We went as a family (and with one of our smallest members–our dog) to Kansas to visit dear Robin on her 20 acre arboretum, with the river running through it, the Dojo, the one-of-a-kind chalet style home with the words, “At last, home” over the front door in stone and moss; the “Hex” house (a true hexagon shaped house!), the Garaj Mahal, the golf cart to scoot around in the afternoon sun as we hid treasures for the children all over the landscape, fishing (til our only hook was lost), walking to Joe’s Diner, the M & M grocery store (still family owned), pulling a few weeds, watching Robin water all the lovely flowers and plants, the grace of the tall trees, their shade for swinging, the fossilized mastadon skull, croquet in the setting sun on the pasture, the scarecrow with a mask of George Bush’s face, the windmill in the wind, the sound of the train blowing it’s lonesome cry in the still of the night, the marmalade cat, Stella: the yellow lab with the eternal grin, singing on Robin’s new cd and meeting Carter, a fast and awesome engineer, Robin with the ribbon in her hair…me and Robin taking Lily into Wichita for her birthday of funky antiquing, girly shoppes and a family owned restaurant with a soda jerk counter and food beyond compare…Stopping in at Monica’s Bundt Cakes and Lily picking out a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting bundt, pink swirly candles and a pink pick that read “Happy Birthday!”
The drive up we stayed just outside OKC in a La Quinta, to swim and rest and just be a family at a pool…the next day, up and driving on into Kansas, a late lunch with Robin, her honey and his shining son. Nights of playing Pictionary, family feud style, watching the kids outwit us with their amazing skill and quick draws. Waking up to the smell of coffee and the honey colored sun sneaking past the shades, rainbows on the walls from crystals and hand cut glass.
Leaving was hard after so much down time of just being together, two families in one Eden, complete with Snake Island and the Bum Boat Dock. Robin standing out by the gates, waving us off, me feeling a bit teary, but Lucky (our dog), our faithful co-pilot, tongue wagging, smile intact, sitting between Lance and I on her little seat, leading back home to Austin. And the Christmas Store somewhere in Oklahoma, just past the border, where we stopped in and “oohed” and “aahed” over the display of lights…much like our own Zilker’s Trail of Lights, only dead heat outside when we finished the tour. On to Guthrie, where we noodled around in another gianormous flea market like antique store (two floors!) and lunch at the yummy “Granny Had One”. Can’t say enough about Guthrie! Make sure you stop there someday.
The ten hour drive home was complete with rest stops and fun, and hitting our own beds was a joy. Up the next day, a little office work, and Friday was another travel day—Kristin arrived, and off we went to Houston for our Mucky Duck show, a wonderful, sold out night, with the unbeatable and soon to be household name, Emily Elbert, barefoot and make up free singing her soul and playing the guitar like Django and Antonio. Everyone loved her! It was a fun night, as Eddy joined us on keyboards, and seeing Rusty and Teresa is always a hug of love. SUPPORT LOCAL ENTITIES like Mucky Duck, Granny Had One, and all the rest. THEY are what make America great…homespun little companies sharing diverse ideas and sounds and goods and found objects and one of a kind thingymabobs and if everyone supported their local businesses, it would be a healthier world, I just know it. People have pride in what they accomplish and leave behind….or build for the future.
Stayed in the Heights at Sara’s B & B, my new favorite place for rest in Houston. Check them out. Also family owned with about seventeen distinctly classy rooms, fair rates, delicious breakfast in the cheery sun room in the morning, and the rooms have individual names and looks (this time, Kristin and I stayed in the Austin room!)
Got up to go see Julie and family…heard the names of all the chickens, Sky was wagging her tail (and Rex, the other giant boxer, did not hump my leg…whew!)…sat around the table and talked about books, school, history, sewing, our kids, what was up in the world…ALWAYS fascinating and soul fulfilling to visit my dearest Julie, to be a part of her round table and life. I love that family so, and Abbey is so long and lean with a great, funky short hair cut, Graeme so sparkle-eyed and knowledgeable, Rickey filling us in here and there as he meanders in and out. Julie never changes. She looks exactly the same to me as she did in high school. Kristin loves them all, now, too, and I know they love her. By the way, geckos can grow big!
Then, back in the car, and Kristin and I drove on to Wylie, to the Tom Noe House Concert (Tom Noe’s House for Wayward Women), where we stopped along the way in Corsicana to visit the Russell Stover candy factory, and had a blast
buying heart shaped boxes of chocolate to give away to the audience that night (they had to answer questions, or just impress me with some clever heckle or witticism..which they all did, of course!) Fantastically fun show, another packed house (literally, a house this time) and up until 2:30 am picking and singing…
Up for a quick cup of joe, and Tom and I started in on atheism (him) and Christianity (me) and I was very tired, drained from all the driving/performing and warned him I was not wise enough to engage in a deep conversation about religion/God/science, but it turned into a sudden, quick flash and I wanted to leave. Tom is wonderful, just wanting to preach his gospel, and I just wanted to not get into it, but did, and then in the car, I burst into tears, and driving, feeling so many feelings, and Kristin got weepy, too, and sometimes, I just need to cry. There is so much anguish in this world. There is so much good, too. I couldn’t remember the name of Stephen J. Gould, and/or Joseph Campbell; I just needed a fresh day to talk philosophy. Or a day of the Kansas cornfields and a walk to the diner and no confrontations, just dialogue and thoughtfulness. We are all here, we are all doing our best, it’s a lot to comprehend and sing about and be involved in trying to make change.
Stopped in Lancaster to eat breakfast with my brother in zaniness, and ex-house partner, Kevin (also Lily’s fairy god-father), where we laughed and caught up on ideas, shows, Hollywood, bands, clothing, travel, the past, the present and the future. Kevin has such a nice tan! He’s a Q-T pa-tootie!
Home today, tried to catch up on office stuff, we all headed off to the mall for Lily wanted to have her ears pierced, and so she did…we got her the best earrings we could as I didn’t want any infection, and she was brave and only flinched ever so slightly on the first “ka-chunk”. I was more anxious than she, I think. We all had dinner, and got the girls some new school sneakers, then off to see “Hairspray”, and I think that movie is just fantastic. I never saw the original, but the message is so clear and the dancing and singing and enthusiasm of all the actors was contagious. I got weepy on Queen Latifah’s song. I love sitting with my family and seeing something about how we can overcome.
We shall overcome…we shall overcome…some….day
Goodnight, world. Thank you for all you share with me. Thank you to Charity for the foot rub, as well. I never realized how tired my feet were, how much they were carrying, til you sat me down on the sofa and put your hands on my feet. Bless you. And to Tom for having a house to share and the songs he loves to sing and the passion he espouses, and to Kristin for being a wondrous travel companion/cohort on the stage—your angelic voice, husky and strong and sweet and lilting…and thank you for helping me drive home today…ah, I needed that! … and to Marc, for courageously playing the first song he ever wrote on the guitar, for all of us last night to witness…and Mark of KPOW, for sharing the kittens and his amazing strength and ability to show up and be ever so kind, and to the audiences and all the things that they whisper and shout and sing-a-long to….the mother of the soldier who told me she was glad I spoke out against Dick Cheney (even as the audience didn’t know what to do with me), and the young man who scooched up next to me while I sang “Salvador”, telling me later why…and to all the gentle souls who told me the last two nights to keep singing “The One”, for this world needs to find forgiveness and so do we.