Tag Archives: family

In Which mrpeenee Returns to the Old Country

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Well, here I am in Texas, land of my birth and home of a bakery that spells one of their offerings as “petifores.”  Oh god.

My brother Mike has entered a hospice as part of the final stage of his cancer.  I decided to come visit, but now I’m not sure why. 1) the hospice is three hours away, much closer to Diane von Austinburg and I’m unclear on how much visiting I’ll be able to do and 2) my other brother Ed says Mike is pretty befogged by morphine.  I vividly remember how little R Man  was in touch at that point.  But I want to see Mike’s wife, who is absolutely charming and I want to show support.  Or something.   Whatever, I’m straightening my Florence Nightengale cap, prepared to visit the shit out of whoever will see me.

So I’m here, tucked into a nice hotel in a sort of out of the way neighborhood.  Its location makes it all the odder that the professional football teams playing against Houston stay here.  The hotel is always very coy about admitting that, but Secret Agent Fred and I ran into them last time we were here and they were checking in.  Believe me, it’s not easy to hide a lobby-full of gigantic tightends lummoxing about.  Just now I was squeezed into an elevator with three of them and I thought I might faint.

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Baby, let me tell you, those are some big mens.

Howdy

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cowboyup

I wish this was my Texas, sadly it is not.

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.