Saturday, November 24, 2007

I should probably be getting to bed.

It's Saturday night at the end of a few days stay here at Jamie's parents' house, and, as I understand it, this could be the final holiday we spend in Lawton. Jamie's parents recently purchased a home in San Marcos and will be moving there in the not-too-distant future. It's going to greatly change things, which I think came to a stunning conclusion in my head during dinner when Jamie suggested that my desire to consider Wisconsin or Minnesota as a destination when we were looking and wound up in Arizona was something that would no longer apply. Not sure of where she came to this conclusion, I stated that I would, in fact, go to Wisconsin now.

This was met with a "You better not" by the in-laws who have recently made plans to live closer to their daughter by buying the aforementioned house. Luckily, I have no plans to leave Austin, so all is well. But it does illustrate a point as to where I am in the game of life.

Fortunately, the point I was trying to make vis-a-vis the Wisconsin conversation was that I still don't mind the cold. When you are of the unconventional size of a Steans Bros., and tend to sweat when you just think about a hot day, places like Arizona lose some of their je ne sais quo. Even Austin on a humid day in August loses some of its charm.

Today we visited the new Comanche Nation Museum in Lawton, as well as the Great Plains Museum. The past which is reflected in both museums is not necessarily long-forgotten history, but of people who have lived during my parents' lifetime. Oklahoma is only now celebrating its Centennial of Statehood, and as much as one would like to imagine that the range wars are of the ancient past, they most assuredly are not. The inhumane treatment of Native Americans continued through much of the 20th Century, well after the Comanche were on reservations and the paternal Federal government took children from their families and placed them in Indian Schools.

As much as that recent history continues to live on in the language and memory of the people who've established and run the museums, its too infrequent we look away from our laptops and iPods and remember that 100 years ago, the machines we used to till the soil were pushed by hands and pulled by animals. It's the dates on photos of men busting horses and pulling steer to the ground with their bare hands that now is left as mostly a sport, when, once, that was s kill that put meat on the tables of millions across the US. Maybe we haven't grown soft, but it reminded me that I am.

Perhaps we weren't meant to sit behind desks and push icons around on a screen of glowing liquid crystal, or maybe that's where we're headed. Maybe that's why we try to invent $100 laptops for starving kids in Africa, because we haven't got a clue what those kids need to make food as readily available as a Lunchable for them, but maybe if they can blog about it..?

There was a time in our grandparents' and great-grandparents' lives when they could live in Indian Territory, at the edge of the world as maybe they'd known it. When a day of work meant pushing the seed tiller and hoping it didn't break today because you had how many acres to plant, and you had no animal behind which to pull the damn seed spreader.

It's an odd thing to realize you could not survive in your great-grandparent's shoes, and wouldn't begin to know how to put in the effort that was expected daily of people for the past 60,000 years. But, hey, you know how to freeze a pane in Excel, so that's something, right?

I have an idea how to carve something out of nothing, but we're an odd people now, we are. Brilliant leaps as we've touched the moon and done the math that tells us the Universe is expanding and collapsing. We've got the ability to store our food endlessly and the ability to chat with someone via voice and picture as a basic add-on to our Power Mac. But, really, we can't feed or clothe ourselves.

I dunno. I'm going to bed.

Hope you're well, Leaguers.


J.S. said...

So what I take from this post is that you're a prisoner of the McBride retirement scheme, and you would escape into the woods (possibly in Wisconsin)if you could, but you lack the survival skills to do so. Is that the gist?

The League said...

You have hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

Emily says we can move to Austin once both her parents pass away. Even though she's not sure why you or Austin is so special.

The League said...

As to the special-ness of Austin, I can make no guarantees as to her finding it as such. She seems to be black of heart and flinty of spirit, and may be unable to embrace the wonder of the Capital of the Lone Star State. As only the pure of heart may touch the unicorn, perhaps only a select few of us can grasp all that is my town.

As per my specialness, I had assumed it was self-evident and somewhat irresistible.

However, as I wish her folks a long and luxurious life, I suspect you will remain in the land of the Titans for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

My best hope is that Esmé enrolls at UT in 18-years.

The League said...

It is good that yu have such high academic aspirations for your daughter. May your wife similarly hope to see your spawn attend the one, true UT and not that other one with the funky shade of orange.