Yes, our Americans United office has moved. Yes, during the height of the move, I was in Texas and Florida. But I was working on our behalf. And, it almost goes without saying, I had travel troubles.
I am surprised that residents of the Lone Star and Sunshine states each seem to think they have it worse than folks living anywhere else. During my first stop in San Antonio, I mentioned that I imagined the audience was pretty upset that U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida had recently referred to Texas as "a crazy state" where he wouldn't live "for all the tea in China." The Texans I talked to didn't seem distressed by that characterization, noting both U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry as people of whom they were not fond.
I was also informed that one state representative was trying to pass legislation to prevent the United Nations from "taking over" the Alamo. What's actually going on is that it might be designated a "World Heritage Site." The next day I drove to Austin, the state capital, to participate in a rally and give a speech to the Secular Coalition for Texas. The rally, originally scheduled for the steps of the Capitol, was moved indoors to an auditorium--because it was too cold outside. How cold can central Texas be in late February? Try the 20s.
After a late-night snack with friends from El Paso, I went to bed. In the morning I found a text message from a singer-songwriter friend who informed me that there had been a huge ice storm overnight and that major thoroughfares were blocked by crashed cars.
"Call me," she wrote. "I can reroute you on back roads to the airport." She did; I escaped the freeze to go home.
The next week I was scheduled to visit Tampa and Naples in Florida, a nice trip to 80-degree warmth. Alas, this did not quite happen as planned because the Washington, D.C., area got hit with seven inches of snow.
Now, I know that you hardy types who live in New England, upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, the upper Midwest, the Great Plains, Alaska, mountainous regions, Siberia, etc. will scoff at seven inches of snow as merely a mild annoyance. But here in the nation's capital, even a forecast for less than half of that amount can easily spawn chaos. So when the actual snow hit, the region shut down. All flights to everywhere in the continental United States were cancelled--although those expensive flights to Dubai and Tokyo seemed to be taking off on time.
I was slated to receive an award and speak at an...