art, Texas, church celebration

thinking that i was going to be knee deep in the process of moving this past weekend, i never made extended plans for a trip home; however, a trip home was important to me and i had been planning it for some time. the reason? the methodist espiscopal church in art was celebrating 150 years of m.e. in central Texas (1856-2006). my ancestors have been members of the congregation since its inception, and helped build the churches — including the current one, which was built in 1890. in fact, my great great great grandfather (my grandmother’s grandfather) ernst jordan donated the land for the church. they were planning to have a service with a history of the church, followed by a chuck wagon lunch and visiting afterward. so i wanted to be there.
i left saturday morning and picked up my brother in austin. we then headed to brady. the two interesting bits of the journey were the argument we got in over the appropriateness or lack thereof of smoking bans (houston just extended theirs recently and austin has had one for a while) and my realtor calling right as i was getting to the edge of brady.
once there, we headed with the parents to brownwood to eat at underwood’s and see a movie. (i’ll discuss the movie in a separate entry.) i guess a combination of various things caused me to be retrospective and sullen after the movie, and when we got back home i pretty much just went to bed. it was a restless night of sleep occupied by dreams of me arguing with tamara about what happened with us and why it happened and who did what wrong. good times.
sunday morning we got up and headed over to my grandmother’s for breakfast. after that we headed down to art. the weather was chilly, but the sun was shining and if you were out of the wind it wasn’t too bad. we spent a fair bit of time outside the church, both before and after the service. most people had nametags, and it was weird to see all of these people running around with my last name. old people, kids, toddlers…i’m used to my name being an oddity and mostly older people having it. plus there were plenty of other people with other german names that i’m either related to somehow or familiar with from the area. there were probably 350 or more people there, which was a problem for a church which only seats around 200. a lot of people stood. they had spent some time putting together a slide show detailing the history of the church. there were some pretty cool pictures (including a few with my dad as a very young child in the youth group), but it seemed to have too many more recent pictures. (maybe i wouldn’t think that if i were a regular there and knew a bunch of the people from the last 30 or so years.) they sold copies of the show afterward and my parents bought one, so i should have access to the pictures. near the end of the service they opened all of the outer window shutters and the inside of the church lit up with the sunlight coming in through the stained glass windows. (when i was young, only one or two were stained glass, and those were recent then. now they all are.) the chuck wagon meal was good, although not great. during the lunch, i also got to see and speak with a number of relatives that i don’t see very often. (though obviously i’m not much of a social fellow. which i seem to get from my dad. and probably my dad’s dad too.) overall i’m glad i went and was able to participate in the event. it’s a cool connection to have with the area.
after it was over, my brother and i hopped in my car and we headed back to austin. after a brief respite there, i headed back to houston. all told, i left houston around 9:15am saturday and got back around 7:15pm sunday. a short timeline for all of that driving.
while i was sitting there under the pavilion hanging out with my family and a bunch of extended family and people who live in the area, i reconnected with how much i love the central Texas land. i have deep roots in the area, and we own land just a quarter to half mile from the church, across willow creek. i’d love to be in austin, or even there in art if i thought i could pull it off. it was then that the feeling sort of struck me that maybe i’m just a rural boy, and this whole experiment — me going off to college and getting a complex degree, moving to the big city and getting a techincal job, marrying a yankee city girl — it was all a failure, it all fell apart and left me brokenhearted and taken advantage of, and it’s time to just admit defeat…time to admit i’ve been beaten by a system i was never made to be a part of, and i should just head back home to where i truly belong.
which sounds nice and neat and tidy, but there are some sticking points. one, i don’t think i’m quite as simple as that. two, it hasn’t really all been a failure. three, if i moved back and lived by myself in the country i’d probably end up writing manifestos and getting arrested for committing violent acts against society. i really would still like to have the opportunity to be a boyfriend, and husband, and father. i’m not sure i’m ready to resign myself to spending the rest of my life as a manifesto-writing hermit. which doesn’t mean it’s not a possible future, of course.

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