27 Jan 2013

Texas Update

Posted by Sam

Greetings from “Nut Country,”

JFK, of course, knew better than anyone how “nutty” this part of the country is, but we are getting little hits of it every day. Most times it makes us laugh, but from time to time we just cringe. Really.

We changed from reading the Dallas Morning Star to the Fort Worth Star Telegram (sorry, James, I don’t know how to underline). It is a big difference and more to our liking, in that it includes Arlington news. Plus, the Dallas paper is much like the town: very chi chi, society-conscious, food crazy and generally over the top. California money cannot possibly touch Texas money and a lot of that is in Dallas.

So we wake up and read about the day’s murders: Dad kills kid in bathtub, kid kills mom and sister, mom kills 12 year old by withholding water, plus your usual accidents and drive bys. The big news today is the assault rifle bill. You cannot buy an assault rifle in Texas today; they have been sold out for weeks. Our county, Tarrant County, has the second largest population of folks permitted to carry concealed weapons. One out of every 49 people in this county are packing. (Dave asked the Mormon Missionaries if they were wearing kevlar backpacks. By their reaction, I’d say the Missionaries have never been asked most of the questions Dave asks.) Anyway, there are on-going classes for those wanting to carry a concealed weapon. Lots of rules in the class: You can’t carry a concealed weapon near most schools (!), polling places, or within 1,000 feet of where an execution is taking place on a designated execution day.

Having been a Mormon in good standing for over a year, I recently was given permission to go to the Temple in Dallas and participate in the Temple rituals. Prior to attending Temple sessions, one must meet with the ward Bishop and attest to being worthy of attending. Having forsaken wine and coffee, saying my prayers, passing the tithing test (I don’t tithe, because right now all we have is our money and Dave chooses not to.), I felt ready. When the Bishop asked me if I belonged to any organization that was harmful to the Church, it surprised me, and after thinking about it, I admitted, “I’m a Democrat.” He assured me I was in good company (he guessed) with Harry Reid, but ruined it all by remembering Glen Beck is also LDS.

Dave is cycling a couple of times a week with a group of Fort Worth Cycling Club folks who call themselves the Rusty Chain Gang. He has picked out maybe two people who have somewhat liberal leanings, but it’s hard. The ultra conservatives here outnumber us by so much, any leftist thought is generally left unsaid. He enjoys this group, though, and I do, too. We have monthly dinners and I’m even thinking about getting on the tandem again.

I have been looking for a part time job. I listed my skills and wishes at the employment section, on-line with the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and a day later began getting job notices. One of the better ones was for a Navy Seal. I still have trouble looking up things I have already done on line, but I’m sure I said I wanted a customer service job. Currently I am applying for a job as substitute teacher in the Mansfield School District. I think I will get it because they seem to take everyone. You don’t have to have a degree to sub teach in Texas. But you can’t be a felon!

Yesterday I planted pansies and kale in a pot on the front porch. It was 79 degrees. I am the only house in the neighborhood with flowers in the front yard, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only gardener, so the chances are good my neighbors know something I don’t. But I just needed to plant something.

All in all, we are happy here. We love being close to the kids and help out with transportation and whatever. Makes us feel needed. Plus, this place is nothing if not interesting. Where else would people consider erecting a 60 foot, flashing statue of Larry Hagman at the fairgrounds? Or how many times do you see a Humvee parked in the handicap space? The pictures of real estate ladies here look just like the pictures of “masseuses” in the same paper. If you didn’t think these things were funny, you might think about seceding from the rest of the States. I read the obituaries every day. Have for years. I believe that what people write about their loved ones’ passing illustrates the heart of the community. Yesterday I read of the passing of a young woman (42) and her obit read: Geneva transitioned to a better world on Thursday and today she is sitting at the feet of Jesus, singing him a beautiful song and crocheting him a sweater. How can you not love that!

Love to all,

Not just calamari in Dallas . .  Noooooo . . . .  Octopus . . . and  wood fired!

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