Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sixth Floor Museum keeps JFK story relevant

It’s a chilling scene. A museum with an unfinished corner behind glass is made up to reflect how the Texas school book depository looked the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

The rest of the Sixth Floor Museum has a modern ‘60s look, with oversized black and white portraits and footage telling much of the Kennedy story and how the world reacted to his death. I’d visited years ago and wanted my husband to see it. We went through the exhibits with headphones, in a private way. All this happened before we were born, yet it seems as if we’d lived it in the collective conscience of America.

At end, in the gift shop, he mentioned something being the same as “before.” After all the maneuvering to get to the museum, park, pay, etc., he never mentioned he’d been before… with me, in fact. I can only sum up that the experience is so intense and personal, especially as one is listening to headphones instead of engaging with companions, that in my memory, I was all wrapped up in my thoughts “before.”

My Dallas/Plano venture on a cold, rainy winter’s weekend included a burger at Deep Ellum’s Angry Dog after a nostalgic trek through vintage shops and a quick gaze at Neiman Marcus’ $600 handbags. My rare brush with uber expensive window shopping involved “occupy” type protesters on the street.

But don’t worry, I took refuge down the street at St. Jude Chapel. The sweet women there directed me to the downtown Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe for a memorable Saturday evening Mass.

With weather too dreary for more touristy fare, eating became a big deal and I’d like to thank the Plano Hampton Inn front desk for sending me to Gloria’s and Patrizio. Gloria’s featured Salvadorian food and reminded me of the kind of restaurant featured in “CSI Miami.” There were beautiful couples in beautiful clothes in this glamorous place with hot Latin music. We feasted on foods wrapped in banana leaves and enjoyed the view.

Patrizio is Italian food that somehow fits in a glorified strip mall. I don’t know how they did it, but once inside it looks like an old house with a fireplace and rugs (and a giant bar in the corner.) We chose one eggplant dish and one lasagna, but wondered was on high stands at other tables. It was the pizza, and diners we quizzed said it was good.

I spent about 20 minutes and $6 at an ALDI market. I’d heard of these basic, money-saving stores and I consider them like a Sam’s for singles. In other words, you can save money by bringing your own sack and shipping from cardboard boxes, but you can leave with a single can of mushrooms instead of a case. For my $6 I got cans of food, pork rinds for my road trip home and an amazingly- good merlot. When I got home, my husband pointed out this bottle of Winking Owl seems slightly smaller than other brands. For a price like $2.69, I’m not complaining. I opened it and watched “Spartacus” for the first time.

My final adventure was getting gas at one of those Buc-ee’s mega stops with the beaver. I kept saying we could make it, and the day was so gray we each kind of nudged the other into committing to fill the tank in the cold. My husband told me he paid for it, and headed to the bathroom while I walked around in search of my customary lucky penny find.

Miles down the road he exclaimed “You didn’t fill it up?”

We each thought the other had done so. We headed back and guess what? They remembered him, because the paying-without-filling transaction had messed up the tank order for the next customer. Thanks Buc-ee’s for letting the Castillos get our gas and make it home to Southeast Texas.

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