My aunt and her family are coming to Texas for Labor Day weekend to go house hunting.  Her husband, my Uncle Frank, is finally retired (for the second time) and she wants to see what it would be like to live out their Golden Years near her brothers.  It’s been years, decades really, since she’s been to visit us in Texas.  The last time I remember them coming here was when my grandmother was still alive and you could still make my cousin Eric behave by threatening to turn off the lights and/or tickle him.  He’s now 6’1, a senior in high school, and doesn’t scare so easily.

The draw of family isn’t necessarily the most intuitive for me.  As a strong introvert, a lot of my more serene and peaceful time is spent solo.  However, for others, I understand that having close family members around is a warm fuzzy security blanket.  Our extended family used to gather around the dining table, which we couldn’t fully fit around, and tell old stories about our grandfather when he was younger and about my dad when he misbehaved.  My grandmother was the queen of off colour jokes and my dad has inherited that title.

Despite the run up in housing prices in Dallas, the homes here are still a lot more affordable than California and without the raging wildfires.  Both of the houses my aunt is looking at are within walking distance to my parents’ house.  My college roommate’s parents live another block over.  There’s the opportunity to create their own walking community and maybe also encourage my dad to pull away from the computer every now and then.

I’m curious if that desire to live near family is enough to make someone trade the sunshine and temperate climate of southern California for the baked vastness of Texas.  She may not have realized that she’s going to have to drive everywhere or that all the bugs will try to bite her and tunnel their way inside her home.  That there’s no such thing as cooler nights and that tornadoes are a serious threat.  On the plus side, there’s shopping.  Tons of shopping.  Decades ago, we used to shop my Aunt Lisa’s closet, which occupied her entire spare bedroom, and most of her clothes still had the tags on them.

Coming to Texas in late August, when the sun is blazing and the ants are biting, should paint a stark picture of what it’s like to be a Texan and why we wear that badge with honor.  Or maybe escaping the snarl of Southern California traffic is allure enough?