Some Notes From the Road

 When you enter Texas on Interstate 10 from New Mexico, the first mileage sign has two cities. El Paso, it says, is 10 miles ahead. And Beaumont is about 838.
    There are a lot of other, bigger cities along I-10, but only these two are named. It occurred to me that, once again, here was our famous Texas braggadocio. You’ve entered Texas, and you can now stay on this road and drive more than 800 miles . . . and you will still be in Texas. Texas is a broad state. A former pilot told me that, flying from Houston to Los Angeles, they would take note of El Paso. From Houston, El Paso is halfway to L.A.
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    The loss of apostrophes on our possessive nouns—“Mothers Day,” for instance, rather than “Mothers’ Day” or “Mother’s Day”—is, I think, a sign of creeping Germanification. The Germans don’t have apostrophes. I am fond to ask, Where have all our apostrophes gone? “Gone to plurals, every one,” is one answer. “Pear’s $1.49” the sign might say. I didn’t know the pear could own money.
    But there is one glorious apostrophe, one that I look forward to seeing whenever I visit Phoenix. A self-described “healthy marketplace,” Luci’s, where one gets espresso or breakfast or farm salads: Luci’s motto is “Goodness for goodness’ sake.”
    Dig that apostrophe: for the sake of goodness, for the sake that belongs to goodness, we here offer goodness. Our goodness—our food and drinks—is not for the sake of something else; it’s for its own sake.
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    They seem to have disappeared, but it used to be common to see yellow triangular road signs with the words “Courtesy Pays.” I’m all for courtesy, and indeed if we had more courtesy on the roads we’d have less stress and fewer accidents. But it is also true, and a deeper truth, that courtesy is good in its own right.
    Courtesy for courtesy’s sake, we might say.
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    Out & About. I am to preach this Sunday, August 5, at the traditional morning services at Incarnation, 3966 McKinney, Dallas. The services are at 7:30, 9, and 11:15 a.m.
    Recently David Munson interviewed me for his TV show; you can find it here: http://insightswithdavid.com/ .
    Coming this fall, I’ll be leading an almost-monthly seminar, “Good Books & Good Talk.” We’ll read a different book in advance of each seminar, generally a work of fiction, and then gather to talk. Anyone who reads the book is welcome to the discussion. The first book is T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral, which we’ll discuss on Sunday, October 14, at 6 p.m. The seminars will be at Incarnation, Dallas, and last 90 minutes.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Victor Lee Austin is the Theologian-in-Residence for the diocese and is the author of several books including, "Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest's Wife, and the God who Gives and Takes Away."