October 12, 2023 | FEATURES | By Deck Harper

I’d been through many a Texan town before. But this one was different; it was strangely sad, for lack of a better term.

We’d driven through worse. After all, it was 2015, and we were amid winter storm “Goliath.” My family and I were driving back home from Indiana. The timing of our road trip was unfortunate, to say the least.

The first signs of Goliath came at night in Arkansas, with our hotel parking lot already beginning to flood. We managed to get gasoline on our shoes when refueling and drove for hours, wondering about the source of that potent odor.

I fell on the ice at least three times in Texas. Hey, I was born in Glendale, Ariz. Ice was one of life’s mysteries, back then.

No matter how memorable any of that was, nothing stayed with me the same way as that sad town in Texas.

We’d been through towns torn up by tornadoes just a few hours earlier. Perhaps that dampened the mood of the day. But even in that town that had been ripped to pieces, in the aftermath of disaster, I saw life – people trying to help.

A storm back home was a serene view out my window while I drank tea. Storms were different here. Goliath was fatal – the deadliest storm of 2015.

There was real tragedy on that road.

The sad town in Texas wasn’t tragic. It was just sad, in a subtle way.

Yes, I’d been through many a Texan town before, but none quite like that sad town in Texas that seemed so sad that sadness was the town itself.

The sun was bright and the earth was tan. Even amid the winter storm, I had the impression I was seeing this town on a sleepy summer’s day.

T’was past noon. The greyed orangish light of the sky washed everything out. The drawn shades and muted pastels seemed lonesome. The town looked all worn out, as if by time alone and not by love.

I couldn’t see a single person out and about on the streets. Not even one.

There was a beautiful playground, a sanctuary of grass and trees on that dirt road. But there were no kids.

It seemed that I had intruded upon a place where I shouldn’t be, and as we drove out, I wished I had never been.

It seemed that sadness had crawled through the gaps in the doors and now lived in the car, sitting in the empty seat next to me. A permanent resident, an amiable companion, an old acquaintance, a dear friend, accompanying me forever on the long Texan roads.

 [PV1]Not sure if this is a reference to the show. De-capitalize “winter” and “storm” if not. Goliath proper

Leave a Reply