Traveling Light

Grain Elevator in Floydada, Texas
Some readers will remember this story. It’s sweet and quirky, and so amusing I occasionally re-read it just for the smiles it brings. I hope this re-post brings you a smile, too. If anyone has a better travel story at the end of the summer, I’d surely love to hear it.

Floydada, Texas is cotton country, though it’s known for pumpkins, too, and likes to bill itself as the Pumpkin Capital of the US.

It’s a flat and expansive land, a land of impossibly distant horizons and days barely distinguished one from another. Strangers develop a habit of looking around, as if to orient themselves. Even those who’ve grown up with the wind, the dust, and the storms say it aloud now and then: “This place will run you nuts if you let it.”

By the time it was over, people wondered if Sammy Rodriguez and his brother Danny hadn’t been run nuts because of circumstances —  too much wind, too much work , unable to get their bearings because of the limitless horizons of life. Whatever the cause, when they disappeared along with eighteen of their relatives, Floydada Police Chief James Hale was one of the first to hear about it.

Family members in Floydada who reported them missing mentioned to Chief Hale that the men had been saying some strange things. “They made statements like the Devil was after them, and Floydada was going to be destroyed if they stayed here,” Hale said.

Later, someone was heard to remark that Floydada wouldn’t be much of a loss if it was destroyed, but he said it quietly, and away from the crowds.

Even after twenty years, people in surrounding towns — Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals who tend to take their religion pretty seriously — keep clippings about the story close at hand. I once saw the article tacked onto a refrigerator in Idalou, torn rather than clipped from the newspaper and starting to yellow with age. Still, there it was, bearing witness to the best part of the story – that it’s all true, every living word of it, excepting, perhaps, those conversations the preachers had with the Devil. But no one’s sure about that.

Details varied from one report to another, but the broad outlines of the story were clear. The family fled Floydada in five or six cars, abandoning one in Lubbock and a second in San Angelo. A third was found in Galveston, filled with clothing, purses, wallets, and other personal items. Eventually, all twenty people crammed themselves into one car and once again headed east toward Florida, only to be stopped short in Vinton, Louisiana.

The troubles in Vinton began after a campground owner called police to say the group had tried to commandeer an RV. When a Calcasieu Parish deputy stopped their car, the driver seemed willing to answer questions, but when he got out of the car, he was clad only in a towel draped around his mid-section. Vinton Police Chief Dennis Drouillard said, “When the officer went to ask what was going on, he jumped back in and took off”.

The group not only took off, they took off down Vinton’s main street at speeds approaching 90 mph, until the car plowed through a fence at the baseball park and hit a tree. Fifteen adults and five children piled out of the 1990 Pontiac Grand Am.

“They were completely nude,” Drouillard said. “All twenty of them. Didn’t have a stitch of clothes on. I mean, no socks, no underwear, no nothin’. Five of them [the children] were in the trunk. The Lord told them to get rid of all their belongings and go to Louisiana. So they got rid of all their clothes and pocketbooks and wallets and identification and the license plate off their car and came to our gorgeous state.”

The car was totaled, but the injuries were minor. Sammy Rodriguez was booked on charges of reckless driving, flight from an officer, property damage and assorted minor traffic violations.

Like the police, city prosecutors seemed a little bemused, and they tended toward leniency. In exchange for Rodriguez paying a $650 fine and picking up the $975 tab for fixing the fence and a telephone pole, they dismissed charges of criminal damage to property.

In a fit of good sense, no charges were brought for indecent exposure. As Court Clerk Mary Vice said, “The statute states that, for indecent exposure, you have to be exposing yourself in order to arouse someone. That wasn’t their intent.”

Magistrate Kent Savoie gave Rodriguez 90 days to pay for the fence and 30 days to pay the fine. He was ordered to spend 17 days in jail, but after being given credit for six days served, the balance of the sentence was suspended.

Once the proceedings had ended, Savoie asked Rodriguez, pastor of the Templo Getsemani Assembly of God Church, why he and his nineteen relatives left their clothes behind in their flight from Texas. Rodriquez said he had a vision from God on August 17, telling him Judgment Day was at hand, and he and his family were to go to Florida. At some point in the journey, they became convinced the Devil was in the details of their clothing, so off it came.

