Saturday, December 6, 2008

Texas Dude Ranch Christmas Fun

I've gone to 4 or 5 of Miss Puerto Rico's company Christmas parties. Last night's was, by far, the best. Last year's was a disaster. It was held in cramped quarters at a place called Dave & Busters. Basically Dave & Busters is a Gameworks wannabe. The food was real good, but other than that, no one liked Dave & Busters as a Christmas party place.

So, this year it was back to the town of Grapevine to a place called Austin Ranch. On the way to Austin Ranch Miss Puerto Rico and I drove down Grapevine's Main Street. Grapevine is a very well-done tourist town. So, its Christmas lights were over the top. Then we took a left to the Gaylord Texan Convention Center and Resort complex. I've never seen a place with Christmas lights as bright as Gaylord Texan. It out-brighted the brightest of Vegas. And, in the water feature in front of the main entry, Santa was in a power boat pulling his reindeer on skis.

After looking at the Gaylord Texan excess it was time for some Austin Ranch excess. Austin Ranch, obviously, is very Cowboy/Texas themed. Cowboys wander about in full cowboy gear. A huge fireplace warms up one end of the huge room. A stage is in the middle. A bar is opposite the stage. The buffet is in another room, made to look, sort of, like you're entering a saloon.

It was not a full-service bar. The choices were several wines, Shiner Bock on tap, beer in bottles. And Margaritas. The buffet was basically steak and baked potatoes, along with things like asparagus and a stuffed pasta. And real good pecan pie. Before the buffet opened there was a big cracker and cheese table with raspberries and blueberries and other stuff I don't remember. The raspberries were good.

After the food part of the night was over the guy emceeing the thing indicated it was time to play bingo. What fresh hell is this, I wondered? I don't like playing bingo. But this turned out to be fun. And didn't last too long. Next there was this Conga Line thing that didn't end til everyone was in the Conga Line.

After a raffle for the employees, the dancing part of the evening began. Last year, at Dave & Busters, there was no dancing because there was no room to do so and no music. Previous times, at Austin Ranch, very few people danced. And those few who did were just some of the girls having fun.

Last night was totally different. When we arrived an older couple was already two-stepping, quite gracefully. I instantly thought of Dancing With the Stars. What happened the rest of the night convinced me that that show, being top-rated, has changed people's dancing.

At one point some Merengue type music caused a large group to start doing, I guess, Merengue dancing. One guy shimmied out onto the floor to the sound of people applauding. There was spontaneous dancing taking place off the dance floor. At one point, I looked to my right, to the surprising sight of my friend Shelley, dancing with her formerly, not a dancing type of guy, husband. After the Conga Line, another funny friend, Susan, she being a 50-something who says she can't dance, did so, to the slight embarrassment of her daughter.

At one point that awful Macarena song that spawned a dance craze that even Al Gore managed to learn, started up. One of the company execs, along with one other person, did the whole Macarena thing, quite well. I do not have the ability to remember that type thing.

And in the weirdest Dancing With the Stars affected moment, Shakira's Hips Don't Lie song started up. I like that song. I'd just stood up to head to the bar for another Shiner Bock when Shakira started singing. I'd previously told those at my table that I don't know how to dance. Which isn't the truth. Anyway, when I stood up I did a little Hips Don't Lie wiggling. Susan said, you dance good. To which I said thank you.

Next thing I know Miss Puerto Rico and I head to the bar. I started shaking my hips again. There was some clapping and then I turned all Maxsim Chmerkovskiy (dancer on Dancing With the Stars). Only me and Miss Puerto Rico were shaking to Shakira. I'm pretty sure we would have gotten at least one 10 if the Dancing With the Stars judges had been there.

As the evening wore down our group was pretty much the last to leave. We got a really good hint that it was time to go when Happy Trails was the last song played. Followed by silence. Susan went around collecting all sorts of chocolate and stuffed them in my pockets. She also filled her own pockets.

So, that was my night. I didn't get home til 2am. My one longtime reader may remember that just days ago I was having a bout of insomnia that had me getting up at 3am. I got up at 7am this morning, which I guess means I got only 5 hours sleep.

I'm going to Fort Worth's Botanic Garden today. And then to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Photos and video to appear later.

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