Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jed, The Joads, & Me

I didn't strike gold, or get blown west by dark dust bowl clouds, but in the Fall of 2017 I made pretty much the same migration as the Clampett's, Woody Guthrie, and Faulkner's famous family.

Texas to California

Most people that know would say me and Texas fit together like boots and jeans, but sometimes life takes us all places we never thought we'd go. Sometimes things fall apart so better things can come along, and make no mistake that my life is better out here in Southern California than it was back in the windy Texan Panhandle.

My journey started way back  in the fifth grade but of course I had no idea back then that it would lead me to the Golden State. I met Connie in Mrs. Davis's class. She hadn't gone to elementary school with me before then because she lived in a neighboring district but her old school did not have an Enriched Learners program so she transferred over to Oakdale. We had no whirlwind puppy love romance, but we were friends until her family moved to California our seventh grade year.

More than two decades later we reconnected through the powers of social media. This eventually led to me and my two boys moving west and it has been great for us all.

Food, Funk, & a Few Folks 

I am told I have an accent but if you ask me I sound just like everyone else. Nevertheless, the first question I get asked is, "Where are your from?" Guesses range from Arkansas, to Georgia, Tennesee and often Louisiana probably because I often wear a New Orleans Saints cap. (By the way if you are reading this Roger Goodell you and your corrupt NFL officials all suck. I stick by my theory that the NFL Commissioner caught some venereal disease from a Bourbon Street prostitute during a bygone Super Bowl in the city and has held a private grudge agasint my beloved Saints ever since)

But I digress.

The second question I get asked is, "What do you miss most about Texas?"

My mom tops that list, but she is finally coming out to visit at the end of the month. Friends are also on the list but the power of social media and with a few visits back and forth and it is not hard to maintain those relationships. 

Live Music is not quite the same beyond my cherished Texas dive bars, but I have found a number of cool venues, including The Cave up in the mountains at Big Bear, which hands out warm pork rinds as you wait in line to get inside. 

Little-by-little immersing myself the the Southern California Music scene. I have also been fortunate enough to see Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, and a few other of my longtime favorites that simply do not play in or around Amarillo.

That brings us to food.

Man oh man do I miss Texas cooking. Not always, because I have my smoker and grill and to stoke my own wood box I can cook up some damn tasty meat. Good thing too, because what passes for BBQ out here in California is a damn shame.  

Tex-Mex is few and far between, but the chain Cafe Rio does the subgenre justice and they easily have the best queso I have found in the state.

Californians do love their avocado this and mango that. And for the love of Gad stop putting fruit in sweet tea. Raspberry, passion, watermelon. All of that shit is perfume water not suitable for hydration. McCalisters Deli can you please bring your southern sweet tea to SoCal?

And don't even get me started on quality french fries. The venerable Golden Light Cafe in Old Route 66 in Amarillo, Blue Sky, and Coyote Bluff all serve up a hand-cut style of fry that might as well be a Brontosaurus in California. 

In-n-Out is not Whataburger. I don't hate their small little round burgers, but I have to eat two if I want to be satisfied, And their bland fries are palatable, when dipped in the imported salty greatness that is Whataburger ketchup.

I have railed enough for today, but soon I will be back to highlight the things I love most about my life here in So Cal. 




Linda Broday said...

Hey, any time you want to come on back....We're waitin' for you! Texas is more than a state of mind. But I'm happy you're happy.

Stephen Parrish said...

Having never been to either Texas or California, I'll have to take your word for everything. I love the story about you and Connie. You did good, Travis.

savannah said...

Congratulations! California is great place to be with the ones you love and even better when you have your own smoker! ;~) xo

p.s. TOTALLY agree with you about Goodell! GEAUX SAINTS!

the walking man said...

I can see the draw of both states. The constant breezes of the Panhandle compare favorably with the same off the ocean (only not as ever present). Although there is no apt comparison of the food I will admit that West L.A. was my introduction to burritoville more than 40 years ago.

I think you done good Travis but I have one question that may or may not have been previously answered..are you still working with the old outfit?

All in be well and content.

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