Monday, November 28, 2011


 I haven't written about the Austin older-middle-aged-men's group in ages as their cafe conversation has been mired in sports talk and local politics.  But you never know what life has in store so I haven't given up.

Lately I've been taking a book to the cafe with me, opening my ears at the end of each page to see if the guys are going anywhere.  

I'm reading Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, an exploration and love letter to Utah's high desert.  Denny and I spent our honeymoon in a Utah fantasy region of rock, wind and time.  I love the earth's sculpture. 

Life stretching from a slot canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park. ---->

I chose Abbey's book because the writing is beautiful, like High Street Chocolate--smooth and sumptuous and so rich I can only eat a few bites at a time.  

And I've been wondering if our Hill Country home is evolving to desert, although I'm more hopeful today with another 1 3/4" of rain last week.  That makes a total of 12.2" in the last 13 months, still squarely within the average rainfall of the west Texas Chihuahua Desert...but I can see tiny wildflower plants poking through the crust in my front swale. With one more good rain in December/January, spring could bloom.

Last week, finally, I heard promise from the older-middle-aged-men when the subject turned to T-shirt sayings. The lawyer said, "Well I only wear shirts that say what I really think."

The group chuckled, knowing the lawyer's thoughts are as unpredictable as rain here.

"I wear this one when UT loses a football game: 'I'm only wearing black until I find something darker.'"

Smiles and an 'Amen'.

"And  I wore 'Future Dead Person' to the office about three weeks after I'd been diagnosed with cancer."

Silence.  Followed by grins.  It must have been a while back.  The t-shirt is still true, but he's here today.

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Desert Solitaire is a classic. That whole area around Moab, Utah is wonderful and on our short list of retirement possibilities.


  2. Beautiful. Every bit of it. Every bite.

  3. Wonderful post. I love the Austin older-middle-aged-men's group stories. So funny!!

    Bryce Canyon National Park is on my list of places I want to visit.

    Hope you have a great day:)

  4. Great post, Kathleen.
    Love the stories of the older-middle-aged-men's group.

    It's cold here, this morning. Hope you're staying warm.

  5. I am going to get that book. I only get the the USA infrequently so words like 'high desert' are intriguing. I have seen only a little of those and need to see more. I love that landscape and light.

  6. Cactus Ed's daughter Susannah is a landscape architect in Abq. E-mailed once not knowing that! Cool group, though I might wear my brightest crimson and cream after a UT loss:-)

  7. A nice and also touching story, I wish i can write half as lovely as a writer like you do! And that rock sculpture, with a palm growing near the crack is very interesting.

  8. We read "Desert Solitaire" after visiting Arches N.P. several years ago (picked it up in a bookstore in Moab). That area is awesome, and the book was, also!

  9. Abbey is one of my heroes. Reading Desert Solitaire changed my world view, and raised my bar for writing. He also wrote a fiction book I love, the Monkey Wrench Gang. I think I need to reread his works.
    Thanks for the stories and the pictures and the smiles this morning.

  10. Hi Kathleen,
    I really like this posting: your views re those old people in the cafe, your "recommendation" of "Desert Solitaire" [I hope Mary and me will make it to Utah sometime soon, for bicycling and sightseeing].
    As to rainfall: I had always imagined you guys up there in the Hill Country have had more than we down here. But we're quite close: with yesterday's rain we have had 12.35 inches this year. Let's hope for more everywhere here in Texas.
    Enjoy your Sunday,


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