#25: Texas

This year has not been a very List-worthy event. Until November, I had only accomplished two goals from the List. But Thanksgiving brought a whole new adventure.

#37: Fly on a plane.

I’d never flown before. And I chose to fly from Atlanta, the Southeast’s busiest airport, alone at Thanksgiving. Honestly, I almost quit before I even got to security. I sat in the airport with Harvin, thinking that I was flying alone, in a plane thousands of feet above the ground, and I wouldn’t be able to get off if something happened. Then I prayed really hard, breathed really deeply, gathered up my courage, and walked confidently through security.

What I learned from this experience:

A) Sometimes, striding confidently through an airport is enough to convince myself that I am capable and courageous and adventurous. Pretending it’s true makes it true.

B) Flying on a plane is exhilarating and not as scary as I imagined.

C) When the plane begins its descent into an airport, flying becomes very painful for me because of the problems I’ve had with my right ear my entire life. I’m currently nursing a sinus infection, which I think might be in part because of flying and intense pressure in my ear canal. At least I know now, and I can be prepared for illness when I fly.

When I landed in Dallas last Monday night, I was also able to mark another achievement from the list.

#25: Go to Texas.

I love Texas. Dallas has a beautiful skyline and is a city rich in history and culture. Also, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. The story of JFK’s assassination is tragic and incredibly important to American history, and the museum has done a fantastic job of preserving the importance of that day.

Another tragedy (though not quite as weighty): Raquel and I visited the Dallas Museum of Art for the sole purpose of seeing the two Edward Hopper paintings on display (that’s #61 on the List). When we reached the floor with early 20th century American art, I was first delighted to find two paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, and I knew Hopper would be in the same area. But I looked and looked around the whole section, and the Hopper paintings were nowhere to be found. Finally, Raquel asked one of the museum employees. Turns out the Hoppers were in storage–replaced by the O’Keeffes I had been so delighted to see. I’ll admit: I shed a tear at the thought that I was so close to works by my favorite painter, yet unable to actually see them. Discouraging.

I did see a bit more of Texas than just Dallas. We also drove to Waco on my first day there because I had an appointment with the head of the English graduate program at Baylor University. Yes, I’m considering applying in a few years for the Ph.D. program at Baylor. It’s a good program, and my meeting has given me a lot to think about in regards to deciding about my future. Also, Waco is in the middle of nowhere. That’s kind of a good thing. Between North, SC, and Tigerville, SC, I’ve always lived in the middle of nowhere. Why should it be any different if I decide to move to Texas?

My last night in Texas was my favorite part of the whole trip because I marked one more item off the list:

#26: See a rodeo.

Every Friday and Saturday night, the Fort Worth Stockyards host a rodeo competition. Rodeos are way more fun than I actually thought they would be.

It’s dangerous and exciting, and there’s also something incredible attractive about a man on a horse…or a bull. But that’s enough about that.

The Stockyards are designed like an Old West town, and I wish we’d had more time to explore. Every day, they close the street down for a cattle drive through the town, and the whole experience is tourist-y, yes, but also a ton of fun. I’ve been telling people that if I lived in Texas, I would go to rodeos all the time. 🙂

Now, here are some more photos from my trip:

Baylor is home to the Armstrong-Browning Library, an extensive collection of manuscripts and artifacts from Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. My favorite thing in this museum, however, was this handwritten note from Charles Dickens. I do love Dickens!

The Dallas skyline.

I’m sitting on the Grassy Knoll beside the street where JFK was assassinated. The Sixth Floor Museum is directly behind me. Just behind the tree is the window from which Oswald fired the shot.

There’s a V on the plaque marking the exact location where the fatal shot hit Kennedy.

Is this an intentional reference to V for Vendetta? Probably by some poser kid who just wants to pretend to be an anarchist. Punks.

He’s on a horse.