Everything is Bigger in Texas: My Return to Fort Worth

babesToday I returned to Fort Worth, Texas for the second consecutive year.  In fact, it’s my 3rd time to Texas in the past 4 years – I spoke at a youth conference back in the summer of 2011.  Once again, I am here as a trainer for YouthLeader and I’m excited to work with the teens and youth ministry leaders in this wonderful community.  I was blessed by my time here last year, and I’m looking forward to more of the same this time around.

The day started off well as I was able to secure emergency exit row seats on both legs of my flight.  Thus, I was in row 2 of the small plane from Vancouver to Portland and I had all of row 16 to myself on the longer Portland to Dallas flight.  At least I thought I had the whole row to myself.  But after I woke up from the first of many quick naps, there was a woman sitting in my row.  Reminded me of when I wake up after nodding off – I mean, after reflecting with my eyes closed – in the adoration chapel.

My friend Kevin Prevou – the diocesan director of youth ministry – picked me up from the airport and we went straight to Mass to celebrate Pentecost aka the Catholic Church’s birthday.  After Mass we swung by the hotel to pick up my co-trainer for the week Stephen from Sacramento.  We stopped by the church (our home base for the week) before making our way to dinner.

And it was unlike anything I’ve ever been to in my life.

We pulled up to Babe’s Chicken Dinner House and I had no clue what to expect.  I started to get an idea when we entered the restaurant and a lady leaving (carrying a big plastic bag of leftovers) said “I hope you guys are hungry.”

As soon as we sat down, a loud country song blared from the restaurant’s speakers and 8 waitresses came out and performed a line dance.  While watching the routine, I asked Kevin and Stephen, “If they are all out there dancing, then who the heck is serving the tables right now?”

As the music ended, one of the young ladies approached our table.  Christy asked us if we had ever been there before and we replied “No” in unison.  She then proceeded to tell us how it worked.  We would get unlimited portions of the sides for the table:  green salad, buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, corn, and green beans.

We’d also each get a choice of our main entree:  fried chicken, fried chicken tenders, hickory smoked chicken, fried catfish, or chicken fried steak.  As soon as I heard the word steak, I asked Christy:  “What is chicken fried steak?”

“You don’t know?”

“Please forgive me…I’m from Canada.”

After welcoming me to the country (haha), Christy told me that it was basically a flattened steak coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried in oil used to fry chicken.  She had me at “steak.”

As anticipated, it was quite tasty.  And I was proud of myself for going easy on the potatoes and gravy and instead eating a lot of salad.  Although, I did indeed indulge in a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert.

Before we left the restaurant, I made sure to take a picture with a mannequin cowboy that was sitting at the table behind me.  I think he needs to loosen up a bit.

cowboy

We returned to the hotel and I watched the end of the Heat-Spurs game before rushing downstairs for a late-night workout before the fitness room closed.  As soon as I walked in, I knew it would be a good test for me as the air conditioner wasn’t working.  I was able to get through a good 20-minute workout on the treadmill in the stuffy 84 degree climate.

It will be a challenge to both eat healthy and exercise over the next week while I’m here.  We have long days at the church, and we’ll be eating quite well (if last year was any indication).  To make things more challenging, the hotel fitness room opens after we leave in the morning and closes before we return in the evening.  Looks like I’ll have to get creative with my work outs.

They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  By the end of the week, I hope that doesn’t include my waistline.