April 6th, 2002

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dread and love

all week I've been dreading the fact that the glorious weekday weather was to dissolve into weekend thunderstorms...now the thunder is rumbling, the lightning is flashing, and I'm entranced....I remember a recurrring childhood dream of tornado approaching...at the baseball field I'd eat my home-made hotdog from the concession stand, and dark clouds would threaten, the rumble, the exhilirating freight train sound...in real-life, when I was living in Little Rock during law school, a storm blew up while I was in my apartment reading...during a curious lull I looked out my second story doorway of my little apartment in the ravine...above my head was the dark, beautiful funnel of a tornado...I felt the surge of fear appropriate to the situation, thought quickly how the complex had no really good place to go to be more secure,
picked up my book, got under something, and waited.
Later, it turned out that 2 very small tornados had landed, one a few blocks on my left, one a few blocks on my right,
it was all much more beautiful than frightening, but I don't have any of that "live in danger" desire for risk...a cousin
once told the joke of when we were travelling in France and I declined to run to catch a metro train pulling away
from us....putting on a drawl that was his best impression of my Arkansas accent, he quoted me as saying something like "I'm 28 years old now, and I didn't get to that age by taking risks like running after trains"....when the 1994 Northridge quake hit, I leaped up in the early dawn hours,
heading for the door jamb as if by reflex...it was a bit scary, but as I watched the walls of my apartment sway and buckle, I felt a sort of "what happens, happens", and worried much more about my dog (who was, naturally,
in a safe place as soon as I was) than about myself (fortunately, my wife was visiting a friend in Santa Cruz).
when the quake was over, we'd not been badly hit, but I remember walking Westwood Boulevard, looking at smashed store windows, buying a Gata cake from the little middle eastern market that was virtually the only thing open...
life is such a gift and stark events help me remember...
thunderstorms swirl me in a beauty I don't understand but treasure.
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A Taste of Garland

I went to the Crimestoppers benefit, a Taste of Garland...held in huge Shriners Temple meeting room ["this parking space reserved for the Potentate"]. Tons of local businesses had food counters which hoisted up plate after plate of food for the attendees. The whole thing had a very Texas feel to it. I won a silent auction
for 4 tickets to the Wylie Opry. Wylie is a neighboring community of 10,000. The "oprys" are
expositions of old-fashioned country music,
patsy-cline-era stuff, attended in large part by teetotalling "regulars" who do not hold with dancin' and drinkin' and general commitin' of casual sins, but instead revel in clean living and profound sins. My winning bid of 25 dollars in the silent auction not only got 4 passes to the Opry, but also 2 all you can eat buffets at "Golden Corral". We're talkin' high living.
We also got some "go anywhere" airline tickets at a decent if not rock bottom price, which we'll use to go to Canada or the Carribean.

Other auction items varied from mere Texana to
the arcane. The 20# weight straw cowboy hats were a popular item, but not nearly as popular as the
autographed picture of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. The autograph is not by Ruby or Oswald, but by the policeman who stood by Oswald in the famous photo. The chance to ride a night of patrol with Garland's police officer of the year was a hot item, while the reclining chair was also a high dollar bid item. The bidding on the
God Bless America blanket seemed to start north of 100 dollars if I heard right. The auctioneer
was mixture of intentional and unintentional humor. I can't remember the last time I had such a casual, very Texan experience. Garland is a city that retains its Texana in the face of modernity; what a fun place to practice law.

Lightning strikes nearby on the way home.
We're happy to be home again.