It will be a cross between “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Wagon Train” when we head ’em up and move ’em out.
Greater Waco will recede in the rearview mirror, Speegleville shouting a last “Ya’ll come back.” Which we will.
We’ve still got packing and unplugging to do. Some spots on the floor of the too-small house will be squinting at their first rays of sunlight in decades, doing so through veils of dust and cat hair. They say that household dust is mostly human skin flakes. We leave much of ourselves in Waco.
Though I’m not quite down the road, past the aromatic peanut plant in Gorman on Highway 6, past sentimental Abilene on U.S. 20 (where at McMurry College my parents met and conceived the idea of me), I’m missing a lot of things already about Texas and Waco.
Some things, not so much.
I’m already missing fireflies. (As a toddler, my eldest son called them “lightning bees.”)
I won’t be missing fleas. (I didn’t even know what a flea looked like until I moved to Central Texas.)
I’m already missing upside-down peeping-tom geckos on the window screen, with their see-into stomachs.
I won’t be missing fire ants.
I would say I’m missing horny toads, but for most of a generation we’ve had no horny toads to miss, in large part because of fire ants. But mankind gets more credit.
I’m already missing skies filled with hungry grackles.
I’ll not be missing grackle droppings.
I’m already missing cricket invasions.
I’ll not be missing the crunch of crispy crickets after the invasion.
I’m already missing peanut patties, accessible at any highway stop.
I’ll not be missing the Texas drivers on those highways.
I’m already missing bluebonnets which beckon my senses senses of sight and sniff in April.
I won’t be missing that roadside treat which in September (ragweed) and January (ragweed?) saps my smelling senses and makes my nose the River of No Return.
I’m already missing March.
I won’t be missing August.
I’m already missing give-a-damn people connected to this community for generations — like Mary Duty, Rufus Spain, B. Rapoport, Dave Campbell, Wilton Lanning, Ernesto Fraga, Pat McKee, Mary Nell Sorelle, Robert Gamboa, Alice Pollard and Al Siddiq.
I’ll be missing people devoted to telling Waco’s history in the multicultural, reality-based sense.
I won’t be missing spectacles of Cotton Palace dreams.
I’m already missing town contrarians and little people who carry on.
I won’t be missing businessmen who, because they own X, presume that they should control A through Z.
I’m already missing all the free and deep thinkers at Baylor.
I won’t be missing Machiavellian administrators, and their enablers, no matter how good their suits may be.
I’m already missing people of faith like Sherry Castello and the good folks at the Gospel Cafe, John and Susan Cowley at Talitha Koum, Jimmy Dorrell and Waco’s most Christ-like overpass, Charlie Garrison of the Red Door Project (serving God’s creatures with AIDS) and Kenneth Moerbe and whatever good deed he can get his hands on.
I won’t be missing people who consider their faith a merit badge, and who spend their time pondering a world of difference as wholly sinister, as it is not made in their image.
I’m already missing all the selfless people at Planned Parenthood. Whatever the signs say, without them Waco would be in a world of hurt.
I’m already missing Austin and all its energy and charm, and its every-other-year, whacked-out Legislature.
I won’t be missing a governor who’s more interested in how he looks — in the mirror and in the eyes of anti-tax think tanks in Washington — than how his state serves its people.
I’m already missing the chance to vote against him in the March primary. Yes, it’d be worth having “Republican” stamped on my voter card. Better than to have Rick Perry stamped “governor for life.” Maybe I’ll vote absentee.
I’m already missing Friday night lights.
I won’t be missing the tendency to marginalize all else students in our schools do in the extracurricular vein.
I’m already missing great public school educators.
I won’t be missing everything having to do with TAKS, which for too many policy makers is everything everythign else students and teachers do in the curricular vein.
I’m already missing Coach Kim, and Coach Briles and that phenomenal kid from Cove.
I won’t be missing the inevitable comedown when certain football factories come to town.
I’m already missing the flag on the ALICO building telling me which way the wind blows.
I won’t be missing certain pillars of the community telling people which way the wind should blow.
I’m already missing blue northers.
I won’t be missing an in-your-face wind from the south on a bone-dry day in September.
I’m already missing Cameron Park, and a zoo which seems to have something new every time you visit.
I won’t be missing people who still feel uncomfortable in “that part of town.”
I’m already missing seeing what good is happening at Quinn Campus, which also seems to have something new every time you visit.
I won’t be missing people who say they wouldn’t be caught dead in East Waco. Their loss. East Waco’s gain.
I’m already missing the river that defines and divides Waco.
All told, quite a sight in the rearview mirror.
John Young writes for Cox Newspapers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.