There’s lots of work yet to be done on my personality, specifically regarding my attitude toward the weather. I know it’s incredibly juvenile, but I take it personally when the weather doesn’t cooperate with my plans.
I still hold it against Los Angeles that it suffered a cold snap when we visited in the spring of 2012. We’ve always considered ourselves a lucky family—among other reasons because the weather seems to break in our favor on vacations.
So what does it say about us when it doesn’t?
My understanding is that by the time you reach a certain age you’ve come to peace with the fact that there are some things you can’t do anything about. You’re supposed to be a grown-up and take life with grace and equanimity.
I find my disposition heading in the opposite direction.
It’s not that I find existence unremittingly bleak and hopeless.
For example, I can’t understand why everybody doesn’t fight for the window seats on airplanes.
Or why some of those who score windows inevitably lower the shades.
This is the best planet so far. Interstellar space is cold, dark and hostile.
Yet, matter has managed to arrange itself in our neighborhood so that we have blue skies and puffy clouds, at least when it’s not cool and drizzling, as it was over the weekend in Austin where we traveled to my nephew Evan’s wedding.
After an unseasonably moderate summer in New York, I was looking forward to several days of global warming, to basking by the hotel pool in temperatures in the low 100s. As it had been all summer in Austin.
In anticipation, I even read the second volume of Robert Caro’s biography of LBJ—the one where a sweat-stained Lyndon Johnson barnstorms Texas during the sweltering summer of his 1948 U.S. Senate race.
I was looking forward to touring the LBJ library when I visited Austin, but as much for the air-conditioning as the American history, or for these neat phones you can pick up and hear recordings of the president cajoling, browbeating, flirting, and scheming with everyone from Harry Truman and Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham to Martin Luther King Jr. and J. Edgar Hoover.
My only other solid plans, as I may have stated, were to sit by the pool, tempt sun poisoning, eat lots of barbecue and attend my nephew’s wedding.
The night we arrived was suitably torrid and made me wonder why anyone would want to live there.
The following morning was equally equatorial. But that afternoon, the thermometer plummeted into the 60s and showers started. Locals told it hadn’t been that clement since the last Ice Age.
I was obviously elated for Austinites that their drought seemed to have broken.
I could almost hear the trees sobbing in gratitude.
But couldn’t the rain have held off until after I’d left?
I also visited the magnificent Texas statehouse and the Blanton Museum of Art, which houses the fine Suida-Manning Collection of old master paintings.
On the other hand, as magnificent as their Rubens, Claude Lorrains, and Guercinos, I don’t know how eager I’d have been to see art if the sun had been out.
Indeed, the only sun all weekend occurred Sunday evening during the wedding.
As the outdoor ceremony at the Salt Lick—not far from Austin, the barbecue joint is one of the more famous in Texas, if not the U.S.—was starting, the sun broke through the clouds as if to bless the union.
When all is said and done, that is what I’ll remember: the happiness of the young couple, the amount of tequila I managed to consume at the rehearsal dinner the previous evening without any trace of hangover, and the spirited toast my daughter, Lucy, offered.
Evan and his bride, Samantha, met in 2006 when he attended a play in which Sam and Lucy were performing at their high school.
Standing offstage between scenes, Sam asked Lucy who the handsome young man sitting with us was, and expressed a desire to be introduced.
The marriage last weekend was the result of that introduction.
The mind has a lovely way of enlarging some memories and minimizing others.
I’m confident that what I’ll best remember about the weekend is the maximum fun that everybody had, myself included.
And the entire experience will be bathed in sunlight, as it was Sunday evening as Evan awaited Sam at the chuppah, as her parents, Michael and Marita, led her down the aisle.
Lucy, booked on a later flight back to New York, told us the weather broke shortly after our plane took off. She and her boyfriend, John, even went swimming.
I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned. I just haven’t figured out what it is.