"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Fort Worth memories
4525 Trueland Drive, southeast Fort Worth. After all these years I can still remember the address. I lived here through first grade, walking down that gravel road to school. No car, no school buses. My teacher's name was "Mrs. Gaylee." My brother Jerry was born when we lived here. Dad painted Christmas scenes on the glass of the front door. I still have a snow scene he painted looking out the front window one day, of the vacant lot and trees. He started in the morning and quit in the afternoon when the snow stopped.
This house was also hit by lightning. I was asleep in my bed and can remember concentric white circles coming in toward the the center--like the reverse of little waves going out when a rock hits a pond--and when the circles got to the center of my forehead, lightening hit, blowing the fuse box and waking me up.
The house to the south, shaded by the trees, had chickens, and I remember the people cutting their heads off for dinner and the headless birds running around in circles before they flopped over. Terrifying. To the north in the field we had a garden and corn, and a clothes line. Behind the house my Dad had a small studio for painting. I remember seeing my first praying mantis out there one night.
I have a large yellowing and framed pen-an-ink drawing my dad did on veteran's day when he was only 14 --of a knight outside a castle raising his hand to a fair maiden in the window. The drawing was the only thing my grandmother saved from a house fire when they lived in Comanche, Ok., in the 1920s. And it was hanging over the fuse box struck by lightning in Fort Worth. Today it hangs in my studio.
Isn't it amazing what we remember from our childhood?