On a sultry Wednesday evening, Annise Parker stands in front of the Corinthian columns of her lemon-yellow house, clutching a retractable leash. She is gently coaxing Kitsune, a tiny grass-phobic Shiba Inu, to linger on the lawn a few minutes longer. Canine therapy, she explains.
It’s been a busy day, following a hectic trip to California, but now the mayor of the nation’s fourth-largest city is home. The place where she retreats from political duties and public scrutiny, where she “pulls up the drawbridge” and huddles into the family nest.
Here, she cooks dinner, putters in the garden, reads. Here, she is mom to four children, all now adults. Here, she and her wife, Kathy Hubbard, fall into an easy rhythm.
“Throw an apron on. Put something in the oven,” Hubbard prods Parker, who had just settled on the sofa. “Maybe you can harvest some crops.”
Hubbard smiles. Parker acquiesces.
As Parker heads into the kitchen, Hubbard shows off pictures from the family vacation: The kids kayaking on sun-flecked water. A 39th birthday celebration for son Jovon Tyler. A comical shot of the three girls, Daniela, 24, Marquitta, 20, and Sherry Allen, 20, leaning out of a hot tub to check their cell phones.
Parker catches a glimpse of the image. “This is the best picture in the whole trip.”
She chuckles. Hubbard smiles.
The unspoken language of a couple traveling through life together. Joined for 25 years; married 18 months ago in California.