At Least for Now, I’ll Take Tennessee over Texas: A Trip to Austin

 

I own a house in Texas, but I lay my hat in Tennessee, so you could say I have taken Sam Houston’s path in reverse, traveling east instead of west.  As a result, I sometimes wonder if the “hero of San Jacinto” ever missed the purple mists that regularly settle over the mountains where he once roamed with the Cherokee, or if he put where he grew up out of mind after establishing a new republic in the 1800s.

The truth is, in my case, I can feel deeply homesick for Austin a full year after leaving it, as I think of fresh-lime margaritas in hundred plus heat, as I recall the joys of live music in old beer halls where people two-step in cowboy boots.  There are few scenes as pretty to me as a sunrise over spring fields covered in bluebonnets, miles of highways draped on either side with the wildflowers that were once planted through the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson.  I miss the boats and bats by Town Lake.  I think it’s cool how children are still taught to be proud of being born in the place their great grandfathers’ settled.  The sky really is bigger on the plains, which makes a soul feel more free.

So when I returned for a visit to Austin last weekend and saw that the city is truly opening up again, I was very happy.

My family and I had mezcal cocktails in a bar decorated with statuettes of the Virgin Mary, lit candles, and stone.  The heat made me feel sticky in a good way, as we walked streets bustling with life, passing a group of young men singing on the sidewalk.

I like the diversity of crowds in Austin, the different sorts of people who mingle downtown.  There are frat boys and tattooed women, bearded hipsters and native Spanish speakers, Republicans living on the down-low alongside outspoken activists wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts….  We had a delightful evening watching all of them together.

Then the morning came.

I went running on “the trail,” which is in the heart of everything.  I have run literally hundreds of miles on that packed dirt where children ride bikes and every sort of dog on the planet can be seen trotting beside sunscreen-drenched masters in spandex.  This is a main thoroughfare for pedestrians that goes by Zilker Park, a gloriously open space with the city towering up at one end.  This is where many of the biggest events of the year take place: outdoor concerts, fireworks, gathering throngs of college students playing sports.

But this is the thing.

Due to the “compassion” of the very progressive city council, tents with homeless people are now touching the trail, clumped on the bridges, littered among the trees.   This problem with the homeless–this permissive approach to “camping”–started long before I left–was one of the reasons to leave–but it has grown much, much worse since I’ve been gone, and I can “see” the trash all over the ground where my friends have grown “blind” because it no longer shocks them.

All I can say is that once upon a time, I would have run that trail early in the morning or long after sunset, but I wouldn’t do that in 2021.  The decay is too obvious, and while one might argue that the rise in violent crime in Austin has nothing to do with any of this, I would be extremely skeptical of that argument.

Then I went to the gym to meet my husband and son who were deadlifting hundreds of pounds.  There is a mask mandate in the gym, but they lowered their masks while in the midst of their exercises, keeping their distance from other patrons, standing on deadlift platforms at least twenty feet away from everyone else.

I kept my mask on completely, as I was just standing by my family, waiting.  As a side note, all of us have gotten Covid shots, and everyone is eligible for vaccinations in Texas.  

Then I watched a woman older than I walk casually by a gym employee and point at my son.  That employee (who had not cared a jack-doodle before the complaint) was obligated to then tell him in a stern voice that he had to wear his mask at all times, whatever the circumstances, whatever the exercise he was doing.  He was nothing but polite to the employee and pulled up his mask, as if its drop was actually the greatest of problems in this city, but we decided it was time to go anyway.

Walking out, I looked at the lady who had complained as she lifted up what looked like a two-pound hand weight where she sat on a bench.  Her mask said BIDEN in bright white letters across her face.  She rolled her eyes when we walked by her, as if we had caused her the greatest offense.

My son glanced at her, too, and said as we left her behind and out of earshot that he felt sorry for her.  There was no anger.  Just pity.  He observed she must be a very miserable human to be so afraid in public.  It must take a lot of energy to try to police the rest of the world.

