Texas, so far
current mood: traveled
current song: "The Bullet & Big D", Bishop Allen
My grandmother had a younger brother, Manny, who (with his lovely wife Katrina) had seven children. Five of my cousins* live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and have been asking me to come visit them for, I exaggerate not at all, 27 years. Well, I'm finally here.
*Strictly speaking, they are my first-cousins-once-removed, but screw that. Cousins it is.
I am staying with cousin Wanda and her husband Ken in Southlake; they took me out for some superb BBQ at Feedstore BBQ on South White Chapel Blvd, which apparently really was a feed store that sold BBQ on the side until they realized where their strengths really lay. The ribs are among the best BBQ ribs I've ever had, and the fries and fried okra were very strong as well.
Today, my cousin Sylvia and her husband Roy took me to the one tourist attraction I really was not going to miss: Dealey Plaza. We spent about 15 minutes walking the site--the locations of the limousine on Elm Street are helpfully marked with Xs, and there were information hobos helpfully pointing out interesting things like the rail switching tower from which Lee Bowers thought he saw smoke behind the wall atop the Grassy Knoll. I stood by the pylon from which Zapruder made his film and realized that if someone HAD been shooting from there, he would have had to have known--he was, like, 5 feet away from the wall himself. So that was informative. Then we took the tour of the Sixth Floor Museum, which was surprisingly great. Besides the thrill of morbid authenticity of seeing the sniper's nest and the approximate view a shooter there would have had (you can't look out sniper's window, but you can look out an adjacent one), the museum itself is an extremely well-made JFK retrospective, covering his entire life, death, and legacy as well as the rounds of examination of the assassination. Display objects are well-chosen (e.g., cameras like those carried by the various witnesses; actual teletype rolls); the descriptions on the objects are well-written and fair; there are several extremely good short films on the subjects.
The exhibit doesn't flinch from the assassination; in one of the best pieces of the museum, a short hallway has stills from the Zapruder film on one wall and stills from another film from a reverse angle on the opposite wall. (I think this is the Nix film.) The exhibit presents a wide variety of alternate interpretations respectfully, if briefly. All in all, time and money very well-spent, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to one and all.
Tomorrow we are going to Fort Worth's landmark Mexican restaurant Joe T. Garcia's, and then I'm taking a bus to Austin. I'll be there overnight and then head down to San Antonio on Thursday for Worldcon.
My cousins are wonderful hosts, and it has been great spending many uninterrupted hours in their company, getting more of a sense of them as individuals. I highly recommend sharing ancestors with them.