we went down to new mexico on a vacation, and as it happened my wife didn't go, so it was just me and five kids, in a cabin in a small town, and my sister was going to come visit. now i'm a died-in-the-wool coffee drinker, maybe eight cups a day, but i knew she was a tea drinker, so at the local grocery store i saw this navajo tea and bought it. voila, it was delicious. i hung out in that high mountain cabin drinking that tea and brought what was left down to lubbock and kept drinking it here.
haven't found anyone in lubbock yet who even heard of the stuff, so i've started peddling it. it's delicious. it's just an herb tea, made of greenthread, which, if you look it up, is named appropriately, according to the experts, because its leaves are so thin and thread-like. greenthread has lowland varieties and grows in texas, down here, and all the way over to austin. what i don't know is whether the lowland varieties make tea as well, and whether that tea tastes nearly as good as the highland navajo variety that i bought. i ended up sending away for three more boxes, and this is so i can take some to work, and give it to friends, etc. it gives me the chuckles for a couple of reasons. on the one hand, it's like a forty-year-old version of "hey let me turn you on to this herb that i found," only in this case, it's a tea, which is delicious and healthy. and second, it's a kind of opposite of the usual white-folks-come-to-new-mexico routine, because really i found it almost by chance. and, here in lubbock, it can't be found, yet.
it's game day in lubbock, and that means, lots of traffic, lots of craziness, parties all night both last night and tonight. what i think happens is that these texans all know each other. so when there's a game in lubbock that involves utep (el paso) and tech (lubbock) the kids from one place say, come up to my place, spend the day, get some beer and supplies, watch the game, party a lot, party a little more, and make a day of it. and this of course happens in el paso when the game is down there, it's just that we don't see it, because it happens down there. the whole social scene is built around the game, and the loyalty, to one team or the other, is like a sideshow, only a few people really care passionately about who wins. well i take that back, maybe more than a few. but a lot of people are involved in the general social whirl. cars parked up and down the street. people here, obviously, from far away, even though they still have texas tags. people flying flags all through the neighborhood. the vague sound of marching band coming over the rooftops.
the house is this enormous mess; this happens when you have four kids, and both parents are working full time or more. i have tackled the laundry, but on the way i've also taken in the dogs, who need lots of attention. the biggest needs the ball thrown to her regularly. this makes her day. a little exercise, and she comes in panting, takes a nice big nap, and has that look in her eyes where you have given her the ultimate joy of her entire existence. aure, she barks at the postman, and the neighbors, and especially the neighbor dogs, who are a constant threat. and she guards the children, and she guards us, and she barks at night especially if there are people trying to party next door. but she lives to chase the ball. that's what she really wants. there's something about the movement of the ball, and the coordination of her mouth so as to grab it just so, and she's good at that, and she needs to practice a lot. it's worth it to her; it wears her out, but that's what she loves.
so the laundry waits a round, and then i get another dog, who i call furball, less than a foot long and covered with hair, a tiny yip, but a cute little fellow who also is entirely loyal to me. he likes to play, and try to bite with his tiny teeth, and grab stuff and fling it around, but then he too gets tired and i get to type away on my blog, while the two dogs lie loyally at my feet. panting. a third dog is upstairs. he used to be tiny, but now, because of furball, he's simply medium. he's a chih-weenie, intense, slightly threatened and bothered by the other two, but in his own world, because he has his own boy, the thirteen-year-old, who has promised to take him for a walk, and actually might do it before the day is up. the problem is, he's kind of stuck up in that room up there, until the kid actually gets to it, and that might be a while, because he's thirteen, and he's not totally on the ball about such things, or prioritizing it in any way. i of course, watching this game unfolding as i write, here it is about 2 30 and time for the game to start, i would schedule the walk around the game time so as to see what's going on out there, but i don't think he's so in tune to that, and more in tune to his own rhythms, and how he too finally got some sleep last night, and might need to wake up, look around, and see what else needs to be done in the grand scheme of things.
late at night, i take my barefoot walks, about two miles around the park, grass all the way, except for the sidewalks and street coming and going to the place. it's not all grass; in some parts it's so dry that stickers have taken over, or it's gravelly and full of little pieces of stone and dirt. the prickly weeds don't bother my feet, which calloused up pretty quickly, unless they get up between my toes, where it's still tender and not calloused. my ankles and feet remain sore for days because i'm using all kinds of new muscles that aren't very tough, and they go in different ways when i actually use shoes, the rest of the time. but overall it's healthy. night is the best time to be out there. the fresh air keeps me healthy and happy. i actually lose a little weight in the process.
game is on, but i'm missing it, hanging around by the fan. i keep my own pace, my own social life, furball sound asleep at my feet. i'm working on my next book of stories: do unto: a short story and twenty others which sounds vaguely like a serial criminal might write. but i'm not. i'm a harmless old guy exercising my freedom of speech. happy married, with no intention of veering off the road, or even speeding, whatsoever.