Whatever Savoie thought of the response, he seemed to accept it. “I don’t know what possessed you to do what you did, but I’m relying on the statement you were told to do so by some higher being,” Savoie said. There are hints that, by that time, Rodriguez had been thinking things over. “It wasn’t God, sir,” Rodriguez answered, his voice nearly inaudible. “I would like to apologize to the people of Vinton and Floydada for everything, and I ask for their forgiveness.”

Rodriguez said he planned to leave immediately for Lubbock and then Floydada. “When I return to Floydada I am pretty certain that I will no longer be the pastor of my church, unless the people there can forgive me,” he said. “I plan to look for a job as soon as I get back.” Rodriguez’ wife’s family sent her a plane ticket and she returned ahead of him. A relative drove the other 18 people on to Wauchula, Florida.

And that would have been the end of it, had not a fellow named Chris Stuart heard the story ten years later. Deciding he had enough material for a song, he went to work. In the end, he wrote a memorable song — so good it was included in a collection of Car Talk Car Tunes put together by National Public Radio for their popular Saturday morning show, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.

Whenever I listen to the song, I laugh again, and I think you will, too. I wouldn’t even be surprised to know God laughs every time he hears the story and the song. Let’s face it – we humans can be good for a laugh now and then, even when we’re trying to be serious.

Twenty Naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac

I was thumbin’ my way down to Baton Rouge, standin’ on the side of the road,
When a car pulled over and a voice cried out, “We’ll take you where you want to go.”
I jumped inside, but to my surprise, they were naked as a poor man’s toes.
It was a tight situation when the whole congregation said the devil was in my clothes.
Twenty naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac,
Brothers and sisters shoutin’ in the back,
Elders in the front, choir in the trunk,
Twenty naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac.
The sermon that morning was on Adam and Eve and the ways of the dreadful snake,
Everybody was clappin’ when the preacher pointed at me, my body began to shake.
I threw off my shirt, and my shoes and my socks,
My jeans and my BVDs.
We were all in the nude, shoutin’ “Hallelu!”
and singing “Somebody Touched Me.”
Twenty naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac,
Brothers and sisters shoutin’ in the back,
Elders in the front, choir in the trunk,
Twenty naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac.
We had the cruise control set to fifty-five, when a Smokey got on our tail,
He pulled up beside, his eyes got wide, and the siren began to wail.
We ran off the road toward the tree of life, Lord, the future was looking bleak,
We hung on and prayed, everybody was saved, ‘Cause we all knew how to turn the other cheek.
Twenty naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac,
Brothers and sisters shoutin’ in the back,
Elders in the front, choir in the trunk,
Twenty naked Pentecostals in a Pontiac.

Comments always are welcome. To leave a comment or respond to a comment, click below.

70 thoughts on “Traveling Light

  1. Dear Linda,

    We have similar stories here in Panama from several members of different churches about the end of the world. Some church followers believe the story and head to the supermarket before the arrival of Armageddon.

    This story repeats itself almost every Sunday when the missionaries start their religious sojourns to the neighborhoods of the Metropolis. Doors are opened and people still head to the stores to buy food. True story.



    1. Well, as you know, Omar, predictions of “The” apocalypse take a multitude of forms. Heaven knows the Christian path is littered with them, but it’s pretty easy to spot others. Remember Y2K, with all its dire predictions and attendant anxieties?

      In 1524, a group of London astrologers predicted a world-ending flood, and 20,000 Londoners headed for higher ground. When nothing happened, the astrologers fine-tuned their calculations and said, “Whoops! We should have said 1624.”

      There’s a great book, written by Leon Festinger and others, titled “When Prophecy Fails.” You might enjoy this great article about the book’s history.

      Your comment about people heading to the grocery stores made me laugh. There’s a very real sense in which an impending hurricane is a mini-apocalypse, and there’s a good bit of similar behavior.


  2. I don’t think I ever heard a better summer vacation story. It’s like you had to write in school at the beginning of the Fall term: “How I spent My Summer Vacation”. I love that they were able to cram themselves into one car. It would be interesting to hear how they were received when they came back home. It sounds like a supermarket tabloid story doen’t it? Truth is stranger than fiction, always.

