Downtown Odyssey

Some of my best adventures happen close to home. This past weekend turned out to be a keeper, having a great time and never getting more than 17 miles from home. I went downtown Saturday and Sunday, and I might as well have been in Paris—Texas or France.

The big hoo-hah parades on television during the holidays leave me flat, but I love going to downtown Austin to watch a display of Local Cool march by. Whether the Texas Independence parade in March or Chuy’s Christmas parade last Saturday, I appreciate the efforts of those who get out there and act goofy for the entertainment of others.

This year’s Chuy’s parade had an added incentive for me to drive downtown, walk farther than I should, and stand longer than I should, just to get a glimpse of my oldest granddaughter marching with Cheer Station.

A lady in front of me saw their banner and said, “Cheer Station?” I don’t know what that is.”

I immediately explained my connection, that it is where my “gkid”  takes cheer and tumbling lessons. The youngsters duly impressed the onlookers, hoisting small girls up in the air, managing to catch them before they hit terra firma. The lady I spoke to and all her relatives cheered like fiends and turned to smile encouragingly at me. I felt surprisingly validated, knowing they thought my granddaughter and her friends were terrific, too.

I chose my perch for the parade on Congress Avenue carefully. It was a short walk to St. David’s on 7th street, where I had agreed to meet my daughter at the Art from the Streets exhibit. We’ve been before, but this time was especially fun, as Megan interviewed artists and took pictures for a grad school project. After introducing herself to one of the exhibitors and explaining why she wanted to interview her, the lady exclaimed, “Oh, I love the paparazzi!”

I shopped while Megan worked, finding a couple of handmade necklaces I needed. I also bought two photographs by Sam Cole, one of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend and one of iconic bluebonnets. I bought those for my husband’s office, which is decorated in Rustic Texan, especially when he’s at his desk. Megan and I ate lunch at Scholz Garten, and I headed home to rest up for Sunday.

Sunday found me back downtown to see “Santaland Diaries” at the Zach Scott Theatre. It has become something of a holiday tradition for us, and every year I laugh like a maniac, as if seeing it for the first time. Short-term memory loss has its benefits. This is the farewell season for Martin Burke, however, the genius actor responsible for much of its popularity. His almost one-man show was terrific as always, but I left wondering where I’d be this time next year. I can only hope Martin reconsiders and comes out of his retirement from this role. Cher does it all the time.

We usually lunch at Casa de Luz before going to a play, but in deference to friends from San Antonio who are deeply suspicious of vegetarian fare, we ate at Threadgill’s, which never fails to please omnivores, especially those raised in the South.

I was ready to rest up Sunday night, just as tired as if I’d taken in a Broadway show. At least I didn’t have to unpack. We who are fortunate enough to live in Austin have diamonds on our doorsteps, good times just waiting for us. I’ll meet you downtown. 

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