Spring of 2003 IV

The next morning, I was treated to a scrambled egg breakfast in the upstairs kitchen, which I affably referred to as “Suzi’s Diner”. Dodi was giving her fingers a workout on Rick’s computer, so I asked her to take a break from scanning the website and find out how the other NBA playoff games ended. I really got a kick out of peering over her shoulder, watching her fumble through the stats, not knowing one iota about sports. However, she finally persevered, coming up with all the final scores. Rick finally emerged wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a “New York Central” locomotive logo, which tempted me to ask, “Are you a train buff?” He replied, “No, not really. This belonged to Bill Thompson.”

The triad made a last-minute decision to drive down to Corpus Christie to visit some friends. We bid farewell in the parking lot, with me thanking Suzi for being “the hostess with the mostest”. In all frankness, I was rather relieved with their decision to leave town, since it gave me the freedom to roam on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I had a grand time with the sisters, but I was a little apprehensive about having to cope with company the entire weekend.

My first stop was at a nearby Albertson’s for some decadent chicken-fried chicken thighs and potato salad to carry me through the noon hour. I found a pay phone to call The Market where my old friend Jan Walner was employed. The person answering said she was off for the weekend, so I asked for directions to their store in the hope that someone there knew how to find her place of residence. It was early afternoon, so I had a decision to make – either hightail it out to The Market or make a casual tour of downtown Austin. Fortunately, as it turned out, I opted for the latter.

It was a short drive to the city center where I located a fortuitous curbside parking space in the shadow of the new Austin Hilton under construction. It was a lucky spot because without the shade under an intense April sun, I would have come back to a veritable sweatbox. I unhitched the bike and toured the fabled 6th Street with its array of ever-popular C&W music bars and fine eateries. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the places were packed along with a goodly crowd strolling up and down the sidewalks – a scene you would never see in downtown Dallas.