Monday, May 19, 2008

Downtown Deb

Sometimes we don't know what to do in our lives. So we change jobs, we sell one house and then buy another, we move from city to city, we find new friends, we seek out the newest movies, the newest-fangled gadgets, and otherwise proclaim the latest statements on fashion. Some among us might even take to the wheel and go on the road to find IT. (A beatific tip o’ the pen to J. Kerouac. –ed.)

Of course, all of this to-ing and fro-ing is little more than elaborate busywork. What we’re really looking for is authenticity. The real and true. And this quest is personified in our friend Deb.

From Carlsbad, NM, the oil and hay fields of west Texas a blur in our windows, we hot-footed the yellow bus through the well-heeled German tourist towns of the Texas Hill Country...

... to flop safely in the comfortable spare bedroom of Deb’s Place in the big-treed historic district of San Marcos, TX.

She doesn’t just know the Austin, TX area, she is steeped in it. For her food is not just fuel, it is edible art (she is a professional restaurateur and cookbook author). Live music is not about the popularity of the act, it is about the integrity of the performer (she has worked for the TV show "Austin City Limits"—a showcase of the best music and musicians, and has many friends in the biz.) A house for her isn’t just a place to store your stuff, it is a part of a neighborhood . And people are never strangers to her, they become her friends.

Which is to say, Deb is one of those rare individuals who befriends everyone she meets, makes them her friend, and keeps them. She is a real friend to Diane and I. She is authentic. She is funny. She has a irrepressible zest for good food, good music, good friends, and good abodes. She herself says it best, as when she talks about cooking: “It’s all about the flavor.”

And so it is. And so it was. The week or so we stayed at Deb's Place was filled with flavor. (I should also mention we had the good fortune to see Deb's mother again, Jan, who herself was on an extended visit to Deb's place. Jan also visited Deb for a few months when we (namely Deb, Diane and I) lived on the Greek isle of Skopolos four years ago. But that's another story for another time.)

Deb took us to a shit-kickin' beerhall in the tiny town of Gruene (pronounced "Green.") It doesn't get more Texas than this.

The "dirtiest" old burger joint in Austin. All that remains of Dirty himself is a bronzed bust in a glass case, though the burgers are as good as ever.

A forgotten but still kicking watering hole in Austin's most upscale neighborhood where we shot pool, took in a great sunset view, played sad country tunes on the juke box, and watched American Idol.

A side-trip to San Antonio to remember the Alamo and to walk the river.

Not to mention top-notch home cookin'; a lazy tubing trip on the crystal-clear spring fed waters of the San Marcos river; crashing an old hippie mushy-food potluck in what can only be described as Sanford & Son's garden paradise (no pics, sorry); and a fantastic music show at the Saxon Pub that featured Paula Nelson (Willie's daughter) and Monte Montgomery--a fabulous acoustic guitar hero and stand-up comedian. (If someone plays music, and they play in Austin, they've played the Saxon.)

It was a great time that went too quickly. Diane got plenty of "girl time" with Deb & Co. I got plenty of "writing time" just out of earshot. We were very sad to go. But then again, it's only a matter of time before we see our wonderful friend again.

No comments:

Post a Comment