My darlings, I write to you from a barbecue induced coma. Yes, it’s all too true, I have returned to Texas, land of my birth and home of the world’s most delicious smoked brisket. I have barbecue sauce smeared up to my ears and will probably never be able to degrease my hands, but it was worth it. I’ve had fabulous Mexican food three times and barbecue just now; say what you will about Houston, the old place can certainly sling the hash.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games and enchiladas. The night I got to New Orleans to see about selling my house there, my oldest brother, Ed, called to say our other middle brother, Mike, was very sick with liver cancer (again with the cancer! Oy!) and I should came back here. I wrapped up unloading the New Orleans house (which included its own share of memorable meals and innumerable annoying errands) and then hurled myself into the swampy embrace of my homeland.
It’s odd how even though I’ve been away my entire adult life, the Gulf Coast of Texas has a culture that is still my background. As soon as I get out of the airport, my accent returns, my sinuses swell to accommodate the indigenous mold and mildew, and I instinctively start looking for tacos.
I had several visits of varying degrees of hilarity with my family, some of whom are charming, some of whom are annoying, some of whom are insane and some of whom are annoying and insane, and I haven’t even seen my father yet. I was sort of holding the worst for last, I suppose. My brother Mike is in terrible shape, gaunt and frail and talking about a liver transplant, which, I have to say, seems unlikely. I’m afraid the next time I’ll be here will be for a funeral.
In the meantime, though, I continue to be faced with the odd combination of big city freeways and redneck cowboys that makes up my heritage. Fortunately, I return to my beloved San Francisco tomorrow. Even with its sad lack of decent barbecue, it can’t come soon enough.