Saturday, June 19, 2021

Texas Throwback: Does and Bees

     One rarely breaks away from a place cleanly. Our former homes exert a gravitational pull. So while safely landed in her native Chicago, our former Austin bureau chief Caren Jeskey feels the tug of friends left behind.

     When a single person such as myself enjoyed meals al Fresco at fancy Italian joints in COVID safe Austin last summer, sometimes interesting characters would appear. While dining at Asti on 42nd and Duval, two dapper men in casually rumpled linen and felted Goorin Brothers hats sat with me on the sparsely populated patio. I wanted to go right over and join them. “What’s your story?” I’d say.
     Alas, I was far from decked out in my sporty wear during a long walkabout, and did not want to disturb their refined dining experience. Destiny had a different plan. I was wearing a button on my jean jacket and the astute waiter said “if you like buttons, you should talk to Jesse.” Jesse was the good-looking, mustached, longish reddish haired fancy man at the table across the way.“What the heck?” I thought, and I went over. Jesse and Stan were every bit as classy, reserved, and charming as I could have imagined. Jesse’s generous and loving spirt led him to present me with a one of a kind original, a button he made that stated “Ride The Ever Present Now.” I promptly affixed it to my fanny pack and promised to do so.
     This was the beginning of a sweet friendship. My favorite thing about Stan is his calm, slightly bemused, twinkly-eyed demeanor. Jesse is warm and sends inspirational texts JUST when you need them.
     One day, Jesse left a box of haute button-up shirts, padded hangers, and inspiring buttons on my porch. He asked me to donate the clothes and dole out the buttons to folks who needed a pick me up. I gave several of the buttons to my friend Kaitlin, who's a teacher. She was excited at the thought of including them in goodie bags for the kids she teaches.
     Every time someone complimented a button on my fanny pack, I'd remove it and hand it over to them. They were delighted, just as Jesse delighted me.
     Jesse loves bees. He created feeders for the yellow and black little buddies of ours, and regaled me with photos of them chomping down on sugar water. Jesse loves deer. He developed special friendships with the four leggeds who frequented his home in the hills of north Austin, giving them names like Cornbud and Cabbage Leaf, and I gleaned from his delight when he’d send me photos of his visitors.
     Since I have been back in Chicago, Jesse checks in regularly with cheerful messages that remind me that there is goodness in the world.
     “I’m listening to Klaus Schulze’s Moondawn on Spotify right now because the moon is shining in the skylight right over my room” and “I think Chicago is your placeYou settle in there for a while and find a place to fly your flag! I think you’re gonna have a great time there!” That’s a lot of rainbows. Thank you Jesse. It’s people like you who make the world go ‘round without much squeaking.
Stan and Jesse

1 comment:

  1. Thanks you for this. What a delightful custom, to give a button to a complimenter.


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