I left my daily circle for a few days, Skip and I went to Midland, Texas to see our son William and his beautiful fiancé, Lorena. It was a trip through the sprawl of Dallas, the windfarms of Big Springs and the oilfields of West Texas, finally arriving in Midland. I had been to Midland before, once in 1976 with my mother in route to New Mexico to see old friends, Flo and Jimmy Brown. We drove, amazed, across the deserts of West Texas seeing no one on the road, a road lined with pint-sized telephone poles and an occasional roadrunner, stopping at little full serve Texaco and Gulf stations that were scattered through the country with old Texan men weathered from the hot sun and wind greeting you and pumping your gas while cleaning your windshield as tumbleweeds crossed the forlorn streets and time moved slowly.
Anyway, something of a boom has since occurred, time has passed and towns have grown; things are different now but it’s still Texas, no doubt. There are BBQ joints, authentic Tacos, plenty of cowboy hats, Ford Trucks and people with heaps of Texas pride. We saw Air Force 1 land amongst the iron horses and mesquite trees of Midland and most importantly, we were able to take a peek into the lives of our son and future daughter in law. As all parents are, we are happy to see them having a good life in this faraway place but it is never easy to say goodbye.
In mentioning the oilfield, I recall stories as vast as the West Texas skies, stories that reach as far back as the early 1900s. I grew up hearing a story about my Grandpa Farris in the early days of the Louisiana oilfield riding a freight train from Oklahoma to south Louisiana to find work, work on the rigs. He left his family behind until he found a job and a place to live in this new land of opportunity. I have never forgotten this story and each time I think of it, I can understand more of how difficult that journey must have been for him and how determined and resourceful he was to have made it.
As I write and watch a freight train cross the West Texas landscape, I miss William and Lorena and I think of my grandpa and realize how far we have come as a society and how “user friendly” this world is. I hope we all can remember to appreciate the trials and hardships of our past and take good care of our “now”.
The Full Sturgeon Moon will rise this Monday night as August creeps in and uncertainty lingers. I have no school age children anymore but I am thinking about all of you that do and hopeful you will make the right choices concerning your children. Each era of time brings challenges, changes and fears.
I often wonder what my grandpa was thinking as he rode the rails into a new and unknown place.
PAM SHENSKY is a wife and mom to five.