Friday, August 26, 2005

Before & After

If you drive across Texas by yourself, staying away from the Interstates, you start to overhear your internal dialogue after a while. Sometimes you may even catch a snippet that pulls you up short.

But that's you. Me, I just look at the land, try to see where I am.

Maybe I took this picture near where Britt Johnson's wife and kids were carried away by the Comanche, with some Kiowa help.


That was in October of 1864, and Johnson was a free black settler. He had nothing left but his own life, which he then spent tracking the Comanche down, joining the tribe, and freeing his loved ones. He was mutilated and killed for his efforts, but two of his children lived.

No, that must have been somewhere else.

Could be the place where Captain Gilbert's 1st US Infantry company gathered to drive the Comanche from their Texas reservation to a new one in Oklahoma, six years before Johnson's troubles began. I'm really not sure.

An hour or so before that, by highway time, I took this picture inside an old jail still standing by the roadside:

Fat Nancy

I don't know who "Fat Nancy" is, but someone must have thought highly of her to brighten these walls with her name. Likewise, Bill.

You may never have been to Texas, but you're from someplace like it. If you look, you can see a reflection of what's behind you, and maybe just a little of what lies ahead.

For better or worse, I hope to join you there, and I hope our kids will have forgiven us. I hope we will deserve their forgiveness.

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