These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, July 14, 2006

tolerate the photo, why don't ya

i went to a township meeting thursday. before the meeting there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a renovated park in the area.i went early for this purpose, even though i wasn't instructed to write a story about the ribbon cutting. i thought i'd get some info for a brief.

so i'm sorta hanging out there, waiting for it to be over with, since it was hot and no shade. i had my pad and pen out. it was obvious i was a reporter, though i didn't really speak to anyone at this point.

i hear a woman at the ceremony say to another woman, "i wonder where's the photographer." i was standing about five feet away. she didn't ask me directly and i didn't divulge that there was no photographer coming from our paper and that i wasn't writing a story on it.

as i'm looking around, pretending i didn't hear her, she tells this man next to her the thing that caught my attention.

she says: "i hope they put a better picture on the front than what they had today. you know what i'm talking about."

the man didn't reply and the conversation, as far as i knew, ended right there.

i pretended not to hear,but when you're legally blind, you're hearing's going to be pretty sharp. plus, i'm real good at playing dumb.

she was eluding to the front page picture of a lesbian couple and their two kids that made it onto the front page of our paper. a nearby town had a gay/lesbian family festival this week and it was featured on the front.

i was taken aback by this woman's statement on several fronts. one, it's the paper i work for and i can put it down or whatever (like putting down my relative, i can do it but no one else can). secondly, i was surprised by how casually it was said aloud. what if i had an alternative lifestyle. this woman wasn't taking that into account.

we're all entitled to our opinions on topics and issues and i guess by saying that i'm supposed to respect this woman's opinion on gays and lesbians. my guess is that she doesn't support alternative lifestyles. and that's fine. however, i have my opinion on the subject. woudld i have said something to offend her? i would hope not.

i come from a conservative part of texas -- perhaps texas is convervative all over. but southern texas is pretty much anti a lot of stuff and i can say that gays and lesbians aren't exactly treated with any great respect. and perhaps i fell into that category, having been stuck in that schilla and charibdis that is south texas.

but but i've left there and have learned to accept people for who they are, not judging them on things like lifestyle and instead look at them as a person and whether they are good or bad.

i dunno, i guess i was really bothered by this woman's comment. but she's entitled to it. so i will stop here. my rant is down and i didn't even call her a narrow-minded ass, either. i'm in control.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

are things bigger in texas?

i've had this conversation with a friend from work before.

apparently michigan, or any other place in the country, doesn't sell the 3-liter bottle of pop. it surprprised me when i went to meijer and saw there were no bottles matching the same description as those found in texas.

i think almost any kind of drink comes in a 3-liter plastic bottle in texas. to me, it was something i grew up with. it was something that became popular in the 1990s some time.

there are aisles at HEB or walmart full of these behemoth bottles, all lined up and looking pretty for the shoppers, from the reds of Coke to the green of Sprite.

so i movd up here and i think i started talking about gettinga 3-liter (that phrase has since left my vocabulary). after a trip or two to the store, i noticed there weren't any such bottles. i asked dawn and she said they didn't sell any up here...or anywhere else in the country, as far as she knew.

she said the 3-liter bottles weren't found on the east coast and she was equally surprised to see them in texas when she first went there in the mid-1980s.

to tell the truth, i think it's so much easier to buy a 2-liter bottle of pop, which is the standard up here. you can refrigerate a 2-liter bottle and finish it over the course of a couple of days and it probably won't go flat. a 3-liter, meanwhile, if not drained in the proper time, will go flat. so what's the point of having such a large amount of pop iin a container if it might go flat?

i guess things are bigger in texas.

the next time we go down, i'll either take a picture of me in front of rows of 3-liters or bring one back up north.

Monday, July 10, 2006

home again

my parents made their way back home saturday afternoon. they'd bene gone for about
three weeks. that is the longest my dad or mom has left the ranch or been out of south texas. they were both getting cabin fever, since they couldn't do much even though they were in houston.

the docs are optimistic about dad, which is great. they did the portal vein embolization, where the blood supply to the right side of his liver is significantly slowed down. more blood going to his left side. they want that side grown back again.
he's supposed to do a lot of walking and eating to gain weight back. he's not to do any more chemo or take any type of pill for the colon cancer. that will be nice.

he sounded great today, too. i gather it's both that he's back home and that it has rained significantly and everything is green and the ground soaked. he joked about them being away when all the rain has come down. and i said he ought to plan extended vacations to houston and maybe it'll rain more often.

nopw we wait for the end of august. he's scheduled for major surgery then, removing 75 to 80 percent of his liver. it's supposed to be a six to eight hour surgery. i wish we could be there for that one, since we were able to make it last summer when he had part of his colon removed. that was serious surgery. but i think this one in august will be even more critical. there is no way we can go down there. no vacation adn no moolah. and it's in houston, so that means we wouldn't make it all the way down to south texas; we'd have to spend a few days in houston and return. there will be lots of thoughts and prayers that day, then, to make up for not being there.