Matagorda Madness 2008

Photo by Brian McWeeney

Thursday morning there were 30 units in the park. In the middle of the day Ranger Duke invited everyone to his trailer to enjoy grilled jalapeño poppers and wine. Right after that a crew of folks met down on the beach to unload firewood and haul all the wood down on the beach which was a 100 yard jaunt. Later on that evening Ranger Duke stoked up the bonfire and Charlie and Joyce Smith began registration at 6:30 PM. At 7 PM twenty people attended the LCRA program Animals of the Gulf Coast which was very interesting with a lot of live animals.

Friday morning bright and early our wonderful hostesses Beverly Reynolds, Nina Dean and Jean McClure prepared coffee, muffins and hot bagels to all that came and there were quite a few folks that decided to partake, also Charlie opened up registration again. Later in the morning ten people participated in Adventures in Beachcombing. At noon Larry Gamble performed a valvectomy on Ed Harris's trailer. Afternoon eleven more people participated in another Adventures in Beachcombing class. Later that evening we all gathered at the Nature Center with our pot luck dishes and ran outside for our group picture before dinner taken by Brian McWeeney. After the group photo we convened our pot luck dinner. After dinner host Steve Nussenblatt kicked off a short meeting, asking by show of hands who were some of the original 2006 attendees and then thanked everyone that attended this years gathering. Then he introduced the supervisor of the LCRA Nature Center Betsy Terrel. She thanked everyone for coming and participating in their programs and then presented a Lightning Welk, which is the Texas State Seashell to the people that traveled the furthest to our gathering which was David and Rachel Funderburk from Morganton, NC. After Betsy, Blair McClure got up and asked for a moment of silence in memory of our friend Sean Simon. Then he introduced individually all the wonderful people that were hosts and hostesses of the gathering. He also presented a custom printed long sleeve t shirt to Verna Kropp for letting us use her artwork on the MM website and for creating the art for our name tags in which Charlie and Joyce kind fully prepared and gave to all attendees. Carolyn Youngmeyer accepted the table decoration committee chair for 2009 and most every one was very receptive to participating in a trash beachcombing program next year. Right after those introductions Don Dayton gave a short story of the French explorer La Salle's ship La Belle that sank in the Bay of Matagorda and then we all watched a DVD produced by the Texas Historical Commission on the history and reclamation of the La Belle which was fascinating. Right after the show everyone pitched in and cleaned up the Nature Center and some headed out to the beach for another wonderful night around the bonfire. By the end of the night there were a total of 41 FGRV's in the park, 36 Casitas, 2 Olivers, 2 Scamps and 1 Bigfoot.

Saturday morning more wonderful hostesses such as Carolyn McWeeney, Beverlee Niskanen and Jeanette McClure had more coffee, muffins and hot bagels ready to go bright and early and Charlie finished up registration. A little later John Chapman invited scores of folks to his trailer to eat his mountain man breakfast cooked in his dutch oven and it was scrumptious. At 9 AM ten people participated in the GPS Nature Scavenger hunt. From 12:30 to 1:30 there was a FGRV Show and Tell but there didn't seem to be many people participating because we think it was going on all weekend anyway. At 2 PM there were fourteen people that attended the Wings Over the Wetlands program and six that ventured out and participated in the Day on the Bay Kayaking trip. Later in the evening around 6 PM we all converged on the Waterfront Restaurant in town on the harbor for some great seafood. After dinner many went back out to the beach to enjoy the last bonfire of the weekend. We burned the last of all the wood and it was a grand fire.

Sunday morning Carolyn Youngmeyer, and Carol Curtis's stand in Don Curtis was once again ready with hot coffee and goodies ready to go at 7:30. Trailers began leaving the park behind Jerry Chapman as he beat the trail heading back home to Mississippi. By the end of Sunday evening there were a handful of folks that stayed the night in five trailers and had chili mac and quesadillas for dinner after their Blue Bell ice cream......go figure. Monday evening there was one unit left in the park.

The gathering was a great success this year with the addition of the Nature Center as a gathering point and with all the many great hosts and hostesses that donated their time and money. The weather was a bit colder than the historical average of the area which made the bonfires extra special. The 2007 gathering was warmer than this year but without mosquito's. We sincerely apologize if we misled anyone about mosquito's, but we truly didn't have any the year before. Thanks to all that participated and we are looking forward to seeing you in 2009. Make sure to pencil in December 3rd-6th 2009 on your calendars.

Sincere thanks to everyone that helped and attended.

Blair & Jeanette McClure


Picture Slide Show