    1. Kayti, a friend was insisting that twenty people never could get into one car, but then I reminded her of the things we accomplished in high school when the drive-in movie offered a flat price per car. I know we managed fifteen kids on one occasion. Of course, we were simply trying to save money. If our motivation had been a little higher — say, a message from above — we might have done even better.

      I thought just briefly about finding more information about life after everything fell apart, but decided against it. Some stories feel perfect, just as they are. Maybe the next time I’m through the Panhandle I’ll see what I can dig up for the next chapter.


  3. Love that song! Just got back from the panhandle, camping at Cap Rock Canyon and Palo Duro canyon. No stories to tell that can top that, but did see lots of signs on fence post calling for repentence because the lord is a comin soon.

    1. Lucky you, Susan! I think you probably had ok weather, if a little windy. This certainly is the time to camp, before the full heat of summer arrives.

      It’s a great song, isn’t it? A light touch and a little humor can be very good things. And you were in the right neighborhood for those signs. — no question about that. Nothing wrong with a little repentance, either. It’s the ones who want us to repent AND hand over our worldly goods to them that we need to worry about. “Profits of doom,” I like to call them.

      Speaking of travel, I finally got into the West Columbia and Brazoria museums yesterday. My goodness – those ladies are enthusiastic about their history. The surprise was the riverboat history. And, I had a chance to read the chapter on Brit Bailey in Catherine Munson Foster’s book, which I haven ‘t yet found (at an affordable price). I’ll keep looking- it was a great account of the tale.


    1. Well, montucky, I’ve never thought there was much wrong with an occasional summer re-run. After all, when the robins or swallows reappear, or the wildflowers begin to push up, we don’t say, “Oh, I’ve seen that before. I’m not really interested.”

      I’m glad you enjoyed it the second time around!


  4. The whole idea that they were all naked in that car certainly conjures up some funny and interesting images! LOL! A great story and an unforgetable one, too! Thanks for the re-post—-I had not seen it the first time around, so it was all new to me….!

    1. OldOldLady, isn’t that what a really good story does? It gives us a chance to help fill in the details in our imaginations. On the other hand, one little detail I love is the matter-of-factness of the authorities in Louisiana. They didn’t allow their imaginations to run wild, and turn the situation into something it wasn’t. I think I’d grade all of them with a A+ for coping!


  5. I missed this one the first time around, so I’m glad you saw fit to repeat it. What a hoot of a story — and the mental picture of 15 people (naked, no less!) crammed into one car is just icing on the cake!

    I lived in West Texas for a little more than a year, so I’d heard there was a Floydada. This story, though, is something I managed to miss. No wonder the good neighbors to the east got a kick out of this one! I can just see the expression on that Louisiana deputy’s face when he realized just what he’d pulled over!

    Odd the things folks do in the name of “religion,” huh??

    1. I don’t think there are any of us who haven’t had the experience of saying, “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.” That’s where I have a lot of sympathy for these folks, Debbie, and a lot of admiration for the pastors. It had to take courage to admit a mistake, turn around and head back home. Not only that, the ones who kept going had a lot to sort out.

      Truth to tell, all of us listen to voices of one sort or another. Given some of the voices that are clamoring for our allegiance these days, I’m not so sure the little group from the Panhandle made the worst choice in the world.


    1. They surely did take it to heart, didn’t they? And why not? There’s good Biblical evidence that the Lord likes to talk to people in some pretty out-of-the-way places, and Floydada certainly qualified.

      Of course, there can be a bit of a problem if you mistake one voice for another. Every time I recall this story, I remember that song from back in our youth — “Devil or Angel” made famous by Bobby Vee. Among other things, this is a great cautionary tale about knowing who’s giving you advice!


    1. Never mind the Pontiac, Gallivanta. It was the Aussies who tucked seventeen people into a VW bug back in the day! And, according to the article I linked, the record is twenty – the same number that were in the Pontiac. I’d say the crew in the Pontiac were crusing in luxurious comfort compared to the VW!


    1. The pioneers had to make do with outcroppings of rock, or the occasional river or watering hole, as they scanned the horizon for landmarks. Grain elevators are so much nicer — they can be seen for miles, and even in these civilized days give comfort to travelers who are wondering, “Where in the heck is a town with a gas station?!”

