Most of the interesting things that are going on here aren’t mine to talk about. There have been two dreadful storms, and one of the horses at the barn passed away. No, not Elvis. I know Elvis has a certain Fan Base out there, and I want to reassure you that he’s just fine. But I don’t feel like I can write about any of that stuff because it’s too close to capitalizing on someone else’s grief. In lieu of that material, then, I present to you another Oldie But Goodie. This one has the twist of putting me in the seat of the Straight Man, and Roy in the role of the Comic.
Without further ado, I give you “Dilly What?”
April 5, 2009
Roy and I have been down in Dallas with some friends – we’ll call them Sharon and Neil – for the weekend. There are two things you need to know at this point.
1. I hate Dallas with a passion that only a Houstonian could have. If you want to understand the relationship between Dallas and Houston, you can develop a suitable frame of reference by regarding the Capulets and Montagues, the British and the French, Milan/Venice/Florence in medieval times, or the Crips and the Bloods. There is no baseball team I hate more than the Texas Rangers, because it’s just like Dallas to arrogate the name of the entire Great State to themselves. Everyone with sense hates the Cowboys, and if you want to know why, just ask a fan why Texas stadium has a hole in the roof. Dallas, itself, is not worth the breath it would take to discuss its failings. Note that Fort Worth is not rolled into this snowball of contempt and disdain. Just Dallas. And it’s one zillion soulless bedroom communities.
2. Roy is Mister Itinerary. Show him a trip and he reflexively generates a plan. I’ve been Working With Him for years on this, because his plans tend to be a bit short on opportunities for sleeping and sitting down. He’s come a long way in the last ten years, but he still – definitely – likes to assemble a plan.
Now you’re armed for the story.
So when we planned the trip to see my friends, I requested him not to cram a bunch of stuff into the weekend, since what I really needed was some quality bonding time with S & N, who I hadn’t seen in nearly 2 years. After we arrived on Friday, Roy and Sharon had a brief pow-wow about how to spend Saturday afternoon. It seemed that there was some landmark that Roy was particularly interested (in Dallas? really?) that Sharon thought would be a good idea. Dilly something.
Now, Dilly is a town outside of San Antonio, so I registered it that far. Then I tuned out, having collected just enough information from their dialogue to conclude that we were going to go down and look at some plaza, probably something like the Hemisfair, with sculpture, a water fountain, and some flowers.
“Sure” I said, and went back to playing with a cat.
Saturday we rolled out around noon, and laid tracks for a San Antonio-style TexMex restaurant (of the nicer kind, with waitstaff and a patio). Terrific ceviche, great ritas, plenty of food. Shrimp with garlic sauce, caldo, and I was feeling Happily At Home back in Texas. Then we piled into the car to drive off to see the flowers.
Roy parked the car on one a relatively empty downtown street and we piled out. While Neil trotted off for change to feed the meter, one of those guys who sells papers to benefit the homeless zeroed in on Sharon and started a sales pitch for his paper.
He interrupted our conversation on Scenic and Exciting Amsterdam, and I expected a quick brush off to be delivered. To my total astonishment, however, I watched Sharon cut loose not with some pocket change, but with an entire five dollar bill (the stated price) for the Homeless Guy Paper. She’s a lawyer and very into Public Interest Work, so I assumed this was More Of The Same, but I also wondered why the Homeless Guy Paper had an article in it about JFK. Neil and Roy caught up with us and were chatting away. I caught the word “Kennedy” and wondering what the devil the Kennedys had to do with Texas. They’re all over the place in Massachusetts – Roy ran into Jackie O riding her bike on the Vineyard one summer, but I didn’t know they’d had much of a family presence in Texas.
We were moving down the street, Sharon with her nose in the Homeless Guy Paper, Roy and Neil rattling along about some political thing also involving JFK.
“What the devil are you people on about the Kennedys for all of a sudden?” I asked.
They stared at me.
“What do they have to do with Texas?” I said. “Does JFK even have a presidential library? It wouldn’t be here, certainly. Up in Massachusetts, maybe.”
Another round of blank looks. “We’re moving, we’re moving, we’re moving” Neil said, while shooting me another perplexed look.
Roy said “Assasination. Book Repository.”
“Huh?” I said. Another neuron fired. “Oh yeah. That’s right. He was shot in Texas, wasn’t he?”
That brought everything to a halt.
“Ah.” he said. “Yes. From that window, right up there.” and pointed up at the building we were walking toward.
“What?” I said. “JFK was shot in Dallas? Here? How did you know that? Is there a plaque on the building?”
“Ah.” he said again. “Ah.”
About that time, Neil reached for the handle on the door, which a third neuron firing permitted me to read. Something about a Museum.
“Where the hell are we?” I said. “This is a museum? There’s a museum here? In the middle of Dallas? For what?”
I got another set of blank stares.
“What did you think we were doing?” Sharon said finally.
“I thought we were going to some plaza to look at flowers and fountains.”
So. Not Dilly Plaza, but Dealy Plaza. And the Sixth Floor Museum with a 45 minute multimedia exhibit all about the assassination.
Jesus. It’s not like I was even born when it happened. And who the devil would have thought that someone would erect a museum on the spot? I had always assumed that the building had been torn down, or turned into condos or something – if I thought about it at all.
Am considerably better informed…NOW.
Serves me right doing the Spousal Multiprocessing Thing, I suppose.