Friday, December 15, 2006


I took today off - one of those irregularly scheduled mental health days. I decided to go to San Marcos and see what was going on at the outlet mall this close to Christmas. I had a couple of people left to shop for, so that was my excuse.

It was a good day. Nothing dramatic, just a series of small moments that gave me a lift here and there.

Sensory lift. When I left at 8 a.m., it was foggy. Pea soup, in fact. For most of the way between Bastrop and San Marcos, you could not see past the ditch on the side of the road. Traffic was light, so there were few headlights coming my way and the ones that did winked in and out of the mist like fireflies. I was listening to my new Celine Dion Christmas CD, which had lots of orchestral and choir effects. It struck me at one point that you could imagine you were floating in a cloud and hearing carols sung by a chorus of angels. It was a most enjoyable drive.

Inspiration. At my first stop (Hobby Lobby) I figured out how I could have some Christmas decorations this year that would not be subject to immediate shredding by the heathen cats.

Humor. Once the fog cleared, I passed two vehicles with bumper stickers that made me smile. On an RV was a sign like you would see on a gate to a ranch or estate--"Kramalot". On a small vehicle driven by fellow liberal came the message "Make Levees, not war".

Tripping down memory lane. I made a quick excursion to a music store at the mall. Surprisingly I found the item I was looking for and did not expect to find. I also found a newly released cd of the early songs of Rusty Wier. I had two of his albums when I was in college that I played until they were worn. I've been wishing they would release his early albums on cd, but his popularity is localized and it did not seem like they ever would. Today's find included remastered tracks of the best cuts from the two albums. I probably have not heard some of the songs for almost 30 years and as soon as the first guitar lick was played, the lyrics came back to me and I was tapping my foot and dancing in my seat. I had to play "Don't it Make You Wanna Dance?" and "Trouble" and "I've Heard You've Been Laying My Old Lady" twice through. Fabulous stuff. Felt like I was 18 again and learning to two-step with the girls on the 2nd floor of Ruth Stribling dorm.

Feeling like I belong. I've always had a soft spot for the non-conformists, which is why I like Austin. Cruising back from San Marcos I had two guys on motorcycles tailing me for quite awhile. We were on that stretch through Uhland and Niederwald where it's two-lane and no shoulder. Somebody about 6 vehicles ahead was poking along, in no hurry. Neither was I, so I just drove along, rocking to Rusty Wier, and keeping an eye on the rear-view mirror in case my companions got antsy and decided to pass. Traffic from the other direction was heavy and I knew I would have to make some adjustments if they suddenly pulled out. But they seemed content to cruise along slowly. When we finally got to an area where I could pull over on the shoulder and let them pass, here they came. Two guys about my age, waving a friendly salute as they drove by. I followed them for awhile and a little ways down the road, the fellow who had waved put his hand down to signal a stop at a place where there was nowhere to turn. I slowed and about that time 3 dogs came barreling across the road. I appreciated these guys not only for stopping for the dogs they could see and I couldn't, but also for warning me. I sorta hated to part company with them a little later down the road.

Life has been pretty sucky lately and it's nice to have a day when you go from one little lift to the next. Reminds you to appreciate the little things and to keep going. You're bound to drive out from under the fog eventually.


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