      It certainly is a story worth re-telling. Beyond that, I found re-writing, rather than simply re-posting, a worthy exercise on its own.


  6. This story is just as amusing the second time around! Yes, one could ask some serious questions – Wasn’t it dangerous to have the children in the trunk? How did they not get injured when they crashed? – but the song at the end is just perfect. Thanks for the grins.

    1. NumberWise, remember the old saying about how God protects fools and little children? Well, there’s your explanation.

      Besides, if you truly believed that the Lord was about to destroy your town, the dangers of an over-crowded car ride might not seem so apparent. Not only that — I just took another good look at that statement. The pastor apparently believed the town was going to be destroyed IF they stayed there. That’s just ambiguous enough to suggest they might have felt they needed to get out to save the rest of the town. Interesting.

      In any event, the story’s great and the song’s even better. I’m glad you enjoyed it again!


      1. Each time I return to read more comments and replies, I smile when I read the clever title.

  7. Rode my bike across Texas, Linda, starting a little south of Florydada through Brownsville. Almost understand the craziness. Felt that way a few times myself, like the end was nigh. Riding across flat nowhere with a headwind in hundred degree heat, dodging a rattlesnake in the road, wondering why the distant grain elevator never got closer, hiding out in a sleazy motel to avoid golf ball size hail. There were times when it was so hot the tar in the road sucked at my bike tires. Hallelujah, Sister. :) –Curt

    1. Oh, Curt. There it is, that strange reality of life “out there” — “wondering why the distant grain elevator never got closer.” And I’d forgotten the melting tar. It’s certainly a landscape that impresses itself on the mind. I can understand how it might distort the mind, too.

      I still remember the drive to Houston from Salt Lake City, after I’d lived surrounded by mountains for a year. Somewhere east of El Paso, something like vertigo began to set in. There was too much horizon, too much space. Very strange.

      Here’s another grin. I just noticed the vague resemblance between my little graphic at the end and the Burning Man logo.


      1. Sometimes Linda, when I was out there on the road for months by myself, I found I began to talk with the cows. They would always do me the courtesy of looking at me. And sometimes they would even moo back.

        PS… from vertigo it is easy to move to hallucination. :)

        And the Burning Man guy has sneaky ways about him.


        1. Ah, hallucinations. I still remember seeing an entire “city” in the middle of the Gulf one night. I took some pretty good ribbing about that one for a while. We were well beyond the rigs, there weren’t any ships on radar, and no drink or drugs were involved, so who knows? There are mysteries!

  8. I’m not sure what I did with the first edition but when I played the tune for my wife just now she had heard it before (she has heard all my good stuff at least twice).

    So I emailed a link to this blog to just about anybody I could think of who might still retain a sense of humour, especially my grand daughter from whose singing performance we have just arrived home.
    (that sentence is about as awkward as anything I have been know to type)

    1. Humor — a real sense of humor — seems in short supply these days. Snark, cynicism, and ridicule seem to be filling the gap, and they can be fairly wearying. Enough said about that.

      It tickles me that you’d share this, Ken. I hope the folks you sent it to enjoy it as well. Laughter’s good, just as music and song are good. If they can be well combined, it’s even better.

      (And never mind awkward. It’s communication that counts, and you did.)


  9. I do remember this story. I don’t remember what I may have commented the first time, but all I can think now is the quote I would hear women say after they had heard something so funny it brought laughter and tears running down their cheeks. “O Lordy, Lordy, have mercy.”

    1. That’s exactly it. “Lord, have mercy!” And then, another fit of giggles and eye-wiping. A friend and I had a little episode of that in the car on Saturday, and there’s nothing that feels better.

      Re-telling funny stories about this family member or that neighbor was a part of my growing up. We always were laughing at the dinner table, and no one ever became offended when one of us said, “Remember when….?”

      We just nodded, and laughed. And if the focus of the story was sitting at the table, he or she would say, “Well, sure. But remember when…?” and off we’d go again. Such fun!


