My first full week back at work was tinged with sadness and memories. The late, and I do believe, great, David Bowie was such a big part of my teenage years, and whilst I was not an avid follower of all his music, his voice (I think) was so unique, that whenever he came over the airwaves, be it on the radio, or the filtered music throughout the malls, etc., I would always smile, and usually comment, "Another home grown!" Like so many, I sported a 'Ziggy Stardust' haircut in my teenage years, even though I was not allowed to wear make up! I was not a real Rebel, Rebel, but I thought I was! Although life goes on, there is a little piece inside that dies, and childhood memories become more cherished.
Along with the great musical talent, another 'home grown' was lost. Alan Rickman, in my opinion, was the 'thinking woman's bit of crumpet!' (At this point, I apologise to those who are not of the English/English speaking fraternity, but a 'google' will reveal all!)
Following the loss of the music maker, a road sign was replaced in Austin. The original name given to 'Bowie Street', was in memory of the pioneer who lost his life at the Battle of the Alamo, James 'Jim' Bowie, and whilst it appears (as is so often) that he was either a famous, or infamous person of 'historical interest', this is whom the street was named after! Apparently, those who had the new street sign made and erected, admitted to it immediately. The 'headquaters' of SXSW was known (for a short time, although I think it may stick) as being on the corner of Third Street and David Bowie Street! Obviously, Samantha and I felt the need to go and commemorate the defacing of Austin. It would appear that we were not the first, and the crossing at the intersection could have become almost as well crossed as that on Abbey Road, in London. The sign did remain in place for the weekend, and was removed the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Day, with an announcement from the Austin Transportation Department. To paraphrase, the 'good sports' of our beloved city stated that whilst they understood Austin's reputation as the 'Live Music Capital of the World', and recognized all that David Bowie did for the music industry, the sign would be removed. However, they did allow the community to 'enjoy the makeshift monument' for a few days.
Saturday's adventure to the new road was only part of the long weekend. Whilst I was in England, my neighbours had invited Dana in for dinner on Christmas Day, and fed him with meat from the Longhorn Meat Market, which is based on the east side of town. Dana raved about the steaks he had eaten (and the food parcel with which he was sent home) and thought it might be worth 'looking into'. Before our epic escapade, Saturday morning, we ventured towards the establishment, using the trusty lady on the GPS to give us directions. It was rather disturbing when the voice from the dashboard said, "The destination is on your left", and all we could see, for as long a the eye would allow, was a cemetery! Laughing, somewhat halfheartedly, we continued along past the headstones, and eventually came to a sign, indicating that we had arrived at the actual store. It was more of an old fashioned butchers, than what we had expected, and although we were quite sure that it would be good to sample some of their wares, neither of us had the stomach to do so, on this particular day!
Monday was a holiday, and it started with a hearty breakfast. Dana and I treated ourselves to a morning repast at Jim's diner, and he then went into the office. I drove to Samantha, and after spending a couple of hours with her neighbours, we went to her local stores, in the hope of securing a piece of furniture I had long been waiting to purchase. I was quite sure I had seen what I wanted in one of the home decor shops, but the particular article did not jump out at me, as it has done in the past, when I have decided not to buy! My daughter was successful in securing her wants, and we continued to the cash desk. The gentleman in front of us was returning an unwanted Christmas present. He had bought the article for his wife, and "for some reason", she had not been happy with it. The conversation did not last for very long, as the lady behind the counter appeared to have no sympathy for the husband, by the look upon her face, as she reimbursed him for the wicker laundry basket.
With life returning to normal, including all the signs downtown, I went to work on Tuesday morning, ready to face anything that life had to throw. My sense of humour was turned up to as the 'burn', and as is so often, fell flat when I attempted to serve it! The 'overnight parcel' courier was not our regular delivery man. However, the 'stand in' had delivered packages to us previously, and he entered the office, gingerly. "Where is he?", he asked, looking around, as if he was waiting to be attacked. Assuming that he was referring to the dog, I assured him that Frank was in the other room. Still not convinced, he looked through the glass partition that separates my office from Dana's, and peered at my husband who was sitting at his desk. "He doesn't like me, you know!", he said as he handed me the device which required my signature. "He is like that with everyone", I said, and then added, "Dana, you need to be nicer to people!" This led to an additional outbreak of panic, as now not only did the courier need to beware of the dog, but he had the additional worry of being set upon by my husband!
Although unfamiliar with the music with which I listened to as a teenager, my thoughtful husband (who would have bought me a wicker laundry basket, if he thought I needed it!) recorded all the David Bowie tributes that were shown on the television over the course of the weekend. Each night I fell asleep to another song, and by the end of the week the appreciation of the legend's music had grown to two in our household, and although the content of some tracks could not be fathomed by Dana, he found the voice to be superb! I found myself humming 'Life on Mars', and singing 'There's a Starman', each morning as I went about my daily tasks.
Thursday night was soup night! My neighbours (who had graciously looked after my husband's stomach whilst I abandoned him over Christmas) hosted the monthly 'get together', on the third Thursday of the month, and I provided a dessert. The chocolate roulade was enjoyed by all, and I was delighted that I now have the chance to 'experiment' on a regular basis with culinary delights!
Breaking away from my roots was not easy, and the death of Bowie (David, not Jim) took me back, as I am sure it did many others, to times past, where we thought we had the cares of the world upon our shoulders, but in actual fact, we had no idea what the cares of the world really were! However, attending our Homeowners' annual meeting made me realise that I am now very much a part of this community, and have been accepted fully into the congregation that is our condominium family. I felt rather like royalty, as I was thanked for the dessert I had made on Thursday night, over and over, and then complimented on my knitted jacket, which I had made several years ago. One of my neighbour's, an American woman, who lives in Paris, (now that would be a good title for a movie!) and attended Oxford University, was very impressed with my seemingly never ending talents. I looked at her with shock all over my face and said, "But you went to Oxford!" We agreed that our mutual admiration for each other's skills would be accepted, even though each of us would have been happy to have the other's 'talent'! After all had 'introduced' ourselves, (although almost all of the people who attend are the same people that always attend, and we all know each other reasonably well,) the meeting started, and discussions ensued. Dana made several comments regarding one particular aspect of our neighbourhood, as did others. One of my neighbour's stood up, and announced that she agreed with "um...um...Tracie's husband!" The cry of "Yes! I have arrived", came out a little too loudly, as I resisted doing a 'happy dance' in the middle of the floor! After year's of being someone's wife, someone's mother, and now (probably the one I actually enjoy the most) Oliver's grandma, I was finally me! The derailment of the meeting did not last for long, but it was a moment to memorialise. Perhaps I could find a street sign......!
With the first public holiday of the year out of the way, and the first month of the year almost over, I am striving forward to see how I can make the most of the next eleven months, enjoying the diversity and culture of this place I now call home. Two sets of neighbour's will be travelling to my native home next month, one of whom is also a native but one whom is travelling for the first time to my beloved London. I am envious, but excited at hearing about their adventures. As another 'late great' Judy Garland once said, in he role as one of her most famous characters, "There is no place like home!" I have two, and I believe there is no place like either!
RIP David Bowie and Alan Rickman, together with other's who left us over the past week, and thank you for your contribution to my life. Losing one's childhood icons does make me take a good look at myself, and make me very thankful for all that I have. Reflecting on my past, I am also thankful, and grateful, that I am still here, and wondering if my life will ever end up being for someone else, part of their past, and that I would be in ............. another story!