Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Texas, 1972

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

This picture, from a small town in Texas, represented America between the coasts to me then. I remember thinking that I had to capture that cafe, with it signs proclaiming: Fair Prices, It's Nice Inside, and Good Food Since 1942. 

John was scared in Texas because there was still was so much upheaval, the Vietnam war was trudging along, causing conflict at home: rednecks vs. longhairs, cowboys vs. hippies, workers vs. intellectuals, everyone with an opinion all across the land. And for someone like John, with somewhat longish hair, driving a VW Bug with California license plates, the state of Texas represented real danger. 

It was night, we were driving across a wide expanse on our way to Amarillo, where we planned to spend the night. It was dark, very dark, our head beams the only light. I looked up at the sky and saw stars, millions of stars, so incredibly bright. I  had seen winter skies in deserted places before, in Sweden, in Wyoming, but never like this. I wish I were a poet so I could give that sky all the credit it deserves. But I am not, so all I can say is ~ that Texas sky was lit up with millions upon millions of strong, glittering, sparkling, stars. A sky of diamonds, to borrow a phrase, except this time it was for real. 

"John," I said, "stop the car, we have to get out and look at this sky." John said, "You're crazy, we can't stop in Texas in the dark, guys with guns live here. My California plates, it is not safe!" Well, I had danced with cowboys in Wyoming, gone elk hunting with them too, so I figured if guys with guns show up, let me deal with them. All the while thinking John was overdoing it a bit. I finally made him stop and he had an incredible experience, overcoming his fear, as we got out of the car and stood for a long, long time on that dark road in Texas, watching stars that reached out and touched our souls.

We spent the night in this motel in Amarillo. In the morning, we were awakened to a truck radio on its highest volume, Aretha singing:

Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired

Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But you're the key to my peace of mind

'Cause you make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like a NATURAL WOMAN 

I never forget, I looked over at John and said, "see there's soul in Texas."

I had to take this picture of John's VW, parked between the first black car and the white one with the fins. Can you see it?

While I didn't believe that guys in Texas were dangerous, one thing I found out, they all seemed to have big cars. Outside that motel in Amarillo, I saw about as many big Cadillac cars as could be seen on occasions in New Jersey ~ when men of a certain profession held meetings at some out of the way inn. ~ Except in Jersey, the Cadillacs were black. Shiny black.


  1. What a great story, thanks.
    For a few years in a row i would begin every tour (music) - in Vail, Colorado. One of the treasured local events were between the mountain people and city people - a crazy race - it was well loved, well attended - and showed another way to handle the fear of diversity.

    Love & Love,

  2. during those years all cars were big, except of course the little bug. certainly no like now. the good thing about those big cars was they were sturdy and safe and gas was cheap so the big engines did not matter. i love the shot of the cars and the one of the motel. i can almost see all those stars you were gazing at.

  3. Kul läsning igen. Cadillac är ju en tjusig bil , min favorit bland amerikanska jänkare o speciellt 1959 års modell.

  4. Awesome time, I'd like to see the Texas sky at night!

  5. I appreciate John's nervousness. The times only could lead him to think he was in danger, but it took a beautiful blond Swede to set him straight!!

    Three Cheers!


  6. what a great memory. made me sing 'the stars at night...are big and bright...deep in the heart of texas!'

  7. Oh, comments are so interesting. How different we all are. My point here was really about overcoming your fears and as a result have an incredibly beautiful experience, much as when I rode on that narrow ledge in Wyoming and got to see the bighorn sheep clash horns. And T, I didn't know about that song. I will always have good memories of Texas.

  8. The men drive big vehicles here too.

    I now have that lovely,lovely song playing in my head!

  9. When I came through Texas, all I remember was everyone seemed to be wearing a cowboy hat, and there were miles and miles of those oil pumps along the highway. Great sunsets. We avoided certain states as well where diversity wasn't welcome.

    Another great post, Inger. I think you'd see the good in anything. Looking at the stars makes us realize we should enjoy the moment more.

  10. We have stars in the sky above Los Angeles, too--at least 6 or 7 of them!!

  11. love you comment about fear in your comment, Inger!

    Its always the fear of the unknown, isnt it, ;p ....We loved certain aspects of Cali, but then there were the things we werent used to that made us fearful...like missing guardrails with crowded frightened tourists on a hairpin road LOL or the motel we stayed at in Fresno that was a GATED motel for our safety!

    Love your one liner comment "see, texas has soul " LOL

  12. So glad you looked at the stars in Texas! sandie

  13. Texas does have soul under that rough exterior. I was born in Lubbock but now live way up north in Michigan. I can't see myself living in Texas now but I have fond memories of that sky!

  14. Shelly is from Texas and I think she is a super star in the blogger world. My brother lives there and him and his wife made a lot of friends. It is pretty friendly there.

  15. The little VW bug being swallowed between the monster cars: awesome.

    My baby brother spent most of his adult life in Texas. Horses, boots, guitars and guns--that was my brother Bill.

  16. How neat that you got John to put his fears aside long enough not to miss such a spectacular site. Those were contentious times weren't they. Group against group.

  17. No Pink Cadillac's Eh?:)
    I love these stories and I can only imagine how scared John was they were scary times but you just never know there is a lot of "soul" in this world if we take the time to look and forget our fears. HUG B

  18. Inger in the sky with diamonds.


  19. well glad you had a good experience in Texas...you know everything is bigger here...

  20. Inger , I couldn't wait to get back here and read more about your travels. This is all so wonderfully interesting and I love your insights.

  21. Somehow, I don't think long-haired fellas in VWs with California tags feel any more comfortable in Texas today than your fella did back then.

  22. What a mixture of sensations!

    "Cadillac, Cadillac, long and dark, shiny and black."

    "You make me feel like a natural woman."

    "Hey, children what's that sound?"

    And "Inger in the sky with diamonds" fits right in there. Janie's right.

    Oh, woman. Now you've got me started. I'll be trapped in the 60s and 70s for the rest of the night. And I've got work to do!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting

  23. Brilliant story Inger.Love your wee car in the middle of the giants.

  24. Big cars to drive in big open spaces.

  25. I think northern, rural Texas has to be one of the best places to drive at night. I remember a road on the way to Amarillo. There were trees along it, and there were cicadas singing in every tree. I could have ridden along and listened to their crescendos all night. It was magic.

  26. What a wonderful story Inger! John was probably forever grateful to you for helping him through his fear. That was a turbulent time and people had their views and opposed each other's views.
    I LOVE all those Caddies 'sandwiching' that little VW Bug!! Perfect!
    Your life could be a movie about the adventures of a brave young woman from Sweden looking to find herself in America. And that she did!!
    So wonderful to know you Inger.

  27. I really enjoyed this story from your time in Texas, Inger. You captured the sounds and feel of the time, as well as the region, and I simply smiled reading this. How cool you found Aretha to give you a sense of being comfortable in a "strange land." ox Debra

  28. I really enjoyed this story from your time in Texas, Inger. You captured the sounds and feel of the time, as well as the region, and I simply smiled reading this. How cool you found Aretha to give you a sense of being comfortable in a "strange land." ox Debra

  29. Hi Inger .. just loved this story line - I can feel your reminiscences .. and the feelings and emotion you experienced then and now thinking back ...

    I could hardly see the beetle .. but I had an orange one in South Africa - it went everywhere .. everyone thought I was crazy driving on my own - I was naive!! But I'm here today thankfully.

    Cheers Hilary


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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