I know we were working our way through the footstool of Judaism in the past three articles, but my experiences around Texas at the beginning of June were too good to not share right now.
My best friend Elaine came to visit at the beginning of June. Her visit lasted just over a week and included her father; he traveled with her and participated in our adventures around Texas. We had a wonderful time together in that week. And I’m happy to report that I feel even more of Texas in my bones after our time together. We went to San Antonio and toured the Alamo and went on a riverboat ride along the river walk. We visited Corpus Christi; saw the USS Lexington and downtown Corpus Christi, home of the South Texas music walk of fame.
From there we saw Galveston and enjoyed Moody Gardens and the beach. The sand was different in Galveston than Corpus Christi and the water was choppier. After being in the Gulf of Mexico and those warm waters, I now understand why Jews, Christians and many other religions use water as symbolic for cleansing and such. Stepping into those waters gave me a sense of being reborn, of merging with the elements, becoming one. We get so caught up in thinking how big we are, the ego soars. But in the waters I realized how I am just a part of the entirety of God’s glory and creation.
In Galveston I saw a portion of a cemetery where Jews were buried, the stars of David on the headstones glistening in the morning sunset. It reminded me once again how my people have been everywhere, Galveston included. I am curious about the story of Jewish life in Galveston and Texas still.
We went to Houston for one night and were terrified by the traffic. Houston has almost as many people in its city as Iowa does in the entire state. Talk about a daunting experience!
I’d say by far the biggest treat for our week together was found in Austin. We really enjoyed the city, saw Lady Bird Johnson’s Wildflower Center, and visited the beautiful state capital where we were regaled with stories that remind me just how unique this state is. We learned about Texas’ time as a country of its own, about Davey Crockett and the determination of the spirits of Texans.
The diverse land found in this state fascinated me. We really enjoyed the ride from Corpus to Galveston; lots of fertile fields where corn was planted. The cornfields fascinated Elaine’s dad, see, he is an Iowa farmer and corn is one of his main crops each year. He was puzzled about how the farmers turned around in the fields with their combines?
We have everything here in Texas for everyone. I don’t understand how one can visit and not feel at home in our great state. I know this former Midwesterner loves this place!