Like any fun-seeking couple, we thought that the best thing to do for the weekend of our wedding anniversary would be to leave the kid with grandma and get the hell out of Dodge.

But unlike most rational travelers, love and nonrefundable airline tickets meant that we spent the past weekend in Austin, Texas, alternately watching CNN and our friend’s wedding celebration. (Perhaps you’ve heard of Austin? It’s the resolutely liberal city slightly to the left of the giant puddle formerly known as Houston and Galveston.) The weather reports were grim when we left DC, but sentiment and the promise of an open bar lured us west.

And I’m so glad we went. From the varsity-level hospitality to the dynamite liquor, Austin knows how to roll out the red carpet — for carpetbagging wedding guests, displaced hurricane victims and everyone in between. You haven’t seen graciousness until you’ve heard people who may or may not have a roof over their heads back home telling the bride and groom that all they care about is celebrating a wonderful start to a beautiful marriage.

Here’s hoping all the fabulous folks we met stay safe in the weeks to come. And that the guy sitting next to me on the flight home remembers a time when George W. Bush may have done something dishonest.  He was 99.9% sure that such an upstanding man could never have done anything outrageously bad during his climb up the political ladder, but was open-minded enough to allow that at some point in our president’s long and storied career, there may have been the potential for one or two tiny missteps. Perhaps if he thinks real hard, something will come to him…

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