I made it to Missouri. In three days I drove over nine hundred miles to visit Amy in Columbia. I met her med school friends, did her laundry, cleaned out her back closet and hung out with my cousins at the pool. Downtown Columbia is a lot like Austin only much smaller. I finally ate at Shakespeare's, a great pizza joint, and I finally saw Ruthie perform live (her website is under family). She was quite good and I felt almost like a mother or grandmother would as I filled with pride watching her perform.
My wallet however emptied as I was charged five dollars at the door (not to mention the cost of beer and tip) to get into a bar that had only about ten people in it, mostly locals. I met the man who brings his long haired wiener dog to the shows, and the man who hides his wiener under a dress and fake breasts, Natalie. There was also a drunken young man with a severe limp saying hello to everyone, four Hispanic cowboys, three friends of the guy singing on stage, the bouncer, the bartender, my cousin the hippie and me. Definitely not what I anticipated. In fact, it was probably the most random assortment of people I've ever sat in the same smoky room with. Usually you can peg a bar: the Library has mostly frat kids, the Ritz gets the punk kids, the Black Cat all the middle age reminiscers. But no one in this bar seemed to fit. We were all misfits looking for the end of a stressful week, a break before the dawn of day. We were there to hear Lux and be soothed by Ruth's pure tone and unique style.
And we were, sort of. Although I don't know if I could have relaxed at all being in Columbia worrying about my sister Amy non-stop. Not even cheap beer and good music could do the trick. But it was an evening, and it was Ruthie, and I was proud . . . and humored by the crowd.
And now I'm in St Jo Mo. The famous, the infamous. Hanging out with the rents and my grandparents, mulling over my life - my childhood, my future, and meeting kids I used to baby-sit who are now getting married. WTF? When did they grow up? When did I? And how much more growing up do I have to do before I'll be satisfied?
I don't know, but for now I'm resigning myself to a vacation in St. Joseph: garage sales, swimming pools, Sunday school dinners, what could be better? Perhaps another trip to Ruthie's bar with the dogs, transvestites and hippies. But St. Joe's got its own delights to offer I'm sure. I can only imagine what an evening at the Ho will have in store . . .
Until next time . . . this is Ann, signing off from the 1997 All American City. Sweet dreams and goodnight.