Doing our best to keep Austin weird

In his youth Mr. Nake-id spent a few years in the Live Music Capital of the World, plying his skills as an AS 400 jockey (tell that to the hipsters at SXSW) and, as one former colleague told me, "never dating."

It was quite a trip down memory lane with lots of gustatory reminiscing (more on that later), returning to old haunts and observations of change. Since Mitch lived there, greater Austin has tripled in size. Skyscrapers tower above the state capitol and massive lines snake past the entrance to Barton Springs, Austin's legendary spring-fed pool.

There were some fascinating tidbits, too, like "Look! That's where I got my driver's license renewed!"

For me it was all new. We toured the UT campus and were charmed by the turtles in the memorial garden to the victims of the tower sniper in 1966.

The cooling grounds and gardens at Mayfield Park are a tonic to Austin's oppressive heat (temps are already pushing past 90 degrees). Even more so than Denver, Austin is blessed with parks, swimming holes and trails aligning the river. You could spend a lifetime exploring the city's nature preserves, canoeing the river or sitting under the shade of pretty cypress trees, reading and canoodling with your dogs. The peacocks are the cranky denizens of Mayfield Park but are happy to preen for tourists.

Our hosts Leila (author of Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Liberator Faces Her Inheritance of Trauma) and Burke were gracious enough to take us to Perdenales Falls State Park in the Hill Country, where we picnicked, snoozed and waded in the river, shallow this year because of the Texas drought. What a treat to be far from electrical cords, plastic screens, keyboards and the like.

The day after a happy sojourn is always so dislocating. Who to call? What to write? Which load of laundry? What to make for dinner after so much dining out?

Maybe I'll just go native.

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