Finally, we went to church where every other pew was roped off.  All the people had their faces covered.  I was happy to hear muffled singing through cloth, but there was an element of theater to it all that remains quite uncomfortable to endure.  I can’t help it, but I often think of how my church acted to minister to its flock during the Black Death, and I have remained strangely disappointed at how much has changed during Covid.

And just like that–in less than two days–I was over Texas.  I was happy to be going back to Tennessee with its redbuds and dogwoods and pristine mountain trails in the country.

Still, I think about Sam Houston’s ghost defending the Lone Star State, his fierce eyes trained on me.  Among other things, I believe he’d say, “At least Texas is not like California, and you know Austin is weird, right???”

I’d have to laugh at the truth of that and buy him a margarita at the bar where masks must not stave off Covid because they are completely unnecessary to wear.

We could get drunk toasting a mutual thirst for more American freedom, whichever state we call home.

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  1. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    Every day, I give thanks that I no longer live in Austin.

    • #1
  2. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    Lois Lane: I often think of how my church acted to minister to its flock during the Black Death, and I have remained strangely disappointed at how much has changed during Covid.

    On watching The Teaching Company’s Great Course on the Black Death, I was struck by how the Black Death (and the periodic comebacks that didn’t end until 1665) created the conditions that led to Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Whole monasteries were wiped out, along with their institutional knowledge and culture. The ministering clergy were mostly gone as well, save for the few who ran away from their obligations, requiring immediate replacements regardless of their education or aptitude for the work. The result was a church dominated by people unable to minister to their flocks led by those whose interest lay elsewhere.

    • #2
  3. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    John H. (View Comment):

    Every day, I give thanks that I no longer live in Austin.

    Where did you move?  There are things I really love about Austin, but… yeah.  There are moments, like those I outlined, that make me happy to have moved on, too.  The political leadership is absolutely terrible.  

    • #3
  4. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: I often think of how my church acted to minister to its flock during the Black Death, and I have remained strangely disappointed at how much has changed during Covid.

    On watching The Teaching Company’s Great Course on the Black Death, I was struck by how the Black Death (and the periodic comebacks that didn’t end until 1665) created the conditions that led to Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Whole monasteries were wiped out, along with their institutional knowledge and culture. The ministering clergy were mostly gone as well, save for the few who ran away from their obligations, requiring immediate replacements regardless of their education or aptitude for the work. The result was a church dominated by people unable to minister to their flocks led by those whose interest lay elsewhere.

    This is very interesting, but how should the actions of the ministering clergy have been different?  I don’t think the Catholic Church should not have reacted to Covid.  I understand why we do not drink from a communal cup.  I simply think the church could have done more, should do more now.  I mean… God is pretty big, isn’t he?  It just hasn’t felt like church leaders actually believe this truth.

    Anyway, there is a falling away of attendance that many church leaders–both Catholic and Protestant–fear will outlast the pandemic, so that is another sort of religious death.  What will churches look like as we move forward?  I don’t know, but I suspect that there are always the opportunistic who will mislead.

    • #4
  5. Gene Killian Coolidge
    Gene Killian
    @GeneKillian

    I’m a life-long East Coaster (except for 7 years in the Midwest) and I share your love of Tennessee. We recently bought a second home there where I’ll eventually retire. It gets into your blood very quickly. 

    In reading your post, I was again struck by the emptiness of many liberal gestures. Let’s let people camp in public parks, so we prove how wonderful we are without solving the problem. Let’s go full Mao on people not wearing masks in a situation where they can infect no one, again so we prove how wonderful we are without solving the problem.

    Of course, while these gestures are meaningless in terms of solving the problem, they do advance the cause of constant class warfare. Your friend in the gym just  doesn’t realize she’s a useful idiot, which is sad.

