Thursday, August 30, 2007

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

When I was small, mom would frequently take me to The Library. I would skip over the glazed, patterned bricks lining the patio-like courtyard entry, smell the scent of aging pages and high school art displays as I entered, and frolic to the children's section, my own domain, til I went in search of Mom, who browsed as I sat on the round stepping stool and studied the dewey decimal lables on the spines of mysteries and fiction.
In the children's section, there was a large rug with patterns for hop scotch and other games. There were tapes of books in plastic bags hanging like my shirts did in my closet back home. There was a computer where I could play children's Jeopardy. There were fanciful murals beckoning from the walls. And there were books.
Some of the books had an emblem I immediately recognized. Lavar Burton's own personal stamp of approval, it seemed to me - the Reading Rainbow recommendation. An avid conneusseur of Reading Rainbow, with a goal of being one of the child reviewers who closed up an episode, I always took this with the seriousness of a NY Times bestseller label. One of these books that traveled home with me in my handstitched book bag that I haven't been able to find since about 1993 was, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch." I highly recommend it, as Lavar did so kindly to me so many library due dates ago. It's about an old couple living on a ranch; the man goes into town and watches a turtle cross the street with his cronies, and other "big" events, while the wife stays home and accidentally wins the lotto, finds a diamond ring in crackerjack, and so on.
Anyway, after traveling to the ranches and gulleys of Texas, I am now back at the bluegrass ranch, the living room having been repainted during my travels. A few notes on the ranch-covered Lone Star state:
A) It's big. Real big. I'm sure no one has ever mentioned size and Texas before, so I'll make sure you know now: It's the size of the midwest. Maybe that accounts for more executions. I also think Texas should have more votes when it comes to immigration policy. They actually live with immigration realities. There were billboards in Spanish. Welcome to the future, everyone else. Wierdly, Texas is where it's going on, and I don't just mean Cindy Sheehan demonstrations.
B) It's hot. Real hot. People say the humidity is lower. I don't buy it. I felt like I was being a Christmas cookie baked in an oven most the time. And that was northern Texas.
C)It has lizards. Yay! A novelty for a corn and soybean girl. There was a small gecko in the bathroom sink one morning. Extremely fast. Cute, in a "I wouldn't want this thing running up my leg during the night" kind of a way.
D) It's full of Texas stereotypes, except for geysers of oil. I was disappointed not to see a single geyser of oil. Or a single cowboy. Still, Texas is full of Texas-sized stereotypes. And the barbecue really is good.
E) Dallas/Ft. Worth is surprisingly diverse. Like, wow, it's not just cowboys and latino immigrants. It was like being in NYC or Chicago. I found it refreshing and a strange relief.
There were Indian food grocers not far from Trinity Broadcasting Network headquarters.
F) Oh yeah, TBN is located in Dallas/Ft.Worth/Irving. Hmmm....I'm going to say No Comment there.
So, I'm back in the bluegrass, happy, refreshed, relieved that we're finally getting rain.
Angsty that friends are back in classrooms. Someone hand me a syllabus!!


Mom said...

8291932Hi Elizabeth,,,Glad you are back , safe and sound,, and yes,,Texas is big,, but we saw some cowboys,, and the most beautifully colored birds. Don't understand why they don't migrate up here,, would love to have them, birds,,that is,lol.. hope to see u Thanksgiving Day,,Love , grandmaG.

Carrie said...

Sounds like you had quite an experience. It's so much more meaningful to immerse yourself in the culture than to simply visit as a tourist. Glad you had a good time!