"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


shed not a tear when i turned out the light

What a day. Up very early to get an oil change, drop off stuff at G's, buy last-minute gifts and stuff to take to Africa, finish everything up at UT, and finish packing. It was cloudy and cool until right about the time I put the last box into storage this afternoon. The sun came out, the sky turned blue, and while I was checking the house one last time, my iPod on shuffle played, in order, Robert Earl Keen's "Levelland" (which is really about Floydada) and my all-time favorite love song, Ernest Tubb's "Waltz Across Texas." It couldn't have been more right.

Driving into town and seeing the capitol dome at sunset, it hit me that it's my last night in Texas. The house on the ranch is packed and is no longer my house on the ranch. The car is really, really full, but it all fits, thanks to some help and creativity from Mer (we now know that if two people sit on the trunk, it will close). My phone will ring and it's a teenager from church calling to say, "Don't die in the Congo" or a sweet message from a little old lady at church saying that she's praying for me. And my send-off party tonight was so much fun. When you're sitting there alone with your dissertation for months on end, it's so easy to forget that you're not alone in this thing. It was wonderful - great food at my favorite Austin restaurant, friends and colleagues and kids and good conversations, and lots of laughs and memories. After saying good-bye to everyone, I put the top down for one last ride under the Texas sky, a song I love came on, and the stars were so bright until the clouds rolled in. There's just so much love under these skies. I am lucky.

It's off to Tennessee early Friday morning, with stops in Waco and Memphis to break up the 14-hour drive. Ugh. So if you get bored today, give me a call. Anything's more interesting than Arkansas.


Blogger Ray said...

Hey!! Thanks for the lovely message on my blog! I wish I was there to see you off in Austin and wish you the best. But I'll be thinking of you as you traverse the long miles, wishing you the best girl! Do keep me posted on how it goes. When do you return to Austin? I am sure each day will be a new experience and just move on ahead--full throttle!! Take care,

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:25:00 AM


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