Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In which I become a Grand Champion...

Sunday, Easter Sunday that would be, was positively disgusting here, weather-wise. It was cold. It was raining. It had actually sleeted - sleeted! - the day before, the day of my friend's Leela and Bruce's Annual Spring Garden Party. There may be some who read this and think "What's a little sleet?" but they probably do not live in Texas. Here we do not complain about the heat... We complain about the cold. Especially when it's cold in April, when it's already been spring for a month and a half.

So. The weather was abysmal, but I rose and rather belatedly made my way to Ladies Sunday Morning Tai Chi League (Ladies League). We all were students of the late, great Stan Rossi. Long ago we decided to get together on Sunday mornings at Bailey Park in Austin and do our stuff. We do a Yang Long Style, Chen Zhao Bao, a saber set, and some of us can do parts of a Yang long sword form. We're a highly social group who believe that life and tai chi go better with good food and champagne. Heck, we believe that everything goes better with good food and champagne. We bring food to the park for special occasions, or meet at each other's houses for 'conviviality.'

Ok, so I got there late, so late that no one else was there, although Christy had been there and done the sword set. One of our members, Ann, was having an Easter party for us at noon, and here it was just before 10 am and I was up in north Austin. I knew if I went home I would be so totally depressed by the weather that I would never make it out again, so I went round to Gwen's nearby house and begged for coffee. Her charming daughter Anna Bella let me in and I had a wonderful time drinking coffee and watching Gwen make a delicious salmon and asparagus quiche. Oh, and I had a shot of lemoncello. I mentioned to Gwen that I'd seen people on Sex and the City drinking it and had no idea what it was... Gwen had some in the freezer and it seemed like the perfect way to start the day.

You can walk from Gwen's to Ann's. It's only four blocks. Admittedly, most Texans would not walk four blocks, they would drive. But Gwen and I are transplants, so we did. It was no longer raining. It was just cold.

Ann lives in the most fantastic house. It's International Style, built in the 1930s, and is just completely cool. Plus, it' a great party house. The other LL's had arrived, and, since it was a function, there were spouses and significant others for those who have them. So there were a LOT of us. And Ann's other friends and family... And ham and about seven kinds of quiches, and deviled eggs and asparagus and strawberries and cream and, my contribution... Cookies. (Yup, those same darn cookies.) And champagne and orange juice.

So we ate. We ate for quite a long time, actually, and then it was time to play croquet. We were supposed to do this outside, in the backyard, but, since the weather didn't cooperate, they had set up a course inside in the family room. There were the traditional wickets, stood up in little lumps of clay, and some other obstacles... Odd bits of pvc pipe to negotiate through... And a ramp into a back bedroom... And tables and chairs... And feet, lots of feet, since we all sort of played at once.

We played with tennis balls, labeled with our names, and all we had to do was complete the course, going through all the things in the right direction and count our strokes. People held back, so I grabbed a mallet and started.

Forty-seven strokes later I had completed the course. No one helped ME by moving the wickets to 'catch' the balls... We made up some rules as we went along as balls seemed to get stuck under the furniture, but all in all, it was a terrific game. No one died. And then came the trophies. There were four of them, but I can't remember what they all were. By that time I think I'd had a fair amount of champagne, but I can't really remember. So, even though I had the highest score - by far - I won the Grand Champion trophy! I've never won a trophy in my life, I don't think. And this is a real trophy...

You may notice that the top of the trophy seems cut off. That's 'cos this is an illustration of the trophy from my journal. But, still, you can tell it's a damn fine looking trophy... And it's sitting on my piano for all the world - well, all the world who come to my house - to see.

(A side note about complaining about the weather in Texas... You cannot complain about the heat. It's just not allowed. Of course it's hot, you fool, it's Texas. If you live in the south part of Texas, you can complain about the cold. The north part of Texas is very far away, and I don't think they're allowed to complain about the cold, but I could be wrong about that. You cannot complain about the rain - unless it rains in July or August, when it's never, ever supposed to rain because it makes it humid - because we need it. Very rarely do you hear anyone say "We shore don't need anymore rain." You can complain about hail and sleet and snow, at least here in the Hill Country, because they are bad for the peach crop, and everyone knows the peach crop is sacred. Hail also damages cars, and even trucks, which are also sacred. You can complain about flooding, but carefully. We get a lot of flooding. Usually if it rains we get flooding. That's what happens when you live some place where it doesn't rain very often. It floods. You can complain about floods, but it's not very good form. Mostly you say things like "I hadda drive forty miles around to get home 'cos the low-water crossing was out." Or, "Didya hear about them what went through the low-water crossing in their truck? That sure was a shame." Going through a low-water crossing with water in it is a bad idea. That's why there are measuring sticks in the middle. If you live and the RFD have to come get your happy ass out, they will charge you money.)

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