Glimmer of Hope

For the past eight years I drive to Crockett, Texas the first weekend in December for a meeting with my three brothers and for a party hosted by one of them. The 400-mile drive is across the heart of Texas and takes me through Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Austin, Elgin, Rockdale, Hearne, Franklin, Centerville and the outskirts of Crockett, bypassing the town to arrive at my brother’s ranch. There are quite a few other towns with a population of less than 800, too many to enumerate. Normally the trip leaves me a bit depressed as I observe diminishing towns, fields lying fallow and closed businesses, but this year there was a light, a different feeling. Every small town hosted either a Family Dollar or a Dollar General store, what we refer to as the poor man’s Walmart. There were new post offices, the fields were newly harvested and plowed and most every small town had a new business or two. Along the highway there were small businesses, a concrete company, an engine repair shop, a welding shop and there were some new non-denominational churches. The trip was uplifting, the roads were smooth and the towns were bustling on a Friday drive across Texas. And even though I would rather have waltzed across Texas,the drive brought a smile, reminding me that small town America is alive and well.