I argued that she was a native Texan and therefore didn't know what
she was talking about. This, I have found, is pretty sound
reasoning in any argument, although it does strain marital
relations at times. (Hon, it's a joke. A joke. Geez, those Texans
are so sensitive.)
She and I flew into Boston and drove up the coast to Bar Harbor,
then north into the woods and across the state into the mountains
of New Hampshire and Vermont. I don't believe her jaw unslackened
the whole trip. "So," she said at one point, as we rounded yet
another bend to reveal yet another color-soaked vista, "this is
I took my son, Sam, to Maine one year. He was about 9. Dazzled by
the psychedelic panorama and the ubiquitous lobster rolls, he loved
it so much that he claims to this day that Maine is where he wants
to live. I don't have the heart to tell him that it isn't autumn
More than once, I went to Michigan, where I drove along the
shoreline of Lake Superior in the state's Upper Peninsula, a place
so remote the locals have their own identity: Yooper, a derivation
of the area's acronym, U.P. They even have their own food up there.
It's a simple, hearty meat-and-vegetable pastry foldover called a
pasty (pronounced past-ee, like repast).
A couple of times I went to New York, where a walk through Central
Park may not equal the splendor of Maine, but is startling because
it surprises, and, in any event, has the advantage of being in the
same corner of the city as the Carnegie Deli, home of the world's
best pastrami sandwich.
One year, I found myself on the slopes of Mt. Hood in Oregon, where
it snowed so furiously through the night I thought I might have to
spend several extra days there. Alas, I navigated my car down the
mountain through the predawn blizzard and made it back to the
airport and home in time to enjoy the remaining days of
90-something-degree Texas heat.