Isn't it funny how a place can feel like home even when you haven't been there for years and years and all the memories come flooding back and you can navigate by instinct? Well, last weekend I was in Austin, Texas; my birthplace; the capital city of Texas. We were there with lots of other Berends for a cousin's wedding and staying just off the Congress Ave. bridge; the one where millions of bats live (aside – a very cool thing to see at sunset).
It was the first trip to Austin for our sons. I was so excited to show them the Texas State Capitol and regale them with stories my childhood memories of visiting this magnificent building on school trips and with my mom and brother during summer excursions and playing and picnicking on the beautiful grounds and how my birth (& my brother's) had been proclaimed in the legislative chambers and of my great uncle, a state representative, etc.
It was a hot day; 104 degrees we later found out. The boys had complained of walking too far in the intense heat on our way to brunch (remember, they're Minnesotans). Our most helpful waiter told us we could catch a city bus for $2.50 just a across the street from the Snack Bar (sidebar – this is an amazing, delicious, fresh, farm to table, very accommodating café on S. Congress – go there if you have the chance!) So, we did; getting off just a few blocks from the capitol building and walking up the street, capturing all its grandeur and all my memories, as we did.
As we walked, a sign caught my eye. It was written in red marker on a white poster board and it had been stuck into the wall of a boarded up storefront. It made me think of that magical night just a few weeks back when there was that possibility that women could win a battle over choice and autonomy when it comes to their own bodies; that night when Wendy Davis stood, unwavering, for 11 hours, prepared to go longer, intending to go longer; that night when men and women filled the layers of that awe striking white rotunda, going up and up and up; cheering and shouting. The images I saw made me long to have been there; filled me with gratitude and admiration for leaders like Wendy Davis who refuse to stand down just because it's a difficult battle and an unpopular opinion. It made me proud to be a woman from Texas.
This photo is of the sign I saw on Congress Ave just two blocks down from the Texas Capitol last Saturday. Need I say more.... Over and out....