Saturday, October 06, 2012

woke up this morning and took the boys out to play their soccer games out on the far side of town, out beyond the university and the football scene. the wind was whipping across the plain out there, dry and cold and hard, and there was no sun so it was very cold and anyone who wasn't actually playing soccer was getting pretty cold. both boys ran hard and did their best and we came home and made a fire in our fireplace; we weren't sure if it would burn the house down but it hasn't yet and i'm still sitting here enjoying it, and toasting the bottom of my feet. it inspired my wife to go out and buy some furniture for the living room.

meanwhile the oklahoma game got started and was carried out, not more than a mile from here. football is very serious business out here on the plains, and hating oklahoma is kind of like hating the yankees, it comes naturally, apparently, to a lot of people but i suppose if you were from oklahoma hating anything with the name "texas" in it would come just as natural. i don't have the heart to keep telling people that football kills people and should be banished, instead i slowly get won over to their infectious enthusiasm and become a fan of both the raiders, the college team, and the cowboys, a more yankee-like institution that has so much money and power, it should have its own television show. no, i probably will never really "like" the cowboys, though i could see myself saying, go raiders, maybe i've said it already.

the war rages on about "y'all" and how we northerners just don't get it and how are we supposed to know what anyone means. i brought it on myself by bringing it up and pushing it on my students, but i told everyone about my thinking too, and now i hear it everywhere, of course. it brings out, to me, the biggest differences between north and south, and, i'm not always in the mood to be reminded. the weekend, for example, i'm hanging by the fire, staying in, listening to the game over yonder, warming my feet, staying away from people. the cold, to tell the truth, is welcome to me, it's been a long summer. the hard wind, the bitter cut of it, is somewhat new to me, or at least different, but i can handle that too, i might have to get slightly better clothes. they say that illinois is getting stunning colors about now, and i'm sure iowa the same, but down here, we have this huge sky, and a bunch of scraggly old oaks with a million acorns skittering around on the hard red clay. the trucks make their loud noise, maybe the raiders lost, and i think folks settle in for a night of hard drinking, whether they won or lost. at least that's how it was in all the other plains states, nebraska, iowa, kansas, on footbsll day. it's a cultural thing. life kind of revolves around watching these poor souls crush themselves time after time, in a line, a brutal expression of war and force and sheer power.

allow me to ramble, the cold fall settles in on the plain, i use up a summer's worth of wood as i sit here, and the smell does me good. it's like, there's something you get out of a fire, that you get out of nothing else, not a quaker meeting, not a swim in a lake, not a good sunset. keepers of the flame, i don't know if zoroastrianism is the one, where they basically say, you sit by a fire, that's your religion right there. that's all you need. make sure you do it once in a while. don't stop the kids from poking away at it. it's the most natural thing in the world.

i look forward to grown kids visiting, if at different times. we'll have a new couch, apparently, and hopefully there will be enough wood to make another good fire. i look forward to showing them around the territory, though there's much of it i haven't seen myself. the "depot" area, for example, where the music is, and the theater, i haven't seen it. out the canyon, and the lakes, where people go, haven't been there. actually i'm a little remiss, half of my mail, i don't even get it, because i haven't sent change of address forms. but i did get my texas driver's license, almost flunked the eye test, i'm getting old maybe, but it's official now. i'm a texan, a redstater. what that means, i'm still learning. y'all keep in touch though, i'll let you know.

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