    • #5
  6. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones.  But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part.  That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place.  I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know.  And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    • #6
  7. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Gene Killian (View Comment):
    It gets into your blood very quickly

    You are so right.  I have also not met a single person who wasn’t just lovely.  I mean, I know there are progressives here, too, but they are not as… pushy?  Intolerant?  I don’t know how to find the right word. 

    While I certainly understand Houston’s move west, I think he must have at least dreamed about the mountains in TN that he left behind.  I will always admire things about both places, but when you’re talking pure natural beauty, I don’t think even Texas’s Hill Country at its best can hold much of a candle to Tennessee.  Everywhere I look, I see another gorgeous something.   :)

    • #7
  8. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Knoxville is much less progressive than Austin, but my son who went to the University of Texas also always said the students who came from all around the state moderated the professors to some extent.  (He especially thought this after experiencing the very left faculty at an elite law school.)

    But you are right. University towns–and universities–are not conservative as a rule.

    I think it was Rick Perry who once called Austin “the blueberry in the tomato soup.”

    Austin has gotten more blue because of a tech sector that is being fed from California as well.  That’s the nature of that business.  I don’t understand why, really.

    • #8
  9. Cosmik Phred Member
    Cosmik Phred
    @CosmikPhred

    Your story is similar to mine.  My wife and I left Oakland after 25 years there.  We enjoyed the funkiness, diversity, food, culture, etc.  Things improved greatly during our time there…really.  We had multiple restaurants we could walk to in our neighborhood that were on the Chronicle top 100 list.  We could walk to Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, farmers market, and a movie theater.

    The improved until they didn’t.  Right around the time that Occupy lost steam the demographics of the off ramp panhandlers changed to Occupy hippy, druggy, white people. The hipster tech influx began as more folks decamped San Francisco for cheaper Oakland. Our leadership got more and more activist.  The homeless encampments got worse and worse and spread to the neighborhoods.  People got more woke and insufferable.  Every election was a vain search for “the sensible party” candidate.  We had one good mayor and city councilperson during our time there.  We paid sizable property taxes, played by the rules and all we got for our troubles was pockmarked roads, baffling traffic “improvements,” increasing crime, violence and squalor.  

    Now we’re in the mountains of Calaveras County.  Visiting the Bay Area feels like visiting Mars.  People mask up to go into stores up here, but that’s about it.  I still have my Oakland Nextdoor account and I can see the downward spiral continues.  But hey! they banned gas powered leaf blowers this month.  Really!

     

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    This is very interesting, but how should the actions of the ministering clergy have been different?  I don’t think the Catholic Church should not have reacted to Covid.  I understand why we do not drink from a communal cup.  I simply think the church could have done more, should do more now.  I mean… God is pretty big, isn’t he?  It just hasn’t felt like church leaders actually believe this truth.

     

    In recovery after heart surgery two years ago I had a hallucination/dream about this very thing but it involved mainly political leaders along with some religious leaders. The recovery scene in the dream had perhaps a hundred participants and the theme was they would be removed from the recovery process if they openly professed to believe things that their actual behavior demonstrated they did not. By the end of the dream I was still there with only a handful of others.

    I tend to accept as my view of government that the objective is to have its citizens live free in an ordered civil society. Your description of Austin is not that. It takes laws and enforcement to accomplish that and that requirement has gone missing in many urban settings in America. Religion should be about right and wrong and I believe the documented teaching of Christianity addresses that. Government likewise should be about addressing right from wrong. There may be divergent views and many nuances in this process but that does not mean anything goes. 

    We are in a contest now between right and wrong and it is especially pitting Christians and others who believe in individual liberty against those who believe in various types of collective secular progress.

    • #10
  11. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.

    • #11
  12. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    Every day, I give thanks that I no longer live in Austin.

    Where did you move? There are things I really love about Austin, but… yeah. There are moments, like those I outlined, that make me happy to have moved on, too. The political leadership is absolutely terrible.

    We moved to Round Rock from Austin in 07 and had already begun to think of it as “a fun place to visit but…”. Your description of the decay of Town Lake Trail horrified me I have to admit. 

