The women here have the most beautiful blonde on blonde highlights. The reflected light alone is more sun than I have felt on my face in three years of living in Chicago. You can get a pretty good tan just basking in line at Starbucks.
It is a big weekend here deep in the heart of Texas. Because everything here really is bigger. The sky is huge, the streets are as wide as parking lots and the parking lots, well, they are big.
I know this because my sister-in-law, my other sister-in-law and my sister-in-law's many, many sisters and I have spent the weekend driving around in big cars shopping for really, really big purses. Those New York city women have nothing on Dallas when it comes to the size of their handbags.
Which may explain why my sister-in-law, Pamela Ewing, decided that the occasion of her daughter's high school graduation called for a really, really big party. So we are all here; my mom, my brothers, their wives, their kids, my kids and my sister-in-law's mom and dad, four sisters, a brother, their spouses and their children.
I know it sounds like too many people. But the truth is, it didn't really start to go over the top until she began inviting the neighbors. Which can seem like a really good idea after your third can of Coors Light. Or so I imagine. I do not share my sister-in-law's taste in beer.
We are packed in wall to wall, sprawled on couches and sleeping bags and air mattresses and enjoying the kind of family camaraderie that you can only reach after three days of sharing a bathroom with 11 people.
But a hotel would be out of the question. Because in between the shopping and the fireworks and the frosty beers on the patio, the Iowans whip up what must be hundreds of pounds of potato salad and barbecue chicken and pork tenderloins with raspberry sauce and pulled pork with an honest-to-God prize winning barbecue sauce that must be prepared in secret, cookies and pancakes and scrambled eggs and bacon and something called "walking tacos" that really deserves an entry all to itself.
They are a machine in the kitchen and nobody ever stops eating or drinkng long enough to think about a hotel.