Well, it’s July, and time for my annual spiritual pilgrimage to visit Austin and all my friends there. They have a big weekend party every year for the anniversary of the social club I started there, and so not only is everyone I know there, but they treat me like a visiting dignitary. And there’s nothing not to like about that.
Kathleen and I flew out on Jet Blue on Friday morning. When we arrived, my friend picked us up at the airport. He had offered his house on Lake Travis to us for the weekend, so we all went out there. When we got there, we made some mojitos. This is shaping up to be the Summer of Mojitos for us, and it’s been great fun. Then we headed back into town for some barbecue at the Founder’s Dinner. There was a good turnout, and it was nice to see everyone again.
Next up was the Friday night social at the Chain Drive. That’s the local gay leather bar in Austin. This time the air conditioner didn’t croak like last year. It was still hot, but was a very fun time.
Saturday was the main day of the event, and it was all being held at the country dance hall that they rent for their parties. They had a full day of presentations, some vendors, and then a party in the evening. No pictures from these, though, since it’s a no-cameras event. But it was great fun. And during the break before the party, we got to head back into town for barbecue at Pok-E-Jo’s, which is still my favorite barbecue place ever. And the party was one of the best, if not the single best party I’ve ever been to.
On Sunday there was just one event. That was a luncheon and keynote speech. They asked me to give the keynote this year. I made up four pages of notes so as not to forget anything, and I spoke for about 45 minutes, telling the story of how the group came to be, and why I did things the way I did. I ended with the story of how it then came back into my life two years ago and saved me from the sturm und drang of divorce. Over the years, I’ve had people tell me that finding the group changed their lives, and it was nice to be able to tell the story of how the group came back and saved my life, too.
On Sunday afternoon, we had a cookout at the lake at my friend’s house. We went and got some food at Central Market. I kind of hate to say this, but I really wish we had one of these here in L.A. It’s about the best food store I’ve ever seen. Then we went back to the lake to float on the water and just relax. It was a nice end to a really fun weekend.
Monday morning, we went into town and met my old college friend Mike for breakfast, and afterward, my other friend Stu picked us up and we went shopping. After 20 years, it was time for a new pair of boots, so we stopped off at Allen’s Boots and I found a nice pair. Then we had lunch at Pok-E-Jo’s again, and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Yellow Rose. It was a perfect end to our little vacation.
When we got back home, I had the feeling like I’d just woken up from a very weird but really excellent dream. So I stood by the baggage claim and flapped my arms to see if I could fly. I couldn’t, so that meant it was all real. And that was the best feeling in the world.