Friday, November 11, 2011

Seeing Texas through Mississippi eyes

Last night in memoir class we talked about the idea that you cannot tell another person's story. You can only tell your perception of it. So I can't tell you for sure how my houseguests reacted to the mini-Texas tour today--but from my point of view, it was a great success and they enjoyed it thoroughly. We first drove to Granbury, where they admired the picturesque courthouse, newly cleaned up and now glistening, and the charming buildings around the square. My eyes have seen the Granbury square many more times than I can count, but I thought it looked lively, a bit more spruced up today. We browsed for quite a while in The Panhandle, my favorite cooking store--and I did a little Christmas shopping. Then on to my friend Linda's store, Almost Heaven. Actually Linda met us at The Panhandle and gave a walking tour as we ambled along the block and a half to her store. Linda's store is a delight with beatiful and clever decorative pieces, mounted sayings--Barbara bought one that said, "Grace is not something we say before meals. It's a way of life"--purses, throws, all sorts of things, but all tasteful.  Linda has a terrific flair for display these things in an eye-catching way.
Then it was on to the old house that Linda and Rodger have redone with the same flair they show in the store--it's a delightful residence. Dee Gormley, who ran a knockout bookstore and put on wonderful literary events for years, joined us for lunch--chicken tortilla soup, salad, cole slaw and pumpking cheesecake. Wonderful company, wonderful food. The ladies came away thinking I have really great friends--which is true.
We went on to Tolar and Musick Road and my brother's ranch. He practically met us at the door with wine glasses in hand.We visited for a bit and then John and Cindy gave us the deluxe tour of the ranch--it is so dry and the stock tanks down, but they still have pastures of little bluestem, now dry and straw-colored, and something I  think he called King bluestem, which lies close to the ground. Both will make excellent forage for the cattle in the winter. John loves to explain the geography and ecology of his land--how they brought the pastures back, the view of the Brazos River valley, the menace of feral hogs--and Barbara and Pam asked intelligent questions, plus Pam took some incredibly good pictures of the cattle feeding. My idea of their story is that this was a day unlike any other they'd ever spent, and they enjoyed it. Pam has traveled extensively to Europe and places in the U.S., Barbara has traveled but not quite so extensively. Still I think this was a new and totally different day for them. And I always enjoy riding around the ranch--the land is beautiful, and today was a perfect day. Back at the house, I rushed us off to Fort Worth fairly quickly, worried about my puppy who had been in her crate all day. She seems none the worse for it.
We went to the Old Neighborhood Grill for supper with Jordan, Christian and Jacob. Barbara knew about the Grill from reading Skeleton in a Dead Space and hearing about my two signings there, so she was delighted to visit it.  And everyone seemed to enjoy dinner.
My house is quiet again--dogs asleep, guests gone to the apartment. But as they left Pam said to me, "Wonderful family, wonderful friends." Yep, that's how I feel about it too--I am blessed with family and friends. And it's fun to share my little corner of Texas with others, particularly with someone who like me grew up in Chicago's South Side. John felt that too, and at one point said, "It's not the South Side of Chicago." Other times he referred to growing up in the city, as we all did, and once said you couldn't see weather coming in the city but out there, you can.
Yes, Barbara and John, we've come a long and good way from Chicago's Hyde Park.

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