It ain’t too weird to buy a chili burger in Austin

Methinking, kindasorta like methinks though not, about hamburgers. My thinking zeros into chili burgers in particular. Why chili burgers in particular? Well, I got to searching this Web thing, you see? I finally locked onto Austin. Doesn’t everyone? That’s certainly what Austin folks think. Keep Austin Weird. Come on, The weirdest thing about Austin is Leslie Cochran and now she he is dead.

That isn’t to say Austin lacks its charms. That big, beautiful pink granite structure that just puts the rest of the city scape to shame is primarily among those charms. That is, more so when the Legislature isn’t in session. But my thinking of Austin prompted me to see if the Texas Chili Parlor was still alive and kicking. Apparently, it still is.

A few blocks from the Capitol on Lavaca Street is a favorite of pols and state workers and whomever else want a touch of Texas when it was. Yes, I’m talking about that era, the 70s, man. Hey, man, catch a buzz on Gwad-a-loopy and get a chili burger. I can’t remember the first time I went to Texas Chili Parlor. It was sometime in the late 70s, when the Armadillo World Headquarters was becoming past tense. I don’t know whether I was just hungry for a chili burger or a bowl of chili. I suppose I could have ordered both. That certainly wasn’t my first chili burger.

I don’t remember my first. I do remember a particularly good burger at the little place on Hwy. 96 in Kirbyville, Texas. That was in high school when I would visit the little town for football or girls or, most likely, girls. I can’t recall the place’s name. It’s not there, at least in the sense it was there in the early 70s. Maybe it’s a tanning salon/eight-liner joint now. Who the hell knows.

My work as a reporter took me to the Texas Capitol — in the state capital of Austin — every now and then. This was at the turn of the century. Sounds really freakin’ old doesn’t it? I’m talking about the 21st century. I met an old flame there once while on break from some mindless committee hearing who happened to be working in the Big Building while going for her Ph.D. at “The University.” We met and walked over to the chili parlor. Boy had she changed, in every way but appearance. She still looked young and quite nice, with the exception of her pants suit. The brown one. I could still see her in those plaid shorts and white polo the day she was feeding me grapes as we were sitting in an East Texas cow pasture waiting for Bugs Henderson to play, or was it Ray Wylie Hubbard? Upon seeing each other all these years I was kind of stunned to see that she looked as if hadn’t aged a bit, and told her. I could see that she didn’t want to remark on my looks.

“God, you look old as the Visigoths of the Reconquista.” Or else, she could lie. She might lie under certain conditions but she was always very frank about things and people who weren’t born with her cute little face.

Well, 500-plus words now and I’ve not even gotten close to what I wanted to write about. Yes, definitely, if you crave a chili burger, or even chili, when you find yourself in downtown Austin head over to Texas Chili Parlor and remember back when you could eat chili, sip a cold Lone Star and hear you some Waylon and Willie.

At least Willie is still around. Have a great, EFD, weekend!