When I moved back to Texas from New York in 1994, heartbroken from my last marriage run amok, Austin was my destination. Having grown up in the dusty outback of west Texas, I knew that, not only could I ‘not go home again,’ I wouldn’t have wanted the dusty, flat, crusty arm of the panhandle to cradle my return. The lush, green hill country called me, and I was welcomed with the open arms that only a ‘Howdy’ could embrace….that and a “How’s your Mama n’them?”
I watched Austin grow and change in my middle age, and I thought myself dug in, settled down and ready to spend the waning half of my life watching all the young’uns from every corner of the country coming to change Austin into the place they left. And, with Austin becoming the number one destination location for baby boomers, I figured I was in good stead with my fellow boomer tribe members. We’d all take our feet off the gas pedals and cruise through our remaining years in the calm Texas bliss that we so richly deserved.
Sally and I whiled away our evenings on the porch with a martini and a nod to the neighbors walking by. The evenings and days got hotter and drier starting back in 2009, but we chalked it up to a couple of years’ worth of God getting even. Then we lost two huge, ancient trees that keeled over from the arid stress. We began to ponder the outrageous possibility of living somewhere else if our slice of paradise were to crust over and blow away. I don’t like to be cold, so any place above the Mason-Dixon line was out of the question. And, forget about Oklahoma. Are those people crazy? With hurricanes on the east coast and California too full already and predicted to crack off into the ocean any time, we were running out of US territory on which to fantasize a new life.
Our plan boiled up and over when one of those people dressed in a starched, white cotton coat with a stethoscope around his neck used the blessed word, be-n-i-g-n after my recent surgical procedure, so we decided to take a trip in celebration. “Let’s go to Hawaii,” I said, to which Sal replied, “Damn skippy and Aloha!” Then, one of my brain cells caused me to blurt out, “Let’s just move to Hawaii.” We looked at each other at first and guffawed. When the laughter subsided, we looked at each other again with the kind of sisterly connection that bespeaks an understanding of each other’s insanity on a deep level.
Are we the only people who are moving AWAY from Austin? Possibly. Are we crazy? Absolutely. Does life at this age seem as short as the little mini dresses worn by the citified downtown thirty-somethings? Du’uh.
Our ‘tale of the city’ is a heartfelt thank-you for our Texas heritage and time spent in Austin. Now, off we go!
KK and SalGal