Thursday, February 25, 2010

Greetings from the book capital of Texas, Archer City. Tonight we're at the Lonesome Dove Inn hosted by Mary Webb, who is a wonderful woman, and who was kind enough make me a real cup of tea in a porcelain cup today, milk and sugar and a real teaspoon. It was divine. Then a real bath, the first in weeks, in the longest tub I've ever seen. Not much of a shower fan myself.

Texas is GINORMOUS, the horizon just seems to pull the eye as far as it can stretch. T was pretty blown away I think by so much sky and space. Black cattle dot the land as we watched the weather move in to the west, managing to avoid predicted snow in Oklahoma City of all places. I guess Dallas has seen an inordinate amount of snow this year and everyone sits scratchin their head wondering why as they move on to tinker with or de -ice the next oil well.

Walmart owns the west and it's sad. Today we looked up which corporations are the biggest employers in the US and, yep, you guessed it: Walmart's at the top(with nearly 2 million employees, and second, McDos. This will come as no surprise to folks traveling interstate 40 and its biways. T and I decided today that Arkansas and Tennessee accents are all fake. They just don't sound right like real southern accents do, you know,

the ones EASt of the Mississippi (not including TN) and west of, well, Arkansas. Listening to the local talk radio guys today, and don't think that wasn't a penance, there's just somethin real Saturday Night Live about them, you know? You really do expect the talker to just suddenly slip into normal speech as though they were from, oh, Connecticutt or somewhere.

There's an edgy and deliberate defiance in the Ozark-into- west TN twang that is a little nasty, not gentle like other southern accents. (Even my Nanny and her sharp tongue sounded sweet with her Mississippi drawl.) Although I do have to commend the cheerfulness of the housekeepers at our hotel in Clarksville, AR this morning (the new Holiday Inn Express). You have never seen a more cheerful bunch of ladies, inquiring eagerly after our well being, wishing us luck on our travels, as we were leaving and they went about pushing their carts of linens and hotel type toiletry supplies to replenish the rooms and tidy them up for the next people. Seriously cheerful, and earnest, it must be said. We loved them. The women west of the Mississippi smile with the top half of their face, especially with their eyes, and so squint mightily when they do it. Eye cream companies could thrive here.

Oh, we want to mention to the Dunkin Donut people (America runs on Dunkin? I think not!) we haven't seen a single one of their places since Atlanta. Helllllooooh! Coffee please! We don't do McD's if we can help it. Where are the corporations when you need them?

Anyway, Texans talk more like I'm used to with my relatives and all. It's like, when Al Gore talks, he only has an accent when he's down here, not in DC unless he's talkin to an audience that is longing for that accent somehow. Arkansans say "home loan" like it was spelled "hayome lawn". It's just wrong.

This is the home of Larry's Booked Up, a bookstore of nearly 40o,ooo beautiful books. You would need days, maybe weeks, to even begin to appreciate the lovely books in this collection. As I walked the isles and leafed through some gems I felt like weeping, don't know why. Mary has custody of Larry's Oscar for Brokeback Mountain on her mantle downstairs. It weighs a ton. And his Golden Globe Award too. He must like her a lot. He stays here sometimes and T and I thrilled to be in his room for a minute and soak in the vibes. Above is a picture of me holding Larry McMurtry's oscar and pretending it's mine for the screenplay to the book I haven't even managed to publish yet. I call that picture Wishful Thinking in my i Photo file. I felt blessed anyway...

More later on today's travels and thoughts. Thanks to Will in Chat for keeping tabs on us. Such a gentleman. We may head south of the border soon.... just not sure, cause we're flexible. Right, Lex? Tans and I really really LUV Texas!