Thursday, July 15, 2010


Out of Washington.  Day 1 -- Day 2
By (c) Russ Barnes. All rights reserved: text and photos
Here’s a story. A journey in daily journal form.  All the way from Washington, DC to Austin, Texas and the ranch.  I will be publishing these posts from today till July 28.  I hope you will join with me by your comments and wisdom.  Please check in every day for the duration.
July 8, 2008, Tuesday --  Washington DC -- I pack; organize for trip.  Haven’t flown in eight years.  Nervous, anxious.   Anxious about where I’ll be.  Will I have enough to survive?  Will I really have time to do my work?  Will Robbin abandon me while I’m gone?  Will Anne be okay with her house without my help?  I’m also sad.  I feel alone.  I know I will miss everyone.  This is not going to be social I think.  It is going to be lonely.  But that’s what I think I need.  Don’t exactly know why.

I develop severe heart palpitations.  They last the whole day without let-up.  Heart skips a beat - at least three times a minute.  Irregular heartbeat too.  I feel bad, fluttery in my chest and stomach.  And that adds to the anxiety, a sense of dread.  I feel so bad, I call the doctor.  She says to take a moderate amount of diazepam all the way up and through the flight.  The palpitations don’t go away; but they diminish.

July 9, 2008, Wednesday. Washington to Austin -- I get through security, new to me after 9/11, almost without a hitch.  The flight is close to routine.  I even sleep a bit.  Fly south out of Houston along the Gulf to avoid a thunderhead between Houston and Austin. In the airport there were live jazz and blues bands playing in several spots. Welcome to the spirit of Austin.  Karen meets me in Joe’s truck, Silver, with a gray-top, AKA Wallmart.  Since, if there were seven 9/11s, you have everything in that truck to survive.  On the dashboard are the skulls of animals like bobcats, sundry other bones, teeth, bullets, feathers, and such things the black neighbors call Ju-Ju.  Evil spirits will not come near.


Karen at 53 is smashing as always.  She talks a stream, Joe talks a stream.   We all three talk a stream.  Non-Washingtonian.  It’s about plants, animals, cooking, adventures experienced, business, who was hospitable and who was not, about ways to get out grease and dirt, put things together. 

And about Leslie.  Leslie is a gay man dressed in a pink bra and a g-string who regularly walks up and down Congress Avenue.  He was arrested.  The Travis County ACLU intervened, and now Leslie continues her daily walks and has gained celebrity status.

Joe hugged me upon arrival at the house in East Austin.  Ramshackle place as always. Nineteen sewing machines strewn about with other mind-boggling accoutrements having to do with my host's encyclopedic interests.  

Dinner, the Eucharist, if you will.  Well, more accurately, going back to the ancient sacrifices.  Oil barrel barbecue grill in the back yard with a huffing and puffing chimney. Smelling of Fajita meat.  What a meal: Fajitas in fried tortillas: the meat, sautéed onions and varieties of of peppers, guacamole, a french cheese, and home-made salsa.  Then a Mexican bean soup on the side which was one of the best soups I have ever tasted.  Then we made contact with Robbin by Skype video conference in Mexico.  I had such a feeling of worthiness of these three people.  We all talked together.  A little stilted.  But I was so proud of everyone.

To be continued tomorrow
Go to sequel: #2, #3#4, #5#6, #7, #8

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