AT HOME IN HEATH: SOUTHERN JUNCTION
Well, all you cowpokes, cowgirls and cowkids, have I ever found a place for you. The last few months have been so busy over in the Metroplex, that the other side of the bridge preempted writing about this new town of mine. Why just last week I posted an article about Grapefest, a September event in Grapevine. With the onset of winter, things should settle down a bit (yeah, sure). If you want to liven up one of your evenings out here in the Lakeplex, instead of relaxing by the fire, may I suggest Southern Junction.
Is That Song Country or Western?
Though I live out here in a community of ranchers and farmers, I’m not exactly attuned to the rural lifestyle. I love having a pond in my backyard, but I’m awfully glad Rockwall is minutes away, especially since it gets more urbanesque every day. Why they opened up a Chico’s just the other day. Now if we could just get a Market Street, Central Market or Whole Foods!
However, country/western music I know. My dad raised me on Hee Haw and Whispering Bill Anderson. After high school, I attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, where you would run into Waylon Jennings at Pizza Inn and dance the night away to Ray Wylie Hubbard and his band at The Party Center (or Snoopy’s or The Caravan). By the time it was cool to be an Urban Cowboy, I’d already moved on to other things.
Nowadays, my favorite country/western memory is attached to a holiday dinner where a discussion of music ended up in an argument about whether Marty Robbins was country or western. I know that some folks wouldn’t find that unusual, because all of their holiday dinners end up in an argument about something, but it was off-the-wall bizarre for my family. Though Aunt Tommie was a bit of a pistol, my dad and Aunt Edie were always the least likely of folks to argue about anything. Discovering they were passionate about the West Texas Town of El Paso was quite hysterical. (For the record, Biography.com calls him a country singer, but anyone with an album called “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” sounds pretty western to me.)
My Urban Cowboy
While country/western music has been part of the fabric of my life, the same cannot be said for my husband. I don’t think they had Hee Haw in Egypt and his idea of a C&W bar is Belle Starr or Billy Bob’s. For the uninformed, Belle Starr was a very trendy nightclub on Central Expressway during Dallas’ Urban Cowboy stage. I went to Belle Starr a couple of times, but was more likely to be found at the old Top Rail. Billy Bob’s is fun, but it’s a Disney version of a honky tonk, not the real thing.
Bill likes country music well enough to have a C&W station programmed onto the radio of his car. We occasionally attend the Mesquite Rodeo or the Fort Worth Stock Show. Many country hits are counted among his favorite music, but the accompanying culture is completely foreign to him. Southern Junction was a shock to his system.
How We Got There
If you’ve ever read my blog before, then you know about my best friend, Deb. In some ways we’re so much alike we’re almost redundant – and then there are the ways we are different. Deb is very into music and dancing, things I like also, but there is no way I’d invest as much time and money into ballroom dancing as she does. That love for ballroom dancing bleeds over into liking pretty much any kind of music and dance. She’s a university-trained opera singer, but if the gang from work is going someplace to dance, then she’s all over it. On occasion, I join in and sometimes even Bill comes along.
Back in the summer, Deb went to Southern Junction because the significant other of a girl she works with was playing there. He’s Kevin Freeman, fiddler for Matthew Middleton and Texas Drive. Deb invited me to join them because it is near to my new home, but it wasn’t a good day when she called. She’s been talking about going back ever since then.
So, on a recent Thursday night, Texas Drive was making a return visit to Southern Junction. I decided to check it out and Bill decided to join us. We had no idea what we were getting into, but I’ve already gone on for too long, so come back next week to find out how our “date” went.