Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Texas Says Howdy, Ma'am To The Queen

We walked up the front steps and through the front doors. We didn't knock, we didn't wait till someone answered, we just made ourselves at home and walked on in. Several men stood there, watching us, badges glinting; guns in holsters at the ready. Hand resting casually on them. No sign of alarm as we walked past. Just a level look before a slight nod of welcome.

The place was a beehive of activity. People rushed here and there. Far away down long halls you could here an occasional door bang closed. A sense of respect and quiet permeated the massive building. Everything orderly. Grand in its expanse. And, to think, it almost burned to the ground in '83. You can't tell by how things are now.

That's how we found the Capital building in Austin, Texas. It makes me proud to be an American. To think that across these great states, any citizen has the right to walk into the halls of their government buildings. For a purpose. On business. With idle curiosity. With a need. With a hope. Just because. We live in a wonderful democracy. And, in this age when Washington seems to be an island completely unto itself, with its own agenda and rules, having an opportunity as we did, really helps to remember the rightness of our way of life.

What I found truly amazing is that, once we cleared the front entrance, there was no metal detector to walk through. No guards at the doors searching every bag and purse. Just a small sign stating, "persons and possessions may be searched." I found it so liberating. And, I wish we could go back to that more trusting way of life. But, I know we probably never will.

So, in the rose colored, graceful capital building in Austin, I was given a moment of freedom and grace as I exercised my legs and my rights as a citizen of America. I was humbled. I was glad.

Michael was stationed for two years in Austin, 34 years ago. It was fun to watch him look it all over and remark about the changes. The air base he worked at is now Austin's airport. And, when he was there, many of the grand trees we saw on the capital grounds were just young upstarts. The tall buildings that now face the capital were not there. You could stand in town and have an unimpeded view of the wide expanse of the capital and its grounds.

One thing hadn't changed. The sense of energy and friendliness. Probably the wonderful combination of it being a massive college town and the seat of government. It felt the way Towson feels to me. It had that great Annapolis vibe. It felt like home in an odd way.

I still haven't seen an armadillo; I'm on the look out. Michael calls them speed bumps. I suppose it's the Texas version of our groundhogs. I'll let you know as soon as I see one! Stay tuned. I believe The Queen of The Universe may go to bless The Alamo today! It's 81 degrees and stormy. The San Antonians are so happy; last year they only had seven inches of rain. I'm delighted to bring some from Western PA to share with them!

Namaste' Till Next Time,


Anonymous said...

Enjoy the city of my birth! The riverwalk is great - and definitely have some margaritas!

Eileen said...

Kerrian and Lauren and Rama made a trip to Austin last Fall and they were all so positively impressed too. They went kayaking on the river and got some marvelous pictures of the great outdoors in the mix of a wonderful city. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I was in San Antonio in 1976 and I remember the place fondly. As a 16 year old girl traveling with her 15 year old friend, we has a ball. Would love to go back. Sounds like Texas will never be the same since the Queen stepped in.

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