Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I was almost too scared to open my eyes this morning in case I was jet lagged but we all seem to have made the adjustment to -17 hours pretty smoothly.

This morning was devoted to a pilgrimage to the corner of Elm and Main St to visit the site where President John F Kennedy was assassinated almost 50 years ago. Even though I was only very young at the time of the shooting, I remember it well. Maybe it struck a chord because the Kennedys were the same age as my parents or perhaps it was because it was one of the first 'world' events relayed around the world on TV, but the images from that day are well known to me. More recently, Geoff and I have both read Stephen King's 11/63, a great story about the Kennedy assassination & Lee Harvey Oswald.

The School Book Depository building was just a short walk from the Crowne Plaza and we were greeted on the corner by a man who introduced himself as Ron Washington. Our friend Alison had told us about this guy who says he was a witness to the shooting as a child and lo and behold there he was, selling copies of the headlines from 1963 and offering guided tours of the site. It was a coincidence too good to pass up and besides, anyone who can continue to make a living out of a single event for 30 years deserves to be rewarded ! We weren't disappointed with Ron's tour even though it came with an elaborate dose of his own conspiracy theory. He even made a point of using our cameras to make sure we were all in the photos. On reflection, I reckon Ron may well have been the stimulus for King's 'yellow card man' in the book.

Being at the site where someone has been killed is always an eerie feeling. We all experienced the same sense of curiosity mixed with reverence and respect for those who were affected that day.

We were on the road to Austin by lunch time, keen to catch up with Sophie. We took the interstate, a giant mass of tangled ribbons of concrete where, unbelievably , the speed limit is 80 miles per hour (128km). I was white knuckled by the time we pulled over at the Hillsboro outlet mall for our first taste of US retail therapy. The Nike store was amazing. Free runs for $40 and clothing at 1/4 the price you would pay in Aus. Needless to say a couple of big bags were added to our luggage.

We reached Austin just on dark and after a near miss when we turned right into the oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road !!, we found Sophie and Ben sitting on the porch of her house in Salado St. Starving, we took a trip to the Wholefoods Market, a wonderland of raw and pre cooked delights. It was like a supermarket/ restaurant and I could have stayed there for hours.

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