Dr. John, “If I don’t do it, you know somebody else will.”
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Wearing in a new groove is difficult. So far we have driven from the airport to the Residence Inn, put away our underwear, plugged in the oil diffusers, and bought seven bags of groceries. Everything is different—at Trader Joes, the checkout lines snake around like airport security, the weather changes faster than you can open an umbrella, palm trees are commonplace, H•E•B is the place to go for everything, gas at Costco is $1.49 a gallon, and the women dress better than I do. Eventually, it will all be routine, but right now I’m just plain tired. This week, I’ll get lost figuring out Houston’s mass transit system, Bob will get lost in the giant maze that is the Texas Medical Center; I’ll find a lap pool and Bob will find a new walk. For now, we’re watching the Patriots/Bronco game and eating sunflower seeds.
Houston is a surprise: for one, who knew Houston was right next to Louisiana and due south of the North Dakota/Minnesota border.
The geographical position and cultural soul of this Texas city are Southern not Western. The neighborhoods in this Rice University part of town are reminiscent of Savannah or Charleston—large white-washed brick homes with wrought-iron fences and painted shutters set back on tree-lined streets, and a gardener in every lawn.
People are helpful and polite, with lots of “Yes Ma’ams” and “Ya’lls.” Oh, there are plenty of guns (both concealed and open carry are legal) and pick-ups, but there are also as many Asian, El Salvadoran, and Cajun restaurants as barbecue joints. As They say, “If LA and New Orleans had a baby, it would be Houston.”