Today I did some research on line for a client matter, then read one of the poetry books I purchased yesterday. It is by the poet Charles R. Williams, an American fellow with a similar name to the English poet but a rather different style. It's nice, mildly quaint rhyming stuff about life, love and courage--perhaps 50 years out of date when it came out in 1926, but somehow endearing nonetheless. He inscribed the book to "Mary Booth Tarkington Jameson", which sent me googling to figure out that this was indeed the sister of the novelist, who married an Indiana legislator. Apparently, she upheld the family tradition by also saddling her child with the "Booth Tarkington" phrase, as family mores apparently forbade the notion of a child going out boothless into the world. I've decided to read each of these books and then eBay them for money to donate to that deaf baseball player play-staging project. I am just not kind enough to collectible books to trust myself to keep them, and somebody else will love them, whereas I'll just say "neat-o". My chess poem book attracted yet another bidder, marking four straight auctions in which it will have sold. I am back in the chess poem business again.
I set out to get lunch from a barbecue restaurant and then take a long walk at the Heard Natural Science Center. My memory told me that the barbecue stand I had in mind, a converted old service station with a name like "outlaws" and old station wagons always parked nearby, was just down the road past the Heard turn-in, all within twenty minutes of my home. But I did not see it, and soon the "road" put me all the way in Princeton, as I just kept on driving. I stopped at the Princeton Flea Market, the converted self-storage lot in front of the mobile home park. I eyed carefully the incandescent 10 gallon aquarium light, but decided for now to hold out for fluorescent. They had a fluorescent 20 gallon hood for only 8 dollars, but I am going to work in 10 gallons this time, so I passed it by. I passed everything by, in fact, and drove on into Farmersville, hunting for barbecue, but when I did not get it, I turned south.
I drove past cows socializing with cattle egrets. Cattle egrets emigrated to the new world from Africa via South America, but they look at home with our local shorthorns and bremers. They stand around, as if at some cosmic happy hour, where the margaritas are all dung. I will forebear to draw the comparisons to Friday nights at the local chain Mexican restaurants, as the hint of the image is sufficient.
I found myself in the town of Josephine, which has a nice post-office, some cute houses, but essentially very little town otherwise, and then headed on to Nevada, where a huge brick Methodist church looks as if it has seen better days, which makes me wish I had been in Nevada, TX during better days, before rural Texas passed away and these towns became its pallbearers. I soon found myself on Highway 78, which is the road to Garland, which is good, because I had work to do. I stopped in Lavon at Big Man's Barbecue, which is located in what looks all the world like a place where tar, rather than pulled pork, might be milled. Inside, a poster for a 1956 Elvis concert appearance in Buffalo, New York stands cheek to jowl with a concert for a Hank Williams Dallas appearance. I had the "2 meat combo", beef and pork. After I made my order, specifying that I wished the sauce on the side, the attractive woman behind the counter looked at me and said "I know just what you want". If this had been any of a dozen motorcyle movies or any 70s B movie involving Burt Reynolds, the camera would have next cutaway to a scene of wild amorous mutual attention, perhaps involving a rural creek or a hay rick. As this was instead Lavon Texas 2003, she was merely telling me that she grasped the oft-challenging concept of having barbecue sauce on the side, and proceeded to oblige. In real-life, the camera would have cut away to myself using paper towels as napkins, eating barbecue and reading a book about recording birdsong by a Dallas native. The barbecue was extraordinarily tasty, as it always is. I noticed that the Lake Lavon Dam Road remains closed, which denies me, slightly, a favored sunfish pond, but I will live.
I drove into my office, and if I did not quite slay all my work dragons, I at least jousted with them nobly. But I must go and find my moment of hiking, before I go mow my yard.