The Husband and I have a long-running argument over who’s the real Texan of the family. Leaving aside the question of why bother wasting time on this argument, it goes like this: My mom’s got a framed piece of paper certifying her as a descendant of a member of one of the first 100? 250? 500? families in the Republic of Texas, and let me tell you, that and four bucks will buy you a cup of coffee. My trump card is always that I lived in Austin as a card-carrying working adult (if that’s what you can call someone under thirty); his is that, though born elsewhere, he spent much of his childhood shit-kicking around a seventies version of the Last Picture Show. Plus, he had to learn how to castrate cattle in Ag Class. And he can two-step, and I cannot.
This past weekend we finally settled the question. I get to keep Texan bragging rights as far as Austin goes, he wins, hands down, as far as experience with the rest of Texas. Which, like it or not, is the real one. Not Austin, that Disneyland for Hipsters whose California-ization is finally after lo these many years of complaints about the LA transplants complete.
This weekend we got to experience both states: Austin and small-town TX. The wedding was held on the banks of the Llano River, and we were lucky enough to have lodging in a house-turned-B-and-B right across the railroad tracks from the wedding site, not more than staggering distance away.
Even this particular small TX town has realized that tourism may be the only thing that’ll save it from complete oblivion (it long has had a reputation for being slightly chilly to furriners), and in service of boosting the local economy, a local business person moved four 1920’s bungalows to a prime location next to the depot, where city boosters swear that someday soon day-trains from Austin will pull in, disgorging Californians with dollars burning holes in their pockets. This means the house we rented had a lovely view of caliche parking lot and Virdell’s Drilling, plus as a bonus a space that can be rented out for wedding receptions.
Two weddings for the price of one — Austin and smalltown versions both! I fell asleep (pillow over my head) before the local wedding ended, but the Husband had a ringside seat (the reception taking place about 50 feet from our front door). Black Stetsons, Wranglers and down jackets. An inebriated wedding guest fumbling to hook his horse trailer to his pick-up before he headed home. A deejay (“yeah, he’s a talker,” a guest outside our window opined) playing Kid Rock singing “Cowboy”. The bride swigging from a long-neck in the parking lot as she announces: “I’m standin’ out here in a freakin’ sleeveless wedding gown!” The Husband says the newlyweds left in separate cars, the bride shrieking “get in the car, bitch” to a friend before she sped off.
It’s probably not this small-town version of Texas I love, but the Husband’s eye for detail and ability to recount it. Twelve years ago this month I was the one standing outside in a freakin’ sleeveless wedding gown.
At the Austin airport, there’s a bootjack at the security check, so folks can get their boots off before being screened for weapons.
Love, for place or for person — it’s inexplicable. Who knows how exactly our hearts fill.