|I love Amarillo,
even if it doesn't matter to me that Mayvi Cornelius was the first
child ever born there back in 1888. What does matter is that most
Amarillans today are men. Thank you U.S. Census takers. Thank you,
I never met so many good lookin', boot-wearin', city-shunnin', plain-talkin',
fellas in my entire life as I did a few weeks back when I visited
The Fair And Totally Underrated City of Amarillo In The County of
Potter in the Republic of Texas.
The Panhandle has some of the nicest people in the country and if
President Bush sent a few of them over to Afghanistan, they'd find
Osama, and they'd find him fast. That cruddy-bearded, anti-American,
flea-infested, filth blob better not ever come to Texas. There are
plenty of hangin' trees left, and there wouldn't have to be any sissified
old trial either. That's why Amarillo has something other cities don't
have: phone listings just for their cemeteries. But I digress.
Driving from California to Ohio to attend a writers' conference, I
stayed at Marriott Residence Inns along the way; they take dogs and
I had one of those critters along for the ride. We had the only car
in all of Texas that didn't have a gunrack.
Amarillo people have a great sense of humor. I stopped to pick up
some groceries and handed a twenty dollar bill to the checker. He
said, "Got I.D.?"
As soon as the car crossed the state line into Texas, the music changed
from rancid rap to pure country & western. None of that puny-sounding
citified who-can-understand-what-they're-saying? stuff here.
It was good to see a Hooters -- not that I'd go in one myself, being
a woman and all, but back in California there's a bunch of liberals
who aren't satisfied that they've already passed a bunch of laws prohibiting
smoking and every other pleasurable pasttime, they'll probably get
Hooters closed down, too. But not in Texas, nosireebob! Or maybe that
should be nosireeboob.
A trip to Cavender's Boot City got me a nice pair of boots to impress
everybody because they were made in the U.S.A. and not some Asian
country where stuff shrinks. These boots will stay the same size,
whether I do or not.
I asked the receptionist at the Marriott Residence Inn (I-40 West,
frontage road), if there was a park in Amarillo where I could take
my dog, and she sent me to Medipark, the nicest park I ever saw in
my entire life. There's a beautiful lake there with walking bridges
over it, picnic tables, barbeque facilities, jogging paths, and beautiful
trees. I wondered what that strange sound was overhead. I didn't recognize
it as a helicopter sound, or a jet-flying-over-your-head sound or
a duck-there's-a-driveby-shooting sound. Turned out to be birds. Nice.
I hardly recognized it as a park, since I didn't see any squashed
beer cans dotting the landscape. I suppose Texans are such macho guys,
they probably drink the beer and then eat the can.
And I met a lot of nice folks there, too, particularly on the day
my Toyota 4Runner was acting up. "Acting up" is an understatement;
it was bucking, and that's no exaggeration. It was like a pathetic
attempt to recreate the mechanical bull at the old Gilley's. But no.
The car was just loco. You can buy one of those electronic bovines
at El Toro Manufacturing, Deer Park, TX, or you can borrow my car.
Amarillans certainly know how to handle an hysterical woman who's
shrieking, "Help me help me. I don't know what to do," when they see
one. Several handsome guys came immediately over and called me endearing
things like little lady and honey. They seemed to understand right
away that I don't want to be one of those liberated women from the
big cities who don't like to get petted and flattered. I love that
Anyway, they directed me to the most wonderful Toyota dealership in
the world over there on Georgia Street, all the while telling me things
would be okay real soon. And they were.
I relayed the bucking problem to the hunk at Toyota, who reached into
the car right across my lap. I thought he wanted a date, but he was
only after a button on the dashboard. Drat the luck.
Turns out I had driven the car spastically in 4-wheel drive all the
way from the park where I must've accidentally hit the wrong thingamajig
with my knee, or the dog did.
The Hunk didn't charge me either. Just smiled and told me to have
a nice day ma'am and stay safe. Sigh.
Lots of visitors check out Cadillac Ranch in the middle of a wheat
field off Route 66
west of Amarillo, but I figure on starting a Toyota Ranch on Georgia
Street, so I can research car stuff with that Hunk.
The title of my story is "Naked Came The Amarillan," but that's just
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
Pubished June 26, 2004