June 28, 2015: A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum
May 10-24, 2015: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to the Index for 2015


June 20, 2015
Debbie Crawford's Retirement Party


 

This evening, Fred and I were invited along with Prudence and Ron, Nancy and Karl, and Karl's daughter Megan out to the home of Debbie and David Crawford to celebrate Debbie's retirement from being a teacher. While Fred and I have met Debbie, her husband and some of their children over the years, Prudence has known Debbie since high school; they are BFFs, in today's lingo.

Fred and I drove from our house out to Grapevine, where we met up with Ron and Prudence. (They had actually come up to Dallas yesterday, and Fred and I had dinner with them last night at Bob's Chop House, one of their favorite places in Grapevine.) Karl drove Nancy's large mini-van, and the seven of us headed out towards Debbie's house north of Mineral Wells. It was about an hour drive out there, circling north of Fort Worth on I-820 and then heading west on I-20 to Weatherford. There, we got off the freeway, went through the town of Weatherford and headed west on US 180. At Mineral Wells, we turned north on US 281.


The Crawfords live about three miles north of Mineral Wells, just off of US 281 to the west. The area is VERY rural, although Joy Road has another house just south of Debbie and one or two more a bit further south.

There were already quite a few cars there, as we piled out carrying our ice chest and some other stuff and went down the driveway just north of their house to the open area to the north of it, where some twenty-five of the ventual sixty or so guests were already there.

It is a bit hard to explain the layout of the Crawford's house, but I will give it a shot. The Crawford's house is basically in the shape of a numeral "7". The top part of the numeral is oriented along their street (which runs north-south), and the other part of the house is actually angled a bit extending to the northwest. The house is two-story in both sections. Mostly, the extension to the northwest is a big activity room downstairs (which is where they set up the buffet tables for dinner). The Crawfords have a big family- five boys and a girl if I remember correctly- so there must be lots of bedrooms upstairs, and I guess the activity room got a workout as the kids were growing up.

The Crawfords did a lot outside, I guess, for they had built a large deck (through which two big live oak trees grow) nestled in the inside corner of the "7"; it was three or four hundred square feet in size. Below that, there was a large paved area, at the back of which was what I think on non-party days is a carport. Today, the deck was set up so that Debbie's son, Stan, and his band could entertain. (You can find Stan Crawford on the Internet; it sings professionally.) Below are two pictures of this outside area- the first is a view of the deck from the paved parking area, and the other is a view of the paved area and carport taken from just below the deck:

The party was to celebrate Debbie Crawford's retirement from the school system, where she has, for many years, been a teacher. When we first came in, I made a movie, looking around the outside area. You can watch it with the player below, left. To the right of the player is a picture of the contratulatory message that had been put on the wall of the house, right next to the large "retirement" banner- humorous, as you can see:

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Debbie's six children and her husband, David, have put on the party for her. While I have met Debbie and David a few times, I have met their children very rarely- and most of those times quite a while ago. I know one of them by name- Stan, the singer who performs professionally (and who performed today).


Debbie Crawford

David Crawford

I was introduced to all the others today; they are Chad, Ron, Jim, Joel and Sarah. Below are clickable thumbnails for the best of the pictures Fred and I took of each of them (and I hope they will forgive me if the pictures and names are mis-matched):


Chad
            

Sarah
            

Joel


Stan
            

Ron
            

Jim

Part of the festivities during the evening was a gathering of the Crawford clan up on the deck/stage, where Debbie gave her thanks to all of us for being there for her. First, Debbie had all her kids come up and join her, and Fred got a couple of good pictures:

Following that, Debbie asked her kids' families (where applicable) to join everyone on the stage. It got a bit crowded, and without getting everyone to pose (which neither Fred nor I did) it it a bit catch-as-catch-can to get a good shot of everyone in the group. Fred did his best, and two of his pictures are below:

While we all brought out own beverages (as per the invitation), we found that the Crawfords (and some of Debbie's friends) had provided a light buffet; there was plenty to eat and drink as the guests mingled and conversed. I really didn't know anyone save the Crawfords and our own group, but I did have a chance to meet quite a few folks.

I found out later that the evening was planned and brought off by Debbie's four daughters-in-law, working along with her daughter Sarah. To give credit where credit is most certainly due, those daughters-in-law (who appear in the pictures above and in other pictures elsewhere on this page) were Holly, Kelly, Melissa and Tiffany Crawford.


