Glad to be back to my blogging. I've missed it. And a lot has happened since I've gone sporadic that I might never get around to talking about. I'm going to be around now until February when I have to cut out of town for a few days for a surprise birthday party for my mom. I'm not about to give a travelogue of my recent trips, a specialized form of reporting that I don't think I'm very good at anyway. But I will say, I enjoyed seeing Austin for the first time, and I liked the Texas hill country. It's rugged looking and like just about any countryside, beautiful in a way that's all its own. LBJ library (only one with free parking and admission among presidential libraries, we learned) and ranch are well worth seeing.
I was struck once again by the magnificent skyline of Chicago. Kind and old friends put me up every time I'm there in their magnificent three-story house just minutes from downtown and one L stop from Wrigley Field. The drive down from there to Louisville where I attended the Southern Historical Association convention--well, I was in the same hotel, but I didn't go to a single session--wasn't all that exciting. (Conventions are for gathering with old friends; more on that later.) The countryside south of Chicago and in northern Indiana is fairly non-descript, but the closer you get to the Ohio River, the more green, hilly, and forested the country became. Louisville, a town established in the late 18th century, during the American Revolution, in fact, has inherent interest for a historian like me. Autumn blazed out in magnificent glory all over the city. Same for Chicago. Something this southern boy never saw in his youth was the gorgeous free display all the trees and bushes put on to celebrate the fall. Went to the Louisville Slugger museum while I was there and got myself a bat with a Texas Ranger logo and my name on it. That's the world's largest baseball bat in the picture.
Had a blast seeing everyone, all my good friends from graduate school, all accomplished scholars to a greater or lesser degree. What a blast spending time with all those guys, despite the various health problems of some, something that comes with this current age territory. And having now seen a good deal of life, I've concluded that nothing much matters but family and friends. Come to think of it, that's all I would say does matter. Anything else can be replaced.