A Texas November Odyssey- 1990 Part I

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1990

On the road again … how I yearn to be on the road again. Got them itchy feet. Ol’ Baleau is pawin’ the ground. Cruise through downtown Dallas on the way out. I always get this eerie feeling when I’m down in these concrete and steel canyons, rememberin’ the halcyon days of working my butt off, and walking the lunch hour, scoping the distaff side of Big D. Those were the days, my friend. Over the viaduct across the pitiful Trinity River, or muddy trickle. The Little Muddy. The graceful arches of the ancient Houston St. viaduct in contrast to the sterile, utilitarian sweep of the later model. And there, just over the west levee, lies the still vacant lot that was once Burnett Field, home of the Triple A Dallas Eagles, circa 1953. And long gone too is the trolley barn next to the ballpark (the streetcars pulled up to the front gate). I can’t get excited about the boring stretch of I-35. Looking out for Ennis county patrol cars. Could I get cited for under-speeding? No more “Grimes Garage” or “Burma Shave” signs. No more Interurban trolley rolling across the countryside. Hark: Is that the imposing skyline of Waco? It hasn’t changed in 60 years. Revisited Cameron Park. It’s amazing how far you can see from “Lover’s Leap”. And the Brazos is a lovely, gentle-rolling river. Stopping at every rest area. 53 hours to get from Dallas to Austin? Unbelievable.

And wouldn’t you know, at the first rest stop, an Ontario man (seeing my Colorado plates) says, “Well, I have a brother who lives in Colo. Springs. I swear, everyone I meet on the road has a relative who lives in the Mile High state. Whatever happened to Lady Bird’s “Beautify ‘Merica”? Every time I pass that Waco auto graveyard, covering square miles-not acres, I just shake my head in disgust. I truly believe those cars are actually sprouting new offsprings. What a warm, gracious 3722 Chateau, I’m so glad I did that drawing of their house so that Pattie Rose can reproduce it for whatever she desires. Good feeling. Well, that’s Dallas to Waco. At least the weather was cooperating-cool and cloudy. Hate that low winter sun.

Now we’re gettin’ into the Hill Country near Austin on a rainy cool day. Lynn Buckner-Rich’s house is just what I remembered Austin to be-an artist colony, music and art with the aroma of “grass”, housed in a modest, casual setting. Two beds, kitchen, and bathroom all opening onto the living area. And a plethora of glass panes overlooking a creek shaded by huge oaks and elms. She’s designated the area as the “Seamy South Side” (south of the Colorado River). In reality, it’s a very civilized neighborhood, with hike-and-bike trails leading down to the Town Lake. Eating cheese and sippin’ red wine with two of her male friends, and her 11-year old Emelia is talking with her uncle Bob back in Dallas (all the time twisting and turning on the bed, just havin’ a ball), when the lights go out. Out with the candles. Now here’s where you make friends fast, like being stuck in a elevator. Well, not quite that extreme. Funniest thing. Lynn keeps jumping up and tries to turn up the volume on the now soundless stereo. Creature of habit. Who are those guys? They just bee-boppin’ in, one brash dude grabs the guitar and starts strummin’ away, and then jumps to the piano for more cacophony. Then he goes out and comes back with a bunch of albums he’s cut, and starts handing them out like free samples. Weird. Had a fun time talking with Walt about Greece. Spent the night “on the curb”.

Now it’s Friday, and I’m cruisin’ Austin. Up Congress Ave. towards the magnificent state capitol bldg. Quite a sight! Meander through the hub-bub of a campus with 50,000 students crammed into barely a square mile. But once I crossed over 27th St. to the Austin Presbytery campus, it was like “quiet zone”. Visited with Dr. Bill Hedrick –a short walking tour around a very intimate, serene environs. I just wanted to see where some of Mom’s money was going. Cruise Guadalupe – the campus drag. Bop in on Johnny Mack Noack in his high-rise, co-ed dorm. Surprise! Censored for Mary Donna and Jim. Back to Post Oak and Lynn. Had a good talk with her. She really wants brother Bob to move to Austin. We both agree that Austin’s laid-back, college-oriented, less white-collar groupies atmosphere is much more conducive to Bob’s lifestyle. I’ll miss him and our casual cavorting, talkin’ trash, spendin’ cash (at Target). I might even miss him “comin’ to the bank”. And we both just got our bikes in perfect running condition. Emelia would be in hog heaven with her uncle nearby.

It’s Sunday, and Lynn, Walt and myself have just had a beautiful brunch at 712 Post Oak – pancakes and sausage. We talk about the efforts to save Austin’s natural resources, e.g. Barton Springs. Come to think about it, I could really dig living here myself.