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 Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :
THE LOUISIANA CONNECTION
by George Lester
George Lester
Most of my childhood was spent in Texas but my family on both sides had roots in Louisiana. My father first saw light of day in Greenwood. My mother was born in Vivian and so was I. A large portion of the population of the town included our relatives. When we could find time away from our farm duties we would pack up and return to our family spawning grounds 30 miles north of Shreveport. It was about a 300-mile trip so we had to get started very early to make it there before dark. The average highway speed back in those days was probably 40 miles per hour. It was a great experience watching the countryside changing from the flat, featureless plains of Spunky Flat to gradually turning into the thick piney woods of east Texas, and then into Louisiana. Sam and I would play a game trying to spot the first pine tree as we headed northeast. Over a period of years we found that the conifers had migrated farther to the west and we had to be on our toes to win the tree-spotting contest. When we traveled at night I enjoyed curling up in the back seat wrapped in a blanket and letting the motion of the automobile rock me to sleep while listening to the soothing voices of my parents in the front seat. A car trip back in those days was quite different from today. There were no interstates and very few four lane or divided highways. Travelers had to drive right through the center of every town on their route. Loops and bypasses were still in the distant future. Negotiating the larger cities could be quite perplexing to the weary driver, but kids found it a welcome diversion from watching miles and miles of open countryside. The evidence of an approaching city would be first manifested in the billboards announcing various businesses in the town. Next came a few scattered houses, growing denser each mile closer to the city. The excitement grew as we noted stores and shops and sometimes, tall buildings on the horizon. When we reached the heart of the town the kaleidoscope reversed itself and we were soon back into the open rural area. It was almost like a dream, as if the city had never been there.

Today, while zipping down the bustling interstate at 70 miles per hour, hardly noticing the landscape passing by, I sometime long for those less hectic days of yesteryear. What would it be like, cruising along a two-lane road at a leisurely speed with the windows rolled down enjoying the perfume of countryside and looking for those tale-tell signs of an approaching city?
George Lester
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir
- October 15, 2005 column
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