Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving in Stillwater

I had such a great Thanksgiving break. I went up with Ryan to Stillwater, Oklahoma to spend the holiday with his family. The last time I had been up there was Christmas....three years ago! We stayed at his parents house. His dad has been super busy remodeling and fixing it up, and it looked really good. We left Austin Wednesday morning, didn't hit too much traffic (surprisingly) and got there in time for dinner that evening.
Thanksgiving day, I helped in the kitchen, making cheese balls (an appetizer with crackers), "Mimi's stuffing" (Ryan's great grandmother), biscuits, and all kinds of other dishes made by recipes passed down through their family. Tom said we can make a collection of these recipes for me to have, as well as some of Ryan's favorites growing up. Can't wait to get those. All we did on Thursday was eat, sleep, play games and visit with each other. All the Patman kids were at the house, which was great because since they are getting to be all spread out, I don't think that happens very often anymore. That evening, Ryan, Michael (his youngest brother), his mom and I played hearts. We went until almost four in the morning! Man, that was a vicious game....and I thought my family was competitive. Apparently the Patman motto is "second place is the first loser." yikes!
On Friday Ryan, Chris (younger brother) and I went target shooting. After getting all stocked up with ammo and clays at Walmart, we headed out to the Cimarron River to shoot. The river was pretty full, so we had to tote all our gear and tromp through the brush and overgrowth to make it to a spot where the banks provided a nice place to practice.

I love the lush countryside there in Oklahoma. It's getting towards winter there, so not all the fields were as green as this one, but there were plenty like this....intended and cared for by the farmers to turn their livestock loose. The whole time we were shooting the cows were mooing....I don't think they liked the sound too much.

The Cimarron River

You can see here that the water comes all the way up to the left side of the bank. We had to march farther up ahead where there was more space.

We are pretty much at the place where we shot clays for a bit.
We parked right by that bridge.
There were some fishermen hanging out by the bridge. They didn't stay much longer past firing our first rounds.

A better view of the bank

The ground was clay, and where it was dry, it was as solid as concrete. Where it was wet though, even slightly damp, it was super slippery. This became somewhat of a challenge if you were the person throwing the clays, as you did not want to slip and fall while you were chucking them over the river. Let me tell you, tossing clays is not as easy as you would think!

Ryan all set with his gear. Check out that beard. He is super proud of it. I am looking forward to the day it comes off (which will be after Christmas). He swears he needs his "winter coat" when he goes hunting this Christmas. Carrying a shotgun, while hunting in the snow, bagging a bird or two, with other hunting pals and your big ole beard....can't get more manly than that (I know that's what he's thinking).

Chris loading a clay in the thrower-thingie

We all took turns throwing clays for each other. Let me tell you, throwing clays is an art...especially with that launcher thing. First Chris threw for Ryan, then Ryan was going to throw them for Chris. I was photog/ observer so I was standing back and away from the danger. We learned (unfortunately the hard way) that the motion for throwing needs to be more like a reverse frisbee toss, where your wrist ends and snaps out and in front of you. Ryan, being a baseball player and pitcher, did not do this on the first attempt and snapped his on the follow-through, sending the clay in my direction. It was a definite surprise to see bright orange flying my way, but me and my chest of steel shattered it. It was more shocking than painful. After that, we switched to me throwing and while I didn't nail any of my companions, I had just as much trouble trying to launch them. I ended up throwing more like mini-frisbees and that worked ok, they just couldn't go as far. Later when Chris was back on throwing duty, he hit Ryan as well, so I guess he got him back for me. =)

Chris throwing clays

Ha. They were supposed to be going front and center but like I said before, were kind of all over the place. I guess that's good for practice though since you don't know where and in which direction the game is going to be coming!

Patman brothers

Despite unexpected incoming clays, the slippery ground, all the thorns ,stickers and fading light which resulted in bumps and scratches, we had a great time!

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