Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Shopping Notes

In my progress from "barkeep" and a bit of a rake to a homebody on the trembling verge of old fartdom, I still notice some details. Allow me to distill a few observations from my last trip across town.

First, I have to go across town because East Angelo has "limited" shopping venues. Nothing conspiratorial there, if I were investing in a large retail box, I would put my money where the money is.

OK, I start on Harris heading west. The traffic lights give me pause to admire downtown at Main, then Chadbourne, then lest I have missed our magnificent courthouse, again at Randolph/ MLK. I'm sure someone can tell me why the southern three blocks of Randolph are still Randoph instead of Martin Luther King . From there west, Sherwood Way lights are pretty well co-ordinated, but downtown, traffic control has a homework assignment. Yes, I know there are only two of you, but earn those big bucks

Being Sunday, I pause at the park with the lilly pads. It really is worth a look. Mr. Landon has done a literally "world-class" job there. One's love for aquatic flora aside, this park seems designed to inspire introspection. My never-to-be-humble opinion, the lilly pads come closer to that than the rusty pile of junk labelled "art" to the south.

Now I merge into Sherwood by the Texas Bank. Hey, guys I remember the "flying saucer", it's still obvious in the interior, which design weenie decided it had to be disguised?

Finally get to HEB. As is too common with grocery stores, about the time I have all the aisles and products memorized, you got to change them! Not really a beef here, the expansion will be good for customers. Please promise me one thing; get it right and then LEAVE IT BE!

Pardon this ellipse into policy, but at checkout I bump into one of these serendipitous moments. It takes a while, the lady in front of me has loaded up two carts with $293 worth of goods. She swipes a Lone Star card for $262 of eligible groceries, then a few dollars more for WIC. My first reaction is, I'm price-shopping, getting house brands if they work, this lady is buying name brand all the way.

As chance would have it, when I get to my truck, she is two spaces down from me, and still unloading stuff: into a spanking new Honda X-Terra. I load my paltry puchase and leave while she is still packing crap I helped pay for.

If I sound reactionary, miffed, or even slap-ass PO'd, well, I was. I drive about in a 30 year old beater that gets me where I need to go. I promise you, should the day come that I have to rely on the gov't "safety net" , well I am not so reactionary as to hold there should not BE a net BUT...

Before I dip into my fellow citizens' hard-earned wallets, I will have traded the Honda for a reliable cheap car; I will not live in a better house than the neighbors whose wallets I am raiding; if I ever get there, I will buy, with your generous money , the cheapest goods on the market.

Done ranting. Talked to my parents in south Fl. Ike gave them a pass, lined up for us, then hit shore and took a hard right Limbaugh would be proud of. They stole our hurricane, again! Keep faith and pray for one good lake-filler of a hurricane rain out. If we can fill Twin Buttes and Ivie, OC Fisher just to make it official, the plaintiffs in this water suit will have that much further to reach.

A huge "attaboy" for the economic development board as to the wind power Martifer deal. This is what "economic development" is supposed to be about. Now we hear upkeep on the railroad is a problem? Drive east on 67 , from here to Ballinger there are stacks of new RR ties every half mile or so. At this time, those stacks have provided landscaping "midnight suppliers" with nice new lumber. This is not the time to get bogged down in a turf war over who maintains what. I was born on Old Ballinger Highway when it was THE road into town. I remember mile-long trains going by, once, twice a day. Whatever it takes, put those ties under the rails, beg, borrow or steal the money to rebuild that one bridge, but getterdoneson, Martifer is the best deal we've seen, or are likely to see for a while.

One final thought; this historic election seems to inspire voters on either side. I have worked elections since '94, I will be there this Nov. 4. In the past, my undervoting precinct has been such that I bring a book to read; a long book. I'm not endorsing anyone here, but I am asking you VOTE DAMMIT! Vote either way, vote for Engleburt Humperdink if it pleases you, but vote. (An aside to the younger set; there really WAS an Engleburt Humperdink. The 60s; you had to be there.) Going back to my literal "Barkeep" days, yes politics gets discussed in bars, but I used to put a plug in some mouths by asking, "Did you vote?" A surprising number of mouthy patrons had to admit not. (Anyone can access records of WHO voted- not for whom they voted, but whether or not they bothered). My line from the barkeep side shut down a lot of arguments: if you didn't vote, you didn't earn your license to bitch.

There are still huge swaths of the world where voting, at least voting against the Party in power, is literally a "bet your life" deal. No excuse for it here, if election day is a problem, we have two weeks of early vote, one Sunday, and if by chance you are going to be an astronaut, Texas Election Code has THAT covered!

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