A few weeks ago we had a chance to visit Texas for the first time, to celebrate and remember the very full life of my Grandpa Jackson Worth Bosley (my dad's dad). Although we always lived far away from one another and our paths didn't cross as often as I would have liked, it was from my Grandpa Jack that I inherited a childhood love of stamp collecting and learned where the countries in the world fell into place, and it was in years of correspondence to him and my father across the ocean that I learned the art and importance of writing letters.
Family time was priority numero uno on our recent trip to Austin, but we did manage to visit a few places in our down time. The day we arrived we had a few hours to ourselves before gathering with our family for dinner, so we went to Central Market and were completely wowed by their selection of basically every single thing. We stopped at their amazing cafe for a snack and Gigi and the little girl in the booth next to ours kicked off a friendship by holding hands in the narrow gap between the booth and the window. Aren't things simple when you're 3 years old?
My Grandpa Jack's wife Sandra was remarkable. She had planned family dinners and was a lovely hostess in all things, despite the busy - and what must have been lonely - place of planning for the memorial service of her husband of many decades. We loved hanging out with her, my dad and Emili, and members of Sandra's family who had come to support her.
Thursday was our main sightseeing day, and after Marcos had helped Sandra purchase and install a new printer, we went out with my dad and Emili for lunch at Mr. Natural, a vegetarian restaurant in a very Mexican part of town. Maybe that wasn't so rare for a Texan city, but us North Carolinians loved the party stores overspilling with colorful piñatas. I was set on eating tex mex as much as possible while we were in Texas, and the vegetarian options at Mr. Natural were delicious.
After lunch it was a trip to Butler Park splashpad to get a break from the heat. Every day we were there it was just a few degrees shy of 100, but although everyone was commenting on the heat, I thought it was amazing. The flatness of that part of the country made for a great wind, and it was a much drier heat than I am used to here in North Carolina. Even the high temperatures didn't feel oppressive to me, like they usually do at home.
Rose the dog loved to kiss Orion. Below is the Capital building. Austin has a great downtown area.
For dinner that evening Sandra took the family out to her favorite neighborhood seafood grille, and it was amazing. Sandra was very well prepared, and over dinner she let us know of the plans for the Memorial Service the following day.
Grandpa Jack and Sandra have been attending the Episcopalian church on the University of Texas at Austin campus, so that is where the Memorial Service was held the following afternoon. It was a traditional service with the wafer and wine, beautiful organ and viola duets, scripture readings and people officiating in robes. I loved the music. Our children were the only ones there at a mid-day Friday service, and Orion lasted about thirty seconds so Marcos took him outside. Gigi and I enjoyed the rest of the service, although in a reverent crowd it is difficult to have the only child.
My Grandpa Jack was a veteran of 3 wars, and worked many, many years for the CIA in the latter part of his career. He was a very dutiful and responsible man, fluent in many languages, and intrigued by the cultures and people of the world. I wanted to sit down with Sandra at length and hear stories about his life while we were there, but it wasn't the right time. I hope we get a chance to sit down together in the future. There's something about a memorial service to help us reflect on our lives and wonder what we're doing now that will someday be worth mentioning when we are gone. There is additionally something about having a death in your own family to make you feel connected to a legacy of people. I am my Grandpa Jack's only grandchild, and the only continuing strand of the Bosley chain through him and my father. Am I representing my family well?
Gigi and I loved leaving the church to the music of the bag pipes.
At the receiving line, Sandra greeted old friends, family and neighbors. Orion and I were also in the line greeting people with my dad and Emili, and supporting Sandra and her family. Gigi ate the delicious food that the church ladies had prepared and danced around, and Marcos took photos. So many people who came by told me how wonderful my Grandpa Jack had been to them, and it made me a little jealous that they had spent more time with him than I had!
After the Memorial service we had a few hours before a family dinner party, and we headed to our final Austin sight seeing destination - SoCo! South Congress is a really funky area just across the river from downtown. Walking around, I kind of felt like I was on another planet. It was late afternoon on a Friday, the place was hopping with people and live music, there was well groomed graffiti on walls, cacti plants, mist machines rigged to the overhangs at the outdoor cafes, Texas dry heat, and even the air seemed to be a unique shade of sunset pink. We loved it. We are nightlife people, and Chapel Hill is a slow place to live. Austin just kept getting cooler.
But all too soon it was time to leave and join our family at Grandpa Jack and Sandra's home for a dinner with all of Sandra's closest fans and supporters. It was a special way to spend our last night in Austin, and we really enjoyed getting to know the characters who loved and supported my family. I am grateful for all of their continued support as Sandra is adjusting to her life sans Grandpa Jack. I can't even imagine. Companionship is such a powerful thing.
And that was our journey to Austin, TX! We have heard for years that if you visit anywhere in Texas it should be Austin, and we are fans for life. Family together time in Austin was the best of both worlds.