Friday, October 7, 2022

The P. S. I Love You Southwest Memorial Tour Part Three

 Waxing Gibbous Moon

Crossing the border into Texas is always a shocker. The gas prices drop, the highway widens, the speed limit shoots up, and there are flies all over the place. The flies are not particular about where they live - they would gather in Maryland or Rhode Island, wherever - they just love poop. In west Texas, between the four lane highway with the 12-foot shoulders and the railroad that parallels it, there are acres and acres of cattle feedlots. Cattle stand shoulder to shoulder in their own poop, filling enormous, fenced,-in black-dirt pens, waiting, I assume, to be loaded into rail cars or trailers that take them to their probably much better lives as steaks and hamburgers. And the flies? The flies are in heaven.

Approaching the town of Hereford ("Beef Capitol of the World"), some of the flies seem to have discovered other dining choices (landfills? dumpsters? patio cat food?). These might be the bourgeoise flies, the snotty upper middle class ones who only visit the feedlots when they have had too much sticky, spilled vino to drink. 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Among these bourgie flies there is yet another class of fly - the on-vacation, RV crowd that hitches rides to Palo Duro Canyon State Park for weekends and longer stays. Some have even become permanent residents. When I pulled into a campground at this surprisingly beautiful park and exited my trusty Hondo, these happy-go-lucky flies swarmed me - and Hondo - and the first ten items I placed on the picnic table. 

Very soon I abandoned any hope of camping there, hiking for a bit (swat-curse-shake-like-a-dog hiking is not fun) and taking some nice photos before moving on - along with several buzzing passengers. Perhaps this was peak fly season in west Texas, I don't know, so maybe, just maybe, there is a much better time to sample the stunning beauty of Palo Duro Canyon. Otherwise, arm yourself with lots of Off! and one of those water-powered salt pellet cannons to fight back. And don't bring your sister. She will not like the flies, no matter how pretty the countryside is..

I don't have a lot of good things to say about west Texas - or north Texas - or any of that godforsaken prairie territory between Amarillo and Fort Worth - but I do like Fort Worth and the smaller towns south of there. I'll come back to that after I try to describe the events of September 23 in the Dallas/Grand Prairie metroplex. 

The Service

I have decided after much thought that describing the gathering of family and friends at P.S. I Love You's fun-eral service would be unfair and discourteous to the fantastic people who attended. It's too personal for a blog entry. I will simply repeat that I was very glad that I came and that I am sure Pat was thrilled with it. How do I know that? Well, obviously, I do not know if consciousness or "spirit" survives death - nobody knows that for certain - but it makes me feel happier and more motivated to live a good life to believe that it does. Maybe it doesn't survive in a sense that anyone alive can understand (probably not?). But maybe that energy and spark that was Pat for almost 80 years is still out there in some form (probably so?) and maybe honoring it (she/her, let's get those pronouns right) is not only proper and respectful, but fun and life-affirming as well. So yeah, we blew bubbles and we laughed and cried a little and in a quiet, respectful way, we put the fun in fun-eral. Almost everybody there has some Irish blood in them and that is what Irish people do, dammit.

The Friends

I have also decided not to go into any detail about meeting with the family and old friends I spent time with after the service. If you have read any of my books, you might recognize some names -  Uno and Roadie, Huntermon,  Dinesey and King Safari, Sweet Carole, Bearcat Mike, the one and only Kirby Coe Kennedy, The EMPress, and Rootie-Toot - but these personalities are too big, too strong, and too important in the many changing stages of my life to wax on casually about their roles in the the Palomino state of being. To the extent that I have my act together as I complete my 71st lap around El Sol, these people deserve credit for standing up for me or propping me up in various places along the way. I am so very much stronger as a result. 

Peace, Love, Family, and Friends (but not flies),

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