Oct 4th, 2005 Posted in Free Form | Comments Off

Maureen, Brittany and I just spent 5 plus days in Austin, Texas for a music filled vacation. Cailean fortunately went to Austin with us 3 times when he was younger. It’s impossible to attend something like the Austin City Limits Music Festival and not be confronted with his memory in innumerable ways. The roster of “festival acts” read like a random list of his favorite bands: The Allman Brothers, Coldplay, Oasis, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler and Mike Doughty. He would have been in his glory getting to see all these musicians in one place.

There were many other things that triggered thoughts of him. As we drove past the former store for the Strait Music Company, I remembered that he went there several times to hang out in their guitar room while trying out as many instruments as possible. That is also the store where I bought his fancy mandolin several years ago. I also remenbered him at the Waterloo Ice House where he had ordered hamburgers while we looked at the cds which we had bought next door at Waterloo Records. He loved the Ice House because the walls of the bathroom were covered with baseball cards. When we drove north on Brazos I remembered the many nights we spent at the Northgate Suites Hotel where he had his own room and his own tv remote. Across the parking lot was a mall which had another guitar store where he went by himself practically dominating the practice room. And there was a large sporting goods store where he and I would shoot hoops or practice putt as we easily outdid Bob Stone and David Leff. And he could hang out with those cute and mischievious Stone girls at the pool.

We also went to the Broken Spoke where he had been several times. One year when he was around 7 years old, I wondered where he was – and then found him playing pool with 3 adults in the back room. When we drove to the Oasis on Lake Travis, I remembered the time that Cailean and I got out of the car in order to kick at the anthills which were full of dangerous fire ants. When we drove by the Driskill Hotel, I saw the back alley where he and his dad both took a furtive leak one night at the same time – I guess we both had to go. Down the street is the old Ritz Theatre. One night he was there reading a book while the rest of us watched the Dead Reckoning band give a show. He turned to me and said he had to go to the bathroom. I said ok and pointed to where the men’s room was. He then said ” DAD, PLEASE PUT YOUR FINGER ON THAT WORD UNTIL I COME BACK.” He then came back and began to read again from that word forward.

Ultimately, the appeal of Austin is that of life itself: amazing music and restaurants and great things to do with friends and family. The cruel unfairness of his not being the centerpiece of those five days is unending for he will always was and will be my one and only “Austin Texas Buddy.” How I wish I could put my finger on that word one more time. Thanks Cailean for giving your dad so many wonderful and enduring memories. You would haved loved seeing the Calvin Russell band at the Ice House at 2 in the morning. It was amazing.