and the Rockets red glare, as they fell through the air — gave proof for that night that we threw shots of air

My brother, Michael Knowles, and my friend Cay (Cathryn Cummings) and her brother Scott were all disappointed with the Houston Rockets poor showing last night, and I was similarly less than impressed.

I’m reminded of when they won their first of two titles, and I was teaching at a summer clarinet workshop — actually, I was helping a guy do his workshop (can’t even remember that dude’s name).

I was dancing on cars on 59 south in front of the Summit the night before, and then there I was in Klein or Spring the next morning pretending not to be hungover

The next year? I was on my way to Chicago, but I stayed in Houston one last night to watch them lose to the Spurs and make their second title all the more unlikely.

They won — beat the Magic in four, if I remember correctly — which was ironic, because that’s who beat us last night.

The friends who took us to the game were apparently tired after a long weekend, and we could all sigh as we hugged each other goodbye and headed for our respective cars.

The brother, who I only knew as a younger more serious version of my friend when we were younger, went onto seminary and now he serves at a church called Peace down somewhere in Pearland.

My friend, who I’ve been close to since she started giving me rides home in her dad’s old Mustang, has been there with me and for me since we were mere babes. Well, high school babes, but still babes.

My brother was probably watching the game at home and likely turned it off in disgust at some point in the 2nd or 3rd quarter.

It’s hard to do that when you’re in the arena where they’re actually playing.

However, the baby was irritable and I took my cue. I looked around the Toyota Center, smiled at all of my former fellow Houstonians and happily walked outside.

I got in the car and looked up at the city’s skyline.

My city.

The one where I’d been raised, where I’d slept on people’s couches until I was no longer welcome. The one where I slept in my car until the car didn’t run anymore.

The city we returned to from Germany in the mid 70s. Where the flavour of racism was still country fried and not yet so cosmopolitan as it is now.

I remembered the city in my friend Helen’s screenplay for that 90s film Reality Bites and all the true stories that actually made it into the movie.

Finally, I remembered my mother having brought us here, rather than going back to West Texas, where we were originally from, and this being the big city that everyone elsewhere complains about.

When I lived in Cincinnati, people from anywhere in the tristate area (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana) complained about Cinti.

Where I live now? Munich might be a tourist destination, but it’s anything but beloved by many of the citizens of neighbouring villages. And don’t even get a Berliner or Hamburger started on what a non city Munich is.

It’s a ridiculous thing about humans, by the way. City people are this way and country people are that way.


Okay, got it.

How about we try this instead:

Most people from x are like y…wait, though. You can’t qualitatively say that, can you? It’s lazy rhetoric, even.

My family came from (seemingly) nothing and amassed a bit of dosh.

It’s being squandered, as we speak.

It’s what people do.

Someone dies, people either fight about or accept the wishes of the deceased and then they move on.


Oh, but wait.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

This part could be nice, but instead people let their egos rule this next part.

Who loved mom more. Who she preferred and how she showed her love.

My brother and I are fortunate in this respect. She might’ve had an amazing bond with me, but my brother Michael and I were each loved equally best.

We were encouraged to follow our passions, while my dad quietly insisted that we went to actual schools. He didn’t want me going to the music conservatory in St. Louis (even if it did have classes at Washington University), and it turned out he was right.

The music school would coincidentally shut its doors within the year, which proved my dad right without him having to say a word.

So, here’s the rub. They often were right. They knew what was best and they tried to say it in a kind and gentle way.

They weren’t perfect, though.

My dad looked at me as I was trying to start an exercise regimen, and he visibly scoffed.

He insisted, ‘Why bother? You’re just going to trail off and never jump rope again. Why even bother getting started?’

Great message, Dad.

Good talk.

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