Don’t Mess With Texas

texascard1

All the tired horses in the sun

How am I going to get any riding done?

–Bob Dylan “All The Tired Horses”

Well this is a fine howdy-do.  There is some good news and some bad news in this here posting.  The good news is that we joined Cosco and promptly spent $139.95 ( + tax ).  The bad news is that I saw Mariam off to the airport to fly back to NYC to attend meetings.  I didn’t hold her hand as she gathered her long skirt and climbed into the stage-coach.  This time, she called Uber.  I’m left here alone, almost deep in the heart of Texas, trying to stay busy and out of trouble.  I plan on working hard on my novel-in-progress, but there are so many distractions here, it’s gonna be hard.

“How am I going to get any riding done?”

Here I am about a hundred miles from the Louisiana state line.

Yes, you read it correctly, I crossed the Louisiana state line and there were no State Troopers after me.  From the things I’ve read, going to Texas is really getting away from somewhere and often not for a really good reason.  Why else are there so many Bail Bondsmen and pawn shops every few hundred yards along all these roads?  I’ve been here two days now, and I have no idea how many people I’ve met who are wanted in six states out west.  And, Texas wants to secede from the Union!  What if they do, and I’m stuck behind enemy lines?

I think I’m in this ‘outlaw’ mode because one of the last touristy things we did was stop in Gibsland, Louisiana and visited the site where Bonnie & Clyde were ambushed.  There are two historical markers there, but one is pock-marked with bullet holes.  It’s located on a lonely stretch of road south of Gibsland.  I stood in the twilight, just steps inside the piney woods.  A bird chirped.  One car passed.  It was spooky and quiet in a way that occurs when you’re standing at the location where people have died a violent death…like a Civil War battlefield or a hanging tree (there’s one in Washington Square Park in NYC).  If would take me months to trace down all the places where Clyde shot down law enforcers, but then, none of those people have familiar names and weren’t made into glamorous characters that looked like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.  I won’t argue, however, that B & C weren’t folk heroes in their day.

Bonnie&Clyde

Our next stop was Bossier City which is near Shreveport.  Bossier has casinos…and a lot of other interesting attractions.  I was going to walk over to Diamond Jacks Casino to plug-in a few quarters and walk away with the funds to finish our trip in a brand new RV.  I was going to do that, but I didn’t want to walk into a smokey gambling den.  Not that I haven’t spent plenty of time in such places of sin and inequity, but I felt like I was getting the sneezes and didn’t want to plunge into a full-bodied cold.

I do remember that this is a Texas blog…I digressed.

So, I’m sitting in the Rpod on a cold night in Arlington, Texas.  My weather app tells me that it’s colder here than in New York City.

This gives me time to come up with a solution to a problem that has been giving me a saddle sore.  I’m going to learn how to do the Texas 2-Step while we are visiting friends in Austin.  The problem: the only shoes I have with me have rubber-like soles (like for not slipping on the deck of a sail boat…remember, I’m a sailor too!).  And, one has to shuffle during the 2-Step.  I won’t be able to shuffle…all I’ll do with my Dockers is make an embarrassing squeaking sound that will make me the center of attention on the dance floor of The Broken Wheel dance hall.

If any of my readers have encountered this sort of problem, please help me before Thursday!  Even sooner, because it may mean that I’ll have to go to Wal-Mart or Target and buy a pair of shoes with a leather sole.  And, then I’ll only use it for one or two nights….but, maybe not, gosh dang it!  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get really good at the 2-Step and dance my way across Texas and into New Mexico and Arizona.  They have culture out there too, they must have places to do the 2-Step.

But, I digress again.

Finally, I must apologize for not including a really brilliant illustration to headline this blog.  All I could come up with are two $.35 ( + tax ) postcards from the KOA office.  I haven’t seen a horse in weeks, I think it was someplace in Alabama that I saw a person riding a horse and dragging something.  I hope it was a log.  If it was a freshly cut tree, the scene would be right out of a Budweiser holiday commercial or a Hallmark TV movie about “coming home for Christmas”.  Should I count the dozen paintings of horses on the walls of the Texas Steakhouse where we had our first dinner here?

But, I did see a windmill the other day.  That should count for something.

And, it was actually in Texas.  But it wasn’t spinning gently in the soft southern breeze.  It stood stone-still like a mute sentry to a strange new kingdom, a different way of life, a new landscape.  It was a monument to a dead and obsolete way of using nature for energy.  I have to drive my red Ford Escape about two miles to get a decent cup of coffee at the closest Starbucks.  I’d like to go into an old “Mom & Pop” diner and order a cup of java that is strong and thick enough to float an iPad Mini.

I’d wink at the waitress behind the counter, who had a certain country girl beauty about her, once.  Her name would be Helen, and she would have had that tired look of a woman who worked at one too many truck stops since she was seventeen.  

I’d say: “The usual, Helen, dear, and hold the sugar.  Just touch the coffee with your finger-tip and it will sweeten it up nicely.”

“Oh, you…shush,” she’d say.

But, there are none of these old places in this country of strip-malls and muffler shops.  I could, if I so desired, get my nails done in a hundred different hues in a thousand different spas along Cooper Street.

That’s not a choice that a cowboy of 1897 had.

I did take the Bonnie & Clyde marker photo.  See the bullet holes?  But, the pic doesn’t count, it was taken in Louisiana and this is a Texas blog.

I hope y’all will understand the difficulties I’m having to deal with.

texascard2

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2 comments on “Don’t Mess With Texas

  1. Diane Szlucha says:

    Patrick, you don’t just dance across Texas, and you don’t even two-step across Texas! You “Waltz Across Texas” . Remember that song? You can definitely two-step in soft soles, as you actually do puck up the feet, but you can shuffle if you want. It’s the old slow-slow, quick-quick step that is like the old way we used to dance, except in a straight pattern. But enough of that! I hope Mariam gets back to you soon, although I am sure you will do fine on your own, well…..except for that fact that you are already thinking about waitresses named Helen who looks a little rough. Enjoy your time in the Lone Star state. How long are you planning on staying there? If you want to touch base with an Owegoan let me know. Terry’s brother Tom is there and so is a well known chef who is the grandson of the Oliveri family who had Oliveri’s Restaurant, which became MamaO’s. He was even on Iron Chef. In the meantime, find some good coffee and good food!

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  2. pjlhughes says:

    Fascinating as always. Big storm coming up here Sat. Good you are down there. Lets hope texas secedes soon. They can keep Rafi Cruz for themselves. he is even worse than trump. Paul

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