Sunday, December 24, 2006


She Who Must Be Obeyed, Elder Daughter, and I arrived in Foat Wuth this evening after pounding our way across 830 miles of interstate highway.

We made the trip in 13 hours 15 minutes, managing to average over 62 miles per hour - this despite the occasional pee-breaks and fuel refills...and an actual sit-down breakfast at an IHOP in Oxford, Abbalamma. Ol’ Lead-Foot SWMBO handled the lion’s share of the driving chores: 10 hours to my 3:15.

We stopped to gas up once we hit Texas, pulling over at one of the Great Corporate Salt Mine’s far-flung outposts in Longview. At the pump in front of us, a specimen of Moronicus Texicanus Orientalis* was pumping a load of high-test into his Impala (no, not the stereotypical pick’m’up truck) whilst puffing on a lit ciggy. Brilliant, fucking brilliant.

Meanwhile, Elder Daughter had gone into the convenience store, where the clientele - what is it about East Texas? - slammed her Redneck-O-Meter needle right to the peg. A country song was playing on the Muzak, and E.D. chuckled to herself...because she knew every word to the song.

You can take the girl out of Texas, but...aaah, you know the rest.

We marveled, as we always do, at the amazing amount of development that has taken place along the I-20 axis in the last 30 years. There is a spot on westbound I-20 between Dallas and Fort Worth where the road builds up a certain amount of elevation (a neat trick in these parts), offering the motorist a sweeping vista of the land to the west. Tonight, the panorama was studded with a myriad twinkling lights, encapsulating in one gestalt the blessings and curses of civilization. The sparkling, beautiful lights and the accompanying amenities come at the expense of the wide open spaces. But it do look raht purty on a clear evening.

I love driving this time of year. It’s no doubt a throwback to days long ago, when we would take a Sunday drive from our suburban home on the south shore of Long Island to my grandparents’ apartment in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. The drive home afforded an opportunity to look at the displays of Christmas lights that festooned houses adjacent to the Belt and Southern State parkways. I can still picture the twinkling, multicolored lights, feel the crisp winter air.

On arriving at the Momma d’SWMBO’s place, we were greeted by an enthusiastic Nephew William, a smiling (for a while, anyway) baby niece Madison, SWMBO’s brother Morris William and his wife Rebecca - and, of course, Momma d’SWMBO and hubby David. SWMBO’s other brother (who comments here as Bro in-Law d’Elisson) showed up a bit later.

Damn, it’s nice to be back in Texas. Not that I’m a stranger around here, mind you - but much of my routine travel takes me to Houston, far from the northern reaches of the state around Fort Worth and Denton where we’ll be spending the week. And I’m gettin’ a hankerin’ for some Texas barbecue and mebbe some a’ them grilled jalapeños.

[*East Texas Moron. (No, he wasn’t Asian.)]

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