Friday, March 13, 2015

Texas Obsessions: Ball Moss, Gutters and Beans

Dear Readers,

How are you? Well? Sick? Tired? Ready for Spring? Me too. Don't worry. It'll be here soon.

I have spent the last week here at my grandparent's house in Texas. It has been very relaxing and sweet. I love being with my grandparents. I want to share some of my Texas obsessions. They are things that I think are very specific to Texas, or at least this part of it and they are emblematic of this visit.

1) This is a plant that I have seen in all the trees here in San Marcos. My grandpa says that it is called "Ball Moss" or "Tilandsia recurvata". Apparently it feeds off the air and does no harm to plants, but merely roosts in them and lives. I like them because they have these delicate tendrils sprouting out of them. They are a tangle of light green sprouts which sometimes fall in a clump onto the sidewalk. I think they are lovely and bizarre like aliens. 
2) The next thing that defines this area of Texas for me are the street gutters. I think they are crazy. They are about five feet long and one foot high. Rather than being a grate embedded in the side of the curb it is a big gaping hole. Any small person could slip right down into the hole. I imagine tiny children accidentally slipping through. That also made me think that anything could also crawl out of the holes. Shudder. 
3) The last thing that I now associate with this trip to Texas is beans. Pinto beans to be exact. The first night I was here (it feels like months ago) I ordered a side of pinto beans with chunks of ham. I had just got off the plane and my stomach was still settling. When the beans arrived they turned out to be a tiny bowl with about 10 beans and 1 piece of ham mixed in. It was the measliest bowl of beans ever. When the waiter brought my grandparents full chef's salads and me the tiny bowl of beans I tried to keep a straight face as if to say "I totally meant to only order these three beans in this teeny bowl and nothing else." The three of us laughed about it after the waiter left and they shared some of their salad with me. That incident began my love of beans. On this trip I have eaten them whenever the occasion has arisen. 

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