Tonight I drove to downtown Dallas to see many relatives staying there. My cousin Bill, a good guy a few years older than I am, produces a daytime television show called "The View", which films in Dallas tomorrow. I originally planned to go watch it film, but an important trip to Austin tomorrow arose on Thursday, so I could not attend. I am inept at VHS VCR or DVD recording, or I would record the Monday and Tuesday shows. But my parents, some aunts, uncles, and of course my cousin and his wife drove up for the event tomorrow, so I wanted to see them.
They gathered at a cool restaurant downtown called The Iron Texan, to which I drove. Once I crossed into Dallas County, a huge rain began to fall, making navigation a bit more fun. Because I was a bit behind getting there, I parked with the valet parking, although I hate to pay people money to park me in places I could park myself. The kid parking actually had me dig for change, because he was unable to give me four dollars change from a ten. But he and his friend and I laughed together over his friend's remark when I picked the car up that it was hard to get my Hyundai to do ninety, so we were emotionally square.
When I walked in the restaurant, I spotted my family immediately, at a long table, already eating Tex/Mex food. I went over first to hug my mother and shake hands with my father, and then shook hands with my cousin Bill and his wife Barbara, at each end of the table, and then with various relatives and non-relatives who are related to my relatives. I dislike "long table" meals, because I am not a good social rambler and talker, and sitting in the middle, by my father, I felt that I did not take enough visiting time with some relatives whom I don't see as often. I blame myself, because I have feet, and could have roved the table. I always admired an old law partner of mine who learned in her sorority or family or some other worthy place how to go say "hi" to everyone at table. I am lucky not to trip over anyone.
I have really good folks as relatives, and I should stay in better touch. My mother's cousin Jane (as to whom I can never remember if she is a real cousin or a "kind of" cousin, because my mother has some of those very southern "kind of" cousins who aren't really blood relations at all), for example, drove my folks all the way from Arkansas, saving them the hassle of driving in Dallas. I renewed my mental note to become better about Christmas cards and things. I pointed out to my wife that my Uncle Ivan and Aunt Virginia live only a few hours away, and we resolved to stop in to see them on our next trip to the Hill Country. I also made a mental note to point out to my father that in introducing me to my aunt's "other side of the family cousins", the accurate phrase "don't you think there is a family resemblance between my son and myself?" sounds a bit less Arkansas than "I marked him bad, didn't I?".
My father and I had a great time talking about matters of interest and concern only to he and I. I was amused when I began to tell him about an event in my week, and he said "I know. I read it in your blog". One of my aunt's cousins was the spouse of a local lawyer I don't know, and when I told her I practiced in Garland it was as if I had told her I practiced in Bugtussle, which was kind of fun. She was really nice, though.
A pleasant woman across the table from me seemed very organized and personable. I thought she was my cousin's admin, or someone who coordinated all the shooting schedules or some such. Then my mother pointed out to me that she was actually "Elizabeth", one of the on-air personalities from "The View". I suppose I should say that my Los Angeles-induced blase attitude about ignoring celebrities saved me (a habit reinforced when the only minor print celebrity I ever dealt with in any other way actually went diva on me, pointing up the value of ignoring the fame of somewhat famous others, and treating everyone as just people). The truth is also that I have not memorized just who is the younger woman on "The View" since Lisa Ling left, although I am sure I've seen Elizabeth on the show before. It is true, though, that I have not been truly star-struck by anyone since at age 6 I saw the host of the 5 a.m. farm segment of "Eye on Arkansas" at the animal barns at dawn at the Arkansas State Fair. Once you're seen the cattle and pig expert, it's all downhill from there.
I liked Elizabeth, because she talked of buying steaks for linemen when they protect her husband, a quarterback on a football team, and because she had a good narrative skill as she described how her mother is an ethics lawyer and her brother a 1L law student at a law school in Boston. She was, in short, just as good as she would have been had she indeed been an admin or site locator rather than an on-air gal. My father then surprisingly supplied a "restaurants I love in Boston" segment to the conversation, which made me remember I have always wanted to visit Boston and eat seafood, but never have.
My folks, my relatives and I adjourned to their hotel, where we talked together for a while, and then
I walked with my mom and dad back to their hotel room. Then I walked my Aunt Rose and our Cousin Jane to their car, and gave them directions to their hotel. Aunt Rose is going to stay with us tomorrow, which will be fun. Interestingly, long ago, when I got admitted to the master's degree technical writing program at Boston University (before I decided to go to law school), my Aunt Rose phoned me especially to urge me to take it, see Boston, and experience something besides Arkansas. Tonight I think of all the seafood I missed by failing to heed her advice. At the restaurant tonight I had a wonderful salmon Veracruz, only I had the salsa-esque Veracruz sauce on the side, which might better be described as salmon Chihuahua desert. It was very tasty.
I am fortunate to have a great family, and fortunate that I got to see my parents. This was such a busy weekend, that I need almost another weekend to recover from it. But instead I think I'll work five days, and have another weekend, next weekend.