Keep Christmas Weird
Showing off your city to out-of-towners always gives you fresh appreciation for where you live, unless of course your city is Laredo.
This past weekend I got to visit with a really cool former high-school classmate, her husband, her brother, her sister, and her small, highly adorable daughter. We spent a Sunday afternoon browsing through the shops on South Congress Avenue, and then Monday evening taking in the 37th Street Christmas lights and sipping mocha lattes at Flightpath Cafe. What a treat all around! Like Pam, Tammy is someone I didn't know particularly well in high school. Also like Pam, Tammy's someone I wish I had known better - and am really glad I get the chance now. I guess I was too wrapped up in my own personal adolescent cocoon of angst to have any idea what bright and interesting people were around me - but that's probably normal. For high school. I'm not sure what my excuse is now.
37th Street is still spectacular, despite the loss of a lot of houses to rental residents who can't invest the time and money it takes to put on such a fun and freaky light show. Everyone who does participate deserves a huge heartfelt hug and kiss, don't you think? How about a trophy for "Best Austinite"? The Zilker Tree and the Trail of Lights are wonderful, but 37th Street is just totally f***ing weird, and I love them for it. I mean, does the Trail of Lights display pumpkins with a big sign next to them proclaiming, "These are Christmas pumpkins!" No? All right then.
And even though not as many houses are as ridiculously lit up as I remember in years past, this is the first year I've seen a live jazz combo playing an impromptu set at one end of the street. (Granted, it's been a couple of years since I was there.) They were really good, and looked like they were having a lot of fun. We walked past and I felt a surge of pride in my unpredictable, musical, artsy, goofy, beautiful city.
After Flightpath we took I-35 to Sixth Street to take my friends back to their hotel. And on the upper deck, I found myself admiring the glittering downtown skyline. Sixth Street is festooned with garlands and lights from end to end - lively, on a Monday night (it's usually a bit more lively than I can handle on weekends) with music wafting out of the bars and clubs.
I hope Tammy comes to visit again soon, because it was great fun to catch up with her. And all you other out-of-towners, come and let's visit Barton Springs and the Town Lake Hike-and-Bike and Mangia Pizza and Pease Park and moonlight towers and the Warehouse District and Oat Willie's and Amy's Ice Cream and the State Capitol and Kerbey Lane and Travis Heights and the Stevie statue and Electric Ladyland/Lucy in Disguise and Toy Joy and the Hole in the Wall and the Drag and La Zona Rosa and Deep Eddy and oh, I don't know, maybe one or two other places besides.
Corpus friends, you should come visit! And remind me never to move to Laredo.