    • #12
  13. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    This is very interesting, but how should the actions of the ministering clergy have been different? I don’t think the Catholic Church should not have reacted to Covid. I understand why we do not drink from a communal cup. I simply think the church could have done more, should do more now. I mean… God is pretty big, isn’t he? It just hasn’t felt like church leaders actually believe this truth.

     

    In recovery after heart surgery two years ago I had a hallucination/dream about this very thing but it involved mainly political leaders along with some religious leaders. The recovery scene in the dream had perhaps a hundred participants and the theme was they would be removed from the recovery process if they openly professed to believe things that their actual behavior demonstrated they did not. By the end of the dream I was still there with only a handful of others.

    I tend to accept as my view of government that the objective is to have its citizens live free in an ordered civil society. Your description of Austin is not that. It takes laws and enforcement to accomplish that and that requirement has gone missing in many urban settings in America. Religion should be about right and wrong and I believe the documented teaching of Christianity addresses that. Government likewise should be about addressing right from wrong. There may be divergent views and many nuances in this process but that does not mean anything goes.

    We are in a contest now between right and wrong and it is especially pitting Christians and others who believe in individual liberty against those who believe in various types of collective secular progress.

    Lately I think often of Judges and the problems in modern American society because we have forgotten who is really “king” here: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

    I have been very disappointed at how willing my fellow countrymen have been to simply walk away from freedom towards some state of being they call “safety.”  

    I don’t know how it will all turn out, but as for me and my house… well.  I’m sure you know the rest.  ;)

    • #13
  14. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    Every day, I give thanks that I no longer live in Austin.

    Where did you move? There are things I really love about Austin, but… yeah. There are moments, like those I outlined, that make me happy to have moved on, too. The political leadership is absolutely terrible.

    We moved to Round Rock from Austin in 07 and had already begun to think of it as “a fun place to visit but…”. Your description of the decay of Town Lake Trail horrified me I have to admit.

    There aren’t homeless people the entire way, but you get to sections, and bam!  You run by little towns of tents.  I ran the ten mile loop on Sunday, and my best friend would say to me, “I want you to close your eyes in about a tenth of a mile.”  

    There is a people-forced referendum on May 1 about the camping ban.  Even my progressive friends do not like what is happening, so I hope they reverse course.  

    I like Round Rock.  Georgetown is cute as a button and growing.  

    • #14
  15. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.

    I think Athens is more left than a lot of the state, but they did one thing there that I like a lot.  When I was taking our son to tour different college campuses about ten years ago, we noticed that the town had set up meters everywhere for the homeless.  It was illegal to give money to panhandlers, but if you wanted to help, you put money into the meters that was then funneled to vetted charities that could better address the problems of those populations.  I thought this was a brilliant idea. 

    • #15
  16. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.senatorial elections.

    Another place that produced a great music scene.  Unfortunately, it may not be that out of sync with the rest of the state judging by the Senate elections.

    • #16
  17. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.senatorial elections.

    Another place that produced a great music scene. Unfortunately, it may not be that out of sync with the rest of the state judging by the

    Georgia is still a center right state, though people are trying very hard to demotivate Georgia conservatives.  

    • #17
  18. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.senatorial elections.

    Another place that produced a great music scene.

    Yes. My son took a lot of his early inspiration from there. Here he is today:

    Come On In My Kitchen- Bobby Thompson & Jenny Langer – YouTube

     

    • #18
  19. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.senatorial elections.

    Another place that produced a great music scene.

    Yes. My son took a lot of his early inspiration from there. Here he is today:

    Come On In My Kitchen- Bobby Thompson & Jenny Langer – YouTube

    Thanks for sharing your son’s music!  I hope he is able to play live again soon.  We went out to eat dinner in TN a couple of nights ago, and what was in the restaurant????  A live musician.  Yep.  Live and singing.  

    People who go out and play live, whatever the size crowds they normally entertain, have really been clobbered during this last year, though some states are better than others.  

