My dear Americans (well this IS supposed to be a letter and "Muh Fellow 'Mer'cns" seems far too presidential, and anyway I can't really do the accent).
My dear Americans,
we (Georgia, Buddy and I) have been over in the UK now for more than three months and, and--- I'm starting to miss Texas: now I'm sure I could hear the combined gasps from four thousand miles away if I open the window. The "You must be joking!"s, "What the—"s and the like expressions of disbelief and horror from most non-Texans (and from quite a few Texas residents too). And, yes, I do remember that when some in the state had a poll on seceding there were a lot more yes-votes from those outside its borders than inside.
But it's true. I do!
And, just to get it out in the open and out of the way, I have actually lived in Plano, Texas longer than anywhere else in my whole life. This terrifying fact didn't come to me until I'd actually left the place, but it's not at all that surprising that I should miss at lease some aspects of such a large chunk of my life.
I should also get out in the open and out of the way the things I don't miss.
The weather, all bar maybe two weeks a year1 when it isn't too hot, too cold, and or too wet and or dry (Texas surely being the place where the phrase 'It never rains but it pours' originated), or too pollen-y, too lack-of-air-quality-y, or occasionally too impending-tornado-y (though, by good luck, none of those actually pended on us).
Then there's the driving, the style of which a German friend of G's likened to 'sitting on zeir sofa vith no-one else around', though we don't really have a chance to miss that because people seem to drive the same way over here only faster and surprisingly often the wrong way down the street.
Then there's Texas politics, which I won't mention because the appropriate language would be totally inappropriate, wouldn't be allowed by the station and would probably fry your radios if it were.
But (to get back on-topic) I really miss the birds2, in all their variety, in our little Texas garden patio: the bluejays, cardinals, wrens, the two species of woodpeckers, finches, American robins, once a Cooper's hawk, and even the grackles, not to mention the odd vulture, though none actually waiting in our garden, and you know how reassuring that can be to an older person.
Then there's our friends and our neighbours, and I do miss work, doubly so since I retired before leaving for England (which I believe is the proper way to do things, rather than in the other order).
Then we'll really miss nipping down to Austin, that little bit of California deep in the heart of Texas, and especially staying at the Austin Motel3 on South Congress, that little bit of sixties Berkeley deep in the heart of Austin.
But by far the most missed or (as you'll see in a mo) almost the most missed Plano delight is the Mexican food at our favourite restaurant Tino's Too4 on K Ave just north of the Fire Station. Their 'Mexican Candy' of deep fried jalapeños and onions, sprinkled with their secret spice and a squirt or two of the juiciest limes this side of---well anywhere, are to die for (and occasionally almost OF, if you hit a particularly lively jalapeño). Ah! brings tears to my eyes... just thinking about it. Then there's the chimichangas and the carne con chile verde and the pollo Azteca (which wasn't strictly on the menu, though they made it for me) and Georgia's favourites like the flautas rancheras, the enchiladas and chile relleños, all served by the nicest people. And then there are the fajitas, sizzling and steaming and drool-worthy even when someone else is eating them, come to think of it especially if someone else is eating them. Now I really have to stop remembering Tino's before the drool shorts out my computer. But, oh no, no! I just remembered the margaritas, grande sized and frozen, with salt round the rim and more of those juicy, juicy limes.... [Sprtzz crack: computer shorting]
[A moment of silence...]
Oops! Good job I have another computer.
And finally, finally the thing that I miss most about Texas, just pipping Tino's at the post by a nostril in a photo finish, is that back there I didn't have to do all this bloody DIY and redecorating and re-building crap on the old homestead!!
and, of course,
Cheerio for now
No computers were harmed in the making of this essay.
1 Though, just to make things worse, the actual fourteen days of those weeks are largely non-contiguous.
2 In spite of what I said in Feathers an' Fluff last year I really do miss the little buggers.
3 Busily keeping Austin weird.
4 I really wish they'd deliver to Beccles.
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