Thursday, July 4, 2013

West Texas Memories

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Photo by James Roland
I'm a small town girl living in the city or rather, I'm a city girl that used to live in a very small town. When I take the time to count up the years since I moved to the city, it absolutely dumbfounds me when I realize that I have lived here in the BIG city of Houston far longer than I lived in my small west Texas hometown of McCamey.  I'm sure that you've heard that "you can never go back".  I don't know who said it, but I don't disagree at all.  However, as much as circumstances and people change, I am always pleased when those moments of gratitude and nostalgia find me.  My childhood like most had it's share of blessings and burdens but like most people, the place that I call home and the people who share that right with me, are always special, always loved and always remembered.

Medical Center with downtown in the background. 
I live on the west side so this is not my view
 but still a cool picture Houston
Last night I went to a movie with some friends. As we left the theater we noticed that the quality of the air was unusually refreshing and lacked its everyday summer-slobber humidity that we Houstonians love to hate. Instead of walking outside and feeling licked,  our faces  cooled and our hair breezed off our faces and all of a sudden I was back home in McCamey.   Right in the middle of the city I felt like I was in my home town where because of the dessert weather you can count on the temperature cooling off  even on the hottest summer day there is blessed relief from the heat every evening. 

McCamey Badger Band at contest photo by
I live in what is quickly becoming the new middle of the greater Houston metro area.  My neighborhood is decidedly west of the "real" downtown but as the population moves west, so does the city center and at the moment, my neck of the woods is it.  Even still, I only live about a block and a half from the elementary school I've worked at for the last 4 years and am about 2 maybe 3 blocks from the middle school and high school.  I'll be going about my daily life and then I'll notice that I can hear the high school marching band practicing and all of a sudden I'm back home in McCamey where my earliest memories dance around to the constant distant melodies of the high school band practicing in the evenings each fall.

Photo by Barclay Gibson
Sometimes as a music teacher I find myself "teaching" PE.  Either when we are working on a school-wide project where my team of PE, Art and Music are working together OR occasionally when they need a hand I have found myself helping out in the gym.  While helping in the gym my students will get out the scooter-boards and instantly I am back home in McCamey as I remember that grimy hand - pinched finger feeling I always ended up with after a PE class spent on scooter boards trying my best to stay on and not roll over my fingers.  (Now those dreadful scooter boards have HANDLES!)

My big city hometown of Houston is somewhat unique compared to other major cities in that we don't have zoning restrictions.  There are some deed restrictions in the planned communities but for the most part, if you live in Houston you can find just about anything anywhere.  Only a about four blocks away from here, in a random parking lot, behind the high school, next to an abandoned building and down the street from several mechanics and a drilling company there is a Dairy Queen.  Making lemonade out of it's lemony-fresh location, this Dairy Queen does a very brisk lunch business and then locks up each evening like Fort Knox with accordion steel sheeting that wraps around the building on 3 sides.  It has an old style drive through and the grass from the neighbors hard is starting to reclaim the parking lot in the back. Every once and a while I find a way to go to that Dairy Queen and all of a sudden I am back in McCamey.  It doesn't matter what I order, if the food is from Dairy Queen then I'm back home.  Too bad that McCamey lost it's Dairy Queen years ago. 

McCamey High School Football Stadium
 photo by Bob McSpadden
I could be absolutely anywhere in the world alone or with friends and if the right song is played I am right back in McCamey.  When I hear a song from the musical "Grease" I am with the youth group traveling back from Paisano listening to the cast recording.  If an old Garth Brooks song shows up on the radio then I'm on a debate trip with Ms. Phillips.    When I hear any song by Chicago I'm on a victorious basketball bus in the middle of the night between Ozona and McCamey listening to Beth's Chicago CD.  Any songs by Guns and Roses, Def Leopard, Boys II Men or Bon Jovi remind me of all the hours I spent in the homes of my sweet friends frying, fixing our hair and talking about boys while we watched MTV.  If I ever hear the UB40 cover of "Red Red Wine" I am instantly filled with dread because I'm in the locker room tying my shoes in preparation for the 7th grade basketball practice I both loved and hated.     With just a few songs, I'm reminded of 100 more that are each more than equal to the task of taking me right back home to place and time that while far from perfect will always be precious.

"I thank my God every time I remember you.
  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."
 Philippians 1: 3-11

mcspaddb's McCamey album on Photobucket


Vidya Sury said...

Bonnie, Red red wine has totally different memories for me - I always think of a particularly happy New Year's eve party way back in the 80's.

I enjoyed your post. :-) I know the feeling of being back home.

And I love your blog title!

Happy 4th of July to you!

Katharine said...

Neat story! It makes me think about growing up in a small Indiana town. I too was a small town girl, but as one, like you, have ended up living and liking big town life more than the small town I grew up near. Sometimes I hunger for the farm life again, then I remember what I'd miss about city life.

Sherry Hunter said...

I enjoyed your blog entry! I miss my small hometown but not so sure I would ever move back there.

Thank you for your post and have a great holiday!!

B said...

Funny because every time I see the movie Grease or hear a song from that movie I'm transported back to your house. House full of girls singing and dancing and doing each others hair. Sometimes it was for a girl Scout slumber party...others just a regular slumber party. All great memories!

B said...

Funny because every time I see the movie Grease or hear a song from that movie I'm transported back to your house. House full of girls singing and dancing and doing each others hair. Sometimes it was for a girl Scout slumber party...others just a regular slumber party. All great memories!

Bonnie McSpadden said...

B - I agree - I've got loads of memories of us singing and dancing to Grease at my house growing up and of course Girl Scouts! I'm smiling just thinking about it! As it turns out one of the last summers that I spent in McCamey we listened to the soundtrack on the way from camp.... I wasn't the one who had the idea :) AND when we got back to town, everyone hopped out and jumped on top of the van while we danced to Greased Lightening..... BIZARRE but fun!

grammargirl93 said...

Gorgeous entry, Bonnie. Reminds me of small-town life in Taylor. You could hear the band all over town on Friday nights. If the windows were open (or if the wind was blowing just right), I'd fall asleep to the sound of a train whistling through downtown. I can't believe McCamey doesn't have a Dairy Queen! What's a small Texas town without its ubiquitous stop sign?

Bonnie McSpadden said...

Thanks Grammergirl! Thanks for reading my posts, your input is important to me! See ya Saturday!