Local lifestyle columnists

The joys of Texas’ miles and miles of open space

By From page B8 | June 21, 2014

You might call this column “Reflections about Texas.”

Texas has played an important role in my life. I met and married my dear wife there. With her help, I attended and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

I shared some of my life and good times with my sister and her family in Garland. I also spent seven wonderful years working with great people in Fort Worth. All of these things have helped to make me who I am.

Please don’t misunderstand me. My home is here with many friends and folks who have embraced me as “family.”

I don’t have that kind of connection with Texas folks and events. My real family and friends in Texas live several hundred miles apart in Houston, Austin, Dallas and Grand Saline. My son, God love him, wants in the worst way to “take care” of me. I’m just not ready for that.

I have just returned from a visit with my son and his wife and with my nephew. It was a wonderful time for me. In the next few columns I will share the experiences I had with Texas places, food, animals and my Texas family – starting with the Texas landscape.

Texas is as big and open as I remembered it. A 200-mile driving trip from near Houston to Grand Saline in East Texas was a joy. I was impressed by the high quality of the highways, the open space and the small villages and towns.

There is an enormous opportunity to have a place of your own at a price you can afford. Our California government is systematically driving businesses, jobs and people there. The fact that Texas has no personal or corporate income tax is just another incentive.

Most of the little towns and villages we passed through are old. The new buildings tend to be the fast food restaurants, banks and big-box stores like Walmart. Not all little towns want to grow and become big cities.

My nephew told me that when Walmart proposed to build a store in Grand Saline, the city officials graciously declined the offer. There are two Walmart stores about 15 miles away in slightly larger towns.

One of the interesting things I noticed on the drive to Grand Saline on the back roads was this: about half of the big trucks we saw were Walmart trucks. On the back roads, it was typical to see a manufactured home surrounded by trees and meadows separated by several miles until the next manufactured home. It is very open. There is a lot of open space.

My nephew told of a time when Bob Hope spoke at Texas Tech in Lubbock. Hope said that in West Texas there are miles and miles of miles and miles. He was right and it’s still true.

We took a different route back to the Houston area (Montgomery). My nephew, who is 74, was a Teacher of the Year in Houston when he was younger. One of his students has embraced him as family. He drives to Houston regularly and recommended a more direct route, which we took. It was more direct, but just as picturesque.

I recommend an exploration trip to the hinterlands of Texas.

Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or [email protected]

Murray Bass


Discussion | 2 comments

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  • JagJune 21, 2014 - 8:20 am

    Look forward to it, my hope in a few years is to take that tour with the classifieds ads in hand,

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  • JuliaJune 21, 2014 - 12:51 pm

    I can't speak about east Texas, but Bob Hope would probably tell you to avoid the hinterlands around Lubbock. That part of west Texas is among the most bleak of landscapes in the whole country. Miles of flat dry nothingness. For those who are savvy enough, use the "streetview" function in Google Maps on any random road between Lubbock and Midland - you'll see what I mean. The Hill Country down near Austin and San Antonio has it's charms, but I'll pick California over Texas every time.

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