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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quest for Simplicity

The town I currently live in is the same town and area I grew up in until I moved to the Hill Country during the summer after the fifth grade. I grew up in the older side of town and I have many memories of walking down the old streets, playing games in the field in front of and directly behind my home, and of visiting the Piggly Wiggly across the street. This Piggly Wiggly is often where our blind rescued poodle would wander into and the manager would have to call us to come get our dog.

I also have a very strange memory of my oldest falling down a man hole near the Piggly Wiggly and getting hurt on our way to school, because a City worker had inadvertently left the manhole uncovered.

The town I grew up in is very much different from the town I live in now--even if both are essentially the same place. This city started to expand at the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s. I often wonder if it has stopped expanding. When newcomers ask me about how our town looked when I grew up, I often tell them that our town has exploded in growth. The mall we have was a beacon in the night to drivers along Interstate 35. I always wanted to go there as a child and as an adult I wont stick my foot in it unless you really pressure me.

In a lot of ways I love my town. In a lot of ways I also despise the fact that my town has changed in many unfavorable ways. Whole neighborhoods are run down, businesses have moved out, and I feel like I am going to be mugged when I visit our local Walmart.

My sister visited me last year from Oklahoma. Her town isn't known for its nice shopping and cultural arts, so when she came down she wanted to visit the Dallas Art Museum which isn't too far from me. Here's the problem: Even though it would have taken us only twenty or 25 minutes to drive there, I refused to drive down the interstate to get there. For me, driving in traffic isn't worth going to a museum, the zoo, or a performance--unless that is I have free tickets. My only exceptions are Kenny Chesney and Randy Travis with their voices as smooth as chocolate. So my sister got stuck with watching a movie and shopping at a local antique store.

I'm excited about the road trip we are taking soon. My brother-in-law is getting married the end of this week and will be having a reception in Utah some days later for our family there. We are going a way we have never gone before and are making many pit stops along the way. I imagine our road trip will be like a virtual museum before us. I plan on stopping at a few historical markers, visiting monuments, and exploring majestic vistas. Some of the rest stops have museum type displays and can be some of the most interesting places to stop on road trips. I also found out that we will be driving just north of the World Largest Rocking Chair, so if I find the need to kick up my feet you know where to find me.

It is strange for me to say this, but I think the city has made me want to go back to my roots. Not necessarily back to the towns I have lived, but rather back to a simpler life. I know the city holds many conveniences that I have become accustomed to, but I don't want to rely on them any longer. It is going to require more time on my part to plan, but in the end it will be worth it.

Then out on my covered front porch I'll kick up my feet and relax...not on the world's largest rocking chair, but rather in my husband's handcrafted one. If I can convince him to make me one that is.


Chef E said...

It has for me too, being away anyway...Big chair makes me think of Six Flags and that big chair we all took our photos in in the 70's...if your that old, I am...also, Piggly Wiggly makes me the post! Have a good trip, I am ready to come to the Lone Star State!

Michelle Hoad said...

I graduated High School from Red Oak. I grew up going to Red Bird Mall. Is that the mall you are talking about? I don't think it is named that anymore.

Jason said...

Hey, you didn't mention how you plan to go on the road trip.

Mindee@oufrontdoor said...

We left a big city for a medium sized town and I would never go back.

In fact sometimes I toy with idea of a small town but I'm too opinionated and mouthy. I'd get run out of town the first year!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Chef E, I'm sure after spending an entire week camping and driving with my three little ones that I will be happy to come back too. Let's meet if you still want.

Michelle, I didnt know Red Oak had a mall. The mall I am referring to is a little more north.

Jason, I am walking of course! (Not really, but I guess I dont understand the question.)

Mindee, thanks for the heads up. Perhaps I should be looking more for a medium sized town as I am mouthy too.

Rhea said...

I agree, going back to the simple things is kind of where I am at this moment now too. And I hate traffic. hate it, hate it, hate it.

Fun about your upcoming road trip!!

Lesa said...

I am right there with you on going back to simple.. We bought land a year ago and we are getting ready to move out of a Dallas Suburb to a little town East on I 30. I can't wait! I want to slow down. I want the highlight of my day to be picking up fallen limbs and burning them. The downside is the nearest grocery store or home depot is 12 miles away. But I'm thinking I will make it!

Candance said...

Okay, first to Michelle, I remember Red Bird Mall. My friend's car got stolen out of the parking lot there. We hung at the Six Flags mall in G.P. Or, the Forum Mall on 303 if we wanted to hang with the Thrashers. Oh, the
memories of growing up in the metroplex in the 80's.

Okay, so I do know the mall you're speaking of and I'd rather take a beating than go there. But, Highland Village is WONDERFUL. As I typed it, I could hear angels singing.

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