Our extended visit to the States is in full swing! In less than three weeks, we have crossed the ocean, celebrated my birthday with Matt & Nancy in Austin, Texas, had a great, but short, time with Janice’s mother and her brothers’ families in Gulfport, Mississippi, had a not-so-profitable visit to the Greek Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, been officially reoriented with our organization and returned to Texas.
The San Antonians have already made us feel so welcome. Randy met us at the airport and we shared a great Tex Mex dinner with Joann & John David and Barbara on Friday evening. Emmanuel brought us the loaner vehicle on Saturday and we figured out how to get back to our temporary home with only one freeway mistake. On Sunday, we worshipped with Trinity Baptist Church, in whose guest residence we are temporarily residing and even figured out how to arm and disarm the security system!
Since we have been adopted Texans for over forty years, we are happy to be back where the Lone Star flies high and proud. Today, in San Antonio, when we enjoyed a quick, refresher walk through the Alamo and some vintage Texas culinary delights at a place called “Good Time Charlie’s,” I felt the urge to lift a glass of root beer and propose a toast to Texas.
So…, Here’s to Texas:
Where “beer belly” and “country fried” are redundancies, at least to some!
Where unsweetened tea is an option, as opposed to Mississippi, where sweet is naturally assumed!
Where Tex Mex stands for much more than just spicy food!
Where the locals know themselves to be a part of a distinct southwestern culture, yet also celebrate their global connectedness!
Where Blue Bell still rings my bells!
Where Halloween tricksters began early by cutting up and carting off the front license plate on the vehicle, which has been generously loaned to us, while we’re in Texas!
Where, contrary to the Greek bureaucracy, we managed to get replacement license plates in only two days, despite the reality that the vehicle's owners currently live in India!
Where a delightful, informative and free newspaper can be appropriately entitled “Much Ado”!
Where some of our luggage will wait for us, while we travel about the country raising funds and friends for PORTA – the Albania House in Athens!
Where Pastor Les Hollon still makes house calls and has an open door policy!
Where Baptists know themselves to be among a blessed family, but where their vision is wide enough to include Albanian immigrants in Athens, Greece!
Where, despite the various versions of the “new normal” around the globe, time-tested and eternal values are still held by loads of good people!
Where, despite the xenophobia of some and the nearness of the border, a welcome to the stranger is as warm as jalapenos are hot!
Thanks, Texas! You did not birth us, but you helped to raise us and you keep on raising our sights and our hopes!