Category Archives: Houston, TX

Hot Houston!

Christmas 1971, I flew from Chicago to Houston to visit Napoleon Bonaparte and his family. No, not the Napoleon Bonaparte because it was not in the 1800’s. This one had another name attached on the end but yes, his mother named him for greatness. Anyhow, to my shock, it was about 80 degrees and the only thing that saved me wardrobe-wise was the fact that it was the era of the hot pants. So, I did not have to go shopping to pick up new clothes. 

His family, though meeting me for the first time, lavished me with gifts as he always did. I was in for so many treats during the few days that I spent there in hot Houston. Only pleasantries come to mind as I spent time with him, his mom, his sisters, and his brothers. The youngest brother kept us laughing. His youngest sister was highly fashionable, and I remember her hot pants adorned with some tall black leather over- the- knee boots. In Chicago terms, we would say that the boots were smoking

I must go far back down memory lane to envision my time there, but Paule Marshall, one of my favorite authors, wrote, “Sometimes a person has to go back, really back – to have a sense, an understanding of all that’s gone to make them—before they can go forward.” And I do intend to keep it moving. I distinctly recall some gigantic shrimp from one restaurant with high seasoning and one night, we went to a dinner club, not a nightclub, in the downtown area. 

While there, we saw and heard Johnnie Taylor sing to us in a small, quaint setting. All folks from Chicago knew Johnnie Taylor and loudly sang along when he said, “My last two dollars, I don’t want to use” from his song Last Two Dollars. Or we all danced to Taylor’s “Cheaper to Keep Her.” After the show, we saw him talking to Tyrone Davis, another singer, over in a corner. He was close enough for us to touch him! 

The family wanted to make certain that I saw Galveston before I returned to Chicago. We all packed into the car, and I think an older brother drove, but the fact that I do not remember means he must have been a safe driver. No scary moments. Along the way, we stopped to see their father who lived at another location. We took pictures and then we headed south to Galveston which sits on the Gulf Coast. It is about an hour’s drive down. 

We were serenaded by the renowned Isaac Hayes. He was burning up the charts at that time and the movie Shaft was a huge hit. Hayes composed the film’s score. Around the same time, he had an album called Hot, Buttered Soul which we listened to in the car. He had us all spellbound as he first told the story and then finally sang the tune, By the Time I Get to Phoenix. He made us wait for it and that song will be forever etched in my mind. It is over 18 minutes long and we were all quiet as we held on to his every word while he took us on a long journey into a man’s deep pain. Little did I know that many years hence, my main character in my series of books would be named Phoenix. Who knew? (Probably the literary gods.) 

When we made it Galveston, I remember it being overcast. Afterall, it was December. We took loads of pictures as we all took turns posing on the rocks. I held onto those pictures for years, but now that they are gone, I repaint that experience here. That is the only time I have been to Houston, but I can put a check by that city’s name and say, “Been there. Done that.!” I had a glorious time! 

{If you have an extra 20 minutes, or if you want to clean the oven or spruce up the house, push play and enjoy the incomparable Isaac Hayes do his thing, like no other!} 

Lynn M, 
March 15, 2022