Saturday, December 31, 2005

Donuts, Country Dancing, and Life

I had wonderful donuts this week at the Lone Star bakery in Round Rock, just north of Austin. Some say these are the best donuts in Austin! I don’t indulge in this kind of thing often, but my daughter was here and it was one more thing for us to discover—along with the wonderful people who run the bakery.

Yesterday we went to Natural Bridge Caverns and then San Antonio. I’d been to the Alamo and Riverwalk before but my daughter and her friend had not. We ate at a wonderful cafĂ© and then they went off to see the Alamo while I walked around, reliving the emotions I’d felt my first time through when I was on my cross country odyssey, looking for where I wanted to live. We had planned to go on to Bandera, a cowboy town, but it would have been too far so we headed back to Austin and a place my daughter found listed in the guidebook.

The Broken Spoke, in South Austin, is famous for good food and country dancing. It was a family kind of place and one of the things that struck me was how happy everyone was. I’ve never seen so many men who like to dance and who are really good at it! I also loved seeing so many older couples (as well as young couples) dancing, the affection between them still strong and unmistakable. I loved that sons danced with mothers and grandmothers and daughters danced with fathers and grandfathers. It was a place filled with laughter and joy and music that was impossible to resist. It was midnight before we made it home because none of us wanted to leave.

I’m not sure what made me smile most—the music with sometimes outrageous lyrics or the unmistakable atmosphere of love in that place. How often do we see such visible affection between couples who have clearly been together a long time? How often do we see a roomful of people all laughing and having fun, kids and young adults, adults and older people all together? It was reassuring to know these things are still possible.

Today in downtown Austin is First Night—a family oriented New Year’s Eve celebration with everything from drumming at midnight to fireworks to a parade, artwork, music, even a Segway ballet!

One again, I find myself profoundly grateful to be here in Austin.