Highway 59 North- Houston to Texarkana

My daughter and I began our journey to Memphis today.  Although it can be done in a relatively easy day of 10 hours driving time, we decided to take our time on 59.  Tonight we are cozied up in the Holiday Inn Express at Texarkana, which is on the state line between Texas and Arkansas (hence the name).    For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of visiting Texarkana, the “T” stands for “thriving”.  They said so themselves.  On a sign. On 59.  I asked the woman at the front desk if were any dinner options that were not chains or fast food, and she sent us to Cattlemans.

Doesn’t it look like something right out of the 1950’s?  Here it is again in Instagram.

It is, not surprisingly, a steak restaurant.  However, to the left of the pictured sign was  the word “SEAFOOD”, although not glowing quite as brightly.  Obviously they were trying to cover all their bases, reassuring any non-carnivores who might be traveling through these parts that they , too, can find sustenance at Cattlemans.  Why isn’t there an apostrophe, I wonder? I should have asked that nice hostess- I’m sure she would have known.  Anyway, much to my surprise, there was no challenge anywhere on the menu or in the restaurant  for Bubba to eat a 64 ounce steak and get it free.  I was kind of disappointed,not because either of us were that hungry, but because it would have made a good photo for this post.  What they DID have, however, were little plastic packets of sour cream, and these little gems, presumably for the baked potatoes, which arrived on the plate totally bare neked.

Excuse me, ma’am, but do you happen to have this whipped spread with smoked salt crystals in it?

Yes, Toto, we are definitely not in Paris anymore.

The scenery between Houston and Texarkana improves drastically as one approaches Thriving Texarkana.  The first half of the trip is pretty pathetic – scattered trailer homes, Bar-B-Q shacks, and rolling green lumps on the side of the highway that used to be trees but now are big mounds of kudzu.  I was disappointed to have missed photos of BOTH signs for  “El Dorado Resturant”.  Maybe on the way home?  Things get a lot prettier around Marshall, and by Texarkana the countryside is downright Thriving.

Today was  an interesting day for talk radio shows, because it was the day Obama announced that he now approves of same-sex marriage (again), following an “evolution”, or revelation or a serious chat with his campaign advisors.  Whatever his motivation, the announcement prompted a flurry of opinions on the radio waves.  By far the most memorable was the caller, and I’m so sorry I cannot remember where he was from, who was incensed that this latest development was going to lead to an “all- gay military”, where we will send our children to serve our country and they will turn homosexual and be sodomized. Oh yes- I swear he said that.  I couldn’t make that up on my best day.   I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this poor caller, but I chose to laugh-loudly.  This woke up my daughter, whose look told me that I had just confirmed her fears that I was still as weird as when she left me last August.  Anyway, I don’t mean to imply that all arguments against gay marriage are as ridiculous as that misguided soul’s. I’m not interested in using my little blog as a platform for my position on this hot button topic.  Although it would probably give me a big spike in comments….hmmmmm…..no, I’m not that desperate for comments.   I just wanted to make the point that -well– what was my point?  I guess it was that my drive was not boring, even when my daughter slept and there weren’t any billboards to keep me entertained.

It’s so hard to believe that four years have passed since I drove this road home, alone, after leaving my first-born at Rhodes College.  I remember checking my cell phone every few minutes, hoping for a text from him that would reassure me that he was going to be just fine.  I’m not sure I ever got that text, but he was just fine, and eventually I was able to put the cell phone down.  Today I drove by the Dairy Queen in Diboll where I sat at a sticky formica table and cried on the phone to my mom about how hard it was leaving my son in Memphis.  I thought about popping back in there today, just to reassure them all that I was fine.  I’m pretty sure they have been worried about me.  And speaking of Diboll, does anyone know how to pronounce it?  Does it rhyme with “dribble” or “high ball”? Or is like “De Paul” but “De Boll”?  My daughter and I pondered that as we drove by, but weren’t curious enough to stop and ask a local.  So please call in now if you know the answer.

And so tomorrow we drive the rest of the way and by evening, all of our family will be together again.  Finally.  It has been way too long.  If you’re really lucky I will post a picture commemorating the occasion.   But if I don’t get the chance to pop back on here, I with you all a very Happy Mother’s Day in the US, and a good weekend wherever you are.

