Monday, April 23, 2007

Lubbock, light

Lubbock, Texas. It's a whole nuther place. But, after being away for nearly 50 years, I'm finally beginning to appreciate my home town. Took a while.

The Mystery Woman and I graduated from high school in Lubbock back during the Second Dust Bowl. The Discovery Channel would have loved it. You could see a wall of sand hundreds of feet high rolling toward you. Unrelenting. The wind-driven sand often scoured the paint from cars.

Old Lubbock was a tough town. I was shot at twice before I was 18. Once was for stealing hubcaps and I'm not telling about the other attempt. Suffice it to say, both missed and I went straight. And the Statute of Limitations has run.

New Lubbock seems more peaceful. Once, I was driving around in a rented car and was astonished to hear classical music on the radio. More surprising, I saw two men walking down University Ave. holding hands and nobody was beating them up.

For years, I was convinced Lubbock had an inferiority complex whenever Austin was mentioned. Later, I came to realize Lubbock had an inferiority complex when any city was mentioned. Except Muleshoe.

That was in the old days. After so many garage bands became successful (The Dixie Chicks, The Flatlanders, Buddy Holly), the edge was gone. Gone, that is, if you don't count musicians as politicians.

When Texas Tech launched both a law school and a medical school, it changed the social structure. Once I asked a divorced woman if she was having trouble finding a replacement male in such a shallow gene pool and she replied:"Oh honey, there's tons of divorced doctors now." Lawyers, too, I imagine.

Although most number-crunchers would credit Texas Tech as the driving force in the new Lubbock economy, I think it's the music.

Music and a budding sense of humor.

On that drive when I was having my coming of age experience (OK, so I'm slow), I drove by the chamber of commerce to admire the must-see statute of Buddy Holly. In the dimness of my memory, I remember my sister telling me there was also a Buddy Holly waterfall. I called for directions and soon found the alleged waterfall. Pretty and peaceful.

But something was wrong. I didn't remember any running water in that part of town. Puzzled, I climbed up the sandstone rocks and at the tiptop discovered the headwaters -- a faucet and a garden hose running full blast.

I'm not making this up.

Some years later, a Buddy Holly park was dedicated with a more legit waterfall. So I'm told...

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