“No matter where you go, there you are.” As a nomad at heart (and nomadic thinker), I am usually comfortable everywhere. Yet, like the Thingness of Things, everywhere exists in many dynamic layers that change in space and time. Despite that I was born in a city and grew up in the pre-burbs (pre-modern suburb; I’m dating myself….), I never felt that I belonged in or even near a city. In fact, I ‘ran away’ from our home in the city when I was five years old (another story involving a naked 5-year old running down the neighborhood street). In the ever-changing world of Trade Offs, when I was nine our family moved to an in-between place: partly rural, partly urban, one side of the road one school district and town, the other side another district and town, one side of the road pastures and woods, the other side houses and houses. I was lucky to live next to the pastures and woods. Regardless, I felt I never really ‘belonged’ there, or even near there. For me, there was ‘nowhere’. After graduating from high school at the ripe young age of 17, I fled to the woods of Maine. There I felt I was ‘home’. And it became my Home for 14 years. Since then, I’ve had several Homes, and a few ‘homes’ (where I lived but never belonged, or felt at Home). So why all this introduction? What is Home? Greenwood felt like my kind of home, without even living there. Like it could be my Home. One of my many Homes. And here’s why. Greenwood I think readers may know, or be acquainted with, that ‘home-town’ feeling. The phrase is self-explanatory; it is a place where you feel comfortable, where you can relax and shed worries, sorrows, anything that burdens you. It’s like that yummy feeling in your stomach after drinking a mug of warm milk (or another liquid that soothes you). Or sitting in your favorite comfy chair or couch. You settle in, relax, shed burdens and feel good inside. Everyone has their own perspectives and expectations of ‘home-towns’. But they don’t necessarily have to be where you were born or grew up. Greenwood seemed to impart that yummy feeling in the pit of my stomach. And it reminded me I was hungry. As we rode our bikes into the midst of the crossing of gravel and one paved road, it was as if we were riding our trusty horses in to town, all of us, and the bikes, covered in dust, grime, horse poop, and chewing tobacco. I could almost hear the screen door slap in the wind. And town’s folk whispering behind their hands, while children huddled behind their legs for safety. While my horse made bellowing noises. Back into reality, or the reality of the moment, I noted to myself that this exhaust is really too loud for my liking. Like a donkey that bellows all day, or a dog that howls all night, even with the clutch pulled in my wild pony grumbles loudly. I’m going to have to tame its loud laughter. The town store –aka gas station, grill, general store, meeting place- greets the locals and passers-through. Something about the colors –the green that blends in with the nearby immense canopies of pecan and oak trees- and the wooden plank siding fits the bill of a comfy chair. Only one person remained sitting on the bench; wearing a straw hat and denim coveralls. It reminded me of the porch at the Starlight and Terlingua Trading Post, perhaps its northern cousin. We pulled in under a metal canopy across from the store and in the shade. This seemed like the community meeting place for large numbers of attendees. Such structures seem lost and forlorn without the buzz of people underneath their roofs. But for now, it offered us shade and we were thankful for that.
Fittingly, in front of the museum building is a Texas historical marker relating the town’s early history. Next to the marker is what I presumed to be the remains of the well mentioned in the text. I suspect it has been renovated several times, and, like most primitive wells, it was capped tightly. That’s to prevent overly curious people, or the local dog (like mine did once), from accidentally falling in. We all took a respite from the dust and heat by sitting on the bench, sipping a cold drink; a few of us, of course, found ice cream inside. When I entered to buy a cold drink, I found to my surprise, half a dozen or so homemade pies in the cooler. Wow; I wonder where those will end up. Behind the counter were two women grilling hamburgers and sandwiches; the odor of grilled burgers competed with the ice cream, but I bet you can guess which won. When I mentioned my find to the woman that took my cash, she commented that a woman in town bakes them for the store. As I sat back down on my bench space outside, I glanced over to see the gentlemen in the straw hat had also returned to his bench space. I decided to make the first move; “Hi there! Nice day, isn’t it?” “It sure is.” Pleasantries out of the way, we decided to share names. Thus the boundaries were dispelled and Dale walked over to chat with us. While chatting, I noticed a small wooden statue in his hand and realized he was carving it. Looking up, I also noticed a carving in his hat band. A wood carver’s signature: Dale is happy to chat. We learned that the museum is open once in awhile. The woman that runs it lives in Fort Worth, but grew up in Greenwood. Every Saturday night is a Fish Fry at the store; good fish, lots of good people, and good pickin’ and grinnin’ And, one weekend every fall, Greenwood turns into a festival in the streets: the October Fest. Complete with parade. “We like parades. Why don’t you come and be in our parade? We’d be happy to have you folks in our parade.” “Well, how many of us can we bring?” “Oh, not too many.” “About six or eight of us and our bikes?” “Heck, bring six, or sixteen! Just not 50.” “Really?” “Yup. We like everything in our parades. You make sure you come. And you’ll get fed, too. And there’ll be music!” “Okay!!! We’ll be here!”You know you are in a small town when you can drive, or ride, anything to the local general store for a burger or ice cream. Suddenly, I heard a motorcycle. Anyone who rides a bike, knows the sound of other bikes. It’s like a bird hearing another of its species from miles away. I walked into the street, looking towards the sound, and I saw two pairs of headlights. The bike stopped, turned, stopped and returned. Soon it headed our way. As I sat back down on the bench, we all waved at the rider as he went by. His helmet glanced to the right and saw four other bikes and I heard brakes squeak. The rider stopped the bike and pulled in alongside ours underneath the canopy. We met another BMW-GS rider from Fort Worth out for a country ride. We chatted for a bit, while Bryan was excited to find a fellow GS rider. They exchanged species chat (that type of bird calling between birds of the same species) and contact info for future rides together. He went on his way, and we paid our good byes to Dale before wandering over to the bikes to gear up. It’s time to hit the trail again, horses. Geared up and refreshed we hit the trails –er, roads- north to parts unknown. Well, known to some, unknown to others. I had a funny feeling as I left Greenwood proper that I would be back. I just didn’t know then how many times that would be within the next 36 hours. I guess it was that ‘home magnet’ calling. Another home to add to my list.
Next to the canopy stands another interesting building. The sign on the front façade suggests that it contains a museum: Urquhart Museum. Strange name that. I can’t even pronounce it, and I’m curious on what it is, its origins and what it means.
Labels: dirt, Texas