Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Last Saturday.

Saturday started out with my buddy Dave (one of the many Daves that I'm lucky to call "buddy") calling and waking us up at about 10 AM. He keeps farmers hours, ol' Waters. Not sure why. He's old fashioned, so he naturally assumed we'd be up by then.

He'd gone over to the home of and old school administrator we both know and had a new purchase to show me.

It's an 1817 Springfield flintlock musket. He laid out all the details on the gun, which he's paying $2000.00 for. Man, I miss that full-time paycheck. One thing he wanted to assure Denise was that this gun was made too late to have taken part in any of the unpleasantness between our two countries. I tell ya, there's nothing like holding a piece of history like this in your hands. Imagine the people who held it, and the history it's seen. If it could only talk.

After showing off the new toy, Dave came in to the house and sat on the couch and we talked about all this mess that's subsumed my life in the last week. He's always been supportive in all of my dramas. He's a great, valued friend.

After Dave (Waters) left, I got a call from another valued friend. Dave (Willingham) was driving up from Florence with the contents of my desk and classroom in two boxes.

I'd called down there Thursday to see if the principle wanted me to come down, get my stuff and turn in the key to the room. He told me that CTC had told him not to allow me back in the building. That shocked me. I told him to give the stuff to Willingham, and that I'd drive down and give him the key. But Dave decided to come up. I wasn't going to argue with him too much.

Not only did he bring up all my possibles, the contents of my desk and the maps I had hangin' on the walls. He also brought up the school custodian's jacket. Apparently, Debbie has a tradition of getting a lot of departing kids sign her Florence jacket. She'd always been good to me, taking care of my room and everything, but it surprised me when Dave told me she wanted me to sign her jacket. To me, it signifies the good will that so many people have been showing me as this drama has ensued. The people who know me, who've known me for years, know who I really am. They know I'm not the person those few powerful people have said I might be.

After Dave left, I got a call from my long time friends, Jim and Terry, in Ft. Worth. They'd talked about drivin' down and stoppin' by on the way down to Austin. Three hours later, after a quick stop for sausage at Green's in Zabcikville, they were here, sittin' in my living room. We hung around the house for a while, and I told them all the dirty details of what had gone on this last week. In time, the subject happily changed to other things, like a new cat, and fond memories of when the three of us floated the Grand Canyon in '03 and '05.

We talked about how cool it feels to be part of the small percentage of the population that's actually left the south rim on a visit to the canyon, much less walked into and out of the friggin' thing. We talked about how cool it would be to do it all again in a decade or so. Next time we'll avoid the walk, and do the whole river in one trip. They'll drive us in to Lee's Ferry and fly us out at the dam about 17 days later. It should be cool.

In time, all four of us piled into Terry's Camry and headed for Austin. We drove down 195 and 35, exiting downtown and driving west on 6th street. After debating the topic for a bit, we ended up having dinner at Hut's Hamburgers, a pretty famous local diner. Jim had been there before, when he was briefly working in Austin, but none of the rest of us had ever tried it.

It's Texas, so there's a Longhorn head up on the wall. There's also a Buffalo head up there. That dude glared down at us as we enjoyed out teas and burgers.

And it's Austin, so of course, there are pictures of Stevie, Jimmie, and Lou Ann on the wall.

The food was pretty good, but it wasn't knock-your-socks-off good. The onion rings were awesome though, so I'd go back.

We drove down by the river and soon found a parking lot that looked like it catered to Bat watchers. $7 later we were walkin' a block or so down to the bridge and beginning our wait.

We were NOT alone. This little wildlife drama attracts bat aficionados from all over the world.

And then there's us local folks. Both Terry and I had seen the bat spectacle before, but it's always cool to check it out again. Denise and Jim had never had the pleasure.

The wait turned out to be a long one. But there was plenty of action on the water to watch as we waited. I had a good cigar burnin', and thought now and then, "If I get busted for smokin' in this liberal, pissy assed town, that'll be the capper on the week." I don't think smoking in public is illegal there, but I'm not sure, and I'm kind'a gun shy these days.

We went down under the bridge, thinkin' we'd get to see all the bats come flyin' out of the slats underneath the structure. By the time they did come out, there wasn't enough light for me to capture them with my camera. You can hear them chirpin' though, over my blatherin'.

Here's what we were lookin' for. It's what Terry and I had seen before. The bats come out in a long streaming flock and twist through the sky. I guess, in retrospect, it would have been better for us to be on top of the bridge.

But then, Terry stayed up there, watching from the north end of the bridge, and she didn't see the cloud ether. Maybe it just wasn't our night.

Finally, on our way back north, we stopped at Rudy's and picked up some brisket, jalapeno sausage and cream corn to go. Rudy's is a wonderful BBQ place, and their cream corn is to die for. I ended up bringing home three jalapeno sausage links, a pound of extra lean brisket and a quart of corn.

Jim and Terry dropped us off at the house, and after making a pit stop, drove on back up to Ft. Worth. Denise and I stayed up a bit longer, and then hit the sack about the same time Jim and Terry probably got home. It was a great, great healing day. I loved seein' all my these good friends. It makes me feel truly rich and lucky.

Well, the holiday weekend isn't over yet. Relax and I'll share the rest of it all with you in a bit. Cheers.


kenneth said...

I spent the year 1998 eating my way through the restaurants of Austin and it was probably the best food year I have ever had. To begin with, all restaurants in Texas are outstanding, but what was most amazing is that even the Texas convenience stores and quick shops serve better food than restaurants in New Mexico do (they also present it in a more appealing manner and deliver it more graciously than is generally done here.) By the end of that year I had learned enough food skills to come back and almost thrive in this wilderness (i.e. potatoes actually have a flavor - other than ketchup; a dirty burger can be a good thing - although I wouldn't order one locally; and HEB is a sure sign of civilization.)
Now I have to drive to Lubbock if I want to eat out, but you just have to step outside.
You are a fortunate man.

FHB said...

Aaaah, many's a morin' I've found sustainance in a corn dog and a Dew from a local stop-n-rob. True, true. Texas does have some awesome places to eat.

And I do love livin' so close to the hub of it all.

BRUNO said...

The poor man needs a ROCK, to make the gun FIRE, eh? I've lost count of how many times I've "ragged" flint-lock owners about that!

As for "shedded-tears" at your former-job: Give 'em another month, maybe two---an' you'll just be "yesterdays'-lunch-today" to them anymore. Whether you're LOVED, or HATED---it always works the same way, as in, "You CAN be replaced---and HAVE-been."

If ya' don't believe ME? Ask "SOMEONE" else the same question.

So, enjoy those bittersweet "tears" while you can, because they dry-up real fast, once "the-rag" is thrown-away...!