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Kevin J. Maroney [userpic]

Texas, so far

August 27th, 2013 (10:18 pm)
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.


Posted by: kip_w (kip_w)
Posted at: August 28th, 2013 04:22 am (UTC)

I'm disappointed they don't have a fake Mannlicher-Carcano on a stand there, and for 25 cents you can look through the sights.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: August 28th, 2013 12:48 pm (UTC)

There are lots of children here
Who do not understand
They squirm in their parents's arms
Reluctantly they hold their hands
When they look out the windows
All they see are city streets
They don't like the videos
They're black and white
And have no beat

There are people speaking Chinese
Speaking Spanish, too
But most here look a lot like me
You'd probably think they look like you
A group of New Zealanders
Just came through the door
It's Wednesday afternoon in Dallas
Here on the sixth floor

Everybody remembers where they were
That awful day
The man in line behind me
Says he was in high shcool
Rehearsing a play
The woman with him says
She was on the cinder track
When she heard the news
And being here brings it all back

We weave our way through memorabilia
Hung up on the walls
Campaign posters, photos of weddings
And children running through those hallowed halls
A brief display on Cuba and the VietNam War
You can't help but wonder what might have been
As you stroll around
The sixth floor

They show films here
We've seen it all on the news
I turn my head
When that limousine comes into view
Instead I watch all these faces
Looking on in shock
Reliving our collective nightmare
Turning back the clock

I'm surprised to see the sixth floor
Has become this tourist spot
Where people from all walks of life
Feel compelled to stop
We look out the windows
And feel our heartbeats race
The cards below just come and go
Ignore this infamous place

The children up here make it clear
They just want to leave
They crawl around the carpet
Tug on their parents's sleeves
We're amused to see the souvenirs
On sale by the door
I wrote this song with a pen
Engraved "The Sixth Floor"
-- Christine Lavin, "The Sixth Floor"

It's where we shoot our Presidents! The Jews have their Calvary, but we got Dealey Plaza!
-- Darius Jedburgh, "Edge of Darkness"

The Anonymous Sparrow is glad to hear you're having a good time.

Posted by: Michael (mcroft)
Posted at: August 29th, 2013 06:39 am (UTC)

Glad you liked the BBQ! Texas Monthly's BBQ Finder app rates Feedstore as OK, so you might find BBQ you like even more, especially if you try some in Austin or San Antonio (there are lots of good (and plenty of bad (don't buy BBQ in from a gas station)) options in both). The brisket is pretty much the standard by which BBQ is rated.

Anyway, welcome to Texas, try not to hold the government against the people, and hope you have a good visit and con.

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