I finally pulled into the driveway last night right around 7pm, very thankful to be home again. Five nights in a hotel room in Wichitard Falls (spelling intentional) proved to be a very long time. The trip was not without highlights, however, and this is where they shall be listed.
- The GPS unit (“Maggie”, as I call her) in the van was completely lost many times in Wichitard. Construction was rampant throughout town, and this led to some scary trips through residential neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Blvd. My badge was also my saving grace: “You want your food stamp machine to work? Better let me through.”
- Maggie also took some time to get going in the morning. As I became fond of saying, “In the morning, she is a finicky bitch.”
- Despite looking like the Bagdhad of Texas, the Falls proved to be replete with good eating. There was a Chinese buffet place that Dawn and I had dinner at no less than five times over the last week and a half. New York Pizza Company, at a new location near the Air Force base, was excellent. Even the Carl’s Jr. across the street from the hotel was great. Not only did they have good burgers, but also Hardee’s breakfast menu and a Mexican food menu from the Green Burrito. But the best burger we had was at Gene’s Tasty Burger. Hidden near an industrial part of town, it was clear the locals went out of their way to eat there. Open for over forty years, with our waitress working there for 22 of those, it also offered the best homemade onion rings.
- Everyone smokes in Vernon. And they also leave their cars running unattended when going into a convenience store.
- Asians are by far the most considerate of all the ethnicities I have encountered while installing the new terminals. A very pleasant woman at the giggle-inducing “Hung Thinh” insisted I take a drink for free. This is not a rare occurrance at such establishments.
- We saw the great Larry McMurtry’s bookstores – all four of them – slowly taking over the town square in Archer City. Made me miss Gus and Call. We didn’t smell his son, however.
- Best banner I saw was in Olney. Stretched across Main Street, it read “Welcome One Armed Dove Hunters”.
- Newcastle has one gas station. And it does not take American Express, which is the company card I have. Running on fumes, I handed over a twenty and was told that I need to stop the pump at that amount myself. It had been forever since I used a side-loaded gas pump with rotary dollar amount wheels. The shop owner was real nice, though, and I found out that he graduated high school (22 others in his class) in the town that Dawn’s dad lives in. Small effin’ world, indeed.
- That reminds me… Last week in Throckmorton, I ran into a woman at a store whose daughter teaches at the elementary school I went to for four years. Bobby Hicks was onto something with that “small effin’ world” remark.
- I will always contend that Graham is the best-kept secret in Texas. I love that town.
- Iowa Park has changed a lot since I used to go there every summer with my elementary school best friend. It still has that small town “feel”, however. And the people there are very, dare I say?, normal.
- Confusion abounded one morning in Petrolia and Byers. With an assist from the State, and my problem solving abilities, everything got settled. Kind of.
- I cannot comprehend that the first Hilton Hotel was in Cisco.
- I’m tired of Allsup’s. The people are always very friendly, but under their counters contains a maze of chords and wires that would make Escher go crazy. And, as much as I love their fried burritos, I think I have had enough this year.And finally…
- The best thing about having Maggie as my navigator comes when I pull into the driveway when finally home. That is when, in her soft-spoken way, she unceremoniously announces, “You have arrived.”
Coming up in the next few days: Updates from Brownwood.