Panhandle Pandemonium

Grain Elevator in Floydada, Texas
Long, long ago, before the arrival of the VCR — let alone Netflix and TiVo — there was something called the summer re-run. It offered a chance to view episodes of television programs missed during the year or, if the offerings were good enough, to see them again. 
Whether you’ve read this “re-run” or whether you haven’t, I hope you enjoy the story and the song as much as I do, every time I remember it.

Floydada, Texas is cotton country, although it’s also known for good pumpkins, and likes to advertise itself as the Pumpkin Capital of the US.

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

By the time things settled down, people wondered if Sammy Rodriguez and his brother Danny hadn’t been run nuts because of just those circumstances: too much wind; too much work; too little ability to get their bearings while facing the limitless horizons of life. Whatever the cause, when they disappeared along with eighteen of their relatives, Floydada Police Chief James Hale heard about it as soon as some of the Rodriguez’s kinfolk tracked him down to report the missing brothers.

The family members 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 remarked 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 — kept clippings about the story close at hand. When I saw the article tacked onto a refrigerator in Idalou, torn rather than clipped from the newspaper and starting to yellow with age, it still bore witness to the best part of the story: that every living word of it’s true, perhaps excepting those conversations the preacher had with the Devil. But no one’s sure about that.

Details varied among the reports, 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 found themselves bemused, and 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 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.” 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’s 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 — good enough to be 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, and I think you will, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to know God laughs every time he hears the story, and taps his toe to 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.

93 thoughts on “Panhandle Pandemonium

  1. That’s hilarious! Thanks for the laugh! We all need something to laugh about after Cleveland and Philadelphia.

    1. Man (and woman) doesn’t live by political wrangling alone. A good laugh now and then restores a little humanity, and a sense of perspective. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jeff.

  2. Wow!!!! I think I am the first to comment for the first time ever…or by the time I am done at least among the first.

    You’d think I would remember that song as I listened to Car Talk every Saturday morning. That was a great show.

    I think if I saw a car full of naked folks I’d be embarrassed…not aroused. :-)

    1. I was a regular Car Talk listener, too. When I looked up the song on the program’s website. I found they used it only five times, so it would have been easy to miss. I heard it for the first time on a Houston AM station, laughed myself silly, and then tracked down the source.

      I suspect the police who finally caught up with them were as perplexed as anything. A family? Children? Clothing optional? It’s not something you see every day, but it certainly seems as though they were treated decently — even with a bit of compassion.

  3. Oh, Linda, I’m glad my library time lasted long enough to give me this for the day! Problem – is that it is in the library. I’m sure I have not been completely quiet! Hope my kindle will do it justice, so I can listen again when I get home! Don’t know how my family of Pentecostals, including me, missed this gem! Thanks for the song and for its history.

    1. I thought the story would give you a smile, Oneta. The song’s not ever going to make the top 100, but it’s a really sweet, good-natured look at a remarkable human experience. I used to think the story would make a great movie, but I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think it could be done today without snark, or without making the family seem like idiots.

      It’s enough to tell the story, enjoy the song, and remember times when we, too, might have exercised less than perfect judgment. Of course, this was close to off-the-charts bad judgment, but never mind that.

  4. Weird stories like this are not uncommon. I remember quite vividly the Mllenium Bug Y2K. We all thought that planes would drop in mid air, that submarines would sink to the bottom of the oceans, that all the power grids of the globe would go dark, that elevators would stop. Earth would halt and we would go back to the Middle Ages without working computers.

    Many were running for the hills. It was all a hoax. We are still here and our computers are still humming.

    Yep, people will believe anything. Remember the housing bubble. Another hoax and we all drank the Kool Aid.

    What will be the next weird story?

    1. Actually, Omar, we just made it past the most recently predicted end-of-the-world. A group was claiming that the earth’s weakening magnetic field would lead to a sudden polar shift, an event that would, in turn, bring earthquakes, floods, a doomsday roll cloud, and a sudden disappearance of chocolate on July 29.

      Actually, I was kidding about the chocolate, but they claimed the rest of the horrors were waiting in the wings. Either they miscalculated, or the end of the world looks pretty much like yesterday, since we’re well into July 30, and we’re still here.

      It’s always interesting to sort out sincere, if gullible, true believers from what I like to call the Prophet$ of Doom — the ones who love to increase fear and anxiety in order to pad their bank accounts. It’s always something.

