Leaving Houston

Several days ago, we packed up everything we own, sold my old Subaru, rented a van to carry the dogs and all their goods, and took off from Houston for Louisville, Kentucky. After two days of driving, including a harrowing period of blinding rain and a three-hour detour off a closed interstate (around, sadly, a fatal accident), we arrived at our short-term furnished rental apartment. I hope to write about the move, selling the house, and the process of creating a new life in a new town. But for now, some brief reflections on what I will miss the most.

My current top five:

November: We moved to Houston in November, 2003. I remember walking down West Gray one evening at dusk after we’d first arrived,  the tall palms silhouetted against the blackening sky, the moon lighting the white and black art deco River Oaks shopping center, the dry coolness a winter revelation to this Northerner. I love the cold. But winter in Houston makes everyone glad to be alive.

Post-hurricane street parties: Rita veered towards east Texas at the last minute, but Ike hit head-on, shattering windows, downing trees, and shutting our power off for ten days. We headed out to the court between the town homes, grilled all the steaks in the freezer, shared beer and wine, and got to know our neighbors.

Breakfast: We look for breakfast wherever we travel. Houston gave us migas at The Buffalo Grille (eggs scrambled with salsa and corn tortillas and topped with cheese) and Pondicheri’s morning oats (oatmeal with Indian flavors) or scrambled eggs with keema and paratha. It’s the most important meal of the day.

Herons: The night before we left town, we drove onto our court and were greeted by a wandering heron. After Ike destroyed the tree canopy in Galveston, the herons moved inland to nest. Come April, they inhabit the live oaks on North and South Boulevards. We visit them each Sunday morning on our long pre-dawn walks with Jack, the hound. And occasionally they venture across the Southwest Freeway to visit our lower-rent neighborhood.

Diversity: We’ve already seen much renewal here in Louisville, but I don’t believe we will find the same level of diversity that we did in Houston. Race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, likes and dislikes — you can find it all, and much of it side by side. I will miss the Montrose/Museum District mix.

Ciao, Houston. Thank you for eight fabulous years.

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