Friday, June 25, 2010

On the way to LA (that's Louisiana!)

I'm now in East Texas, about 20 miles outside Houston. And, yes, it's still hot. But not as hot as it was back in West Texas.

Speaking of West Texas, I spent the night parked in a tiny little town called Van Horn. In the morning I had lunch at a great local joint called Papa's Pantry. I asked them for an avacado as an appetizer and they gave me a plate of the biggest, tastiest, butteriest (is that a word?) slices of avacado I've ever eaten. They sliced it and peeled it and delivered it to me while I awaited my "to go" order. Now THAT'S what I call service! :-)

After the avacado, I drove around the corner to the Veteran's Park -- a cute little playground and ballfield not half a mile away. Though it looked clean and well-kept at first glance, it was obvious on closer inspection that it probably wasn't a place that little kids visited very often. The usual playground devices were there (see-saws, slides, etc.), but they were missing pieces and looked like they hadn't been played on in years. There was also a LOT of broken glass scattered around... as if the place got a little rowdy on the weekends. Not exactly the kind of place you want your kids to be running around in (especially if the kids are like I was and ran around in bare feet all summer!)

I don't mean to paint a poor picture of the place. It was actually pretty interesting. And, as I stated before, it did look fairly well kept. The grass was mowed, the landscaping was tidy, and the ball field was in great shape. I guess it's just the broken beer bottles that threw me.

And it's that bit of information that got me thinking... is this playground a symbol of our times? Is it a symbol of a changing America? I asked myself, "Why don't kids play here anymore? Has this place become the local hangout to drink away one's troubles? If so, why?

Best not to think too deeply on these kinds of things. After all, I am an outsider looking in, and I only caught it in a singular moment in time. I'd actually love to see a ball game there some weekend...

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