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Cowboys, Heat, and Texas Swimming Pools: Dallas and Ft Worth

What is it about Texas?Sure, it’s big.Hot too.So hot and humid that sometimes I can barely stand it.Still, there’s something about this state that sets it apart.Wide, wide highways, state flags flown just as high as old glory (Aren’t state flags usually flown a little lower than the U.S. flags?Is it just me?), and enormous guys in Stetsons and wranglers – and they’re dead serious.There’s no place like Texas.

Fort Worth–at least the touristy part where we looked around–is full of honest to god cowboys. And lots of cowboy stuff. Here are Karen and Zoe bellying up to a bar in Fort Worth – note that the stools are actual saddles!


The last photo above is of some nice local women we ran into.

We almost got kicked out of a high-end cowboy-stuff store. No kidding. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth. So, we go in and I’m admiring the $5,000 boots, and Karen whispers to me, “Hey, Mark. Go put on those cowboy legging thingies and Evan’s hat and let me take a picture of you for the blog. So I do. But then this cowboy guy sprints over and calls out, “Can I sell you some chaps?” Now, I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. Chaps, apparently, is the name of the pants I was wearing. But I wasn’t sure what he meant. So I said, “Uh…I’m not sure. How much are they?” And he says, “Oh, about $500 dollars.” Eventually I understood what was up. This was his way of saying, hey don’t mess with the expensive cowboy stuff unless you’re a serious buyer! And he didn’t have an ounce of humor in him. He gave me an earful about real cowboys and Texas mesquite and I came off as the ignorant Yankee (which was only appropriate since that is exactly what I am). In the end we weren’t exactly buddies, but we managed to smooth it out between us. No cause for interstate alarm. Plus, Karen did manage to snap a pretty good shot. 🙂

Another great thing about Texas (and the south in general): fantastic barbecue. Here’s Lucy and me enjoying some amazing ribs.
🙂

In Dallas, we stayed with our good friends Gigi and Johan, and their 6-year old son Anders. They were very kind to us. Johan made Swedish pancakes every morning, which Evan scoffed down like a starving Swedish boy. They also took us to an amazing lake/water park in Ft. Worth.

We also got a babysitter and went out to a cuban restaurant in Dallas. My camera’s battery was about to run out, but I told the waiter that if the camera actually lasted long enough to take a picture of him I’d put it up on the blog. So here he is, our waiter, Mathew Morgan:

As we’ve traveled the country so far, one of the most surprising things we’ve experienced is the incredible kindness of people. Here’s a great example: Jay Moody is our neighbor from Massachusetts. He spoke with his mother, Ann Moody, and she offered to throw us a shindig when we came to Dallas. Well, did she ever. I’m guessing there were forty or fifty people at her house in Irving — all there to meet us, all happy and excited for us and about Lemonade Mouth. At not one of them had ever met us before. Ann is an amazingly gracious person. She served dinner, wine, cheese, and desserts, and opened up her home to us–and her swimming pool to our children. It was a truly wonderful event, and an incredible show of support for total strangers. We met lots of great new friends there too. I cannot fully express our gratitude to the wonderful Ann Moody. Many, many thanks!




While we were in the Ft. Worth area, we visited the lovely Bryston Children’s Books in Watauga, TX.  What a great store!  And unusual too–many of their clients are teachers so their books are separated into school subjects like science, math, etc.  Here I am with Adrienne and Dana Harper, who run the store (which has been around for over 15 years) along with their mother Marianne (not shown).  Dana’s the one with the ukulele and the rock ‘n’ roll snarl. 🙂

Next stop Oklahoma!
— Mark
www.markpeterhughes.com
LEMONADE MOUTH (Delacorte Press, 2007)
I AM THE WALLPAPER (Delacorte Press, 2005)