Saturday, November 10, 2012

Texas Toast


                                             Texas Toast

Did I tell you I was there the day Big Tex went up in flames?

It's been hard to talk about it until now. But life must go on. And the big guy will regenerate next year, I'm sure. When we saw the tall churning plume of black smoke and realized that Biggie was burning, I was upset. Christi was texting all her friends: OMG! OMG! Little kids were sobbing and TV crews were swarming and fairground cops whose biggest excitement up until then had been the day the frat guys had too much fried beer and all jumped into the reflecting pond, pushed us rubberneckers back behind the ladder truck.
What's so special about that giant Howdy Doody in a cowboy hat anyway? Well he's big and brash and loud. What's not to love? We watched his face melt and his hat crumble and his maxi-belt-buckle disappear in a nasty smelling belch of flames and we wiped tears we hadn't realized were running down our cheeks.
Remember the day T.O. danced on our star in the middle of the field? Like that, but with more angst and less cursing.

My daughter Christi and I rode down to the State Fair on the train. DART drops you right off at the door. All you have to do is get on our cute little A-train at the Denton station and change to DART at Trinity Mills.

It was her first train ride, and I'm always excited about the train. But when we pulled up to the Med Park station and saw a dozen or so soon-to-be-co-riders pushing strollers and holding toddlers by the hand I get this uneasy feeling....

Maybe they'd get on the other car, I thought. But they all trooped on with us and we were surrounded by, uh, OK I'll just say it - children.
Now I don't actually have anything against kids. I was one once myself and so was my daughter. But we were out of the habit of close proximity with 3-year-olds. And two of them were in seats next to us. Twins. Boys. 3 years old. Need I say more?

Well I'm going to. We'll call them Larry and his twin brother Larry. They were having a ball being 3 - kicking the seat and shouting all the 3-year-old dirty words they knew. Over and over.
"Tooty, tooty, poop, STINKY!" they shouted. Did I mention over and over?
Along about the Old Town station Christi and I began making up a story. The name of the story was Larry and Larry must die. We did not of course finish the story or try to turn it into a one-act play. It was therapy and it kept us sane until we could change trains at Trinity Mills, ensuring that we were on the opposite end of the DART from the twins.

The first swirls of black smoke arrived about the same time we did. We hurried to see what was burning along with all the other early arrivals that day. Firefighters pulled chunks of Tex down with their picks. They scattered him and soaked him and hauled his remains off in a big ol' body bag. I wondered as I posed with Christi for a cop to take our picture at the empty site what Larry and Larry might have thought of the spectacle.

"Tooty, tooty, poop STINKY!" they probably yelled.
Yeah, that's about what I thought too.


  1. Too soon. I still haven't been able to come to grips with it, but I know that as the decades roll by (although at my age I should probably say decade), I'll always remember where I was when I heard that Big Tex was burning. My first thought was Yankee terrorists.

  2. Big Tex burned....the sound you hear in the distance, that's me playing the world's smallest violin.