Gone to Texas

I once told someone I edit Victor Davis Hanson’s articles as part of my work at PJM; she said something like, “Oh, he’s infamous on our side of the aisle.” That Manichaean worldview is part and parcel with Bay Area politics, and only accelerated after the 2000 election. Or as Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal accurately wrote on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, “For activist and professional Democrats, the most ignominious day in their collective political lives occurred a year earlier—the Florida presidential recount. The brief timeout in the culture war after September 11th caused what Charles Krauthammer dubbed “the Pressure Cooker Theory of Hydraulic Release” to explode with a vengeance afterwards, and you could feel that rage and incoherence driving the atmosphere of the Bay Area.

Concurrently, for the last 11 years, we’ve been visiting Texas and found the people to be remarkably friendly and easy going. The Texas countryside reminds me a lot of the farm areas of South Jersey I knew as a kid. Rough Creek Lodge, and the Dallas and Arlington Guitar Shows became near-annual destinations, as did a handful of Cowboys games at the old Texas Stadium and in 2013, the new stadium in Arlington.

It was in 2014 that we began to take seriously the idea of owning a house in Texas. As Nina has recounted here, in July of 2014, we found an excellent real estate agent who acted as our consultant, and began looking. She helped us find a home on 16 acres within driving distance of Rough Creek in Glen Rose, and while staying at Rough Creek, we found our tenants, with whom we had a great arrangement.

Until recently, our tenants watched our house (and back 40, or 16) and went to stay with family when we came to stay in the guest room we had reserved for ourselves. That way we could actually “live” here rather than staying at a hotel while we decided if we were moving. Meeting our tenants was a story in itself. Late Saturday night, while staying at Rough Creek on our house-hunting tour, I wandered down to the bar for a cognac and to smoke a cigar on the patio. I wore my summer white Panama hat. Two gentlemen, one in his 40s or 50s, the other perhaps in his 70s or older, were sitting at the otherwise empty bar. In a loud Texas drawl, the younger of the two asked me, “Wheredja git that hat?!”