Tonight is the last night in our house in Texas, and tomorrow night will probably be our last night as Texas residents -- for a while anyway. I don't want to allow sad feelings to colour the world of my future, but looking back over our ten years on the Gulf Coast, it's impossible not to feel wistful.
The funny thing is ... I had never been to Texas before moving there, and I had every expectation of hating it. I'm not even sure why -- except perhaps because my family is from Arkansas and after we moved to Chicago when I was in high school, I learned to take a dim view of places that reminded me of the backwoods. So, when I moved from Seattle to Houston ten years ago, I pretty much expected a city of faded urban cowboys -- not a place with a lot to offer -- or so I thought.
Of course, my expectations couldn't have been more wrong -- and I am still delighted about that. Lake Charles, Louisiana is the only place I have ever been happier living in than Houston, and without having come to Houston first, I would never have had the opportunity to have lived in Lake Charles, one of the last best places.
Although I'm sad to leave, there is still an upside: my life has been inifinitely richer for having experienced the Gulf Coast beyond the negative stereotypes. And now I know it's there, I can always go back -- to visit, if not to live (and living here again one day is a distinct possibility). Maybe before the end of Kinky Friedman's second term as governor!
Ark-La-Tex - I'm gonna miss ya!