I know I’m probably being obnoxious about this, but I’m just so in love with everything about this book. And if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know when I fall for something, I can’t stop talking about it.
So, Fred and I have been taking a lot of road trips, all over Texas (but we haven’t gone west. Still.) We started last year with a trip to Shiner, Texas, about an hour and a half southeast of here. We drove past lots of drilling rigs and storage stations, which intrigued me. I’d heard of the Eagle Ford Shale drilling, but didn’t realize it was so close to town. We didn’t find anyplace we wanted to eat after our tour of the brewery, so we drove to the next town of Gonzales. The square was almost empty, just a bank and a cafe, maybe a store. In Texas, the small towns are all pretty much set up the same way, a square around a courthouse, and you can just imagine what it looked like back in the day (like maybe the town from Back to the Future.) So it’s kind of sad to see these squares dying.
We went to the diner, which was pretty good, and I took pictures, because I liked how Texas it all was. One side was a diner and the other side was a bar, with pool tables and a juke box. While we were there, a DPS officer brought in his family and they ate by the front window, a man came in with a toddler and visited with the waitress I presumed was his wife.
Stories started forming in my head.
We went to Luling for BBQ and posters lined the walls of the restaurant, asking for votes for the Watermelon Thump Queen.
We went to Burnet and Lampasas, with similar squares. Lampasas actually had a few more stores in their square. Both towns, and Gonzales, had other shopping areas, more modern, more space. Still sad.
We went to Three Rivers, because I’d read in Texas Monthly that it is one of the towns that’s booming because of the oil. We drove by man camps and rigs and earth movers clearing land for God-knows-what. We ate at the little barbecue place next to the one-screen theater. We saw the mayor eating lunch with the sheriff as townspeople stopped at the table to chat. Meanwhile, truck after truck rolled by, back and forth to the refinery right off the square.
We went to Karnes City, another place I’d heard was booming, but when we didn’t find anything but a BBQ place and a bar created from what had once been a grocery store, we drove on to Cuero.
THAT place is booming. It’s not laid out in quite the same way, but all the shops are filled in, just about. There are home decorating and remodeling places, salons (okay, we saw at LEAST three salons in every town, but these were a bit fancier). Honestly, you can’t hear yourself think for all the trucks driving up and down the main street. My husband said that was the sound of money.
So our trips were kind of like seeing an evolution, though they were in different places. And bits of each town shows up in Waltz Back to Texas.