I wrote in 2015 about how people lament what Austin used to be and perhaps the folks complaining might not have a “dog in that fight” having not been here in the 70’s or before it really grew.
This post isn’t about that.
Today I was in town, coming in early to stay closer to airport for an earlier flight. Living outside of the city at the moment makes some mornings too early for my departures. Being in town I hit a movie off south Lamar before heading to my downtown hotel. I love downtown. I love both sides of Town Lake. Always have.
I wasn’t born in Austin but we moved here when I was in elementary school because my dad went to UT and he loved the city and wanted to be close to his Longhorn sports. I am grateful everyday because I do consider it my hometown. It’s where I grew up and I have family in the area, including my Longhorn son.o
Shortly after we made the move, my dad took my brothers and I to see the Capitol. But he took us a different way to get there. He went across Town Lake by the auditorium so that we would come from south Congress Avenue crossing that bridge. Before we crossed he said “take a look at that view kids. See the Capitol. It is taller than the United States Capitol in Washington. This is the greatest street leading to Texas State Capitol. The greatest state in the country.” It was his favorite view. As kids we just stared in awe as we rode up Congress and drove into the main entrance of the Capitol and lawn. Which you could do back then. The pre-911 barrier world. We would park and run around the lawn like it was our house and yard. Everyone did.
It is my practice to this day as I did tonight, if I am on south side of Town Lake aka Lady Bird Lake (as an aside Lady Bird did not want it changed to her name) I will route my drive to go north on Congress to see The Capitol.
Tonight the lights of downtown glittered. Signs of so much development since I was kid. But I didn’t curse the many tall buildings that have changed the skyline. I actually began to cry a little from joy. In my head I can hear my dad’s booming voice before we came over the bridge. I am proud to be 6th generation. I love Austin, I loved it then when it was smaller and I love it now warts and all.
Because I can still drive up Congress day or night and see that beautiful building that belongs to Texans. Change was inevitable as it is beautiful city as far as I am concerned. I don’t know how anyone thought that would be a secret.
As it was my dad’s it is my favorite street in my favorite city in all the world.