Monday, February 19, 2007

To South Texas

Happy Birthday, Dad. My father, Ramon, is 82 today.

The drive from Dallas to San Antonio was relaxing. I started out early so I could make to Granville's house on time for our 1:30 interview. The drive gave me a chance to think again, as I pulled out my music and proceeded to lose myself in yet another intra-auto concert. It was dark when I started out but soon the sun was coming up on the left and it was fun to watch the landscape change along the way. Not that the scenery was all that interesting since it’s all pretty flat. Still, as I moved south of Dallas, the area appeared to get a greener and more alive. Waco looked pretty nice, which kind of surprised me. I'll admit I’m one of those people who hears the word "Waco" and initially thinks, “Branch Davidians,” “David Koresh” and all that. The image of the burning compound, the government tanks – were those tanks? But the city looked much larger and more developed than I thought; I may stop by there on the way back up. And then, of course, Austin is a great city. I remember going there a bunch of times when I was active in the music business for the South by Southwest music conferences. Again, I’d like to stop by and spend more time, but there is so much to do and Dallas is a calling. After I finish in San Antonio, I want to get back up there so I can get some more writing done. It will be increasingly important for me to figure out a schedule where I can balance the writing with the interviewing. The more I think about it, that may be what this trip is all about. Figuring out the method for putting this together and able to do it in the relative quiet and isolation I'm able to find out on the road, away from the NYC mania. A good mania much of the time, but still mania.

When I got into San Antonio, I drove right over to the hotel just to see where it was located. I also did a drive by to Granville’s house, making sure I knew where it was so I’d be ready for him and on time. It turns out, the hotel is about 3 minutes from Granville’s house and the JCC isn’t much further up the road. Who knew?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my room was ready at 11:30, so I was able to check in and shower after the drive and organize a bit. The ExtendedStay people are so nice and accommodating. They have been the perfect on-the-road support system for me and I will most definitely post something on the website about them. People should know about this chain since they don't advertise all that much.

The rest of the day consisted of my interview with Granville and a quick trip over to The Waterford on Thousand Oaks to meet with its Activity Director, Kathy Greene. Kathy and I sat for awhile and talked about setting up a couple interviews for the following day - possibly with two sisters, which would be a first for me and a lot of fun. I was going to join Kathy with a small group of residents for a quick dinner at the local Outback, but I was soooo tired. The early morning drive had knocked me for a loop. Time for a nap.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I figured it would be good to drive over to the Barshop JCC of San Antonio to say hi to Cathy Pottorf since she told me she was working late and it would be a perfect time for a chat. The place was easy to find and only about five minutes up the road. As soon as I walked into the facility, I was pretty impressed; it's one of the nicest places I've ever seen. After asking where the Director's office was, I stopped for a minute on a long stairway and watched two full-court basketball league games in progress, through the glass windows. Then I weaved my way to Cathy's office and found her working behind her desk. Again, it was nice to finally meet a person who, until tonight, was only long-distance voice over the phone. Cathy gave me the VIP tour of the center and we talked about interview possibilities for the next few days. We decided I should come back the next afternoon after my interviews at The Waterford and then hang out in the senior center and card room.

Outside of Cathy's downstairs office, there was an exit to the outdoor pool and tennis courts so I walked outside to take a look. Immediately, I heard splashing - people swimming laps in the heated Olympic-size pool to my right. It was about 70 degrees out and the smells, the sounds, the warm breeze, the people playing tennis on the lit tennis courts. For a second I thought, "Yes, I could live here." But, come on. I've only been here what? 10 hours? Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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