When we arrived, we took our coolers back to a vacant table and then started walking around and meeting folks. Both Fred and I began right away taking pictures, such as the nice one at left that Fred took of Prudence talking with Sarah Crawford. Below there are clickable thumbnails for some more of the pictures we took fairly early in the evening:


You will probably recognize our own group, and from my pictures above, the Crawfords. But I confess that I had no way to record who everyone was. Maybe Debbie or some other visitor to this photo album can help me label the various pictures.

One of the best parts of the evening was that Stan Crawford entertained with some of his original songs; as I said above, he has a band and they perform professionally and have recorded a couple of CDs.

 

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He did some songs while the last of the guests were arriving, and a few more as folks were getting some dinner and sitting down to listen. He was accompanied on percussion by a friend of his- not, apparently, an actual bandmate.

His performances reminded me very much of Frank Roberts, our friend from the Hill Country, although Frank's repetoire is more classic Texas cowboy songs and historical music. Stan is more of a modern-type country singer, and I think he performs primarily songs he has written himself or with his partners.

Fred took some movies of Stan performing; most of the movies I took were later on, when Debbie and the rest of the family joined Stan on the performance stage. I've selected two of Fred's movies as representative of what Stan looked and sounded like, and you can use the players at left to watch these movies.

Stan wasn't performing alone; he was accompanied by his excellent drummer Jacob Adlis.

As I mentioned already, the buffet had been set up indoors, and towards the end of Stan's solo performances most of the guests had gone in to get something to eat and had brought their food outside.


Both Fred and I wandered around as folks were eating and visiting,and took more candid pictures. There are clickable thumbnails below for some of the best of these:


In addition to Stan's performing, Debbie and her family took the opportunity of having a microphone and stage available to gather together as a family and share some of their stories with the many friends that were in attendance.

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There were times when Debbie called all of her kids up to the stage to share some of the stories involved with them, and the top movie player at right will show you a movie I made during one of those on-stage sessions.

At other times, Debbie took the opportunity to recognize some of their guests who had major impacts on the Crawford family, as Debbie is doing with one of her close friends here. At these times, she told stories about some of these friends (stories that Fred and I, of course, didn't really know). You can use the bottom player at right to watch one of the movies I made of Debbie and some of her friends, and you can see a still picture from that same session here.

Debbie's husband, David, didn't get left out of the on-stage festivities, and there were a couple of times that he took the microphone to recognize his wife's working-life achievements. I made a movie of one of his sessions, and you can use the player at left to have a look at it:

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I was impressed that the Crawford family had so many interesting experiences- in the places they've lived, in what Debbie, her husband and their children have done in their lives and with the many close friends that they have made along the way. Evidence of that was all around us, in the large number of people who showed up to help Debbie celebrate this milestone in her life.


I was interested in all the different people who were here- especially the many kids that were wandering around. It was really quite the extended family. Below are clickable thumbnails for some of the many pictures Fred and I took of the people here:


As I said, Stan wasn't the only performing. I don't think the Crawfords have a shy bone in any of their eight bodies. The kids and Debbie's husband thought nothing of doing a little public speaking, although they were in front of old family friends, for the most part. Neither was Debbie reluctant to come up on stage and do a couple of songs with her son, and we made a couple of movies of her appearances as a troubador, and you can use the players below to watch them:

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Those were the major elements of this retirement party evening, but both Fred and I took a good many other pictures from the time we arrived until the time we left. Although I knew very few of the people there, I am hoping that Debbie, her family and perhaps some of the guests will eventually visit this page, and since we all like to see pictures of ourselves, I want to include many of the ones we took on this page.

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I did take one other movie this evening; there were a couple of kids playing around with a bubble wand, and one of them seemed to want me to photograph him, but I made a movie instead. You can watch it with the player at left.

Below are clickable thumbnails for some of the many pictures of Debbie, her family and their guests that we took:


If you don't see yourself in one of the photos so far, don't worry, you are probably in the next set. Here are clickable thumbnails for the best of the rest of the photos we took this evening:

I'll finish this page with the last picture I took, just before we left Debbie's house. You've seen enough pictures to know that the picture has Debbie, Prudence and Fred. We thank Debbie for the invitation and the hospitality of her and her family.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.



June 28, 2015: A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum
May 10-24, 2015: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to the Index for 2015