Date:         Tue, 28 Jul 1992 00:35:00 EDT
From:         Gilbert Smith <>
Subject:      WHTMIT

What Happened To Me In Texas

1)  Went to RDU airport early Wednesday morning and boarded a
flight for Dallas/Fort Worth.

2)  As the plane was taking off, a voice began to announce safety
regulations over the loud speakers:  Welcome to Delta Airlines.
Please find the card in the pocket of the seat in front of you
and furmize yourself with the safety features of our airplane.
Please note that the cushions of the seats are removal for use
as a flotatiovice enevamergency.  If you are seated enuhexirow,
you may be required to open thumergenzore.

3) Uneventful flight, safe arrival at DFW, trip on the little
train to the United Terminal to meet my daughter and then ride
on the bus to Alamo Rent-A-Car to meet my son and nephew.

4) Presented my reservation for a Geo Metro and waited for agent
to offer me a free upgrade due to the absence of a Metro on the
lot.  When the offer did not come, inquired innocently "Uh... do
you *have* a Metro"  Informed that, well, yes, infact, we have
several, what color do you prefer?, decide to take the Caprice
for $10 more.

5)  Started the 200 mile drive to the shinnery country, stopped
in Fort Worth for some *authentic* TexMex food and then in
Mineral Wells to see the lovely monument to the Smith brothers
(no relation), soldiers from the Spanish American war, in the
cemetery, and to take a look at the Baker Hotel, where I spent
every summer of my life swimming and playing bingo while my
father <took the baths> and my mother lay around eating bon-bons,
and to take a look at the Crazy Water Hotel, a relic from the
first half of the century named for the medicinal springs that
made the Native Americans <run>.

6)  Arrived in shinnery country to find at the house where I
grew up my older brother and his wife, my younger brother and
his lifetime companion of 17 years, my other nephew and my niece
and their spouses, making the last minute arrangements for our
mother's funeral service.

7)  Visited the funeral home where I spent much of my childhood
participating in the ritual of mourning the passing of my parents'
friends, realizing that nothing has changed in the social customs
of the town in the 37 years that I have been away.

8)  Spent the night in the home of my mother's best friend, who
died suddenly two years ago, a house in which no one has lived
for two years.  The woman's bathrobe was still hanging in the
bathroom and her makeup was still on the bathroom counter.  The
last videotape she watched was still in the VCR and a snapshot
of the woman and my mother was lying on the bed-side table.  I
could only think of my wordsler acquaintances who spoke recently
of time-warps and ponder whether they could know what they are
talking about.

9)  Got up Thursday morning and attended the memorial service,
marvelling at the experience of a town mourning the loss of the
last resident member of a family that had determined to a great
extent the kind of town it was for three generations, and trying
to fully participate in the extraordinary communal grief experience
that centers on a renewed affirmation of faith in the essential
goodness of life.

10) Spent the rest of Thursday and most of Friday deciding with my
family how to dispose of the house and its contents, engaging in
a review of our mother's detailed instructions as to which son
would receive which treasure and then trading what we did not want
for what we did, laughing occasionally at our mother's final written
plea that we do this in a civil, loving manner.

11) Experienced a sense of wonder and love as I watched our mother's
grandchildren go through all her possessions, deciding what they
wanted, what should be sold, and what should be given away, stopping
with almost every item to tell a wonderful story about how that item
figured in the family's experience.

12) Taking my inherited goods, and my childrens', to the Pack'n'Ship
in Abilene and spending two hours getting them ready for mailing, with
my daughter's help.

13) Test driving with my daughter a brand new Mazda Miata, with the
top down, in anticipation of my inheritance, laughing hysterically
at how my mother would have loved to see us doing that.

14)  Being a little disappointed when my daughter told me that I
could not buy the car on the spot, that I would have to <get out of town> 
before making such a gaudy purchase.

15)  Entertaining the preacher of a local church that my mother
would have called <off-brand> as he visited the house five times
trying to decide if he wanted to buy it, while my younger brother
hid in the back room and refused to talk to anyone because of
<what was going on> and wanting instead to lock the door and walk
away a la mother's-best-friend's house.

16) Driving away on Saturday morning, realizing that I would
never go again to the house where I <learned about life>.

17) Delivering my daughter to her flight to Omaha, and going to
Alamo to return the car and riding in the van to the Delta gate
with a driver who talked about nothing but the heat, responding
to my comment about it's being more humid than usual with
"Yes Sir-ree Bob, it sure 'nuf is"

18) Waiting for my flight to Atlanta with one hundred and ten
Mary Kay salesladies, all dressed in their nicest pastel colored
suits and wearing their enormous 1st place blue ribbons on their
lapels, or sleeves, or wherever, all anxious to return home
after a good convention in the city of Mary Kay.

19) Standing in line to change my seat and hearing the Mary Kay
lady in front of me trying to convince the ticket agent that she
should be a Mary Kay girl in her spare time.

20) Getting on the largest domestic airliner I have ever seen,
two aisles and nine seats across, seated in row 40, which was
only about two-thirds of the way to the back, and thinking that
I had *never* smelled so much perfume and scented powder in one
enclosed space before.

21) Flying without incident to Atlanta, then to RDU, and driving
home in the humid heat of North Carolina at 11 pm, thinking that
the cycle is complete, as the minister had said, that a place was
prepared and that place is now filled, and realizing that in spite
of my distance from the experience of my childhood, I do *believe*
that, in spite of everything that I *know*.

22)  Back to my computer with 585 messages, and finding that they
are not only from WORDS-L but also from STATLG-L, to which I have
been subscribed, mysteriously and inexplicably, in my absence, and
realizing that I will just *have* to start reading the sports page.

23)  Feeling glad to be home in the company of the ever-faithful,
ever-combative <bunch> of *good* *conversationalists* who are
proud to call themselves <wordslers>......