Boogie Down To Texas
article by Lou Davenport
I so love Texas. I can’t really explain why, I just do. It seems like every time I have ever been there, I feel like I’m home. Maybe I lived there in a past life. Maybe I was an outlaw or maybe a big oil man. It was obviously a happy life, so I’ll just go with that.
My son, Adam, and his girlfriend, Chelsey, live in Taylor, Texas. They got me a plane ticket to come out there, and I grabbed that “ticket to ride.” Taylor is about 30 miles northeast of Austin. I ended up staying 2 weeks.
The first time I ever went to Austin, I thought I had died and gone straight to heaven. I could not believe how eccentric, humorous and artsy it was. Oh, and the music! How do you not like a city whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird?”
I have loved everywhere I have ever been in Texas. I was only 5 years old, when I first rode across that big state on the way to Carlsbad Caverns in southeastern New Mexico.
I truly love Texas, except for DFW. I had forgotten how much I hated that airport. I’ve never made it through that place without getting lost. I had 45 minutes to find my gate. I had to get from “point who knows” to point “you can’t get there from here.” That damn gate kept getting further and further away. I almost missed my plane, but somehow I made it just in time to take off to Austin to “my people.”
Landing in Austin, the first thing I noticed was Adam and Chelsey at the bottom of an escalator alongside huge sculpted guitars! Oh yeah, I was home. I think I even heard Robert Earl Keen singing “The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends!”
First stop was Curra’s in Austin where I was introduced to an avocado margarita! Don’t knock it til you try one! Then, I dined on the best Mexican food I had ever had in my life! I got to see the “Graffiti Wall.” The graffiti wall goes up one of those big Austin hills on the walls of some abandoned building. There was a little bit of everything painted there…and painted well. I soaked it all in.
I fell in love with Taylor immediately. It’s a little Texas town undergoing a true renaissance! Texas just seems to appreciate what it has and takes good care of it. Taylor definitely is! Taylor will charm you. And everybody is happy! Yes, happy! I didn’t know how to act.
Taylor has a monthly art crawl, and there I was, kicked back with a good glass of wine listening to Adam and his band mates playing some great music…in an alley! These guys don’t rehearse. They just get together and play! And, they are good! They were playing behind the Texas Beer Co., a local brewery. Yes, they had some really good beer. I had some delicious Texas barbecue there, and the band came in and took the stage again.
Adam has put his stamp on downtown Taylor, and I finally got to see his work. He welds some fine metal! His work seemed to be everywhere, and to say I was not one proud Mama would be an under statement. Not many know he even paints! He loves his welding!
Everybody I met knew him and Chelsey! Yeah, I was proud! And I definitely know why they love Taylor. It seemed that you get there and you are welcomed with open arms!
From there, I got the grand tour of every thing nearby. I got to see the house that was used to film “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and the water tower with a “happy face” painted on it that was in the last “Transformers” movie. Up in Granger, I learned John Wayne had filmed “True Grit.” Granger’s old City Hall has an onion dome. It is for sale, and I yearned to buy it, fix it up and live in it! Coupland had a sculpture garden by a world renowned sculptor, and a few blocks away, there was a pig pen complete with baby pigs! Where else but in Texas?
Did I mention all the good food? It wasn’t all barbecue, either!
Over in Hutto, “home of the Hutto Hippos,” their high school’s mascot, there’s sculptures of painted hippos everywhere! Hutto is also home to “The Texan Cafe” that has a large plaster cow head on their sign. I was told the owner sports a big mohawk haircut. They are famous for their pies! It’s on my list for next time. I got to enjoy my first Vietnamese food in Hutto, “Pho Tai!” Up in Georgetown, I had pizza from “600 Degrees” and drooled. Over in Roundrock, we had donuts from “Roundrock Donuts” in a park that has the authentic Round Rock! The donuts were orange! There was plenty of good food everywhere we went. I think I may have gained 10 pounds.
One night, Adam grilled boudin and fresh jalapeños wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cream cheese. Chelsey prepared her “Mexican Lasagne.” More good food! I ended up staying for Thanksgiving, and we ended up at their friend’s home. Judy’s home is a renovated Texas farmhouse, and the crowd was a mix of people from all over the world, just like the food. I taught Adam to make my Thanksgiving dressing, and it was such a hit that everybody ate it all! A real Texas Thanksgiving I will never forget!
I sat out back admiring that Texas sky a lot. I could make out constellations. “The stars at night really are big and bright in Texas!” I kept looking at something one of those nights that was made up of 3 “stars.” The formation reminded me of a rhinestone necklace I like to wear. It never moved. UFO? It was an “unusual foreign object.” I called everybody to see. We couldn’t decide. Later, it was gone! Aliens? Had to have been!
Adam and Chelsey saved “the best for last!” Over in the hill country is a local winery, called Perisso’s. We “tasted” 6 different kinds of their wine, and I have to say, “I loved them, every one!” There was even a chicken there, “relentless” in her search for crackers! Just a beautiful day, kicked back enjoying that Texas breeze, drinking wine, eating fresh fruit and crackers…with a chicken!
The day came for me to return “to the real world,” so off I flew for Houston International. Ok, there are TWO things I don’t like in Texas, both airports.
In the 2 weeks I had in Taylor, I hadn’t had any “misadventures.” But. those things found me in Houston. Using a “secret” I had learned, I made it to the gate. Without it, I may still have been wandering around that place! But, my misadventures were only beginning!
Using my “secret” again, I got to my gate at DFW in plenty of time, only to find my flight had been delayed. At midnight, they canceled it. People cussing in at least 20 different languages. Visions of sleeping at DFW flashed through my mind! That wasn’t working for me. They said we could all fly out the “day after tomorrow!” Uh huh! More cussing in foreign languages ensued. Things were getting ugly at Gate 2222. I called Adam and Chelsey. Help!
They got me on another airline the next day, a shuttle to a hotel and a room. Escape from DFW!
Next morning, the shuttle arrived. I don’t think “Mr. Toad” could have driven a more “wild ride” than this driver. Nauseated, I got to the gate. Yes, I did use my “secret.” Then, I tried to find my phone. GONE. It had bounced out. All I could do was just laugh. I was now “incommunicado.”
Thankfully, Paige was there to meet me as she talked to Adam. Felt nice that they were concerned about ol’ Mom. Then, Paige started laughing. She saw “my secret!”
Here’s my “secret.” If you find yourself having to go through DFW or Houston International airport, tell your airline desk, you need assistance! They will be waiting for you with a wheel chair and driver! Those people know where to go. I loved being “wheeled around!” I felt like a Queen!
I have thought about Texas a lot, since I’ve been home. I know without a doubt, a part of me lives there. Where else am I going to see a possible UFO or drink wine with a chicken?
My thanks to Adam, Chelsey and Dakota for making my trip so wonderful. Dakota, thanks for your bed! Thanks to all the people I met in Taylor, Texas for welcoming me! To Paige for taking her “ignunt” Mom to the airport and for “picking up the Queen” without rolling your eyes and laughing too much! I try not to disappoint!
Dear DFW and Houston International, I have y’all figured out now! I might fly first class next time!
Happy New Year’s y’all!