     

     

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    There are places within Texas that seem as far away from Austin as Tennessee is.

    • #20
  21. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve followed a number of Austin musicians over the years, and there are a lot of very good ones. But, as a general rule in red states, university cities are out of sync politically with the “red” part. That’s even true of Columbia, S.C, which also is a nice place. I’m guessing Knoxville too, although I don’t know. And university towns in blue states . . . just fuggedaboudit.

    Athens, Ga? I have relatives there who lament about the University but I don’t know how the local government goes.senatorial elections.

    Another place that produced a great music scene.

    Yes. My son took a lot of his early inspiration from there. Here he is today:

    Come On In My Kitchen- Bobby Thompson & Jenny Langer – YouTube

    Thanks for sharing your son’s music! I hope he is able to play live again soon. We went out to eat dinner in TN a couple of nights ago, and what was in the restaurant???? A live musician. Yep. Live and singing.

    People who go out and play live, whatever the size crowds they normally entertain, have really been clobbered during this last year, though some states are better than others.

    I have a story I will share. My wife and I have 3 children, 2 daughters and our son. The two girls did their college work and got their degrees, one from George Washington University and the other from BYU. They both married at 21 and we have 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Our son got his first guitar at a garage sale when he was 12 years old. That did it. When he finished high school, with difficulty, he spent a year at the Corcoran School of Art then community college in Utah but it was hopeless. When he was twenty we paid for him to go to The Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Ca. He came back home after 2 years and has been playing locally around the Washington, DC area along with some limited touring since then. He did some college at NVCC and GMU along along the way but dropped that a few courses short of the degree.

    Then the pandemic and he cannot play except streaming from his home in Arlington, Va. So he is back in school remotely at GMU and expects to graduate this summer. He spent much of the last year with us and I think he is now thinking a little beyond just playing guitar and entertaining people. He has taught at The School of Rock for a few years and likes teaching and he writes much of his own music. So, for him, things might be looking up at 50 years old.

    Needless to say, life is tough for performance musicians. We have helped him through all these years and I’m liking what I’m seeing today. What are families for anyway.

    • #21
  22. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Lois Lane: the rise in violent crime in Austin has nothing to do with any of this,

    Active shooter situations for 2 straight days in Austin.  One north and one south.  That said the median selling price of houses is up 45% this year, so it is a good time to sell.

    • #22
  23. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: the rise in violent crime in Austin has nothing to do with any of this,

    Active shooter situations for 2 straight days in Austin. One north and one south. That said the median selling price of houses is up 45% this year, so it is a good time to sell.

    I like everyone’s posts, @dong, because I appreciate any comment on something I write, but it was hard for me to like yours because I hate, hate, hate that these things are happening.  

    However, to be fair, there was just a shooting at a high school in Knoxville as well, so I guess there’s no running away from some of this at the moment.  (That shooting is tied to an outbreak in general “violence in the community” in that part of town.)

    Still, the truth is that I don’t think the media should report on these things nationally as they do.  It creates panic and distorts what is going on in the press, though people in the area need to know so that they can avoid walking into something horrible. 

    For example, I read about the ongoing Austin shooting that took place today, and it is tied to a “domestic situation.”  While still terribly tragic, that is not the same thing as a mass shooting where everyone is a target… where nothing is predictable.  

    Not long before I left Austin, there was a man who chased a jogger with a knife on the Austin running trail.  That wasn’t a national news story, but I used to run by the gazebo where the homeless guy camped on a regular basis.  While the homeless guy was arrested, I could never find anything at all about what happened to him.  Was he released?  Put in jail?  Is he getting treatment for mental issues?  Does he live in one of the tents now set up by the water?  What happened to him afterward????

    It seems to me that knowing something about a person who was a general threat to society would make sense, but the news is so very selective.  It could drive a person crazy.  It could make one feel very scared, too.  

    I choose to not go crazy or to get scared.  

