Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's the middle of January

Dee, in my Bible study group said to me yesterday, “I consider you a close friend …” – which touched me – he is a close friend. I’ve been in this weekly group, meeting every Wednesday at 7am, for at least 10 years. Among other things it’s a touchstone, a reference point for the week. When I joined, teaching was handled by the founders, Jim C. and Chuck H. Later we shifted to rotating leadership. Little by little it seems I’m learning something about the Bible and this faith. But for me – and this is difficult to put into words – the primary benefit seems to be general – kind of a midweek grounding and fellowship in a religious (and sometimes spiritual) context. Photo: Most of the men in our Bible study group, 2007 at Bryce's ranch

When I realized sometime in September that I wanted to get back into the mountains I began walking 4-6 days/week. I’m definitely getting stronger and in better condition. And I’m enjoying the walking here in Old East Dallas. In one direction there is a somewhat wooded area down by the Santa Fe RR tracks. Near there is Hollywood Heights, an area of gem-like tudor cottages, many with wonderful landscaping – including some with cottage gardens (part of the inspiration for my cottage garden). In another direction is the area where we first moved to this part of town in 1968: Oram, LaVista, lower Greenville – still hip after all these years. There are at least some hills or inclines in every direction and in every direction there is something new.

Something new? This is an amazing thing about Old East Dallas. After all these years, there is always something I haven’t seen before – a small stained glass window in a door, a beautiful arch, a craftsman detail – even an entire house I’ve not noticed. It’s the same for Leslie – and both of us look all the time, too. We live in a fascinating part of town, where most of the homes are 60-90 years old, so are well-crafted, unique and graceful. Alas, the developers are buying up old structures and building new homes – heavy structures, at best marginally appropriate to the community, and sometimes (you cretins) actual snout houses with garages fronting onto the street. Argh. Our immediate neighborhood has been successful in achieving a protected status. Thanks especially to Karen C., Ed M., and several other activists. Developers out!

One snowy, icy day before Christmas (around 1970) Leslie and I drove in our little yellow VW bug to the Ross Avenue Sears to get a Christmas tree. It was a bitter cold “snow day” when most businesses and schools were closed and we were so happy to be off work. We got a great tree and drove back home with me holding on to the tree so just the trunk was dragging along the icy street.

We’ve had a lot of good snow days in the years of our marriage.

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