Livia and I drove down to Brownwood today for my Uncle Sidney's 90th birthday party. It was really good to see him and visit with some other relatives we don't see that often. During World War II, Sidney was a medic in Burma, and I always enjoyed listening to his stories about those days, although I imagine it wasn't nearly as enjoyable living through them.
I like Brownwood, and I like the drive down there. There's usually not much traffic and the countryside is pretty. I spent a lot of time in that area as a kid because we had a ton of relatives there. I probably drove Livia a little crazy by constantly telling her where things used to be, like in Stephenville where I pointed to a strip mall and said, "There used to be a little used bookstore there, but I only went to it once." Then it was, "There used to be a drugstore there where I bought an Ellery Queen paperback and a Thomas B. Dewey paperback and a Walt Slade novel." We stopped at the Hastings in Brownwood, and I said, "This used to be a grocery store, and when it was, the paperback rack was right over there, and I remember buying Louis L'Amour's FLINT here, and some Donald E. Westlake book that I can't remember the title of, but I can see the cover in my head . . ." And I didn't even tell her about the time I sat in the car outside a nursing home in Brownwood and read Edward S. Aarons' ASSIGNMENT - SCHOOL FOR SPIES. She probably thinks I'm a little nuts, and I'm sure some of you do, too, but I'll bet some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Yeah, it was a good trip . . . the real one, and the one into the past inside my head.