We went to Marcus' hometown of Merkel, Texas last weekend for his 20th high school reunion! It was a fun and quick trip. We drove straight into town in time for the homecoming parade running through downtown.
I learned while walking downtown that Merkel was originally named Windmill Town before a German settler came and renamed it after him.
Overall, downtown is pretty sad these days. Lots of closed up shops and boarded windows. But, it also has brick lined streets, a cute little pharmacy, and a community that loves it. I would love to blink my eyes and go back in time 40 years when it was a popular place to be and see the old cars, well dressed women, and lively businesses in the town.
Back to the parade... Marcus didn't ride in his 20 year float and opted to see the parade from the curb with me. We honestly had to work to get a good spot! School was out early and the parents were all there with little families in purple and gold to cheer on their Badgers.
The parade had cheerleaders, football players, civic groups, fire trucks, horses and motorcycles. There was candy thrown, music played, and horses pooping. What more could a parade have?
Afterward, we drove by Marcus' childhood home. It hasn't changed much since his Mom moved out 4 months ago. It looks like the new tenants were busy clearing some brush.
We had a few minutes to spare and stocked up on Texas Tech gear before changing clothes for dinner and the football game. The lovely staff at the Hilton Garden Inn snapped our photos for us!
I did some online searching and we had dinner at a cute little restaurant in downtown Abilene, The Beehive. It was so good! We were seriously impressed. We knew that the town had to have a couple of quality restaurants- it does have 3 colleges, 2 hospitals and an Air Force base. There is a population to support cute little restaurants. Our dessert- homemade smores! It was a house made brownie with a toasted marshmallow cream top, and graham cracker ice cream. Delish!
We arrived about 30 minutes into the football game. The scoreboard was out and we spent most of our time near the concession stand chatting with the Class of 1992. We did visit with a couple of people in the stands. I love a HS football game- it is the same where ever (in Texas at least!) you go. There is always a passionate Dad mad at the officials, little girls pretending to be cheerleaders, high schools kids at the game catching up since they saw each other when school was out two hours earlier, and a drum line entertaining us all!
I loved that Merkel is still small and conservative enough to have scripture on their football shirts. Love it!
After the game, we joined other alumni in the cafetorium for tea and cookies. We tried to hit up Dairy Queen afterward, but it was closed. It was after 11 PM in a small town after all!