My Summer Hiatus

I’ve noticed a lot of “news” magazines (e.g., 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning) are re-airing old segments, causing me to wonder whether I’ve become incredibly prescient or just losing my mind,  imagining that I’ve seen something before.  They very cleverly weave it into a show with some new segments, thereby avoiding “rerun” status.  What kind of plot is this?  Well, that’s not my style.  Instead of trying to fool anyone with some reworked old entries, I’m doing the decent thing and declaring my hiatus (a week or two).  Also, it seemed like a good time to share comments I’ve received from readers in the last several months.

In response to Put Muny on the List, Mr. Kelso! I heard this from Peter Barbour, founder of the Save Muny organization:

I formed Save Muny in 2007 because I learned the game of golf there, but also because I remember the old Tarrytown – the one without traffic streaming down Exposition or Enfield or Lake Austin.  And, as I still come into Austin from time to time to visit my parents, I couldn’t see the point (greed) or the need (greed) to replace Muny with retail and 13,000 people.   Thanks for your words – and I wish you would share them with Kelso!  (I did, Peter.)

My old (but still youthful) friend, Tom, shared these thoughts about Muny:

Your article brought back a few, long-forgotten vignettes. . . playing in a 9-hole tournament when I was in 6th grade … playing with JR the first time I played 18 holes, trying to hit out of the mud on old No. 7, splashing a chunk of mud in my eye . . . Really, Muny is so woven into my youth that I play there once or so every year, just to see what has changed (like one hole that changed drastically, but then changed back to the way it always was). And in a strange way it seems a bit like I am playing a few holes with my 16-year-old self when I am there. There are better golf courses in town now, but you can’t get THAT experience many places. Not even for big money.

Jamie, who now lives about 200 miles north of West Austin, but use to cruise around West Austin with me in my mother’s ’68 Mustang, wrote me this:

I recall that  my dad and brothers enjoyed it a lot when they used to play golf there.  I feel  particularly called to arms about the need to protect my hometown of its few, and dwindling, green areas within the city limits.  Like you mentioned, they are  sources of oxygen in traffic-congested areas.  I care about the air I breathe, and, as a matter of fact, about the air YOU breathe also.

Another former Austinite who plans to return to Austin when he retires, Bruce, also hopes Muny can be preserved, at least as a green space:

Maybe it’s the old fogey in me resistant to change, but it would break my heart if they destroyed Muny.  I have such fond memories of the place dating back to early childhood. If they should decide to do away with it, I would hope they would have the good sense and decency to preserve it as green space. I know there would be tremendous economic (e.g. real estate development) pressure against that, but Austin being the place it is, I would hope the “greener” contingency would also be able to apply significant (and very loud) pressure.  Or maybe I’m dreaming . . .

Responding to the entry, Sweet Dreams, Sweet Soldiers about our fallen soldiers and a husband’s letter to his wife, I heard this from sweet Stephanie in Colorado:

For some reason, this Memorial Day has meant more to me than others.  Who knows why . . . but I realize that I’m sitting here writing this to you because of the young men and women who’ve chosen to fight, and, unfortunately, die for our freedom.  Thank you for reminding me…

It is always pleasant to learn that I’m not the only “grumpy old woman” out there.  Thanks, Mandy, for making me feel less alone in your response to Turning into a Grumpy Old Woman?:

There is one gripe that needs to be taken public:  Bicyclists who refuse to obey the traffic rules and the rules of general politeness.  How many times have you been stuck behind some idiot on a bicycle who slows all the auto traffic to a crawl, causing all the cars to be halted at a red light—but the damn fool bicyclist cruises through the red light?  Or what about the three cycling buddies who ignore the bike lane and ride three abreast in the car lane so they can chat? . . . I realize that my feelings are not politically correct in Austin.  And I seethe every session when bills are passed that create big fines for drivers who dare to get too close to the 2-wheeled perfect people. . . Additionally, the spandex outfits are horrible.  Even thin muscular people look terrible in them, and they are eyesores.  I’d rather see the “naked thong man” than some skinny guy in spandex and a helmet.  (Wow!  That would certainly make waiting in traffic more interesting!)

It was good to hear from Gladys Longoria, who I’m sad to say recently passed away, and her agreement with my pet peeve about closing downtown for races, along with her understandable grievance about parking meters:

I am a grumpy old lady about the many activities that are held in Austin –  especially the many races.  I sent a letter to a city council member a long time ago explaining the difficulty I had on Sundays getting to my church downtown (St. Mary’s Cathedral).  There are other locations out of town . . . why not use them and show respect for our city streets? My most recent letter was to our current mayor complaining about changing the meters in the streets around the churches from free on weekends to now making people pay to attend church.  It makes no sense to me to have to pay the city to go to church.  (May Gladys, who served 33 years with the American Red Cross, rest in well-deserved peace.)

And finally, in regard to my interest in obituaries, Jack pointed out a recent obituary that he found deserving of the Mitt Romney Award for Insensitivity.  In the first paragraph of a very long obit, the deceased (who was, no doubt, the author) effectively established that the well-off are different from you and me, as he thanked the “boys”who had served him so well:

The mariachis are still playing and his beloved bird boys are crying in the rain. Ocho-Ocho [the deceased] came by his nickname from his many hunting trips to the once tranquil dove shooting fields of northern Mexico that he loved so much, in and around the Rio San Diego Hunting Club outside of Ciudad Acuña, and at the No Le Hace Lodge in the San Fernando Valley where he established a very special relationship with his bird boys. . . . Waves of chants of “Viva Ocho-Ocho!” often went down the shooting line in honor of a particularly fine shot . . . At the end of the shooting, when it came time for bragging rights and cervezas were being shared, his bird boys always made sure his bag of dove was as full as any shooter’s bag.

Thanks, readers, for all your comments and reminders of what an interesting world we inhabit!  Back to my hiatus and a glass of vino while I watch the Olympics!

About nowandthenadays

Observer of life who writes about language, literature, history, and politics. I have worked in state government for over 35 years, nine years in the Legislature, nine years in the Comptroller's office, and 20 years practicing law at the Attorney General's office.
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