Monday, January 20, 2014

Dear Fort Worth: We Have to Talk

I've fallen in love. The beginning was innocent, I swear. I just wanted to have a little fun. Back in 2011, a handsome man invited me to San Francisco with a promise of a drive to Napa.  A woman of a certain age doesn't think she'll be taken in by these things. Surely it was lust, I thought, a seduction by sunshine and tomatoes that really taste like tomatoes, by a region where even in dodgy places a good glass of wine can be had. I rationalized it was the man, not the place.

He continues to be the main draw, but it's becoming clear that I can't stay away from his habitat, at least not for long.  The first glaring sign: Saturday mornings at the Ferry Building, with the local vegetables, Mary's chicken, and the eggs that are still barely warm. Also, waking at T's place meant a view of the Bay, the water shining early in the morning and the smell of the sea coming in the windows, which can be open at night all year long. Even working at five in the morning (I still have my East Coast colleagues) was precious, the Bay Bridge shimmering out the window.

Fort Worth, you've been steadfast towards me all these sixteen years. Our relationship has deepened over time. You started out pretty scruffy and unsophisticated, with only steak houses and Tex Mex and some pretty good barbeque in the way of dining out.  Now you've given me Ellerbe and Pacific Table and Sera, and the trails by the Trinity River are lovely, especially with a stop afterwards for lunch at the Woodshed.  I have the dearest friends here. It's not that I don't love you, but you're like a favorite sweater I've put on to find the sleeves are too short and the hem is frayed.  I got a little bored and felt hemmed in.  Then temptation reared its head.

Napa turned out to be pretty easy to resist. Sure, there's the wine and food, but so far it doesn't quite live up to the hype. I can certainly find good wine here with you these days, Cowtown. San Francisco was wonderful, but between the exorbitant cost of living, the ominpresent pot and the naked people (note: most of us look better with our clothes on) I had rationalized that bit away. Fun to visit, but not a place I could really commit to.Then T moved to the Monterey Pennisula. 

Our new little town is sleepy, like you, and there are plenty of good places to eat. Carmel is pretty but much too precious for me, Pacific Grove too preachy, Monterey just right. The Naval Postgraduate school is just down the hill.  At dawn, we hear reveille; at dusk, taps. Sea lions bark every morning. Still, I've tried to hold fast to my love for you. You, who took me in as a lost Canadian soul and gave me kindness and a soft place to fall. Then we went to Big Sur. It became a full-blown affair.

The rugged coast, the sun going down at Nepenthe, the hikes in the redwoods--all of it soothes my soul and relaxes me in a profound way.  No wonder everyone looks so happy there.

I don't know how long it will go on.  The man, for as long as the Universe determines; things are as permanent as they can be. As for the place, every time we have an interlude it gets more passionate.  As for you, Fort Worth, I'll stay with you for the sake of the kids, but once they are grown, all bets are off.  Maybe the thrill will be gone by then, but I don't think Big Sur's hot will wear off.


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