so late that they gave away our two-queen bedroom, and we had to sleep (all four of us) in a king size bed. Trust me. I am no treat to sleep with. I sleep like a WWF wrestler, and am non-discriminate on who I kick, swing at or steal blankets from. Sorry gang.

A big shoutout to Rhonda Crow, who I actually met at the Texas Library Association last year, Sherry Stewart for putting my name in the hopper and Cindy Torres, who made it all happen. And, in one of my flakier moments, I totally forgot to take pictures of my new La Feria pals! Luckily, Rhonda sent me a pic of her and a little one from TLA, so I have something to show you. It makes me smile to see my pal Tahoe again. Gosh I miss him, and teared up a little (okay, I cried like a baby) during the talk.

But, hopefully, when the La Feria gals and guys come up for UIL, I'll treat them to happy hour at The Hula Hut (Woo Hoo!), and we'll get their picture there :) Stay tuned . . .

I thought a lot about the teachers of La Feria all summer, and talking to my writer buddies about what I wanted to say there, what I could possible tell the teachers that would be at all useful. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that writers and teachers have a lot in common.

Emily has a theory that children with questionable names should be assigned social workers at birth. You know the kind of names I’m talking about. Tater, Sir Gary, because—and I quote—his father was the King of Africa, and my favorite, "Delishous." Who in their right mind would name their daughter Delishous? Chris Rock said his only job as a father was to keep his daughter off the pole. A name like Delishous is going to make it that much harder.

We had a wonderful morning at La Feria, despite the fact that we got lost *again* and wound up at the border of Mexico on the way to La Feria. Luckily, our chief navigator made himself available via iPhone in Austin, and got us out of customs and safely into the parking lot.

We had a great time, and then the English Department graciously took us to lunch at a delightful little Mexican joint called The Coffee House. Then we headed to the beach before we headed back home.

On the way back home, we ran into a checkpoint complete with drug dogs, and I leaned out of the car and said, "We are heading to Corpus Christi, right?" The completely charming and very cute border patrol guy said, "No ma'am, welcome to Mexico." Smarty pants. Good thing he was cute, because he wasn't very funny. He told us how to get to the beach, where we proceded to have a ball.

All in all, the teachers of La Feria made my summer, and I tip my tiara to them and all the Texas teachers as they start the school year. Thanks, La Feria, my heart is with you, and see you at UIL!

Love, Kit

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Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing