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Thoughts And Dark

Okay, last time, I had gotten us (finally) out of the parking garage at Love Field and we were on our way home. We had the insane idea that we were going to drive all the way back to Georgetown, or a distance of about 170 miles (280 kilometers) give or take, that night.


Where we got that idea, I can’t begin to say, but it was thoroughly ridiculous, and somewhere around the pleasant little city of Hillsboro, we realized we were exhausted. So, we pulled off, found a nice hotel, had dinner, and crashed.


We went to bed. I found myself, strangely enough, unable to sleep. My little brain was whirling about ...going hither and yon.


I must confess, I had been freaked out by my trip to Boston. I had had a great time, of course. And I loved being there. But, as I’ve said a couple of times already, I also realized that it was no longer my home. Not really. The city has changed too much. And *I* have changed too much. It, like Amherst, is no the longer the place I recall. It now belongs to others, particularly the young people who are coming there for work and adventure, just as I went there for work and adventure over forty years ago.


But where then is “home?” Nothing against Texas, but it really doesn’t feel like home to me. At least, I don’t feel at home in our particular area of Texas--at, that is, the dividing line between rural Texas and Austin’s suburbs. I find the culture here a bit alien. And, well, the politics are often antithetical to my own. Worse, sometimes, some Texans can be fierce about that--this is the only place I’ve lived where I have actually been threatened because of the bumper stickers on my car.(1)


But, there is more. Again, don’t get me wrong. Many of my neighbors are wonderful people and I would be delighted to count them as friends. But, there is also a tension here between long-time residents and newcomers (including me) who bring unwelcome changes and higher prices on everything from real estate to car insurance. And sometimes feelings can run kind of raw on all that.


I’ll share a story. Shortly after we moved here, Martha had an urge for franks and beans, a typical New England dish. So, she sent me to the store to pick up some brown bread, which is a typical New England addition to the plate. Not heard of “brown bread?” Well, it is a chewy, dense, slightly sweet bread. It comes in a can, believe it or not. It is rather good, actually, and I’ve been able to buy it most places I’ve lived, including New Mexico.(2)


But not here, not in Georgetown. When I arrived at the grocery store, I couldn’t find it in the canned food section. So, I asked the people at the customer service desk. They stared at me, bewildered. They called over the store manager -- a very big man with a full beard and a foul temper. He asked me what the hell brown bread was? I explained. I added that it was a New England thing. He didn’t exactly spit at me. But I think he would have if he could have. “Well, you’re in the South now,” he said, disgusted by me and all my works, and then he stalked away without another word.


So...no. Not home. Not yet.




About the photos. My usual two today. The first, a video (which I hope will appear in the pdf version) of a home with mysterious flowers. I wanted to express the idea that home can be anywhere, so long as what (and who) you love is there.


As I lay in the dark there, that night. I wondered what to do about it. We are certainly not moving away from Texas, not so long as the kids are here. Perhaps, then, we could move to some other part of Texas where we’d feel more at home? Maybe one of the cities--Dallas, Houston, Ft. Worth, San Antonio--or some other suburb of Austin. Wimberley would be great (I’m going to be writing about Wimberley soon), but we probably couldn’t afford it.


And Austin itself? Also too expensive...and waaaay too young. The population is just too youthful. I think I’ve told you the joke about how we can enter a cafe there and, all by ourselves, raise the average age by twenty years.


But...also...


I wondered, there in the dark...could it be....that maybe, for me...moving is not really going to solve my problems? No matter where I might go?


Let’s face facts. I’m by nature a stranger. I mean, I’m a bit odd. I say that without embarrassment. It’s just who I am. I have unusual tastes, strange interests, and bizarre enthusiasms. And that means I’m never going to be entirely at home anywhere...whether the “where” in question is Texas or Mars, and whether I’m among Cowboys or Klingons.


Except...except...


Okay, yes, I know it is a cliche...but, all the same...home really is where the heart resides. And my heart is with Martha, and my son and my daughter-in-law, and the grandchildren.


Which means...you know how Hemingway called Paris “A Movable Feast?” Well, I have a portable home. It travels with me, and I with it. So long as I may perceive it, or even hold it in memory... I have a place.


So thinking, I closed my eyes, and went to sleep at last.



Second, Martha in a cafe in Leander, Texas, looking smashing... and a bit bemused at her husband and his cellphone camera.


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In the morning, we got up early, headed out, and were back to Georgetown before lunch. And, that, really, brings me at long last to the end of our trip to New England.


But...rest assured...I’m way too weird (see footnote 3 below) to stop now.


Lots more little adventures to come.




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Footnotes:


1. This has happened to me several times. I even ended up doing one of my little videos on the topic. You can see it here https://vimeo.com/782739608.


2. For more about Brown Bread, here are a couple of sources. This article is fun, “What Is Canned Bread and Why Does It Exist?: by Sarra Sedghi in All Recipes Magazine, Published on April 18, 2021, https://www.allrecipes.com/article/what-is-canned-bread/. And here is a link to the product itself on website of the company that is said to have invented brown bread, B&G Foods, Inc., https://bmbeans.com/product/brown-bread-plain/


3. I was just looking at my search history on Firefox. In the last three days alone, I have gone tearing off on the web searching for information on feathered microraptors, brown bread (for this blog post), the Timurid emirates, “best places to sell stock photography,” “organized crime and the illicit cigarette trade,” Hammer horror films of the 1960s and ‘70s, Mini-Micro Systems Magazine (again, for this blog), Double Boilers, Stable Diffusion, “Humanoids From The Deep (Movie),” Chatbots, Santa Fe, The Pentagon Leak, Brick and Clay Record Magazine (ditto), and “The TI99/4A personal computer” (double ditto). You just can’t get weirder than that.





Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker



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~mjt



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