Sunday, September 09, 2012

i'm a musician, so i was grateful to be able to saw away at the fiddle the other night at a party where a bunch of friends had gathered for a potluck. the kids ran wild in the back, grateful to have little or no supervision, but in the living room they humored me by playing some old texas songs and other popular folk songs that weren't too hard to catch the tunes of; it was a joy for me, because i hadn't played in maybe six weeks.

at the party a guy said he'd been offered tickets to yo yo ma for $250, but he passed them up. yo yo ma played with the local symphony maybe tonight and was the topic of conversation for a while. you have a town like lubbock, kind of second tier, and they suspect that ma will fly in, lock the door in his hotel, and fly back out. but some people said that he was not like other performers, and actually might meet somebody. i always thought of ma as the cellist of my generation (i'm 58)...every generation gets one, and rostropovich, and pablo casals, had gone before. i considered him as representing the path not taken to some degree, as i'd started out as a cellist, but i could have practiced the cello forever, of course, and not even approached yo yo ma. i had a friend in high school, however, who was able to play with him, at some point, by virtue of going to harvard, and being a fairly good violin player at the time. maybe that guy was my alter ego. with more practice, i could have been a little better when i went off to college, or perhaps have gone off to a better college (harvard?) where i'd make these valuable connections.

a little rain came through lubbock, again, over the weekend, cooling things off, so that the lazy river was cold and virtually empty today, and we could very easily hang around outside without dying from heat or being eaten alive by bugs. the bugs have been a problem here, but it's partly because we don't see them and they could be getting us at night, or maybe when we're outside going from one place to another. everyone is paranoid about mosquitos, west nile and all, but somehow i think if mosquitos were getting me, i'd see them, and their bites would look more like mosquito bites.

went to the driver's bureau once only to find lines are hours long there. and there's no choice: you inspect your car, you get insurance, you change your license, and you do it as soon as possible. i was hoping to keep those illinois tags at least a little while, kind of an obama sticker, since apparently nobody has obama signs here. they're afraid to do it, i guess, at least in my part of town. there are plenty of r/r signs around, i guess it's ok to have one of those in your yard. or, you can choose between far-right, and far-far-far, lunatic right...now that's a language that everyone understands. if you began to talk like these guys, you're a texaphone, if you like this stuff, you're a texaphile, but if it scares the heck out of you, i guess you're a texaphobe.

did research on the quaker ghost town; apparently quakers were the first settlers of lubbock county, out on the plain outside of town, about twenty miles, where they set up a small town of estacado, and a meeting house, but found the place hostile, one of their little girls was killed by a rattlesnake, and they up and left after a few years. they had a pretty good town going, it was the county seat of crosby county, but the surveyors came through and found out it was actually in lubbock county, so crosby county went and got their own county seat, and this place was left to rot. i asked the local quakers about it and some agreed, in principle at least, to go out and check out what's left of it, at least the cemetery, which is the most visible remainder of the community. the empty buildings, apparently, are not necessarily even associated with the quakers. to me this is interesting, getting out there, into the plain, seeing an old place like this.

i get a little more involved in the area, the history, the culture. i ask everyone about xerascape and sure enough, some are like me, and call it zeroscape...and it also is a topic of conversation. yet they have water, they say, just got some from a nearby lake. we can water the grass for what, maybe twenty more years. and all that watering is good, they say, because it's the development of houses, particularly in the southwest, that has kept the dust storms down. ah yes, not such a hostile environment anymore, I guess. no rattlers. just a blinding sun, makes you want to lay low, and stay by the fans and the zircon, until evening comes around. the football team trampled another victim today, this time texas state, but the basketball coach checked in the hospital and came back out, he's in trouble, and has somewhat of a history. looks like a good year for football, a bad one for basketball, and who knows what else. we have a lot going on, and barely can get ready for another week. i've begun looking for stray cacti, and various xerascape grasses, that i can take from the unwanted areas, and set going in my back alley. i'm thinking, the way to go is a little wildcat xerascape. some stuff grows just fine around here, doesn't mind a little drought (someone mentioned okra....other things, like sod or grass, you might as well not bother, unless you're going to get out there and water a lot. i'm thinking, might as well haul it in now. there's like buffalo grass, turfalo, etc. i'll give a report, and bring pictures. i've done zero so far. but i'm just starting...

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