Wednesday, August 29, 2018

And the world moves on


I’m not really sure what’s going on over there next to the Verizon store on South Jefferson. I drove by the other day and there’s just a slab of concrete where there used to be something, but for the life of me I can’t remember what.

The Verizon store used to be a gas station; gas used to come in more than just one flavor; the drive-in is now a trailer manufacturer; drive-thrus are a dime a dozen; and a dime will never again buy you a cup of coffee.

That’s life. Eso es vida. C’est la vie.

The Martin theater is now a church; the old First Baptist Church building is now the place to go for revivals on financial management; the library used to be in the old post office; and let’s not talk about the courthouse – a once handsome old building covered up by years of “let’s get with the times” until it became what it is today, which isn’t all that bad depending on your point of view.

I walked around the courthouse a while back, sat on a bench, drank a tall latte and thought to myself, “This life could be a whole lot worse.”

There used to be a train depot just off the square. Now there’s just an empty plot of dirt and sand that doesn’t know what to do with itself. Last Friday I stood in the middle of what once was the depot’s loading platform, trying to hear the voices of the men who waited for the Cotton Belt steam engine to take them to World War II, but I was 70 years too late. The train and men had long left the station.

Turning south you can still see the old smoke stack for Borden’s. Men and boys would collect milk from local dairy farms and bring it back to the factory to be pasteurized. Milkmen would deliver cold bottles of truly fresh milk right to your doorstep, and nobody was lactose intolerant. Today I put Almond milk in my morning coffee. It’s just not the same.

The ghost of Bull Durham continues to look down on the square, but Rogers Hardware Store is now a pizza parlor; a parking lot displaced The Stephens Hotel years ago; The Texan movie theater stands empty, looking for a lessor; and if I told you where the old Titus County Jail once stood, you would never again believe a word I say.

Thing is, things change. Things come and go. New things replace old things. Old thingamajigs get replaced by new doohickeys. Groovy ain’t cool anymore, and bad got replaced with da bomb long before being dope was litty.

The world moves on, and that’s a good thing.

Bess Caldwell owned a beautiful house that was across the street from Harold Richardson Grocery and Feed Store to the north, and Butternut Bakery to the west. When she died, she willed the property to the city, stipulating that it be turned into a downtown park. Today, Caldwell Park sports a splash pad, a gazebo and is a great place to walk your dog, or visit the Farmer’s Market when it’s in season.

I doubt the change would have bothered dear old Bess one iota.

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