Jun 25, 201310:30 AM
Lifestyles, Galas and Gaiety from St. Charles Avenue Magazine's Morgan Packard
The Strength of History
My parents grew up in a small town in Texas (its most famous resident is Kinky Friedman). The town is situated throughout rolling hills and even the Starbucks sits with a view of the beautiful Guadalupe River from which, on a good day, you can watch deer drinking while you sip your latte.
I haven’t spent a huge deal of time there, mostly visits to family members and for weddings and funerals.
Last year about this time my mother and I visited her mother on the auspices of redoing some paperwork, but for me it was to see with older eyes where my parents had grown up and a little of what had shaped them into the people I know.
It’s only been in the past few years that my parents have become people to me, not just “Mom” and “Dad.” As I pass milestones in my life, I want to know how they came across those same milestones and what shaped them and their choices. Though they left their hometown to attend college and never moved back, I know that this area left its mark on them, the same way that growing up in Dallas has left its mark on me.
One afternoon my mother, grandmother and I took a drive along a two-lane winding highway so that I could see how beautiful the area by the river is, the rodeo where my mother used to ride barrels and put our feet in the cool water as it flows over limestone.
As we drove, we spotted something incredibly incongruous: Stonehenge. Well, “Stonehenge II.” At half the height of the original, this Stonehenge is made of steel frame, plaster and metal, painted to look like its namesake.
There is one stone that is actually a piece of limestone. It was left over from when Doug Hill was building his patio in 1989. He gave it to his friend and neighbor, the late Al Sheppard, who stood it on its end, and then built this monument around it. In 2012 his land was sold, and the monument was moved to land in front of the Hill County Arts Foundation, where it rests today.
My mother and I played in and around the stones, wondering what prompts someone to build something like this and who gathered the resources to move it. We decided that none of that actually mattered. What matters is the strength that it embodies, the history that it represents and the generosity of the people that worked together to move and maintain it.
As it began to rain, we dashed back to the car and drove to get a dip cone from the nearest Dairy Queen, moving on to lighter and sweeter things.
As I look toward my future, I know that it’s my choices and my past that shape me. Reflective of that small town, my parents are strong, gracious and generous people – I hope that through my choices I will be the same.