There used to be an old tire store up Main Street surrounded by properties that have all seen better days. Years ago it was a full-service gas station built in the late 40s or early 50s out of cinder blocks and mortar.
For the most part, however, the old building was insignificant. If it hadn’t been for the man outside, I would’ve never even noticed the place.
Years ago the tire store was painted white, but oil, grease and dirt make a dark entourage at the base of the walls up to a chalky, white at the top. The concrete around it was patchy and dark, stained with layers on layers of grease, dripped motor oil and a host of other dried automotive blood. Continue reading The Waving Man
Some things you never forget, like the day the sky cried in our neck of the woods. Fifteen years ago today, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated above the skies of East Texas. That Saturday started like every other normal day, but sometimes, normal days become extraordinary, memorable or catastrophic.
I had a group of employees in a First Aid/CPR class that started at 6:00 AM at the local hospital. After everything settled in, I went to the office to catch up on paperwork.
At 9:00 AM, the entire office began to shake violently and there was a steady roar outside.
Continue reading The Sky Cried
An East Texas high school football team has a dynasty going. They’ve now won 6 state championships in the last 10 years. I followed them this season, not for the team, but for the entertainment of the local radio broadcasters!
State football championship games are all played at AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play, just before Christmas weekend. Local radio stations from across Texas come to broadcast their local teams on live radio, and now with the internet, the broadcasts are streamed on line.
I heard most of the game live as the radio announcers called the state championship game in their deep East Texas vernacular!
To help hear the accent, imagine yourself listening to someone who has two wadded up, dry paper towels stuck inside each cheek when they speak. Then, slooooooow doooown theiiiir woooords a taaad. That’s how it sounds. Continue reading Texas High School Football
Two questionable characters were loitering in front on the grocery store bench. I did what all concealed handgun licensed carriers do. I slipped a small pistol in my pocket before going in.
About the time I was in front of the bench, one of the men said, “Hey brother! Why don’t you hire me?”
That’s not the first time I’ve heard that line, so I knew at some time or another he had worked or interviewed for a job with me. I looked at the man who spoke and said, “I’m sorry. I recognize your face, but your name is slipping me.” Continue reading Rock Bottom Hope
Sugar – it’s worse than cocaine! The onward swooning of sugar’s allure is woefully tempting! And the Christmas holidays are filled with every sort of the granulated, powdered, refined, and liquified versions of the cane plant.
Sure, I could lame blame it on something like my lack of self-control, but what fun is there in that? Instead, I cast fault on everyone else’s need for an ever-growing fix of sugar.
Truth be told, the ideal world would have none of it. Instead, we’d just reach for a blueberry or celery stick, or maybe just suck on a prune for an hour or so for relief. (No prune relief pun intended). Continue reading Christmas Calories
After my daughter’s out of town volleyball games, Janet and I look for out-of-the-way places to eat in rural East Texas. Sometimes though…
…sometimes, we should turn around. Like, what if the door doesn’t have a closing time? What kind of place closes just, whenever? It reminds me of the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Hint, hint, hint. There’s no closing time on the door. Yikes!
Inside we stood wondering what to do, but it was a country cafe so we seated ourselves. We saw another couple we know from volleyball who had the same bright idea. We spoke and discovered they had been there a while but hadn’t ordered yet. (There’s another clue.) Continue reading Eating Out Where They’re Out to Lunch
A front end alignment appointment at 8 AM on Saturday seemed straight forward, but trucks, cars and mobile equipment were everywhere. Inside, about fifteen men were waiting. Interestingly, all were wearing boots, jeans and a plaid or denim shirt, except for the tire shop owner who was dressed up because he had on a Magellan fishing shirt. That’s not an endorsement or condemnation of anyone, just a local clothing colloquialism.
When a middle-aged man walked in wearing designer shorts, spotless, name brand tennis shoes and a lime green dress shirt with a fuzzy vest over it, he stood out like a leprechaun at a slam dunk basketball competition. Even more so, his overly bronze face and legs looked more like a tanning bed accident rather than nature’s sunshine reward and he seemed, I don’t know, awkward. Each black and silver hair was perfectly in place and not one of them moved, even in the wind.
Continue reading Tire Store Epitome
It’s a unique part of being human — tragedy, hardship, loss and pain tend to bring people together. It seems like it would be prosperity, success, everything going good that brings people together. Not so, at least, not usually.
Case in point is Hurricane Harvey. For those not directly affected, this may be a meaningless example, or at least, not as poignant. But for those who have experienced it, even if only a part, it is a horrible time for so many people. At the same time, it’s somehow refreshing, like a root of hope has blossomed. Continue reading Sail On Texas Navy!
The remnants of Hurricane Harvey are still dumping Mother Nature’s tears on my home town of Angleton. Houston, an hour north, is getting deluged with rain. Creeks, rivers and bayous are overflowing, and every drop of rain on top of that is making life hard on family, friends and strangers. Having grown up in the area, this is beyond hard. These are some of the most stressful, difficult, trying days one can imagine!
People are leaving their homes for higher ground, but then they are stranded, including Continue reading Hurricane Heros
Our town is a place to love! It’s beautiful, but more importantly, it’s unique. It’s the people that make it unique, and nowhere else will you see that more obvious than people watching…or just driving down the road.
It’s probably a politically incorrect thing to say, but I do wonder sometimes if there are more “special” people in our neck of the woods than other places. By special, I don’t mean extraordinary intelligence. I mean Mama dropped them on their heads too often, from a two-story building special! Continue reading My Town