A dear friend is nearing the end of her Texas stay. She's going to graduate a daughter in May and then pack her kids and Texas memories and relocate north where snow comes more often than once a decade and a husband who has already picked up stakes awaits her.
This weekend we added to her photo album with a trip to Austin. Though she's been a resident for eight years and seen some great Texas sights, she had yet to experience the capital city. Another buddy had a birthday this week so we loaded up the car on Friday afternoon and the three of us made our way there to commemorate and celebrate . Home base was at the place of yet another member of this chosen family. He was host, tour guide and general champion of all things fun.
South Congress shops amused us with funky pins, posters, magnets and toys for grown ups. We experienced great food (including the best pork chop I've ever consumed at a place called The Woodland) at venues cheap and upscale. A tour of UT and a women's basketball game (that they somehow lost until the last minutes of overtime when Iowa State took the lead and kept it), music, walks around the lake, climbing the hills to take in the vistas and some of the most incredible sunsets -- these were all captured on film and in our hearts.
I took one very memorable photo of the three of them. The idea was that I was going to get this incredible wide shot with them in the foreground and the hills behind. Instead, I zoomed in. Each one smiled for their own reason. One because one more year was being recognized by those who loved him. Another because he knew he'd made another convert to the city that claimed his passion years ago. But hers was the widest, the most compelling. Her eyes were bright and the moment of perfect clarity was there for all to see. Her face conveyed what we all knew ... these moments are rare and few and while the future is bright, "now" is to be cherished.
I'm glad the viewfinder on these digital cameras work so well. My tears made it really hard to focus.