60 Minutes with Doyle

I have an old-man friend, a “College Station Grandpa,” if you will. Doyle is a Texas A&M graduate (Class of ’42) and is one of my favorite people on the planet.

He watched me grow up because our families shared the same hunting lease for more than 20 years of my life. It’s important to mention that I adored his wife, Tillie, and she truly molded many of my childhood memories–cooking breakfast, playing cards, and taking long walks on the ranch.

When I was in college, I visited Doyle and Tillie as often as I could. Since I’ve returned to College Station, Tillie has passed on and I try to visit Doyle at least once a month.

When Doyle was a student at Texas A&M, he worked at the Dairy.

 “Cows didn’t milk themselves, Megan, we didn’t have all those machines back then. Holidays. Snow. Ice. You name it, I was there.”

Additionally, he served our country in World War II. He worked for Texas A&M Extension for most of his life and has the very best stories.

I could listen to Doyle’s stories for hours (and I have). Often, after minutes into telling a story, he says,

“Well, to make a long story short…”

I always smile after he says this because I know it means at least ten more minutes.

Today, Doyle lives in College Station at a very nice retirement home. I visit Doyle on Tuesdays because, after dinner, we play “Ninety-Nine” with his friends. I won’t waste words here explaining it–just click the link to learn), but I will tell you that it’s so much fun and kind of hard to keep up with his 80 and 90 year-old friends. Fortunately, I got lucky last time we played and won quite a bit. Don’t worry–we only play with nickels, so I’m not cheating anyone out of their retirement.

After playing Ninety-Nine, Doyle and I always go back to his apartment and talk about life for a few hours. And by “talk about life” I mean, he tells me wonderful stories and teaches me more about life than many ever have.

Doyle is my constant reminder that:

  1. A full life is spent doing what you love with the people who make you happy.
  2. There are no hand-outs in life–and there shouldn’t be. Work hard, always.
  3. Kindness is an invaluable quality.

I know our talks won’t last forever–he even jokes about it…he can be kind of morbid like that, but he’s had such a full life that he’s able to laugh about it.

But until that time comes (which I hope is far, far away), I will still spend my Tuesdays with Doyle and his friends–beating them in Ninety-Nine and soaking up every moment with my dearest, old-man friend.

Run like a Princess

In February, I marked the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon off my bucket list. What’s better than running like a princess? Dragging your mom, friend, and her mom along for the ride.

DAY ONE: Bibs and the Braves

We arrived in Orlando a day before our resort reservation and park tickets began. This way, we could take our time getting our race packets without worrying about wasting the time we could be exploring parks. We even stayed off Disney property that evening to save money. It was super easy to Uber everywhere we needed to be.

That day, we headed to the Expo at the World Wide of Sports Complex to pick up our bib numbers.

Yeah, I’m good at selfies.

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The highlights were meeting Jeff Galloway, seeing where the Braves have spring practice, and some epic jumping pictures.

DAY TWO: Magic Kingdom & Carb Loading

Once we were finally on property, we headed to Magic Kingdom. Now’s your chance to officially meet the crew: Amy, Emily, Momma Higg, and Me.

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We spent the day riding rides and eating way more ice cream and turkey than is recommended by nutritionists.

DAY THREE: Hollywood Studios & Carb loading…again

Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t feeling well so she stayed at the hotel. The rest of us headed to Hollywood Studios and I was adopted by Em and Amy.

As soon as we arrived, we headed to my favorite ride, the Tower of Terror. This picture is before Amy cursed me on the ride. Notice how happy we are. You probably can’t tell because we look so much alike, but I’m the brunette.

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This is us on the ride, mid-cursing from Amy (we’re on the right).

Amy: Megan…I’m going to kill you. I’m going to kill you. Megan. Megan. Megan.

Me: Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

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We explored all day and carb loaded (our excuse to eat anything and everything).

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We ended the day after fireworks so we could get our beauty sleep–we had to run like princesses the next day.

DAY FOUR: 3AM wake-up call & too many miles to go

Em and I woke up at 3am to start our trek to the starting line at Epcot.

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We chose to dress minimally compared to our racing peers–tutus and costumes were out in full force. We did add some flare to ur shoe laces:

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After walking about 2.5 miles to the starting line we were finally ready to race.

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The fireworks and race fanfare was impressive, but Em and I were ready to get this thing over with. The first 5 miles were torture because we ran more horizontally trying to dodge slower runners and walkers.

But, we eventually made our way to the Magic Kingdom.

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And were thankful to see these faces:

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They were all-star cheerleaders. We continued through the park and soon found our way headed back to Epcot.

Emily is much faster than me, but she eventually let me catch up while I acted like an airplane among all the princesses.20160221_083914

We finally reached the finish line and were thankful to get our hands on some cold water. Florida gets HOT.

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We were tired, but so excited to be done! Yep, Em’s medal is hitting her in the face.

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We’re 100% ready to take a nap.

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IMPORTANT DISNEY PRINCESS RUNNING TIPS FROM MEG & EMILY:

  1. Go to the Expo during a weekday if possible. It was SO crowded on Thursday, I can’t even imagine what it’d look like on a weekend.
  2. If you’re walking or doing the “run, walk” method, stay to the right please. Unless you want me to curse you under my breath or run into you.
  3. Bring sunglasses. It’s not sunny at 3am, but it sure is at 7am.
  4. If you want to take pictures with characters, prepare for long lines. Emily and I weren’t interested in taking photos with characters, but we did notice that the lines were outrageous.
  5. Use the restrooms in the park mid-race instead of using a port-a-potty because ew.
  6. Wear your medal to Disney Springs after the race for discounts and deals on food.
  7. The parks were more crowded than I expected the days leading up to the race. If I did it again, I’d spend more time in the parks after the race rather than before.

After the race, we headed to Disney Springs and then it was off to the Animal Kingdom. I proudly sported my “I Hate Running” T-shirt.

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We saw animal bones.

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Can you find me in the  Dinosaur ride picture below? Probably not. Because I was terrified.

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DAY FIVE: Walking around the world. And being sore. 

After race day, we chose to work out our soreness by exploring Epcot. We even met Tinkerbell in the process.

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We enjoyed eating a lot, walking, and complaining of soreness all day. Our moms enjoyed listening to us whine.

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And I just keep getting better at selfies.

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DAY SIX: Goodbye, Disney World. 

I’m so glad I marked this race off the bucket list and now it’s on to the next. I wish all races involved princesses and ice cream shaped like Mickey Mouse.