Tales of a
21st Century Gypsy

May 2, 2006.
Dallas-Ft. Worth

Between Tumacacori and Sanger I stopped in Dallas and Fort Worth, first (in Ft. Worth) to visit my friend Melinda whom I’d met in New York working on the Gates a year earlier, then (in Dallas) to visit my cousin Sandy. It was a congenial stop, though I picked up a stomach bug somewhere along the way and spent much of my stay lying on the couch in Melinda’s living room. She’s a cheery, easy-going person, and though she thought it a pity that she couldn’t show me the sights of Ft Worth, a place she really likes, she was good company for watching movies on the couch. We have similar tastes, so we happily watched first the recent movie of Pride and Prejudice, and then the year-old Bride and Prejudice, a wonderful Bollywood musical version of the original, set in Amritsar, India, that we’d seen together in New York when it first came out. Improbably, Melinda’s husband Jon also came down with a stomach bug – which, as he’s the head chef (and owner) of a very trendy restaurant, was a bit worrisome, though the customers seemed to

be fine. So we all three lounged on the couch, Melinda offering food and Jon and me groaning at the thought. And Jon groaning at our “chick-flick” taste in movies, too.

I did get to the Kimball Museum with Melinda, which was a good excursion. She’s a docent there, and had to give a talk at a members’ reception the evening I arrived. So I tagged along on her tour and meandered around the museum. It’s a small place, but a quite lovely one – a “jewel,” as they say. And visiting there, comparing favorites with Melinda, somehow got me started on a series of museum stops in cities across the US and Canada, which has been a lot of fun.

My cousin Sandy has recently married, and I was glad to have a chance to meet her new husband. And to see her again, as well as her thirty-something daughter Jessica. My family has never been particularly close, and for much of my life I’ve only seen my cousins, especially second and third cousins, at big family gatherings. Being on the road, I’ve gotten to know at least a few of them as individuals, and spent time with them at their homes. So visiting Sandy was fun. She’s frenetic and enthusiastic, talkative and full of tales about the family and her life. And sometimes quite goofy - she doesn't really look like this photo! Her stories about her daughter provided an interesting counterpoint to the tales I’d heard from Jessica about her mom a year earlier at the big family reunion in Pennsylvania. I guess that’s part of what families are about – endlessly talking about each other, comparing notes on our different perspectives on each other’s parents, finding out things we didn’t know about those closest to us from those a bit further away. I suppose someone’s talking about me, too, but that would be the price I have to pay for talking about them.

The big event of my stop in Dallas-Ft. Worth, though, was that I decided to stop traveling and reclaim my house. Arlington, Virginia isn’t really where I want to be, but no other place really is either. In my own house I won’t have to sign a lease, at least, so I can stay as long as I want and leave again when I want. The house needs some repairs, I can do that. And I can get some work done without worrying about internet connections, charging my computer, keeping the fridge cold, or where I’m going to spend the night.

So I sent off an email to my tenants saying I’d like the place back by August 1, figuring that would give me enough time to visit a few more places, and then make my way back to Virginia to settle down. For a while, at least.

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