Saturday noon we headed over to south Fort Worth, where the Weston Gardens in Bloom nursery and demonstration gardens are located. They emphasize use of the many kinds of Texas wildflowers in a varied English garden setting. They have an old estate from the 1930s planted as a the demonstration garden. We saw so many beautiful blooms--native phlox, heritage and tea roses, native coreopsis, canna,daylilys, and worlds of things less familiar to me. The garden is quite out of the way, and we had it to ourselves. We saw at least a half dozen palm-size huge giant swallowtail butterflies, which were just breathtaking. We also found a few biting flies, which we do not have in our part of the metroplex. They labeled each flower variety clearly with a good sign, which I appreciate (and which no doubt helps sales). Across the street they had the native plants on sale, in a very well done setting, complete with pleasant and compliant cats. We purchased a nice blooming yellow something, and headed into Fort Worth.
We stopped by the Kimbell Art Museum, a truly wonderful museum. The Kimbell folks' collection was founded on some familiar pieces, and they use their substantial endowment to purchase only things they find to be of the greatest interest. The permanent collection is quite small--some 350 paintings, but one often feels as though one is looking at the pages of an art history book when one visits. We had intended to go to the special exhibition show, a collection of paintings from the Wadsworth Athenaeum, but the museum had only forty five minutes left for browing, which we deemed inadequate. We instead walked (free!) through those portions of the permanent collection on display. I liked in particular Carravagio's Card Sharps, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun's familiar and winning self portrait, and Gustave Caillebotte's On the Europe Bridge. We headed over to a local barbecue place in downtown Fort Worth, where we each had a half smoked chicken. The city was filled with Jehovah's Witnesses in town for a major convention, but, contrary to stereotype, they all looked stylishly dressed in a clean-cut retro way, and nobody offered me any tracts. I am so oblivious I did not notice nearby paramedics attending a patient until I had crossed the street.
We toured a Fort Worth history museum, open free until 8, where I refreshed my memory about the tragic Spring Palace incident, a huge moorish agricultural crafts exhibition hall which burned in its second year in 1890. The engineer, Al Hale, who ensured an orderly exit from the burning building (dried wheat and seed proving quite combustible), proved to be the only fire casualty when he jumped from the burning building with a woman who had fainted in his arms. I was struck by the folly of people who sent their men to the Civil War to fight to defend slavery, leaving their home front open to Commanche attacks. I relived the story of Quanah Parker, the last Commanche chief, half-Anglo, who led his troops from battle into peacetime, and lived 35 years in peace as a successful land entrepreneur of sorts.
During the car rides, I read Lewis Shiner's "Say Goodbye", which at first seemed to be a roman a clef about a particular pop singer, but then turned into a nice homage to the unsung but signed wonders all throughout music. I enjoyed the story a lot, although I'd like to teach the author a bit more about Texana for the Texas bits. Sometimes you need a good read, though, and a read about the record industry is as straightforward as it gets. I enjoyed it.
Today we went to a morning showing of the second Spiderman movie, which cost only 5 dollars for two tickets. I thought it better than the first one, while my wife preferred the first one. We both liked them both. I think that the camera is so very kind to Kirsten Dunst, but I wonder if I am the only person who looks at her and always sees the child vampire from Interview with the Vampire.
We took a nice walk around the local Glendover Park pond, where the ducklings have grown so swiftly to nearly duck size. Then we headed over to my wife's friends, the twins', for a party. I am not much for parties, but the people were all nice. The twins, at my wife's suggestion, had gotten a sheaf of barbecue from Spring Creek barbecue, which really hit the spot. I talked at length with their father, in from Florida, who told me about his World War Two experience as a bugler, and his post-war experience as a home builder and sometime musical trio leader. He told me how it was a miracle that he ended up on the bus for bugle training, instead of the bus for infantry island-hopping. The twins themselves had a career in show business at one time, of which their most memorable thing was appearing as the "doublemint gum" twins in the 1960s or so.
We drove home at 10, with fireworks displays showing from the nearby stadiums. We walked to the part of our subdivision near the Boyle Farm, where we could see several different fireworks displays, public and illegal. Reds, purples, white stars, and blues popped and flew. I love fireworks. It was a good weekend, take it all around.