To everyone else in the world Wayne Newton might be Mr. Las Vegas. To me Richard Brooks is Mr. Las Vegas. Richard is my brother in law and the only reason I would make a trip encompassing 3500 miles in 6 days and a stay in a city I detest.
The last time Bubba had seen his brother was 1985 and it was a very brief reunion. Prior to that his last recollection was 1968 when he was preparing for his tours of duty in Viet Nam. There was no doubt, however, when they saw one another again the recognition was immediate. Richard looks very much like their father and Bubba looks very much like their mother.
Our visit was brief but enriching. I'm very glad to have another family member and I intend to maintain contact as best I can. I pray Richard and Bubba will continue to call one another as often as they have been these past few months. Despite the obvious differences in personality and lifestyle I believe the unconditional love and God's desire for families to love and help one another will build a relationship between them.
Our trip, as many things in our lives, was dotted with amazing food experiences. We didn't get this plump by eating salads! ;-) Places that stand out in my memory starts with the Hog Wild Barbeque in Wichita, Kansas. Really great food at a really low price. Their pulled pork sandwich and spicey sauce rocked our world. We would eat there again any time. The Windmill Restaurant on I40 at the Oklahoma / Texas state line was an excellent experience as well. Their specialty, as we saw it, was home made turn over pies. This was Bubba's first apple pie of the trip and, as he claims, the very best. We enjoyed the Owl Cafe in Albuquerque, New Mexico so much we ate supper one night and breakfast the next day there as well. Their 1950's style is authentic as they've been open since and so popular you might have to wait for a booth on a week night. The buffet and Roxy's Restaurant at the Stratosphere tower were typical Vegas fair and nothing to write home about. I enjoyed the live music wandering through Roxy's but could take or leave the food. Mulligan's Sports Bar & Grill in North Las Vegas was really great, however. The food was the frosting on the cake of dining in a gambling venue with no "casino noise". In Green River, Utah we ate at the Tamarisk Restaurant. Excellent food!! I love it when you can order liver & onions in a nice restaurant and the wait staff is willing to joke with exhausted travelers. I really enjoyed that experience. In North Platte, Nebraska we found Merrick's Ranch House by getting lost. It was a blessing, as we're getting used to, as they offered chicken livers as a dinner item!! YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I convey just how much I enjoyed that? YUMMY!!!!!
Of course, none of these places hold a candle to Dad's kitchen. Even while working to keep themselves on the Weight Watchers plan, Dad whipped up a meal beyond compare the night before we headed South.
Well, enough pontificating for now. Later I'll get some photos of Arkansas back on the blog and tell you more about this wonderful place and these very special people.
More later ...........