MARK: Today I had help from Lucy, age 8, with today’s update. I asked her to talk about our stays in Bryan and Austin, TX while I typed what she said. Full disclosure – I took what she said and changed the order of some sentences so that it goes in chronological order. Otherwise, though, this is what she said. Her comments are in the larger font.
LUCY: When we came into Texas, we were listening to a song named “After Breakfast Let’s Go to Texas.” My mom and dad are in a band that’s called the Church Ladies and it’s their song.
We went to Bryan, Texas and stayed with Petey, my mom’s friend. Petey is a really nice man. We walked around Texas A and M. It was really hot out and I liked it a lot. Petey told us about butterflies and Texas Rangers and trees.
MARK: For the Texas A&M football team, there is great importance given to “The Twelveth Man.” Here’s Karen with her hand on the thigh of that hallowed player.
Also, in Bryan we finally got our antenna fixed! Yay! Here’s a picture with Daniel from the Honda dealer. Such a nice guy!
LUCY: We went to a restaurant. It was my dad’s birthday. It was a Mexican restaurant and I tried Sopapillas and I loved them. In the Sopapillas we put a candle and sang Happy Birthday to my dad.
Another day we went to Aunt Pat and Uncle Frank’s house in Austin, Texas. We saw Suzanne and Stephen my second cousins and Francesco, which is a baby, my new cousin. Francesco was 3 months old when I met him. He was really cute. I love the way that he holded on to my finger.
MARK: Here’s Zoe with lovely Francesco, and then my family:
MARK: While we were at in Austin, Lucy decided to play with my aunt’s weight set and promptly dropped a 5lb weight hard on her left ring finger. It then proceeded to turn purple and swell up. It’s still purple and swelled, but a bit better now. And she can move it around, so we’ve decided it must be okay. Yet another adventure with Lucy.
(I have a picture of Lucy’s finger but Karen seems to have hidden the camera and she’s asleep right now — the nerve! — so I can’t download it. But I’ll put it up here soon)
LUCY: We went to lots of bookstores and me and Zoe got these little stuffed animals and my brother got a hat. We went in the kids section and played with the trains.
MARK: We loved the beautiful state capital building — where we arrived just in time for an amazing tour. And we remembered the Alamo…
We visited an amazing independent bookstore in Autsin called Book People. They were very kind to us!
At a Barnes and Noble in Austin we had an unlikely encounter too strange for fiction: I was standing there talking with a bookseller when I heard a woman’s voice behind me say, “Mark? Mark Hughes, is that you?” I turned around and there, out of the blue, stood a familiar face from Rhode Island. Beverly Pettine is a friend of the family who used to work with my mother. Beverly doesn’t live down here in Texas–it was just a strange coincidence that she just happened to be visiting her sister in Austin (who knew?) and just happened to be in exactly the right the bookstore with her sister and niece when she saw a sign announcing that I was going to be appearing here. She looked at the time and my appearance just happened to be exactly when she was here. If I were to put that in a story, no one would believe it. Yet, here’s the proof: Here I am with Beverly in front of our car in Austin, TX, of all places. Whoda thunk? 🙂
We also had a very nice afternoon with friends of friends. Our neighbor, Jay, grew up in the Dallas area so we were very pleased to meet Brad, Holly, Katie, and Grace, who live in Austin. Lovely people and our new friends in Texas. 🙂
LUCY: Yesterday we went to Stephen and Jonathan’s house and they have five dogs. Their names were Max, Casey, Billy, Toby, and Lloyd. They were cute. I loved to pick Max up. He was the littlest but he was 31 years old. We went in Stephen and Jonathan’s pool and swam. Stephen and my dad and mom threw us in. It was really fun.
Right now my brother and sister are filling their stomachs with Cheetos. We’re driving to Dallas, Texas. We’re going to stay with Gigi. We were just listening to High School Musical in the car.
MARK: A sad note: I just got some terribly disappointing news from NPR – they are not going to air the road-trip stories after all. Given their already busy line up and the fact that the producer working with me will be away in Alaska for a month starting this week, they made their decision not to go forward with the road-trip stories. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am about this. I sent out the message about NPRs decision earlier this morning and was truly touched by the many, many the kind emails people sent in reply. I’m grateful to have such a supportive network.
On the other hand, I’ve already learned a great deal from working with NPR so far, and the experience has been a lot of fun. Perhaps after the summer is over I’ll submit some commentaries in the style of the first one, where I talked about quitting my job. We’ll see.
In any case, this is so far the only significant set-back in an otherwise successful and happy road trip/book tour. And I’m determined to get over it before we reach Dallas. 🙂
I appreciate your friendship.
LEMONADE MOUTH (Delacorte Press, 2007)
I AM THE WALLPAPER (Delacorte Press, 2005)