ROAD TRIP: PART TWO
My "crazy" Uncle Mike was always a lot of fun to be around growing up. He was tattooed, drove a muscle car (a copper Duster if I recall) and was always just wonderful with me and my cousins when then entire Howton family lived in Corsicana, Texas.
My first Halloween was when my Uncle Mike took me around. He introduced me to sliced bananas on a peanut butter sandwich. He lived with us on and off over the years as he was single and either somewhat nomadic or always in and out of trouble - I don't know which, but I'll guess the latter.
And he was a great friend to my brother when he needed him the most. They were very close later in life and I always appreciated Mike's generosity and kindness no matter what the circumstances. When we lived in Irving and he was in Dallas we visited him, often bringing our newborn son with us. But as these things sometimes turn out, by the time we had our daughter, we'd moved out of the area.
I'll guess the latter because he fell on hard times once and I went with my father and grandfather to find him living in a park in East Dallas. They bundled him in the car, took him to my grandfather's house and cut off his beard, bathed him, fed him, and brought him to our house in Rhome, Texas where my father had built an entire apartment in our garage for him to reside. He got a job at the local foundry - one of the few businesses which actually operated within the city, then became a local celebrity.
The Texas State Capital is the largest State Capital building in the Nation. Atop the rotunda is the Goddess of Liberty. Sometime in the mid-eighties they took her down to refurbish her, transporting her to...Rhome! Our little town was often in the news those days - we had participated in Hands Across America and that same year the Olympic Torch Run. There was a foundry in Wise County who'd won the bid to do the work and being the small town it was, a big fanfare was made at the statue's arrival. As the story progressed on the news they sent a crew down to report on the restoration and my uncle was shown on local television, working on Liberty's Goddess.
The best picture I've seen of our fair capitol was taken by glodowg the last time she was down, and my pictures don't do the justice hers did, but I had hit traffic for the second time that day (but not the last) traveling from Dallas to San Antonio, and as I approached the exit clearly marked, "STATE CAPITAL" and remembering that mr_dowg was *just* here, I exited and parked outside the gates to take my picture, disappointed that the dome was covered in scaffolding.
I was only off the Interstate for 15-minutes.
I thought it fitting that the last time I was here it was with the very person who's retirement ceremony I was driving down to attend. He'd rented a car after Basic Training and we drove to Rhome from San Angelo, somehow taking the scenic route...via Austin, Texas ;)