We rented a house on the beach in Galveston right after Christmas. I know … sounds kinda nutty … a beach house in December? Really? Our party of 10 figured if we were to be rained-in all week, so be it! Seriously, one family, our son’s new in-laws and their daughter, were driving from Michigan. No doubt the weather would be warmer than the state shaped like a winter mitten. And besides, there would be lots of board games in our future. Anyone up for a rousing game of Jenja? How about Splat or Catch Phrases? But like the title of Dickens’ dry-as-burnt-toast novel, we did have “Great Expectations.” Even nuttier than a barrel of Snickers candy bars, we rented the beach house knowing there would be a wheelchair in tow. Initially, I feared the odds were this whole family vacation idea was going to be one ginormous bust, but once again, we threw caution to the wind. Thankfully, we had four dude lifters in attendance which covered all our bases for our special needs daughter, Mimi. During the week, there was an outing to the historic Strand with shopping, ice cream, a little geocaching, and a pit stop at the historic Tremont Hotel. Daughter Katie treated everyone to adult beverages in the bar. Kate, our brand-spanking new-daughter-in-law, had a drink called a lemon drop which is definitely on my list of future adult beverages. Any drink seriously rimmed with sugar has got my vote. Oh, a word of caution if you hang out on the Strand. There is a scary-looking dude with pancake makeup and a turn-of-the-century outfit hawking a haunted house. I think he is going to have to re-think his ticket pricing structure. Ten dollars for 10 minutes of scariness sounded a tad steep even with a dollar-off coupon. Just saying. A couple of days later there was even a trip to see the new Muppet movie. It was Mimi’s and my personal favorite movie of the entire year. Kermit’s rendition of ‘The Rainbow Connection’ left everyone swaying in the aisle. And personally, I think Kermit the Frog totally deserves an Oscar nominee for his outstanding performance. Have to admit we had a couple of minor issues with the beach house. That darn oven gave us fits. Most everything baked turned out burnt on the bottom and raw on the top. We messed up homemade potato rolls, one layer of Chad’s three-layer birthday cake and a round of breakfast biscuits. Thank the Lord the cinnamon rolls and Aleta’s spaghetti casserole made the short list of baking perfection. They both smelled so wonderful I think they would have been eaten regardless if they had burnt. And then there was the tale of the rusty can openers. It seemed every time we needed to open a can we’d find another handheld can opener in a drawer. There were five in all and each crusty with rust. I believe perhaps one of them MIGHT have by mistake pierced the metal rim on the can. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, on the last day when we were packing up to go, sitting right on the kitchen counter next to the toaster was … an electric can opener. If it were a cobra it would have bitten me on the neck. Did I mention there were lots of fish caught during our beach adventure? My hubby and Bruce, Mimi calls him the “man,” surf fished for hours every day in that cold water. Personally, I always thought you could only catch fish from a pier or a boat, but no, there are lots of fish out there just waiting for you to throw it a little bait. Who knew? We ate lots of delicious fresh fish and took home a freezer full at the end of our trip. On our last day in Galveston the fog rolled in and stayed all day and into the night. It was New Year’s Eve and really kinda Halloweenie spooky. When night fell the fog was still like split pea soup. Inside we celebrated a birthday, New Year’s and then around midnight fireworks erupted on the beach. One or two beach houses down someone musta bought out a fireworks stand. The fog added a lot of mystery to the lively display as we couldn’t see who was lighting the fireworks. The only hint there were actual people on the beach lighting up the night was a youngster laughing. In addition to long walks on the beach and roasting marshmallows for smores, we spent quality time with awesome new members of our family. Yep, our week in Galveston wound up exceeding our greatest expectations. Hmm, sounds strangely like it could be the title to a much happier sequel to a certain Dickens’ novel. Dixie Frantz is a longtime Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 15 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.