On Super Bowls, Statehood, and Snipers

It was a cold, blustery day yesterday in Austin.  Down to the low 40’s with a stiff 20 mph north wind.   I was determined not to let the weather ruin one of my only two weekend days, so I put on my fleece pants, three layers of shirts/coats, fleece gloves and hat, and walked for almost five hours.  I have decided I have just got to come to terms with this weather like I did while living in New York, because it does not appear that it is going to change any time soon.

Downtown Austin Hat Shoppe Window

I received a very kind invitation to attend a Super Bowl party from my friends Monica and Derek of roadmaptonomad fame.   We met when I was here last April, as they were also full-timing here in Pecan Grove.   Due to work constraints, they had to come off the road temporarily, but still live in the Barton Springs area.  We seem to have a lot in common despite our age difference, so I have enjoyed their company while here.

But with all due respect to my football-loving friends, I am not a fan.  I was married for 8 years to a man who worshiped at the altar of the pigskin, and just the sound of those words:  “HE!  COULD!  GO!  ALL!  THE!  WAAAAAAYYYY!” makes my stomach hurt.   So I set off for a long walk to enjoy the atypical deserted downtown streets and quiet of the city.  With no particular destination in mind, I found myself at the doorstep of our State’s Capitol, a place I had not been since my Freshman year of college over 40 years ago.

The pink granite building, finished in 1888, is actually seven feet taller than our nation’s capitol, and reportedly the largest of all state capitols in terms of acreage.  Figures, right?  It’s Texas.  😉

The  218 ft dome covers the giant rotunda with a star at the top, 8 feet across.  The walls of the first four floors are lined with portraits of every President of the Republic of Texas or Governor of Texas, starting with the current embarrassment, Rick Perry.   Each time a new governor is elected, every portrait has to be moved back one space.

It is pretty telling to stand in the rotunda and look at all the portraits surrounding me.  “Which one is not like the others?”   As I circle around the room, I see one stodgy old white guy after another.  And then, in the upper right third of the photo below, there is Ann, her snow white hair and Democratic Blue suit, representing.  I hope she gets some company soon.  😉

View from Fourth Floor Balcony

It is interesting to see that we are finally recognizing our “roots,” too.   Two years ago, a massive 250-ton monument was built to pay homage to the Tejanos, the original cowboys.  These Mexican and Spanish settlers and their longhorn cattle were here LONG before “we” arrived.

Tejano Monument

One bad hombre…

Now there is one bad hombre!  Whew!  Glad things have changed over the years….or have they?

As I was leaving the building, I had the following conversation with the Security Guard:

Me:  Excuse me sir, can you please tell me why the flags are flying at half mast?
Him:  Yes, Ma’am, we are celebrating a sniper.
Me:  Excuse me?  You mean a sniper, as in someone who kills people?  Which part are we celebrating?
HimWe are commemorating the anniversary of his death a year ago, Ma’am.
Me:  That seems contrary to me.  If a sniper is dead, shouldn’t we be relieved, not mournful?  If he was a sniper, shouldn’t we be mourning the lives that he killed, not celebrating?  I am confused as to why we would want to celebrate this?
Him:  Well, Ma’am, he was the greatest, most celebrated sniper of all time!  He killed more people than anyone in our history..

Okay, I think I’m done for another 40 years…

10 thoughts on “On Super Bowls, Statehood, and Snipers

  1. Maybe the sniper was a military or police sniper that was killing the enemy, maybe more info is needed. Not that I approve of killing……Otherwise, I agree with you, it is strange.

  2. Hahaaa current embarrassment… ah me… there was only one Ann Richards and don’t you miss Molly Ivins.. well, Barbara Jordan… and now .. I do hope you still can vote there .. Wendy Davis? sounds wonderful.

    I love the State Capitol … and the UofT Stadium… very awesome slap dab downtown… you walked FIVE hours? blast my hide… I think I have run the marathon when I walk for an hour. But Austin is the place to walk. That’s one of the reasons I like it there… a great walk about city.

    What??? with the sniper? the dipshit… what language .. surely he meant the UofT Tower moron… whatever the hell his name was … good lord! you ought to report that security guard… that’s terrible… I think I’ll report him .. celebrating a sniper? Suzanne? please tell me you were drinking and heard that all wrong.

    blast almighty!

    and, well. it was a very boring Super Bowl…

    Go Wendy!

