It's Like Visiting a Different Planet

Pepper and I were lucky enough to spend this past weekend at Janice's lake house.  We had a fantastic time, but there are some interesting little bits of small town information that I just have to share with you.  First, the trip...

"A Lake View" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
Pepper and I didn't leave McKinney until 4:30p.m., which was some poor planning on my part.  So we got to sit in an hour of Dallas traffic behind a lady having a long conversation with the guy in the truck next to her.  Yep, that got old REALLY quick!  The majority of the rest of the trip was uneventful though we didn't get to Hilltop Lakes until after 8 p.m. and it is crazy dark on those little country roads at night.  At one point a trucker, yeah, 18 wheel trucker, thought I was going too slow trying to find my no traffic lights, T intersection, one small sign, turn off and blinded me with his brights before passing me at an irritatingly slow speed.  Bruised speed demon driving ego aside, each of the three times that Pepper and I have gone down for a visit, Janice has had to meet us at the Hilltop Lakes Visitor Center to lead us to her house because the whole town is a mass of windy roads, some paved some not, and many of the streets have the same name. Yep, that's not confusing at all.  I do think I may have it down now and will probably attempt to get to her house on my own next time...maybe.  When we FINALLY got there Tessa and Pepper were ecstatic to see each other and we had to wait until they calmed down before we could get into the house.  After a quick dinner we sat down to catch up when Janice showed me The Normangee Star, the local newspaper for "Normangee, Flynn, Hilltop Lakes and surrounding communities in Leon and Madison Counties," with a headline reading "Cow Country Congress, Hay Show set in October," which sparked the following conversation:
"Preparing for a Swim" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"Cow Congress?  I'm imagining that the Cow Congress is a summit where 4H kids bring their smartest cows to discuss world affairs," I quipped.

Janice informed me that in the real world and not in the crazy landscape of my mind it's an annual event sponsored by the Beef and Forage Committee, yep, you read that right, there is an actual group officially called the Beef and Forage Committee.
"Hilltop Lakes' Horses 1" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"It's not just one group, each community has their own Beef and Forage Committee," chimed in Janice.  I know, I can't believe that she interrupted my trip down the Beef and Forage rabbit hole with facts, jeez!  But she did laugh at my cow summit comment, so I allowed it, plus she continued with, "I think we might want to warn the cow summit because the Congress is going to have presentations on weed identification and pocket gopher control, followed by a nice steak lunch!  That would be an unpleasant surprise."
"Pepper at the Lake 2" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
I started laughing, "Wait, wait, 'pocket gopher control!'  Are they teaching you to control a new breed of gophers called 'pocket gophers?' Are the controls for the gophers in your pocket? Like robo gophers.  Or are they putting gophers in their pockets as a means of  controlling them?"
"Pepper at the Lake 3" aka 'What happens when you hold onto Pepper's water toy for too long - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
Janice chuckled and shook her head, "I don't know, but last year there was a presentations on fall army worms and low stress handling for cattle.  Oh my, there was cattle body conditioning!  This is a very peculiar sounding spa."
"Airport City" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"So the cows are getting shiatsu massages while discussing the state of the world."
"Pilot's Lounge" aka A Couch, a Toilet, and a Coffee Pot - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"I bet the Hay Show is a competition to see who can grow the best type of hay."

"Or prettiest, though that might be too subjective.  Maybe the one with the most grains?  Can you image being the judge for that and having to count each piece of grain?"
"Breakfast at the Lake" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"Whatever it is it's invitation only and I don't think that you and I are getting it.  But it would probably be a good place to get someone to explain "coastal" as a noun.  I could ask them to show me their coastal."
"Gerbera jamesonii 7" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"Two different pastors talked about it in their sermons and knowing would solve my problem of too many hay analogizes in the sermons coupled with weak phone signals in the adorable, metal roofed barns used as small town churches, which all lead to a confused Janice."
"Tessa 4" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"You live in an odd, little, small town, don't you?"

"It's charming.  Where else could you accidentally become part of a five car homecoming parade?  Or have to go to Bingo every Wednesday to find a dog groomer, septic tank repairman, or the bug guy, who taught me how to trap gophers, because none of these businesses have signage, much less websites.  And I can buy seasonal turnip greens from the mannequin dressed as a security guard at the local bank."
"Bingo" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas
"You're kinda making my point."

"Hey, there are people here who have been successful in business all over the world and they chose to retire here, so there must be something special about this place...Or they're all crazy."
"Fence Post Pickers" - Edge, Texas
*I must confess a bit of liar artistic license with this "conversation."  It was actually several conversations in between: swimming in the lake where Janice mentioned that we were missing the Hilltop Lakes Senior Olympics.  Bit sad about that one, but Pepper was not at all interested in getting out of the lake.  A visit to a "local" furniture store.  "Local" meaning a 20 to 30 minute drive to a store found at an intersection with flashing yellow lights, across from a gas station and a different furniture and all sorts of other goodies store, and next to a farm.  I think the closest actual stop light is a 45 minute drive from Hilltop Lakes.  And ending with a trip to Edge General Store to hear a local band called the Fence Post Pickers.  The band was composed of six kids from two different families, none of whom could have been more than 22.  They were quite good, especially the brother and sister playing the banjo and mandolin, and I am not really a country music person.  This trip to Edge precluded a trip to the New Baden General Store for their monthly pie auction or the Leona General Store and Steakhouse which apparently has a line out the door on Friday and Saturday starting at 5.  Pepper and I will be visiting again and we'll tell you all about it our trips to the strange little planet of Hilltop Lakes.
"Tessa at the Lake 1" - Hilltop Lakes, Texas

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