A great place to visit, but…


My son, Matt, has lived many places over the years. With me and our family, he’s lived outside Chicago, San Diego, in northern California, in Idaho, and here in north Texas. Following his dream of film school and video production, he has lived in Seattle and Miami as well. Getting married to a Nebraska girl led to a stint in farm country up there.

But he loves Austin. He says that Austin is like nowhere else in Texas. I suspect that it is the influence of the University of Texas, and the accepted bohemian lifestyle there. One of the official slogans of Austin is “Keep Austin Weird.” And if you were to know my son, you would understand why he appreciates that slogan.

I have a history as a nonconformist as well, but I have mellowed quite a bit in the past few years (read: decades). My wife and I prefer a quiet community, and the city of Cleburne fits the bill for us. The university where I teach is small, the community is small, and that’s the way we like it. We’re half an hour from Fort Worth, so if we want to go to a theater or see some city life, we don’t have far to go.

I am happy for my son and his love for Austin. They still have some things to work out there, but they seem happy.

Yesterday, my cousin’s daughter had her eighth birthday, and so Shelly, my daughter Melissa and I went down to Austin for the day. The plan was to picnic on the grounds of UT, then swim at my cousin’s apartment. We hiked across Austin to the UT campus, and as usual, it was very hot. Not sure why, but the heat got to me in a special way, and I struggled all afternoon. We left about 9 p.m. and headed home, arriving home at midnight and getting to bed at 1.

This morning, our dogs woke me up at 6. I was barely conscious, but I fed them breakfast and put them outside. Then I fell back asleep until 10.

This is not normal for me. My wife and I regularly get up at 5 to exercise. The only thing I can consider is that I overdid it in the heat yesterday. Sure, it gets hot in north Texas as well, but Austin is surrounded by water, which adds humidity. In any case, we are moving slowly today.

Today it is supposed to be 97 degrees again. I’m just glad we are home, and it’s Sunday.

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