My son and I left today for our annual father/son trip. What started with zoos, hotel pools, and baseball games, has morphed into concerts and college visits. One of our favorite trips was to West Texas a few years ago. We hiked in Big Bend National Park, marveled at the starry sky, walked along train tracks, watched Abbott & Costello movies, and forgot about the rest of the world for a little while.
Hugh MacLeod, the cartoonist and author known as Gaping Void, was based in Alpine, TX at the time. We hadn't met, but had enjoyed a few online conversations. When he saw that we were making the trip west, he invited us to join him for a drink. So one night, my son and I drove to a tiny bar, found Hugh amongst the other regulars, and spent an hour at a picnic table talking about life, art, books, and truth. Swatting flies and trading lies, as my father used to say.
We couldn't have been more out of place or felt more at home.
While we drove the 35 miles back to our hotel in the spare darkness, I couldn't stop thinking about the beauty of hospitality. An invite and introduction; pulling up a chair and buying a drink; welcoming someone to your world and being curious about theirs.
A ran into Hugh nearly two years later in Austin. The first thing he said was, "How's that boy of yours?"