In an April blog post, I mentioned how much art could be seen while walking around my neighborhood in South Austin. In the 1970s and ‘80s, many of the artists and musicians moving to Austin opted to live in South Austin neighborhoods because of the relative affordability of housing as well as its proximity to downtown Austin.
With the number of COVID-19 infections decreasing thanks to masking and vaccinations, many governors have released the mask usage and other restrictions that kept many of us at home since last March.
I haven’t lived inside the city limits of a big city since attending grad school in New Orleans. Accustomed to life in the suburbs over the past four decades, I acquiesced to the idea of living in South Austin post-retirement.
As a recently transplanted resident of Austin (from Baltimore), I have enjoyed the warmer weather this winter. A week ago, the weather team on the local news started making local viewers aware that the temperatures were forecasted to drop precipitously in Texas on Valentine’s Day.
When I think of Austin, Texas, I think of music, food, and tech. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television, having been broadcast on PBS for 43 years. Twenty years ago, the show spawned the ACL Music Festival, which hosts over 130 artists and 225,000 patrons every year at Zilker Park. SXSW (aka South by Southwest) hosts the annual SXSW Festivals, celebrating the worlds of film, music, and comedy with parties, awards, screenings, and showcases.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, weekday mornings began with the sound of my alarm chirping, usually at 6 am. Leaping out of bed, I would shower, shave, get dressed, and head downstairs for a cup of coffee and bowl of cereal before getting in the car.
When the March closure of non-essential businesses occurred, I was splitting my time between Austin, Texas and Baltimore, Maryland, and I happened to be in Maryland. Great friends of mine (Charles and Susan) owned a restaurant in Baltimore and closed it, even though restaurants were allowed to provide food through carryout and delivery. When I asked Charles why he was not providing carryout, he said that he needed to understand how his restaurant could provide carryout and keep his employees and customers safe.
I enjoy watching football, pro and college. The resumption of the NFL season three weeks ago was a welcome respite from watching reruns of last year’s games. But as college football resumed its play, I noticed one difference.
The month of July triggers many memories. When I was younger, the month kicked off with the Fourth of July holiday festivities of picnics and fireworks, all of which were fascinating to me, my siblings, cousins, and friends. July 4 was also my grandfather’s birthday, an occasion that we were fortunate to celebrate with him through his 95th.