Perhaps honesty, perhaps the wing of the bird,
Points out the sage.

Now, at last, we were on our way to see my Papa. It was getting toward the afternoon and we hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast. I was hoping Papa's girlfriend, Anita, would feed us when we got there. Anita is a very earthy Texas woman who seems to live for making you feel at home. Unfortunately, however, they were entertaining many guests when we got there and we had to eat some birthday cake on an empty stomach. I was so happy to finally meet Anita's oldest daughter and her beautiful little baby. I also got to meet her son's girlfriend. We had planned to eat out with my mom later that evening, so we had to miss the meal that Anita was busily preparing during most of our visit.

Papa seemed very content. We talked to him at their kitchen table in their big double-wide trailer. The table is set against a window where Papa watches the many birds that visit these East Texas piney woods. Papa keeps a variety of bird-feeders outside the window to bring more birds into view. He caught a beautiful little rusty red, green, and gray finch which seemed very content in his little cage that lives across from the parakeets' cage. I teased Papa about chasing those poor little finches with a salt shaker.

I could tell that Papa had been outside a lot this summer; not so much from his tan but by all the additions he has made to his property. He had added a roof that extended over his front porch where I once built a sculpture while recovering from a serious illness and tried to figure out what to do about my broken marriage. It was during the time that Bob "married" me above Chumley's in Dallas. The sculpture was the main visual focus of the performance. Papa has also been building a storage shed that was to be as big as a nice bedroom.

Papa had talked to my brother, Tony. He said that he got angry with Tony for not visiting our Non and Don when he lives less than a mile away from them in Detroit where they live. Papa will be there this Christmas while we're in Dallas for Bob's parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We might see him in Tyler if we stay in the area long enough. We left with lots of hugs and Papa looking very serious telling us to drive safely.

Papa lives on a dirt road and, not long after we got on the pavement, the car started shaking. We had a flat! Bob got out of the car and walked toward some railroad tracks in order to find something to block the van. Some idiot yelled at him from his pickup "stay away from those those railroad tracks!" Like we hippies would fuckin' do something to sabotage the train! I got so pissed! At that moment I was already sick of Texas rednecks, not to mention the heat. The tire was ruined and now we had no spare.

After we got to my mom's we washed up and mom took us to the Olive Garden for some very expensive Italian food. Mom is a connoisseur of everything from food to music to books. Ever since she divorced Papa, she's been busily fine tuning her tastes. Bob is always blown away by her collection of books and she seems tickled by his interest. She and her friend and boss, Ford, and his wife will be going on a long car trip towards Alaska. Ford is a surgeon and their first aid kit includes sutures! Mom is so organized. They had practiced packing and unpacking the car. I have sometimes felt a little intimidated by my Mom. She has always struck me as a little cold, especially in contrast to Papa. I can't help but think that it is because she had spent much of her childhood in an orphanage when her mother had just given her and her sister away. My aunt was chosen by a family and she had to come along because they were sisters. She might not have felt that she was wanted by her adopted parents. I have difficulty understanding my mom, though I do love her very much and I know she loves me.

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