Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reason #1 I'm glad to be back in Jackson...

Chef's Salad at Basil's then running into friends at Sneaky Beans while walking back to the office


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Last Day in the Big D

Well, this is it. I'm surrounded by boxes. My desk is empty. Our year in Dallas is over. And, I think we did it right.

When Rachel and I moved here, we vowed to give the city a chance and to live here as if we were on a year-long vacation. At last count, we have visited somewhere between 60 and 70 restaurants or bars in the DFW area. That averages more than one a week. However, considering that we spent one week per month in Jackson and that we had favorites that we visit repeatedly, I'm really surprised I have any money left.

But, we didn't stop at restaurants. We saw plays/musicals/performances at every major (and a couple of minor) venues. We visited every building in the constantly expanding Arts Center. We went to the world-famous Texas State Fair. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. We have met many people from Dallas that haven't done half of the things we have. I find that extremely sad.

Unfortunately, I think that's a common thing. Let's call it "local apathy". To an extent, I may have been a victim of it before in Jackson. After a while, you get accustomed to going to certain places and say, "I'll try that new place another time." Two years later, the place is closed down because no one ever made it there. (i.e. The Auditorium in Fondren).

The moral of the story is not to get too comfortable where you live. Try new things on a regular basis. Don't be afraid to change plans. If something comes up, do it.

A city like Dallas can survive on low turnout. There's such a large audience here that even a poorly publicized event can draw at least a small crowd. Jackson doesn't have this luxury. We need to people to show up. We need people to take the initiative to find things to do and do them. Join email lists. Pick up a JFP weekly. To twist the words of JFK, "Ask not what your city can do for you. Ask what you can do for your city."

Fight local apathy. Be a citizen, not just a resident.

I'll be resuming my role as town crier and informant tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Goodbye, Mr. Kitty

For people who never met Mr. Kitty, it can sometimes be a challenge to describe him. That's because he was no ordinary cat. His habits and routines had a way of seeming human at times.

He would visit the neighbors on a strict schedule. If he failed to show for a few days, my parents would get calls of concern. And, like the warden of the house, Mr. Kitty would meet visitors at the end of the sidewalk and escort them, with his signature bow-legged gait, to the door. Having been born wearing a permanent tuxedo (minus the tie, of course), he even dressed the part. Somewhere along the way, he learned to exchange high-fives for pats on the head...but only when he wanted them.

I was 14 years old when Mr. Kitty arrived at our house in the Delta. I'm 32 now, and it's hard for me to remember a time when he wasn't around.

We'll miss him a lot. Without him, who will let us know when the back porch furniture is out of place or if the patio needs to be hosed off? Who will allow the neighborhood kids to poke and pull at him without so much as a hiss or scratch? Who will greet us at the driveway when we come home?

We are lucky that Mr. Kitty spent his 18 years on Earth with us. I don't think there will ever be another one quite like him.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


For a lot of people, this post is going to sound a bit melodramatic, but as I watched the pilot episode of LOST yesterday at lunch, it started to hit me why this show means so much to me, and how it has both led and followed me through the six most pivotal years of my life. As you may know, tonight marks the beginning of the final season.

In September 2004, I sat down alone, still married, in the living room of the house I owned and was soon to sell after the divorce. I sat down to watch a show about a group of strangers whose lives converged in a plane crash. The thing they didn't know is that every moment of their lives (every encounter, every decision) had led them to get on that plane. They were SUPPOSED to be there. By the end of the first few episodes, it was evident to us, the viewers, that the island was more than just an island.

Our lives are like those of the passengers of Flight 815. We all have our crashes and smoke monsters and whatever other unknown entities might plague us...good, bad, or indifferent. The point is that we are all lost in one way or another, and no one knows what will happen next. But, as a matter of fact we are not lost. In fact, we're on a very direct path to tomorrow. And, as fast as 108 minutes can count down to almost certain doom, we're able to push the button (4 8 15 16 23 42) and move on. Tomorrow becomes today. Today becomes yesterday. It almost always does.

I will be sad to see the show go. I'll miss the speculation and the analysis of every episode. I'm going to miss the characters with all of their faults. But, as with all good things, it must come to an end. With LOST, as in life, I have no idea what that end will be. It could be the same as the beginning, which in that metaphor, would probably be most appropriate.