Smelly Socks: Our Julio Comes Home

By Johanna Bloom
Dec. 6, 2012 at 6:06 a.m.
Updated Dec. 9, 2012 at 6:09 a.m.

Julio the Longhorn all decorated for Christmas.

Julio the Longhorn all decorated for Christmas.

Ranch Life

With the holidays here and everyone's busy schedule, my mother and I don't have the opportunity to get off with the boys for a shopping day as often as we would like. Last weekend, we bit the bullet and loaded up the boys. We decided to be spontaneous and just get in the car, head north and see where we end up.

Austin didn't like leaving things to chance, so he plotted a course on the Garmin. He had us heading straight to Fredericksburg. Jamison was the first to speak up and ask, "What's in Fredericksburg?" Austin then replied, "That's where they have those great steaks and that cool war museum." As usual, my child is led by his taste buds and his interest in history.

Lola, the name the boys have given the Garmin's lady voice, was busy giving directions, and we sat back and enjoyed the ride. As any traveling parent knows, there are the numerous mandatory stops for drinks and snacks, all of which are extremely unhealthy. Snacks were allowed since we were in my mother's car, and she doesn't seem to fret over all of the crumbs that with boys seem to get everywhere. Everyone was having a great time, and the boys were intent on their Nintendo DS consoles and not interested in annoying each other. My mother and I got a chance to catch up on some girl talk and enjoy our day together.

When we pulled into Fredericksburg, it wasn't as crowded as we expected. So we immediately hit the shops. After a few well-browsed shops, we got to Austin's favorite part of the trip and stopped for a much-anticipated meal at The Brewery. Once again, Austin got his hands on what he proclaimed "the perfect steak." My mother then took the boys to the Pacific War Museum for a brief history lesson with their "Mimi." While they were at the museum, I was able to do some serious shopping.

After a couple of hours, the boys and my exhausted mother joined me back at the shops. I was in need of their opinion on a couple of pairs of boots I had found and thought were too beautiful to pass up. A girl can never have too many pairs of boots. We all sat down in the store, and the boys let out a sigh letting me know that they were going to tolerate just a little more shopping for the day. All of the sudden a loud, "Holy moly! Wow! Look at that!" filled the store. The exclamation came from Jamison as he looked up and saw a large longhorn mount on the far wall. The mount was dark red with a tremendous set of horns and a brass ring in its nose. We all began looking at it, and I noticed a big sale sign hanging off its neck. I immediately asked the sales clerk to fill me in on all of its details, and she was more than happy to oblige.

I asked my mom how she thought it would look above our fireplace mantle. We decided the size and proportions were just right to fill in that large blank space that was in need of something. As we started negotiating the various terms, Jamison in an assertive voice asked, "Are we gonna bring Julio home?" We looked at him questionably and a tad bit concerned. Very matter-of-factly Jamison explained, "Well, I named him Julio." It was settled, and Julio just had to come home with us. I was just hoping that John would understand Jamison's naming logic and my desire to fill that certain space in our house with a longhorn mount.

We were able to load Julio up in my mother's SUV. We placed him squarely in the backseat between the boys with the tips of his horns sticking out the rolled-down back windows. The boys were secure in their seat belts, but they both had to sit at a certain angle to accommodate Julio's size. Never underestimate the packing ability of a woman on a mission. Austin and Jamison were just hoping that no one they knew saw them in a car with an enormous longhorn head sticking up in the backseat. We did get quite a few interesting looks from other cars we met in route to the ranch.

When we got home and showed John our new family member, he was more than skeptical. When Jamison explained that he was named Julio, more confusion came into play. He finally shook his head and said not to tell him anymore.

Julio filled up our blank space perfectly. He dominates our den and commands attention from all who enter. This Christmas season, Jamison insisted that Julio have some elves on his horns to make him part of the festivities. Nothing says the holidays like a longhorn mount named Julio with elves on his horns. This is truly ranch life at its very best.

Johanna is a proud, seventh generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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