  10. I remember your telling this before, and it hit me the same this time as last time—-what a strange sequence of events! Just amazing how one man can influence 19 other people to do a crazy thing like take off for somewhere else, empty handed, and shed your clothes along the way. And can you imagine the nice aroma in that care with all those potentially sweaty bodies jostling around? If this happened today, they would all be thrown in jail for abuse of the poor kiddos stuck in the trunk. All I can say is, after all that, the Lord truly must have been on their side, tee hee!

    1. But of course, you have to remember — he wouldn’t have said, “Hey! I’ve got a cool idea. Let’s all get naked and head to Florida!” When they started out, they were in several cars and fully clothed. It was just that things — developed — along the way.

      Somewhere along the line, I read a book or a study about plausibility and credibility. As I remember it, the point was that even the most incredible propositions can seem plausible if enough people believe the same thing. In the same way, perfectly credible assertions may be rejected if no one finds them plausible.

      So. if it seems incredible to us that this group would undertake the journey they did, it may simply be that we don’t find it plausible that God would show up with an itinerary and a to-do list.

      Anyway, it’s funny today partly because no one suffered any bodily harm, the authorities in Louisiana were reasonable, and everyone reached a destination, even if it was only back home.

      Honestly, I feel a little sympathy for the pastor. Can you imagine, believing you were called to do something like that, and then having it all collapse around you? It had to be hard.

      But it’s still a funny story.


  11. I’ve never heard the voice of God. I have a hard enough time listening for the still small voice inside. Doesn’t it take courage to heed the voice of God, especially when it calls for you to do something so unconventional and seemingly foolish? The story is humorous, but not-so-humorous at the same time.

    1. Rosemary, I’m smiling because there are certain traditions in which that “still, small voice inside” is a poetic way of speaking of the voice of God.

      In the Methodist tradition in which I was raised, one of the emblematic hymns was John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”. Since Whittier lived between 1807-1892, we can’t expect him to have our concerns for inclusive language, but that doesn’t mean the hymn isn’t still beautiful.

      The article I linked included this, about the last stanza:

      “The final stanza evokes images of breathing and calm, closing with a magnificent antithesis: “Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,/ O still, small voice of calm.”

      I think it does take courage to heed the voice of God, even in less dramatic circumstances. Of course, in our society, it takes a certain determination and courage to even hear the voice of God. There’s a lot of chatter out there. Maybe the Panhandle was quieter.


    1. Well, good morning to you, eremophila. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a great story, and the tune is especially humorous and catchy. It’s one of those songs that can cheer me up, no matter what. We need more of those!


  12. Well here you go Linda, another tall tale for your future book. And I sure love the title you’ve created for this post.

    While I find these stories amusing, as you have presented, I just can’t help but wonder how these people figure out the exact time or date of the end if they are so familiar with the Bible. It’s plainly stated that, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13: 32) Not trying to be didactic, but just beyond me.

    1. Arti, I wrote another post some time ago about a fellow named Harold Camping and his prediction of the end of the world.

      It’s such a strange human tendency, this urge to predict the apocalypse, and not solely religious. Recently, the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, proclaimed, “We have 500 days to avoid the climate chaos.” In the middle of the night a few weeks ago, I happened to hear that the aliens are on the way, and we’re going to be destroyed — or shipped back to their planet — in a matter of months. So it goes.

      Sometimes I think we’re a bit like children telling ghost stories around a campfire.. It’s as though we love to scare ourselves to death, rather than dealing with real life. Hard to say.

      In any event, these folks hadn’t really done any Harold Camping-style calculating. They got their message directly, and decided to pay attention. In either case, your point is well-taken. No matter how we get the message, through calculation or direct communication, it’s certainly suspect from a Biblical point of view. Whether Harold Camping ever understood that is hard to say, but I think Pastor Rodriguez figured it out.


  13. Since the last time I read this great story I’ve driven through Floydada (on my way from Lubbock to Caprock Canyons State Park). Here’s what the Handbook of Texas has to say about the name:

    “The town, originally named Floyd City, was established in 1890 by M. C. Williams on 640 acres donated by James B. and Caroline Price of Jefferson City, Missouri. The community won the county seat election after a bitter contest with supporters of Della Plain. When a post office was opened, the town’s name was changed to Floydada to prevent confusion with Floyd in Hunt County. Some claim the new name was meant to be Floydalia and was garbled in transmission to Washington; others say it was a combination of the county name and that of donor James Price’s mother, Ada; still another version is that it was named for Caroline Price’s parents, Floyd and Ada.”

