Every woman (and man) needs a day out once in awhile away from the regular grind of housework, cooking, carpooling and all the thousands of other chores that generally keep us busy.

Once you reach a certain age, everyone thinks that you have all the time in the world. Itís not so! Friends and relatives come up all things for you to do since youíre retired now and have all that spare time.

Every other Tuesday morning (every Tuesday for one group whose diners are a couple of years older than our group) about seven or eight women who graduated from Denison High School together in 1953, along with a couple who graduated different years get together for breakfast and to try to solve the problems of the world.

Unlike some of our husbands, who do this on a more regular basis like every morning and most times every afternoon, we get our talking done in a much shorter time.

The older group that usually has 10 to 20 diners gathers in the back room at Nickís Restaurant every Tuesday at 8 a.m. to eat together and keep up with each other.

My classmates arenít such early risers and we congregate about 9:30 a.m. and sometimes have to gently nudge our older friends out of a chair to have a place to sit together. Lavada Cuthbertson even brings cake for breakfast dessert every time we meet. On the Tuesdays that we donít get together, her sister, Billie Crook Jennings, class of 1951, takes cake for the early rising bunch.

During a recent breakfast session Carol Yelton mentioned taking the Taps bus to Plano, then going to Union Station in Dallas via the Dart Electric train to board the Texas Railway Express and go on to Fort Worth.

Someone said ďwe should do that.Ē Since every other Tuesday morning is reserved for ďgirlsí morning outĒ, we decided to enlarge upon that treat and take Carolís suggested jaunt. No one mentioned at that time that the Taps buses leave the Wal-Mart Parking Lot in Denison at 5:30 and 6:30 a.m.

But we decided to rough it and six of our group showed up not on time, but early, because we didnít want to miss the bus that leaves promptly on time. We picked a seventh friend, Lavada, up in Sherman after joining the early morning regulars, some of whom felt like we had invaded their domain and interrupted their morning routine. In addition to Lavada and Carol, our group was comprised of Alice Schick, Billie, Carolyn Greer, class of 1954, Betty Henry, and this writer.

After one more stop at Grayson County College ís branch campus in Van Alstyne, we hit the road again and joined the morning commute crowd. Our driver was a pretty patient guy, but by the time we hit McKinney , traffic was backed up almost to the north city limits.

We were sure that he had encountered this kind of traffic many times before as he exited the highway and took to the service road and tooled right on through McKinney with no problem. I must remember to do that.

We arrived at Parker Road and the Dart Station in about an hour and a half and were greeted by a sea of cars belonging to train commuters. Timing was perfect and we only had to wait a few minutes for the 47 minute ride on the Red line to Union Station.

Here again we only had a few minutes to wait until it was time to board the red, white and blue Trinity Rail Express train.

Actually, riding the Dart electric train was almost like riding the Interurban of days gone by. It rocked and rolled on down the track, stopping at designated stations along the way. It even went underground and made up for lost time for several miles.

A word of warning - if you plan to take the more independent trip in your own car to catch the train, the Parker Road Station is a good place to begin because of the parking available there. While the train stops at various stations, most do not have parking facilities available. Check it out before you go.

In case youíre wondering what all this costs, it is the biggest bargain Iíve found in a long time. Taps Bus to Plano is $4 each way, much less that gasoline would have cost us. But the biggest bargain was the train rides. Being the senior citizens that we are, we put $1 into the machine after we figured out how to work it and received a ticket good for the entire trip, including a Fort Worth transit bus to the Stockyards where we ate lunch. If you decide to drive to the Dart Station and you are a senior citizen, the trip will cost you only $1 in addition to the cost of gas.

By 11 a.m. we were on the bus in Fort Worth , headed north to the stop about four blocks from the yards. After strolling down the hill looking at all the famous western starsí names inscribed in the sidewalk we wondered why all of the tourists were sitting or standing on the curbs in front of the shopping and restaurant area. Once we were seated in Risckyís Barbecue Restaurant we found out the reason. They were smart enough to know that the twice daily cattle drive was due to appear at any time.

We may have missed the cattle drive, but we saw plenty of cowboys on horseback talking to the tourists and posing for pictures with them. They were kept busy by a large contingent of young Japanese boys and girls who really chowed down on Texas barbecue while seated with the guys at one end of the long outdoor table and the girls at the other end.

Two men nearer our age who sat next to us in the restaurant had ordered barbecue rib plates. When their food arrived we couldnít help but notice their surprise at the huge pile of ribs. The men, dressed in white business shirts and ties quickly donned bibs to protect their clothes from barbecue sauce drips and dug in. When we left they were sacking up the bones for their dogs at home and it looked like they did themselves proud by not leaving a whole lot for the pets.

After a brief window shopping stroll through the shops, it was time to climb back up the hill and begin retracing our steps back to Denison .

It was a longggg, fun day as we arrived back at out starting point a little after 7 p.m., but you canít beat $9 for 13 hours of togetherness. Weíre already trying to decide where we want to go next time. For now thought, itís back to breakfast and dessert next week. We welcome any former classmates to join us. - Donna Hunt


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