Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My trip to the most boring place in Texas

Okay, I can't say for sure that this is the most boring place in all of Texas. Texas is a big place, and so I have not really been to all of it yet. In fact, I have there are whole big chunks of it east and south of here that I am totally unfamiliar with.

But this particular boring place is where my grandparents used to live, and where my dad lived fifty years ago. So I went there often until I became a teenager. Since my husband had to work there for the day, I thought that I would go with him and see if I recognized anything. And it was only the one day, so no matter how boring it was and how bad the motel was, I figured that I could put up with it for this one day.

As I said in the previous post, my husband decided that it was just far enough away that we needed to go ahead and go there the day before. So we headed out, and about halfway there we stopped and ate at The Green Frog in Jacksboro. This is a place that we traveled past many times in my childhood, but rarely ate at. We must have eaten there at some point, cause we were always asking if we were going to eat there this time, but I don't remember actually stopping there. Contrary to the opinions of ten year old children, people do not starve to death during three hour road trips. But people do have to make other stops, so if we did not stop at The Green Frog we at least went to the gas station down the street and got soda and candy.

My husband had decided to try to make this a really nice trip for me, early present or some such thing, so we ate at this restaurant of my childhood memory before going to some historical fort that he wanted to take pictures of. We got there about an hour before it was starting to get dark, and lots of deer came out to look at us. We were not to their liking, and they went back to wherever they came from, and we went back to taking pictures of old buildings built by people who were smaller than us and used up a lot less space. The jail wasn't much bigger than my bedroom, but it used to house twelve prisoners in four cells.

Then we got back into the car, and while we did not go to any of those places suggested by Bulletholes, one of them was a very good guess, as it was in the general neighborhood. The motel was small and not new, but it seemed clean enough and had lots of cable channels. It was too dark to do much of anything other than find the motel. So we watched The Librarian and some historical drama on PBS, and then we went to bed.

The next day we went to lunch at Subway. Nothing really looked familiar. The cafeteria that my grandparents took me to was gone, and I did not find The Dairy Mart or anything else much that looked familiar. I did not even find the park. I think that I did find the house, but it was hard to tell. The place was an odd mix of newer houses built right next to old falling down things and rusty trailers.

After driving around a bit more, my husband had to go to work, and I tried to knit a baby's hat. I had almost finished the thing, but then I did something wrong. I tried to unravel a bit of it to fix it, and ended up unraveling almost the whole thing instead. But I've started a new one and am halfway through with it.

I have some odd memories of this place. Like only old people live here. Not in the sense that a lot of old people move to Florida and Arizona. But just that there seem to be a lot of stubborn old people who stay in places like this after all the other people move away. I often went there for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the occasional trip after church on a Sunday. And we would stay for a week or two in the summer. And there mostly seemed to be a lot of old people. There were a lot of people my grandparent's age, and some people my parents age, but hardly anyone who was younger than my parents. Most of the people we knew in town seemed to be related to us somehow. There were four others who were about my age, and two younger cousins. One girl my age was visiting her grandmother, and the rest of the time she lived in Denton. The others lived there all year.

And it just never seemed to get through to me that they really did live there and that they did almost everything in this little town. Like, I thought that they must go to school somewhere else. I mean, they talked about school a lot, but where was it? I really didn't see a lot of other kids, and when I did I just assumed that they were also visiting grandparents and didn't live there either. Surely there were not enough kids in this little place for this little place to have a school? But apparently they did in fact have a school, and they even had a football team, and my cousins were in band.

But all I ever saw were old people wearing cowboy hats.

Yesterday we meant to take pictures of more falling down things and look for the park, but we decided that it was too cold and headed back home, taking a different road this time. We were going to another of those restaurants of my childhood memories, but after several people told my husband that two of the three Pioneer restaurants weren't worth going to anymore, we went to McBride's instead. I might have been there once or twice, but I don't remember it if I did. Steak isn't really my thing now, and I'm sure my parents did not often waste good money taking me out to have steak much when I was a kid. But once in a while it isn't a bad thing. And the wait staff brought me enough baked potato toppings to feed five people. A nice enough place. Not my favorite now, but when I was a kid, this was the place that all the adults liked to go. We spent too much money, but since we were planning to go out anyway, I figure that this place only costs a few dollars more and was a lot nicer.

We didn't do much after that. It was too cold for my liking, so we just headed home. We were a week or two too early for my favorite surviving memory of childhood anyway.

1 comment:

bulletholes said...

When i was a kid, dad and I would go Dove hunting out by Graham.
On the way home, we would stop at the Green Frog and have the Chicken Fried Steak, the one that is bigger than the plate.
The Green Frog!
That was back in 1971 or so. It was out of place back then, surrounded by nothing but barbed wire and jack-rabbits.
i'd have bet it wasn't there anymore.
The Green Frog!
Thanks, laffin, for the memory!