Sunday, February 09, 2014
Look at those Gun(n)s!
Everyone needs a winter break, so last week I took a few days off to visit Janet at Camp Runamok in Athens. (Texas.) Normally this means traipsing all over the East Texas countryside in search of interesting dead people and other fun things. Last year we found Mrs. Nugent.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature is conspiring against us all. Tuesday morning, as I was leaving the gym, I discovered that the dangers of black ice extend to pedestrians, not just motorists. Now I'm on crutches.
I've never used crutches before in my entire life. What an upper body workout! Damn! My traipsing is seriously curtailed, but I made the trip anyway, only to discover that East Texas is about as cold and snowy as West Texas. Thoroughly unfair, but still fun.
Janet and I spent an afternoon in an artisan shop and an art gallery in the official "Coolest Small Town in Texas". And yes, I will be going back for the live music and food in the warmer months. The next afternoon we took a trip to Navarro College in Corsicana, where we perused some of their thousands of bits of Civil War correspondence and artifacts and hundreds of impressive Western paintings.
Even if Janet and I are doing nothing more than sitting around comparing Facebook postings or bidding Jay Leno adieu and evaluating Jimmy Fallon's chances, (good, we say) we still have a lot of fun.
This was the first - and hopefully only - trip to Athens that passed without me taking a single photo. Cripping around on crutches saps one's creative energy and makes photography a chore. It also makes you acutely aware of how minimal and pathetic your upper body strength is. I am pretty sure I'm going to be all buff and six-packy by the time I'm done with these sticks. My arms are gonna be ripped! (Out of the sockets, possibly.)
I slipped, I fell, I crutched, but I had fun!
As I was making the drive east on Wednesday, I took a break from my audiobook to listen to some NPR. Fresh Air was on and I caught the very beginning of an interview with Tim Gunn. I've never watched any of his television shows, but his various commercials and such make me think he's a dapper, genuinely nice man with a beautiful voice. Within moments the interview had my full attention. Tim Gunn is a seriously amazing person. I was not surprised that he is as classy a man as I'd assumed, but I was surprised to learn that Gunn's father is responsible for making me the person I am today.
(Gunn's mother was the first librarian for the CIA. That has nothing to do with anything, but isn't that cool?)
Tim's father worked for the FBI. He worked his way up through the agency, eventually becoming J. Edgar Hoover's right hand man. He was Hoover's ghost-writer; writing his memos, his speeches...and his books. Anyone know where this is going?
He wrote Hoover's books. Tim Gunn's father must have written the book. The book that I checked out, over and over again, from the church library in that small, dirty, desolate town where I spent several of my formative years.
The book that convinced me I could and should grow up to be a G-man, which became my life's goal. Except for the 'man' bit. I read that book numerous times, and I held that dream fast until I was about halfway through college, when I realized I would find a better fit in a different arm of law enforcement. But that one book - a silly, propaganda-heavy book about how the FBI needed smart, ethical young men - evidently written by Tim Gunn's father, set the direction for my entire life.
And still does.
And it's fun.