20 Comments

Filed under travel, Uncategorized

20 responses to “Highway 59 North- Houston to Texarkana

  1. rosanne

    That restaurant reminds me of the time James and I stopped at a simiar place outside San Antonio. The plate he received had obviously been made for an earlier customer, as the reheated cheese had that crusty look to it. We laughed and did not eat only because the fork did not move nor sway any after james stuck it in the middle to take a bite. Thank goodness home was only a few hours away.

  2. Welcome back home. I can imagine how that meal was. Had many experiences like that this week out on I-10!

  3. Excuse me, ma’am, but there is nothing pathetic about a Bar-B-Q shack! Please eat some Corky’s bbq for me while you’re in Memphis. I’m sure that it’s better than anything that y’all have in TX! 😉

    And the long drive home after dropping kids off at college, I remember it all too well. But doesn’t it feel great to see them at this next stage in their lives! Congratulations to your son and to his mom!

  4. I am hoping that if that is the same Holiday Inn we stayed at one time on a trip, they have replaced the carpeting in the rooms. It was an unexpected stop and we thought we were “safe” staying at a known establishment. There was a huge storm and I guess lots of folks decided to stop for the night in “thriving” Texarkana because we tried a couple of other hotels before hitting the Holiday Inn. Let me just say I would not let my young children walk barefoot on the carpet in our room, that’s how bad if was. Still makes me shiver to think of it and that was about 15 years ago! Hope you had a cleaner experience!

  5. Mary

    Glad y’all will be back together soon. Have a great time at Patrick’s graduation. I love the crying on the phone to your mom story. I’ve decided to bring my mom with me when we take Michael to Mizzou in August. We will both be crying in a Dairy Queen or a BBQ Shack (maybe both) somewhere along the way. I do believe Diboll rhymes with high ball.

  6. Julie Little

    Oh wow! This post stirs many memories of long drives on state highways in Texas and Georgia. The pic of the sour cream is such a contrast to the story you wrote on the French butter.
    Yes those times when we take our children to college! Very emotional. And now you have another in the fall.
    I actually heard that guy on the radio on my way home from work. I too was flabbergasted!!! I think I burst out laughing and tried not to swerve off the road.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  7. Ah, 59 to 30 to 40, and soon to 55. A route you will continue to love and cherish for another 4 years as it is the most direct route from Houston to St. Louis. We made our final college foray and cleaned out Ellen’s apartment two weekends ago. There is a lot more all along the way than there was 7 years ago when we started our midwest college treks. Cary and I were thinking how we just might have to go back and tourist thru some of the places we’ve only driven past. I heard the guy on the radio, too, it was on NPR’s talk of the nation. I just kept thinking, “didn’t you mean to be calling Rush?”

    • Wow- I hadn’t yet realized this would be our new route, too! Funny. I guess I”ll have other opportunities for that picture of the “resturant”.

      Clearly the radio show was a special edition yesterday, entitled “Talk of the Insane Asylum”!

  8. Laurie Mai

    Oh I love your blogging!! You are so entertaining! Please hug all of your little babies and your big baby, too. Happy Momma’s Day to you. Love Abu

  9. Amy Burgoyne

    Re: Diboll The story goes that two little old ladies stop in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina (a real place). They go into a fast food place for lunch and they inquire about how to pronounce the name of the town. “How do you say the name of this place?” the one lady asks. The person behind the counter says slowly and distinctly as if speaking to a total foreigner : ” b u r g e r k in g “.

  10. Cynthia Kuhn

    From my days living in East Texas (Nacogdoches 4th to 6th grades), you say it like “high ball” or “high bawl” in the lingo. They also said “THEE-ate-er” , so whatever!

  11. I second Cynthia’s comment: I’ve heard “Dye-Ball”
    RE: Amy’s joke: The Texas variation : those same two little old ladies go into a fast food place in Mexia (pronounced “Muh-HAY-uh”) and the waitress replies ‘d-a-i-r-y q-u-e-e-n!’ (you’d think they’d re-phrase their question by now!)

Hollah back y'all!

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