His name begins with an O and he owns a bagel shop that I often pass on my way home from the office or on the way there.
When we met I told him my father’s name was Orrie and that I had several cousins named Oren. I like his bagels and appreciate that he closes down for Pesach and other Jewish holidays.
I walked out of there after our last visit and thought about how we are strangers in a strange land and yet we belong here too.
I appreciate that he runs a Kosher style shop in the midst of people who haven’t got a clue what that means or any understanding of what a true deli is.
To be fair that doesn’t describe all who frequent the shop or live around it, many share a common understanding and some who aren’t MOT understand what words like mishegoss and narishkeit mean.
He has been here much longer than I have, though I made my first trip out in 1993. I mentioned that to him once, that 30 years ago I came out on a business trip and remember a different city, much smaller than it is now.
Told him about how I sat in a bar in Deep Ellum and a girl told me I had a funny accent.
Told him a couple of years later a Scottish girl at a bar in Jerusalem commented on my accent too. She also remarked on how American I looked wearing my baseball cap backwards.
Not sure how we got on that topic, but it was probably tied into our talking about Israel and politics in the middle east.
A Tour Of Texas
A few months after the trip to Dallas I flew back out but this time to Houston. Instead of work I came out for a friend’s wedding and flew out to Houston.
Funny how life works, I hadn’t been to Texas at all and then in less than six months I was there twice followed by a third trip two years later for another friend’s wedding.
Felt like a tour of Texas even though I only hit a few cities and didn’t visit many places in either of them. But those moments stick out in my head. There were conversations with girls only a few years out of U.T. and stories about Sixth Street in Austin and the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
Sometimes I find myself in conversations about college and we may pass over the things we did but it is only in reference to what our children have done or are doing now.
Most of the time we shake our heads at how much crazier it became to get into college and some of the things that happen now versus then.
It makes us wonder if we got the better deal and if there is any way to give it to our kids now.
We work hard on their behalf but also talk about how long before they are off the payroll and discuss what sort of changes will happen then or maybe sooner.
Will we move? Will we retire? Will we get divorced/remarry or just find some fishing hut on a beach in the Caribbean and live out our time as a beach bum.
Those conversations from the early nineties feel so close and yet so very far away. The possibilities for the future seemed endless and now so different.
Because intermixed in the plans are thoughts about what happens if and when we become grandparents. Will we move to be close to the grandkids or live our lives and occasionally swoop in to see them.
It is a strange thing watching your friends begin to move into that role and to think you want to join them…one day, whenever that is and whatever it means.
Thought about some of this as I put together plans for a trip down to Houston. Haven’t been there since the week before we got locked down and now I am going back.
Was supposed to have gone a few times before this, but things happened which is an apt description for life.
But things happened.
A Piano Bar In Vegas
Got memories of sitting in a piano bar in Vegas sipping on some Scotch while others sang. Watched the room as people sang along with Billy Joel and listened to someone ask them to play the song above.
Wondered what made the man ask for that song and what sort of understanding he had of it and thought about it as a writer and a man.
Sometimes I read Dylan and Springsteen’s lyrics and wonder if I can figure out how to write something that has the same impact as some of their work has had.
Perhaps I have already done it. Perhaps I have produced something that made someone’s heart pound and or made them short of breath. Maybe it gave them butterflies in their stomach.
I don’t feel a need to be famous but there is something to be said for being able to produce the sort of content they do.
Sometimes I wonder if I hit that perfect note would I walk away and let that be my last. Would I be able to identify it and then call it The Last Letter I’ll Write You.
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