I was married for 989 days but that’s 17 dog years. The one thing I hated about being married was she was bad with money and I had always been very frugal. Things were headed for the end long before they got there and in the winter of 2001 her mother was dying. We went to Texas to make the final arrangements and honestly, we didn’t have gas money to get there and back much less do anything other than that.
The thing about Texas is the people there know Texas is different. It’s not so much a state in the union as it is a state of mind. I liked Texas. I liked Texans. And universally, the people of Texas were very nice people. Most of them have an odd sort of sympathy for non-Texans, as if we were cursed at birth for having been born somewhere else, but it isn’t something to be held against us.
Texans have good breakfasts. There was a small diner my future former wife and I went to one morning and it had all of that stuff the doctors tell you is bad for you but your body runs on for half a day of hard work. They assume you want your coffee black because it’s Texas. The waitress said what all Texans say, “Where are you from?” which isn’t a question at all but a way of establishing that you aren’t from Texas and deserving of some sort of consolatory gesture from the natives.
Across the way from us was a man with four kids. It was Christmas morning and there he is with these four kids and it is pretty obvious he’s got his hands full, but the kids are fairly well behaved. He’s directing traffic with what they want, what they already have, who is doing what, and the kids are being decent about the whole thing. The waitress is helping as much as she can, cooing and petting the kids. The man is trying to figure out how he can get enough breakfast for all those kids and he’s handling it all with a lot of civility.
It would take about a hundred fifty bucks worth of gas to get back to Georgia and I knew it was going to be tight as it was. Any sort of emergency with the truck would have screwed us and we had to get on the road if we were going to beat the ice storm that was heading our way. I sent my soon to be ex-wife to the truck to get it warmed up and I paid for our meal, and gave the waitress a twenty so she could make sure the man and the four kids got a decent meal in them. Without missing a beat she grabbed me and hugged me and then went back into the kitchen and said something about pancakes.
I think that was the best Christmas gift I ever gave anyone.
What about you?
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.