I just got back from a quick trip to Austin. I go there several times a year for meetings and workshops that are designed to make me better at my job. Those who know me know without question that I AM NOT a meeting person. Detest them. Just about anything that can be discussed in a meeting can be sent to me via email. And I would probably actually remember it.
So, I don't enjoy meetings. I do kind of enjoy shaking hands with and hugging folks I know from other agencies across the state. And I admit that I stand a little taller when one of the state employees remembers my name and acts happy to see me again. Sometimes I fantasize about getting an important job with the state, stalking state senators and representatives and advocating social services during legislative sessions. And then I remember how much I hate meetings.
The appeal of Austin is more organic than politics or the hope that I'll catch a glimpse of Lance Armstrong as he zips past me on his bike. After my father retired from the US Army, we stayed in Killeen so that my brother wouldn't have to move yet one more time. But the Hill Country certainly called to him, and when we had a chance to get away, we went to Austin to visit his stepmother, the kindest woman I have ever known and the only real parent he ever had. We picked fresh vegetables out of the garden there, walked along the railroad track to feed carrots to the neighbors horse there, ate real Mexican food there, played in the parks there, loved life there.
After my mother passed away, Dad bought a little ranch outside of Lampasas. I learned how to saddle a horse and ride at the Busted Spur. Had a horse step on my foot which makes me a real cowgirl, I reckon. My favorite thing to do is sit on the back porch and watch the sun come up over the cedar breaks, sipping on a stout cup of camp coffee. Okay, the camp coffee is yucky - strong enough to walk to you and heavy with grounds. BB would love it. But a Hill Country sunrise can't be beat. Sunset ain't too shabby, neither. And I finally figured out what happened to all the fireflies we used to see as kids. They retired to the Busted Spur.
Here in the concrete jungle, the hot muggy evenings are only slightly more tolerable than the days. The mosquitoes go for the jugular. The smog settles a bit closer to the ground so that you can really smell it. But in the Hill Country.... ahhhhh........ the nights are cool, the bats keep the mosquitoes at bay, and the sage and juniper give Coco Chanel a real run for her money.
Yup, I'm a Hill Country girl at heart.