    You are right about the Austin real estate market.  It is–like in many other places–very hot at the moment.  Even with its problems, Austin is much, much, much more attractive than living in LA or San Francisco.  ;)

    • #23
  24. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    What are families for anyway.

    These are the little platoons on which society is built.  I hope it all turns out for everyone.  

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    Not long before I left Austin, there was a man who chased a jogger with a knife on the Austin running trail.  That wasn’t a national news story, but I used to run by the gazebo where the homeless guy camped on a regular basis.  While the homeless guy was arrested, I could never find anything at all about what happened to him.  Was he released?  Put in jail?  Is he getting treatment for mental issues?  Does he live in one of the tents now set up by the water?  What happened to him afterward????

    I’m sure the media is “respecting his privacy,” as long as he’s not a Republican.

    • #25
  26. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    Not long before I left Austin, there was a man who chased a jogger with a knife on the Austin running trail. That wasn’t a national news story, but I used to run by the gazebo where the homeless guy camped on a regular basis. While the homeless guy was arrested, I could never find anything at all about what happened to him. Was he released? Put in jail? Is he getting treatment for mental issues? Does he live in one of the tents now set up by the water? What happened to him afterward????

    I’m sure the media is “respecting his privacy,” as long as he’s not a Republican.

    Sounds about right.  Sadly.  

    • #26
  27. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    We are looking forward to going to Nashville a week from today.  We will be there all week.  Two days of Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, then sightseeing for the rest of the week.  (meetup on Thursday, @rodin is organizing).

    • #27
  28. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    We are looking forward to going to Nashville a week from today. We will be there all week. Two days of Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, then sightseeing for the rest of the week. (meetup on Thursday, @ rodin is organizing).

    That sounds like a great time!!!  I am a few hours from Nashville, but I really enjoyed walking the grounds of Andrew Jackson’s old home.  I’d definitely suggest going there if you like history.  :)  I found the graveyard fascinating.  

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  29. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Unfortunately, Austin is no longer a real part of Texas. I am hoping we can build A Wall.

    • #29
  30. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: I often think of how my church acted to minister to its flock during the Black Death, and I have remained strangely disappointed at how much has changed during Covid.

    On watching The Teaching Company’s Great Course on the Black Death, I was struck by how the Black Death (and the periodic comebacks that didn’t end until 1665) created the conditions that led to Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Whole monasteries were wiped out, along with their institutional knowledge and culture. The ministering clergy were mostly gone as well, save for the few who ran away from their obligations, requiring immediate replacements regardless of their education or aptitude for the work. The result was a church dominated by people unable to minister to their flocks led by those whose interest lay elsewhere.

    This is very interesting, but how should the actions of the ministering clergy have been different? I don’t think the Catholic Church should not have reacted to Covid. I understand why we do not drink from a communal cup. I simply think the church could have done more, should do more now. I mean… God is pretty big, isn’t he? It just hasn’t felt like church leaders actually believe this truth.

    Anyway, there is a falling away of attendance that many church leaders–both Catholic and Protestant–fear will outlast the pandemic, so that is another sort of religious death. What will churches look like as we move forward? I don’t know, but I suspect that there are always the opportunistic who will mislead.

    Well, I can look to my pastor as an example. We never stopped having in person services, even when that meant having seven Easter 2020 services (two on Saturday, three on Sunday, two on Monday) to maximize the ability for congregants to attend. The communal chalice was only stopped for a couple months. Right now the only concessions to Covid are that the offering plate is in the narthex, we don’t pack the communion rail to maximum capacity (just one pew at a time), and pastor and the deacons wear masks while serving the rail.

    My point was two-fold: unfortunately, clerical cowardice and dereliction of duty is often rewarded in these situations, but also that dereliction has within itself the seeds of its own demise and renewal. The faithful shepherds die defending their flocks, leaving hirelings who do not care for the sheep in their place — but the hirelings do such an atrocious job that the sheep demand better shepherds. Covid is nothing new under the sun. 

    • #30