“The bonfire symbolizes two things,” reads the 1947 Texas A&M freshman handbook. “A burning desire to beat the team from the University of Texas, and the undying flame of love that every loyal Aggie carries in his heart for the school.”
THEY BEGAN ARRIVING AT THE MISSION PARK Funeral Home in San Antonio early on a Friday afternoon. They came in packs, riding two, sometimes three abreast, their motorcycles roaring loudly enough to rattle all the funeral home’s windows.
Scene: The second floor of the Marq*E Entertainment Center, a mall in West Houston, around midday. A fifteen-year-old girl, TAMI, and thirteen-year-olds PATTI and ANGEL are standing together in an arcade. Each is wearing tight hip-hugger jeans. TAMI is a petite, talkative girl with Irish features, a spray of freckles, and long hair that has been dyed the color of a plum.
I met Laura Bush for the first time in early May 1995. An interview I had scheduled with the governor had to be changed from afternoon to evening and from the Capitol to the Governor's Mansion. I was invited to a casual dinner, along with my wife. Mrs. Bush would be there. The interview was a lost cause, but the evening wasn't.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT MARIJUANA that makes politicians hallucinate? The faintest whiff of “the weed of madness” (as government propaganda used to call it) causes them to see distorted images of things that aren’t there and never were: law and order, justice, reelection. But they don’t see the obvious. The war on drugs was lost years ago, and pretending otherwise only makes the problem worse.
Everything happened at once. Texans woke up to discover service stations running out of gasoline all over town. Highway travel was not the quick, easy bet it had been last year. At 55 miles an hour, motorists had the feeling that some giant hand had lifted Dallas and Houston and deposited them a good hundred miles farther apart.
"OH, YOU MUST COME. You simply must come," Becca Cason Thrash exclaimed. I had called her to see if I could get myself invited to the party she was throwing in April to benefit Houston's Stages Repertory Theatre. "We're calling the night 'A Celebration of American Fashion,'" she said, her voice as creamy as vichyssoise. "Anna Wintour [the editor in chief of Vogue] will be here, and some of the great American fashion designers are coming—Diane von Furstenberg, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, and Carmen Marc Valvo."
I assume the Secret Service agents will arrive first, checking out everyone in sight. But suddenly the door opens, and in she comes, all alone, dressed casually in an inexpensive gray dress with a matching cotton sweater, her sandy-blond hair held back with a rubber band.
“So is this okay? Mexican food?” asks Jenna Bush. “I figured it might make you feel more at home.”
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States. Of course, a city of this size offers a little bit of everything—professional sports, art, dining, shopping, clubs, theater, and more. Naturally, someone visiting Houston might need some direction from a person in the know (hey, I was born and raised there). Here's my take on fun things to do in H-town.