Front Yard Horseys, Henry's Diner, and Texas Pussies on the March
1:17 P.M. JANUARY 21, 2017. MARCH FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS, AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY TX
We were late for the largest march of any kind in Texas history, but we were there at the Capitol that day among 50,000 other women, men, children, dogs, and more pink knit pussy hats than you can nonviolently shake a stick at. The mood was defiant, upbeat, yet laid back. The Texas Highway Patrol officers looked bored and dressed in their typical boots and cowboy hats, like it was just another day on the job, another lefty-hippie protest at the Capitol. And I will take bored over hyper-aggressive confrontational paramilitary riot "police" any day. The amount of creativity coupled with protest in the form of signs, t-shirts, and costumes was inspiring and overwhelming.
In keeping with the unintentional spirit of making history, we parked at the Bob Bullock History Museum parking garage quite a few blocks from the Capitol, paid eight dollars for the privilege, since we had already driven by about a dozen THIS LOT FULL signs. Given how many people were there, this is not surprising.
On the way walking back to the truck from the march, Chelsey decided to take some spiritual time and pray at a local Austin Catholic Diocese building on 16th and Congress.
I'm sure The Virgin Mary would approve of the medium and the message. (Note: Chelsey is an atheist, I'm not quite such a true believer in non-belief myself)
As a male, I felt pretty welcome and proud at the Women's March, or at the least I didn't feel out of place or alone. There were quite a few more men there than I expected, granted still in the minority. I picked up on a very slight undercurrent that perhaps at least one male's support was a bit tongue in cheek.
Physical protest both including and excluding the signage is its own form of voice, its own special form of body language articulating through the filling of public space ever so eloquently, "We ain't gonna take this shit sitting down, Mr. President." Or standing up if it's a sit-in sort of protest. All in all, I was proud and honored to be there in solidarity and alliance with half of the human population that deserves a helluva lot better than they have been and currently are treated in regards to voting, reproductive, workplace, and basic human rights.
We left the protest and Austin headed south on Texas Highway 183, wondering how the experience would compare and contrast to the rest of where we would go and what we would see.
3:51 P.M. HENRY'S RESTAURANT, LOCKHART, CALDWELL COUNTY, TX
After 2 failed attempts to find the Caldwell County sign, we kept going until we reached the county seat of Lockhart and found a cute looking diner a couple of blocks from the courthouse in historic downtown.
The place may say Henry's on the door, but all the people we saw working there were women (maybe he was in the back with the cook(s)). The inside decor and the menu reminded me of my first paid job at The Rockett Cafe when I was fifteen bussing tables.
I had the Chicken Fried Steak, which tasted delicious in an unhealthy way (not as tasty as the Rockett Cafe, yes, I'm biased--I'm also right). Maybe it was because Henry's was slow on this Saturday afternoon and we were the only table, or maybe it was because we just came from being surrounded by 50000 other people, but it was so quiet with the exception of the occasional car passing by on its way to the town square or the country music playing low enough to fade into the background. It was probably about the same this morning, except with a few more people sleepy-eyed and sipping on their first cup of joe while just a county over, more people than the population of Caldwell county marched toward the state capitol. Guess it amazes me how something and nothing can occur simultaneously not too far away from each other. We finished our meal (the cheapest we've had at a sit down restaurant since we've been back in Texas). Chelsey went to find a bench to write on, I went to explore the historic downtown.
1:17 P.M. JANUARY 22, 2017. CALDWELL COUNTY LINE
It took some time, but we finally found the Caldwell County line sign at one of Mustang Ridge's many jagged borders.
In the process, we managed to explore the more rural parts of Travis and Caldwell county along the way, zig-zagging back and forth between the counties. We came across Confederate flags flying in the front yard of a Caldwell County resident on Avis Rd. in Dale, TX as well as miniature horses hanging out in a Caldwell County resident's front yard on Morgan Rd. in Buda, TX.
As much as there is to resist at this time regarding oppression, there is so much simple beauty to embrace. We headed back home.
And while Travis may be a mostly urban county, it nevertheless has a gigantic, locally owned small business in the form of a general/feed store. You can't feed the horses in the front yard something from HEB now, can you? Or should you?
The only reason the parking lot is empty is because it, too, is closed on Sundays :)