The b is back

We’re back. I could share sorry excuses for our hiatus by whining about work and vacationing in the mountains and sunny afternoons soaking in Lake Austin. But I’ll spare you. I’m nice like that.

eli, slade, lily, tatum at lakeside park july 2009

Neighbors Lily and Tatum with the boys at the lakeside park

As to the past few weeks. . .

We—the wife, the boys, the dogs—drove to New Mexico to visit family, hike in the mountains, and nap.

Our niece Shane holding her cousin, Slade

Our niece Shane holding her cousin Slade in New Mexico

While there, Sally and I day tripped to Santa Fe without the kids. We intended to shop and maybe visit a museum or gallery, which is what you do when you’re a tourist in Santa Fe.

Instead we went to a bar for low-grade microbrew. I wasn’t taken with the place, but I bought a commemorative Blue Corn Brewery glass anyway. I buy stuff when I drink. It’s an unfortunate habit.

Leaving the bar, we passed a store that advertised Native American flutes. Sally pointed to the sign. “This is it,” she said. “This is what you’ve been missing.”

“A Native American flute?” I asked.

She nodded. “A Native American flute,” she replied.

We walked past more stores, some with Native American flutes. I resisted the urge to buy a musical instrument.

Sally and I sauntered into another bar, this one overlooking the plaza. As we sat on stools in the cool afternoon, sipping pints, watching the tourists and the hippies and beat-down Native Americans below, a procession of Catholics marched past. There were monks and nuns and banners. There was incense and a statue of the virgin mother and a bishop in a big white hat.

The bishop muttered inaudibly as he waddled up the street.

“What do you suppose he’s saying?” I asked Sally.

“Probably that he likes little boys,” she stated flatly.


Before New Mexico, on Father’s Day eve, I took park in Kyle’s beer bike 2009.

Kyle, co-worker, friend, part-time redneck, full-time beer aficionado, hatched the beer bike plan one Thursday afternoon at a bar. My guess is he was probably drunk when he put it all together. Dumb ideas sound great when you’re drunk.

The idea? Ride bikes and drink beer and ride more and drink more and so on until the bars closed or somebody got hurt.

Kyle invited lots of people to participate. Five accepted. The rest invented limp-wristed excuses.

I invited people, too, all of whom declined, most noting that drinking and biking late at night without lights in downtown Austin is, like, you know, dangerous.

“You’re right,” I emailed back to one guy. “Drinking and biking in the dark isn’t safe. Which is why you should go. It’s important to do stupid things.” He wasn’t persuaded.

Kyle, the five others, and I rode around north Austin and past the state capitol and through campus and showed up at bars stinking and smiling.

At the end of the evening, I broke from the group and spun alone in the sticky night, the streets silent except for the summer bugs, my legs electric, my mind focused. This is what I’ve been missing, I decided as I pushed a big gear on the black road. This is what I needed.

Or maybe what I really needed was a Native American flute. Or maybe a dream catcher.


On the Fourth of July, I participated in wedding number two this summer. I played groomsman for Shawn, a roommate from college, and Jenn, his girlfriend of almost 10 years. As a groomsman, I had to wear a suit, stand in front on the congregation, and pretend like I was listening. It was an easy gig.

The reception took place at the Shoreline Grill on Lady Bird Lake with steak and dancing and cupcakes and booze and fireworks blasting overhead.

I finally shuffled off to bed at 4 AM. The bride and groom were sitting in the hotel lobby, drinking wine they’d bottled themselves, carrying on conversations they wouldn’t remember in the morning.

That gets you to today.

Eli, who stayed an extra week in New Mexico with his grandparents, returned with my mom today. We’ve missed the boy. With trips to Chuck E. Cheese’s and Cliff’s amusement park, I’m not sure he’s missed us back.

But I think he’s happy being home.


1 Response to “The b is back”

  1. 1 Laura July 10, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Glad to hear from ya’ll! Envious of the trip to New Mexico. And you DO need an Indian flute!

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