    The same drive also took me through Idalou, whose name is similarly obscure:

    “The origin of the town’s name is disputed: it may be derived from the names of early settlers Lou Bacon and his wife, Ida, or from those of Ida and Lou Bassett, daughters of Julian M. Bassett, the vice president of the local Crosby-Bassett Livestock Company.”

    I wonder if people are still naming towns—or now more likely subdivisions or neighborhoods—by combining male and female names.

    1. Steve, I’d never thought much about Idalou, but I found it listed as one of two Texas towns named after two girls. The other is Mineola, which had been known as Sodom before the name change.

      How it was named Sodom is something I haven’t figured out yet, but in the process of looking, I found a most interesting article about one William Cowper Brann, who published “The Austin Iconoclast.”

      “In the early 1890s, Brann, who had only three years of formal education, owned and published an Austin, Texas newspaper. He eventually sold the ‘Austin Iconoclast’ to William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry. He repurchased it from Porter to operate it out of Waco, Texas until the time of his assassination [by a Baylor University supporter who resented Brann’s implication that girls at the institution were prostitutes].” My, my.

      A friend who was born in Floydada explained the name to me as a combination of Floyd and Ada Price’s names. One of his cousins married into the Williams family and is quite a local historian, so while his claim isn’t proof of that naming theory, it’s pretty solid.


      1. I like the way Wikipedia puts it: “Brann was a journalist known for the articulate savagery of his writing.” It’s fair to say he died in an incident of inarticulate savagery.

        Now that you’ve discovered the flamboyant William Cowper Brann, are you planning to write a post about him? Seems like you could turn up plenty of juicy material.

        1. Hmmm… Let’s see. If I worked at it, I could include misogyny, gun violence, racial animus, religious prejudice and social snobbery all in one post. That could be fun, but I think I’ll let the good Mr. Brann linger in the files until I find a better use for him.

          He does sound like he would have been a great guest on Firing Line.

  14. Hmm… I wonder why the Lord wanted them to be in Wauchula on Judgment Day? I get why they might have wanted to be naked for the event. But in Wauchula?

    1. Oh, that’s right! You spent a little time in Florida, and not so far away, as I recall.

      Wauchula makes some sense, actually. Remember, that’s Cracker Country, with the Village and the Carlton House and all the activities at the fair. A cousin who lived in Lakeland and worked in the hospital in Bartow showed Mom and me some of the sights, once.

      And I saw online that there have been Baptist choirs that sang at the Cracker Village over the years – Pentecostal too, maybe. Seems like a pretty good fit, actually. Good country folk from Texas heading for rural Florida. The naked part might have been a better fit down in the Keys, but I can’t imagine them being happy there.


  15. Loved this post which was not only very funny but something that I had not known about. I reckon this was in the news but all of this happened during my working years so I was not attuned to TV.

    This is one of the stories that almost seems unbelievable. Rodriquez held sway over all those people if he convinced everyone that was “along for the ride” that the devil was lurking in their clothes.

    I really think all your followers/viewers/lurkers would love to know what happned to those folks. I know that while reading I wondered if Rodriquez actually went back to Floydada.

    I remember my dad talking about Floydada, Texas when he was growing up. But I know that we’ve called the town “Flodada” for as long as I can remember.

    I did some reading about Floydada and saw this in Goolge. I thought this very interesting. (Research by a university was done in Blanco Canyon, 5 miles south of Floydada. Significant evidence discovered that Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado established a major camp there during his search for Quivira, one of the legendary Seven Cities of Gold).

    Now I need to go back and read all the comments which adds so much to your posts. :-)


    1. Yvonne, the only thing I know for sure is that the church in Floydada still exists, and that it has a different pastor. That’s not particularly strange, of course. A good bit of time has passed, and it wouldn’t be unusual for someone else to be shepherding that particular flock, regardless of the circumstances.

      I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t been much inclined to find out what happened after the great excursion. When I think about making inquiries — even just a phone call or two — I think about how all those people must have felt, and it just seems better to leave it alone. If any of those folks still are around, I’m sure they’d rather not have someone show up making inquiries.

