As I sat in a coffee shop escaping the heat of the day, a table of ladies spanning three generations was eyeing the painting I was completing over my shoulder. I wished I could give it to them, but since I had already promised it to another, I offered to draw their portraits.

Marge and Cassie took me up on my offer and both took turns sitting for me. They were interesting to talk to and a delight to sketch. Grandma was proud of her girls, and very kind to me.

Later that night Bart and DJ offered to let me sleep on the porch of their dispatch station to escape the coming storm. It turned out to be a pretty sleepless night, but my weary eyes were emboldened by Bart’s generosity to me. He offered me coffee and a sandwich and at shift change, and told me where I could get a couple more winks of sleep should I choose.

Bart calls everyone Sir or Ma’am, even when he knows him or her well. He was born 2 miles down the road from where he works. He said he has tried living other places, but they just don’t suit him right. The love of his life is his wife, of her he says, “If it weren’t for her I be dead, in jail, drunk, or just plain dumb.”

I’m sad to say goodbye to Texas, there have been so many people here that I found fascinating and kind. As they say, “If you isn’t from the South…’Bless your heart.’”

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