Last Thursday Joel and I left work early, rented a car, and headed north to Lubbock. Eight hours spent on smaller highways, mostly in the dark. We awoke in a foreign landscape, made it through the hotel's free continental breakfast, and paid a visit to Texas Tech University's Southwest Collection before heading over to the George & Helen Mahon Public Library, the site of this year's Annual Meeting of the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative. Here, Joel presented a brief overview of our project, which is funded by a THDI grant. The presentation was a success, although it seemed that our project's subject matter might have cast a slight shadow over the proceedings. We did not have much time to socialize, though, as we had an appointment in Waco.
We arrived at about 9 pm, and, after a meeting place mix-up, finally had the pleasure of meeting Sheila Martin, Catherine Matteson, Matthew Wittmer and Holly Jerger. Matthew, a California-based librarian, artist, and Mt. Carmel scholar who has been of great help to us (Thanks!), was visiting Waco with his wife Holly. He introduced us to Sheila and Catherine, two of the Mt. Carmel survivors. It was a profound and meaningful experience, listening to their memories of life at Mt. Carmel and life since the siege, but it was also just simply nice to relax over dinner with such friendly and welcoming people. Joel and I are both very grateful that they agreed to meet with us at such an odd hour, and we hope to return to Waco for a longer visit soon.
As an aside, if you ever decide to visit Waco, don't drink the water or anything made with the water (fountain drinks, tea, coffee, etc.) unless, like me, you have an indwelling imp of the perverse. Please see:
Anyway, we said farewell at around 11:30. Joel and I hopped back in the rental car and stopped for gas on the way out of town. Perhaps it was fatigue, but I had already forgotten the lesson taught to me by dinner's iced tea--I bought coffee. Apart from that, the remainder of the trip passed uneventfully as we coasted south along I-35, singing along deliriously to the satellite radio. An amazing day and a half.
Here is a picture, taken by Holly, that Matthew kindly forwarded to us. From left to right we have: yours truly, Joel, Catherine, Sheila, and Matthew.