Before coming west to Hiouchi we lived in suburban Fort Worth, Texas. For exactly one year we called a cramped apartment behind a shopping center anchored by a Home Depot, Pet Smart, and a Target home. The Shoe Pavilion was our back yard; the Sports Authority our front. We lived on Home Depot Lane. No joke.
That year will go down as one of the strangest for us. We were out of our element for sure — the hot-shot drivers who thought nothing of tailgating doing 70 on the Interstate, the unrelenting heat and humidity, the lamentable lack of decent restaurants or nearby bars.
There was a lot to feel ho-hum about in Texas, but one area that state excelled at — and this was a total surprise, and something I still admire about the place — was its people. The number of helpful, friendly, outgoing, smart and concerned people we met in Texas just blew us away. People there weren’t afraid to talk. They weren’t afraid to ask for help, or give it. If they had a concern or need to communicate, they did so in a casual and comfortable way — and by in large the conversation wasn’t stupid or inane. OK, there was the occasional god-awful conversation about politics or race or second amendment rights that just shocked the bejesus out of me. But mostly it was Meg and I looking at each other in awe after some kid had asked us politely if he could pet Anton or after some motorist might ask if everything was ok if we were looking at map or pulled over to make a cell phone call, or just the way people differed to moms and kids and oldsters.
Texans Tanisha and Chris took us back in time. Chris’ grandfather had always wanted him to see the redwoods so he and his wife were here to honor that wish. Like so many other Texans we met that year, Tanisha and Chris treated us like family from the moment we met. They treated the bnb like their home. It was a perfect match. They were here to relax and we caught them relaxing plenty — napping on the sofa, trading foot massages, doing their fitness DVD on the deck. Oh yes, Tanisha and Chris were in the house.
It could have been Texas for all the positive energy and kindness they brought from Houston. I don’t miss the place enough to go back, but sometimes I do miss the people.