I’m back from three days in Texas. I didn’t blog on the road because I was suffering burglar paranoia again.
The trip to Texas was a great combination of work and fun. It started in San Antonio, where I lived very happily for six years in the ’80s. The San Antonio Light ended up folding in the early ’90s, but I still have friends there. One came and took me to breakfast Thursday morning; we went to a place in the King William neighborhood, Mad Hatter. “This used to be the Beauregard,” I said, remembering the bar where I spent many hours, especially when my then-boyfriend was in a band. “Boy, are you dating yourself,” my friend said. We had migas, with tortillas on the side.
I spent much of the afternoon with the lovely folks of the Texas Library Association, then went to the home of another old friend, where we talked mainly about books and indulged in a little “Whatever happened to . . .” The next day, we had breakfast tacos at Twin Sisters, one of the unchanged places on the San Antonio landscape. I had breakfast there almost every Saturday for six years.
Friday, it was on to Houston, which is where many of the San Antonio Light alums ended up. Two of them, Jeff Cohen and Kathryn Kase, threw a party for me at their home, and I saw lots of old friends and met some cool Houston Chronicle types. We had divine fajitas and margaritas and squash blossom tamales. I was very happy to see my former colleague, Mike Tolson, who back in the ’80s made a chance remark that I took to heart: “That Tony Hillerman has a good thing going.” And my friend Jeannie Kever was kind enough to chauffeur me around, no small favor in Houston traffic.
The only downside to the whole Texas trip was the 5 a.m. wake-up call today — and my gnawing fear that my cab driver was a serial killer. If you were watching a film, and a woman got into a cab driven by this fellow, I’m sure you would scream: “NO YOU IDIOT! CAN’T YOU SEE HE’S A SERIAL KILLER?” He had a scruffy beard, beady eyes and a gruff voice that I had trouble understanding. I kept telling myself that he had probably been napping in the cabstand line outside the hotel, and that’s why he seemed a little out of it. Then I noticed a familiar smell in the cab. Took me a second to identify it — it was the odor that people get when they are forced to sleep outside for many days at a time, without access to a shower, and I’m pretty sure it had a undercurrent of cheap wine. (Remember, I volunteer at a soup kitchen and some of our guests lead very challenging lives.) He got me to the airport without incident. I still think he was high on something. Possibly life.