Archive for the ‘Glen Rose’ Category

Worry not, folks, this Growing up Glen Rose thing has got to end at some point or the other.

As I’ve said before, these entries about my kidhood aren’t so much about writing something funny and entertaining as they are to document for me, and perhaps even my kids, how absolutely decent and loving my growing up was.  I think sometimes we get it in our heads how miserable our youth was…how our childhood was so hard.  I know that growing up, I did…heck, we all did.  All we thought about was getting out of Glen Rose.  That getting out of Glen Rose mentality was largely responsible for my child-brideness.

But then, a funny thing happened when I had kids in a place that was nothing like Glen Rose.  I realized pretty quick that my kids weren’t going to have the same experiences I did.  When I realized that, I began to appreciate more the fact that I had been miraculously blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people who not only helped my mother and I, but they truly cared about us. 

I’ve written about Olene and Burt and Lillian and Dorothy and Maxie, and today I am going to share a bit about Geneva and Doyle Aston. 

The Aston’s were our landlords for nearly as long as I can remember.  When we moved to English Street they became family. 

See, I was the same age and a lot of the time in the same class as their nephew Bradley.  Brad and I shared the love of UFOs and the Legend of Boggy Creek and Big Foot.  We were fast friends.  When mom was in hospital for this or that when I was little, I remember many times spending the night at Brad’s.  I remember sitting out on top of their storm cellar with walkee talkees thinking we were listening to UFO talks when in reality…well, it was truckers’ CBs. 

We were little.  We didn’t know that UFO folks probably didn’t say ‘Breaker 1-9.’  So, cut us some slack.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to Geneva and Doyle.

I’m quite sure that Geneva and Doyle more than once probably allowed Mom to be a little late with the rent.  They knew she was good for it.  They never minded me coming in to use their phone, since we didn’t have one and I was the one who would need to call if there was a problem with the gas bill or the electric bill.  Mom wasn’t comfortable talking on the phone with her German accent, so I learned early how to deal with folks on the phone.  At 10. 

Geneva and Doyle were always the first stop trick or treating.  Geneva always made ‘special’ treats for us…homemade popcorn balls or candied apples or cookies made especially for us.  They always oo’d and ah’d over whatever silly little costume I could come up with, which most of the time consisted of ‘hobo’ or ’50s girl.’ 

In the summertime, if they were watering their giant lawn, I was always invited to come play in it.  Especially if the grandkids were in visiting or Brad was over.  If there was a family gathering over there and they were making any number of freezers of homemade ice cream, I was always invited over to help sit on the things while the grownups cranked.  It always seemed to take forever for it to ‘make’ when I was little…while I was trying to keep my bare feet out of the little river of salt water that trickled out of the hole in the bucket. 

When you are waiting for the ice cream to freeze when you are 10, 30 minutes is an eternity.  The first time I actually made homemade ice cream as a grownup, it amazed me how fast the process was.

When we weren’t making ice cream, Doyle was always quick to flick me a quarter to run up to the corner for an ice cream.  Doyle, during baseball season, was forever sitting on the porch listening to the Ranger games.  I didn’t really get the baseball back then, but I remember so many summer evenings sitting on that glider on their front porch listening to games with Doyle while the cicadas chirped in the trees around us.  Any time I ever went over, they’d always offer up a ‘coke cola,’ of which they kept cases and cases in the carport.  Coke never tasted better than when I was sitting on the porch listening to a Ranger game with Doyle.

Well, maybe it tasted as good on the picnics with Olene up shotgun road. 

So, we’ll call it a tie.

As I got older and played junior high basketball, Doyle would always wish me luck (and I needed a LOT of it) as I’d walk up the drive on my way to school.  We only lived down the street from the school, so I’d walk to the school to catch the bus to go to the game and then walk home after…in the dark…alone. 

But it was Glen Rose, so it wasn’t really a scary proposition back then.

When Doyle’s health started failing a bit as I got older and he got older, I didn’t bother them so much.  When I would need to use the phone, Doyle quite often was napping in his recliner and I would talk in hushed tones so as not to bother him.  He always had his glasses on, sometimes a little askew on his head. 

When that awful morning came that I was awakened by the flashing lights of the ambulance, it was, perhaps, the first time the D-word affected me directly.  As the ambulance pulled off, I realized that I’d never sit on the porch with Doyle and listen to a Rangers game again.  He’d never throw me a quarter and tell me to go get an ice cream again. 

When we went to the ‘visitation’ at the funeral home, I will never forget how relieved I was that they’d laid him up proper with his glasses on his nose.  It made it like he was just dozing. 

And it made it all a little bit easier for me to deal with.  It was like Doyle wasn’t really dead, he was just napping.

My gosh, I loved those people…and they loved me. 

When mom was in nursing home, I got word that Geneva was in hospital at the same time and her health was failing.  I made myself go to visit.  I was so glad I did when she passed not too long after.  Even in the hospital with her own health failing, she was most concerned about how my mom was. 

And that is what being from Glen Rose was about.

People cared about you…truly.  They cared enough about you to love your scraggley kid.  They cared enough about you to invite you to the family ice cream supper.  They cared enough about you to give your kid the quarter you couldn’t afford so she could run up to the corner for a tasty ice cream snack.  They cared enough about you to invite you into the storm cellar when that ever-impending storm was coming.

They cared enough to make you FAMILY.

How many of us in this day and age can look around at our neighbors and say the same?  I’m guessing that not many of us can…

and I think that is sad.