      They had to be embarassed and chagrined, and probably were relieved to have the publicity die down. On the other hand, if I’m in the area again, I might ask around a little.

      Now that you mention it, I can remember the people I knew from the area calling it “Flodada.” I remember not understanding another Panhandle town name for the longest time. I had to finally see a map to realize that “Levalan” actually was “Levelland.”

      And I really was interested in what you found about Blanco Canyon and Coronado. Somewhere I read about the presumption of early explorers that gold and silver were present in Texas, but I didn’t remember Coronado’s name.

      Quanah Parker took on the US Army in the Battle of Blanco Canyon, too. To look at that flat, dusty land, you’d never imagine so many interesting events took place there — but every place has a history and they’re all worth exploring.


      1. Yes, on second thought, I agree with you about a follow-up to the “Traveling Light.” Let sleeping dogs lie or in this case “Escaping the Devil in the Nude” and a “Rude Awakening.”

        Wonder what Blanco Canyon is all about. Maybe you might visit that area someday. Hard to imagine a canyon is such a wind swept place.

        1. I’d love to get to Blanco Canyon. I didn’t get into Palo Duro canyon, either, so I’m anxious to go back and explore a bit more. But it will be a while, now. I don’t like to travel for extended periods during hurricane season. Being three days from home when a storm pops up in the Gulf isn’t my idea of a good time!

        2. I found the silver mines. They’re part of the story of the settlement of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock, San Saba and such. The article I came across is long, but you can bookmark it for an afternoon when you want some Texas history to read.

          You’ll see the Fisher-Miller land grant mentioned. What’s most interesting is that I’ve been on the Fisher Ranch, and met Felix Fisher and his wife, Ella Real Fisher, decades ago. Oh, how I wish I’d known more Texas history then! They were a living link to all of this. Fredericksburg, Texas and John Meusebach.

  16. I remember you telling us about this strange but true episode a while back. You just never know about people, do you? LOL

    1. No, Gué, you certainly don’t. Still, all things considered, I might take this crew over some of the buttoned-up sorts I’ve known in my life. They certainly had the courage of their convictions, and were willing to take some risks. It might have been better if they’d kept their clothes on and not run from the police, but then there wouldn’t have been as much of a story!


    1. What amuses me most, Andrew, is that the song without the backstory would be utterly unbelievable. And the story, without the song, might lend itself to a little snarkiness or ridicule. Taking together, they seem perfect. Human foibles are funny, but they’re funny in a nice way — it lets the laughter stay a little kinder. Which of us hasn’t done something equally — remarkable?

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


  17. Oh my, that was a hoot. And to boot, today in chapel I preached a sermon quoting Luther, who commented that Adam and Eve’s nakedness was their “unique adornment.” I’m not quite sure that this is what the Magesterial reformer had in mind…

    1. What a funny coincidence. I’m pretty sure Luther wouldn’t have had anything like this story in mind, but I’m even more sure that, once he’d heard the tale, he would have enjoyed it as much as we do. He had a pretty firm grip on the capacity of humans to get themselves into every sort of creative trouble!


    1. Isn’t it, though? Now I’m laughing at the line in the song about “the ways of the dreadful snake.” That preacher could have used your story for an illustration, Hippie.


  18. This put a smile on my face! I’m familiar with this story as my mother is one of the ones who has a torn out clipping from the newspaper laminated that hangs on her refrigerator.

    1. Oh, my goodness! I’m tickled to death that you found the story and took the time to leave a comment. In some ways this story is so unbelievable that some people think, “Oh, surely not.” But yes, it happened, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who still have the clippings.

      I’m happy to have given you a smile. It really is true that we never know what will turn up on the internet.


  19. Hi. I remember the story and it is as funny reading it the second time as it was the first time. Good rollicking humor! Linda you do have the touch that spans from the sublime to the mundane and all in-between. Love your work!

    1. Good morning, Maria! What a delight it is to have you stop by. This is a hard story to forget, isn’t it? I listen to the song every now and then, just for the humor of it all, and finally thought, “I suspect there are other people who’d not mind being reminded of it. After all, we re-read books and watch re-runs on tv. Why not a re-run of a good post?”

      Thanks so much for your kind words. It makes me happy to have given you a smile.


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