    • Hi, Carolyn, thanks for the always lively comment! Yes, Wendy was who I had in mind when I said I hope Ann gets some company soon. 😉 What a fresh face that would be!

      I asked the guy if it was Charles Whitman, the Tower shooter. He said no, but he could not remember the guy’s name. I figured it out tonight when one of my FB friends shared a Tea Party post about Joe Namath at the Super Bowl, wearing a commemorative bracelet….It was that Navy Seal guy, Chris Kyle. His partner was from my home town, and they lined I-35 when the procession came thorough.

      I struggled with that security guard conversation, because I had difficulty making the paradigm shift from Charles Whitman, bad guy sniper to Chris Kyle, good guy sniper. Killing is killing, and though it may seem right to some, it is troublesome to me.

  3. Love your attitude! So with you all the way. football the Gladiator sport, Rick Perry the “current” embarrassment. Ann Richards the best of Texas. Half mast for a sniper?? What?? Only in Texas. Did I realize you lived there? Went to school there? You just seem so NOT Texas to me. Wish I could have spent ridiculous bowl Sunday with you. I’ve never been to Austin. I’d avoided Texas for years until there was no way to get from here to there without going through it. 🙂

    • Hi, Sherry, I am not a fan of the Texas mentality, and I feel I can say that since I was born here and spent the first 35 years of my life here. 😉 With the exception of my five years in Austin, I never really felt like I “fit” but it took moving away to figure out why. I still have family here, otherwise I might be like Thelma and Louise, skirting the perimeter through all four states. LOL! With the exception of bluebonnet season, of course…everyone should see those beautiful fields of blue!

  4. I thought maybe the “sniper” might be some hero from the Alamo…like Davy Crockett, “King of the wild frontier.”
    As for Austin, you should feel at home in the the only “liberal” safe haven in Texas. 🙂
    However, it is football before God there. The “Game” was a waste of time, turns out; it would have been better to have gone for a walk. The Broncos were befuddled by Seahawks (sniff).
    And please, allow men an outlet for the primordial urge to kill something.
    Box Canyon Mark

    • BC Mark — My condolences about the game. If anyone needed a “win,” it is you these days! I did learn one bit of trivia about Davey Crockett while I was touring the capitol. He is the one responsible for the quote that I have seen on so many local tee-shirts, “You can all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” Up until now, I just thought it was some A-Hole silkscreener with a Texas attitude. LOL!

  5. I find it the most telling tale in my personal travels across the US or Latin America or the world for that matter, that without deviation when I say something profound, intelligent, thoughtful or with human kind in mind that the reaction always seems to be the same with my hearing
    “Are you sure you are from Texas?”

    I actually love Texas as well, but mostly the old-style or as you have found, Austin-style Texan who keyed more on being a loner and unafraid to do something different and his or her own way, rather than many of today’s products (whose names I won’t mention) who seem keen only on qualifying as the better village idiot. 🙂

  6. Ah… glad you posted who it was … such a sad sad sad deal. Still unbelievable that he would say celebrate a sniper… he really needs to be told … that is not cause for celebration … as well as the dipshit who ordered the Flag flown half mast… wonder WHO that could have been…

    aw, and Sherry … I’m half Texan … there is some serious crap there but there is also some good crap there too as with all States…. I find myself constantly defending that ol State … have since the assassination …

    Davy Crockett said that? HAHaaaaa… I knew I liked that boy!

    And as with Don… people are amazed I’m from the South much less Texas and my god in heaven! Arkansas???!!! I won a bet when I went to San Francisco in the 60s… I still had my ARKANSAS drivers license as well as my Texas license. can’t do that any longer … have to surrender … which I’m about to do again… I still have Texas license and the best picture I have ever taken! hate to give it up… 😉 I’d like to go vote for Wendy …

    You, me and Don are not the only persons who think for ourselves in the south or Texas or Arkansas…. jeeeeeeez

    I would like to add … that is is FREEEZING … more snow on the way .. and I keep reminding the universe.. THIS IS THE SOUTH…

    am I shouting? hell yeah

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