I think it is especially sad for my kids.  Granted, the older girls did grow up on a street where there were close friendships.  We all had kids about the same age, so we all sort of looked after one another’s offspring.  We spent lots of time in their driveways while the kids played.  Happily, the girls still have some of my Ya-Ya friends from back then that still live on the street.  The Junior can still walk down the street and visit with Lee or with Colleen. 

Is it the same experience as I had?  Well, it’s close.

The thing I find so sad is that The Boy won’t ever have it.  We have become, since the Banishment, pretty much our own island here at the Casa.  We don’t really know the other neighbors that well.  Sure, sometimes when The Boy is out back with Belle, the other side neighbor will have a chat with him over the fence, but it isn’t the same. 

And it never will be. 

But hey, he has us and Belle.  I guess we’ll make do.


Read Full Post »

Any time I venture outside the walls of the Casa, I come back with observations about things I’ve seen in the outside world.  Today, I ventured over to Glen Rose to lunch with some Glen Rose exes, one now an old friend, and one a new one.  We’ve been ‘visiting’ on an alumni message board now for a good little bit and have been talking about a meet-up, it just never happened.  Until today.  And, I’m glad I ventured outside the walls to do it. 

Working at home has had a hermit effect on me.  I think sometimes I have borderline social anxiety syndrome.  Yet, once I get out there I have a great time.

Onto the next observation. (cursing to follow people, be warned)  People drive like crazy sumbitches.  Or at least they do on the highway that connects our fine towns.  The tanker trucks are bad enough, but what makes it worse are the dumbass people in cars pissing OFF the trucks.  I shit you not, at one point this little Mazda POS decided at the last minute to pass a tanker truck that had to have been doing 85 mph. 

Oh, and they were coming RIGHT AT ME.

Which caused me to seriously say these words aloud


Of note…

I am a great advocate of saving the nasty words for when you really need them…

And today was that day…a few times, actually.  Like when the one tanker truck thought he’d do us a favor and get off to the side of the road so we could pass – we do that in Texas – it’s called “courtesy” – so as to not piss the dude off and snub his offer, we began the passing process, but when it was my turn, what do you think was coming at me in the other lane.


By the time I punched it and threaded the tanker needle I thought perhaps I may need to stop off and pick up a new pair of jeans somewhere.

And if you’re thinking ‘oh that chrisyub, she is such an exaggerator’

I promise you, I am not.

And to these asshats who are sparring with these 70,000-pound I have to ask…

What the fuck are you thinking? 

Do you think your little 3000-pound rolling tin can is so up to the task that you will:

  • Get in front of a 70,000-pound water tanker and purposely go 10 miles under the speed limit
  • Wait until the last chance to pass, then punch it, only to barely get around him before you hit me, thus making him slam on his breaks because you had to get right back in front of him.
  • Take to the right lane, allowing him to pass in the left lane, then changing your mind and darting back in front of him, causing him to swerve back into the right lane, IN FRONT OF ME, thus BRINGING ME INTO YOUR CRAZY FUCKED UP BATSHIT plan to get us all killed.

I mean really.  Where is everyone in such a hurry to go?  In this very town people drive like they are trying to escape Satan himself.  I’m sorry, but last time I checked, getting home in time to see Oprah wasn’t worth dying for, now Dr. Phil…maybe.

I also had this thought, as I drove through town noting all the packed restaurants at lunchtime on a Monday in this town with a population proper of…well, I don’t know exactly but in 2000 it was less than 3000.  I’m talking 20 white pickups at the Chicken Express and every drive-in spot at the Sonic full. 

Anyway, the thought occurred to me that I sure hoped the owners of these places are saving for a rainy day or paying off their house or their Escapades because just as soon as they finish sucking the last bit of natural gas out of Mother Earth’s loins all those white pickup trucks that work for the gas companies are going to go on the next village to pillage, leaving nothing but vacated makeshift trailer parks in their wake.

I was surprised to see, well, not surprised, given it looked like it should have been condemned 15 years ago, but they TORE DOWN MY CHILDHOOD HOUSES…both of them.  The little 4-room rock and the one where I got my first telephone.  I was oddly saddened by the fact.  I doubled back and did my drive by to see if they’d demolished any of the other houses.  The apartments were still there where Gary used to live.  There was the ditch where mother and I would freeze every year picking pecans for Christmas money.  I saw that someone bought Olene’s old stucco place and slapped a layer of yellow paint on it, making it by far the nicest house on the block now.  Doyle and Geneva’s house, a big old 2-story number that so majestically sat at the curve of English street is just a shame.  Where the garden spot was and our little rock house and the pasture behind was just full of parked trucks.  Some rough necker is probably renting the place and parking his equipment out back.  It’d be an eyesore if the whole neighborhood wasn’t one.  Well, except the McCroskey place.  And Dorothy and Maxie’s little house made me want to cry.  They moved a few years back.  It’s so weird going back and seeing things change so quickly. 

Hell, 10 years ago the only restaurants in town were Dairy Queen, a bad Tex-Mex place and a Hot Lunch sorta place.  Now it’s crazy nuts.  THEY HAVE AN INTERNET CAFE. 

Too weird.

Anyway, because my friend Kathy knows that I needed some, she made me the most awesome brownies for my birthday.  I cannot remember a better brownie passing these lips.  So moist and delectable what with the white chocolate bits and frosting.

And they are calling my name.

Hearts and Flowers, ya’ll.


Read Full Post »