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In My Opinion...
Vacation Days a Special Treat
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 • Posted July 22, 2009

Thursday afternoon, I'm headed to Austin to meet up with an old friend who is flying in from Seattle for a few days. We've already got tickets to Esther's Follies for Thursday evening, and Friday is going to be a lazy day of dropping in on some old haunts and seeing just how much the capital city has changed in the dozen years I've been gone.

I'm not big on taking off days from work. Like most people, I have a schedule and a regimen that I like to follow, and I know that being gone (albeit for only a day and a half) will throw all of that completely off. But, sometimes, a few days off are exactly what the doctor ordered!

I lived in Austin for 20 years, and oddly enough, I haven't really missed it since moving home. By the time I moved, most of the people that I still socialized with had also moved away, so my old network of friends had thinned out a bit. Also, I had, over two decades, watched the sleepy city that I had enjoyed so much as a youth have some pretty rough growing pains. Traffic was, and still is, a tangled snarl through residential neighborhoods, interspersed with wide-open freeways that loop about over the city before landing in yet another neighborhood.

Also, as one of the prime destinations for businesses in Texas, the cost of living had escalated during those 20 years. An apartment that had cost $400 in 1982 was going for $900 by 1994. Electrical and water rates seemed to climb every day, and entertainment venues that were inexpensive had become rare.

But, Austin was and still is a big part of my life. It is home to my alma mater, THE University of Texas. It is home to state government, which is not necessarily a bragging point, though the capitol complex is one of the most impressive in the nation. Its green hills, blue lakes and flowering trees make it one of the most beautiful spots in our state. And, its diverse population is indicative of the changing face of our state.

Thursday night's diversion, Esther's Follies, is an Austin landmark. It is a live comedy venue, with creative people using their wits and their bodies to keep audiences laughing, which they've done for more than 30 years now. Much of the early work of Joe Sears and Jason Williams, as they developed their Greater Tuna characters, was honed on the stage at Esther's.

And what a stage it is.

The audience faces the stage. Behind the stage --- windows looking out on the hustle and bustle of Sixth Street. It was not uncommon for people passing by on the street to become part of the show on stage, not always willingly.

And back in Mason....????

I looked at my calendar before agreeing to meet my friend Mike in Austin. There were no major events to cover. No crucial photos to take. Peanut's birthday was Tuesday, Sean's on Thursday. We'll fete them later in the weekend, in a manner befitting their advanced years (supper, a movie on tv and home early for all).

Gone are my days of late night partying in Austin when I would get home at 2:00 or later. Even then, though, I would rise by 6:00 and have breakfast at one of the downtown eateries.

Hmmmm,,,, I think I just figured out how to start my Friday!

It’s all just my opinion.

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