Dinner with the parents
Note:Sorry for three long posts in such quick succession, but you've got to take advantage of the connection when you can.)
I'm in Schulenberg, Texas tonight, a town where I remember stopping for pastries as a child when my parents would drive my sister and me to Helotes (or wherever my grandparents were living at the time) for our regular visits. This was when I was a very small child, since these drives pretty much ended after we moved to Louisiana when I was seven. It's easily the nicest hotel I've stayed in on this trip, though not the most expensive, thank Jeebus--lots of amenities I won't be making use of, although I am making extensive use of, what else? the wireless internet.
I ate dinner with my parents at the Chili's in Boerne (pronounced birney), which is a major event when you consider that we haven't spoken in about two years, which corresponds roughly to my move to California, and my contact on the whole has been limited to a couple of cards that updated me on the doings of the people I once congregated with way back in the day. It seems we struck a bargain of sorts--I hauled ass the 600+ miles from Lordsberg, NM to Boerne, and they skipped the first half of their meeting at the Kingdom Hall to have dinner with me. In all, it seems a fair trade.
Conversation was pretty nondescript--I explained what exactly I'd been doing in San Francisco, they talked about the humdrum everyday things of their lives, of the changes in their lifestyle since they moved from Kokomo, MS to Boerne (it's a pretty massive difference). I caught them up on my daughter; they caught me up on my cousins--apparently another one is a professional musician of sorts, one I haven't met, a second cousin much younger than me. In short, it was wonderful, because there wasn't any uncomfortableness about religion--when it came up, it was in the context of experiences they'd had in field service. There was no accusatory tones, no recriminations, no pleas for me to reconsider my life of sin. Everything I dreded didn't happen, and when we split this time, I told them I'd forward my new contact information and they seemed genuinely pleased. That's a feeling I haven't seen in a long time.
I don't know where I got the idea that west Texas was flat, but it isn't--good lord it isn't. It's hilly as all hell, and right now, it's very green too. It was actually a very pleasant drive, except for the fact that it was too long and too hot. It wasn't overwhelming the way that driving through Utah is; it was just pleasant.
One last thing--I'm never taking bypass loops again. I got turned around so badly in San Antonio tonight that for a while, I was on I-35 south just so I could get back to the city center in hopes of running into I-10. I understand that traffic in Houston sis a stone bitch, and that taking the loop might save me some time, but to hell with that--I'd wind up in Galveston or something, and I don't have that many miles to spare.