  5. Not belonging to or a believer in any man-made religion, I admit I came close to softening my stance, after reading and listening to this delightful story. I can see that the panhandle landscape and the difficulty of orientation in the horizon-less ‘never never’ country side would be tempting for anyone to go nuts. The addition of the Pentecostal faith ensured they all went for it.
    In Australia, that sort of area could be described as being ‘beyond the black stump’, referring to it being very isolated and far away, almost beyond maps or roads. The black stump probably being a burnt-out tree. It is also sometimes named as being in the ‘never never.’
    I enjoyed this tale very much.

    1. A blogging friend who’s lived for years in Australia has posted wonderful photos of the area around Alice Springs, and other equally remote locations. “Empty” hardly begins to do it justice.

      The “never never” you mentioned reminds me of another term I’ve heard: “woop woop.” In his book, “The Happy Isles of Oceania,” Paul Theroux has a chapter called “Walkabout in Woop Woop” that I still remember. I’m thinking “woop woop” must be equivalent to “beyond the black stump”. And in a strange sort of way, it’s possible to see that carload of folks from the Panhandle as having “gone walkabout” — the element of spiritual quest certainly is there.

      It’s interesting that three very different environments can produce the same kind of disorientation: the great American grasslands, the ocean, and a world covered by a depth of snow. Without landmarks, navigation depends on a sort of sensitivity to the natural world that we’re losing. If we could reclaim that, we might begin to reclaim sanity in other ways.

    1. Isn’t that just the truth? Sometimes, it’s enough to just enjoy the absurdities of life, and laugh at them without embarassment. Stories like this, after all, are flat funny.

  6. Very entertaining! Oh my gosh, I’ve heard some great stories come out of Texas but this one tops them all. No wonder there are so many good writers down there. They just have to keep their ears and eyes open.

    1. It’s a rich vein we mine down here, Jean. The truth is, there’s a good bit more tolerance in Texas for unique beliefs and quirky behavior than most people realize. By “Texas,” I don’t necessarily mean some of the cities, which can resemble either coast more than they resemble the rest of the state, but the vast, “empty” spaces that allow individuality to flourish. It can get weird, as our Pentecostals proved, but gosh, it’s fun. I’m glad you found it entertaining.

    1. Just for grins, I checked YouTube, and lo! Someone has posted the song there. With luck, this link will work for you. I hope so; it’s a great song. These almost hidden, local stories are the best. The human condition is more interesting, and often more humorous, than we sometimes are willing to admit.

    1. It’s always good to have you stop by, Nia. There’s no question that this story comes down on the “amazing” end of the scale. But it’s a fun one, and I hope it made you smile. ~ Linda

    1. I did a little light snooping, to see what I could find about life after The Flight. The church is intact, with a building and a working phone number. They have a Facebook page, too, but it’s not been active for quite a while.

      A friend in a nearby town may have summed it up best. She said, “Well, it happened. People didn’t condone what they did, but they didn’t condemn it, either.” Would that we had more of that attitude in the world.

  7. I guess if one person thought they heard God, the rest were caught up in the power of suggestion. This story was a hoot and the song captures the feeling for the whole hilarious episode!

    1. It certainly took the old slogan about “the family that prays together, stays together” to a whole new level. I can imagine it becoming one of those Sunday-dinner-table or Sunday-afternoon-on-the-porch stories for Panhandle residents: the kind that always begins, “You know, that reminds me of the time…”

    1. I’ll spare you all the details, but will say that I’m now much better informed on pumpkin capitals, punkin festivals, and pumpkin competitions. It seems that Morton, Illinois, is determined to wrest the title away from Floydada, since they process 80% of our canned pumpkin. Who knew?

      Ray Stevens was so much fun. For some reason, his songs aren’t getting the air play they used to. That’s ok. I still remember the “Great Mississippi Squirrel Revival,” and of course that little ditty about Ahab. Silly, nonsense songs: but they did make us smile, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      1. We used to live in St. Charles, IL about an hour west of Chicago. They started a Pumpkin Festival in the 80’s. They didn’t claim to be the capital, but they did have a fun festival. Many impressive pumpkin creations and it was only a block from our house. :-)

        I agree about the Ray Stevens songs. They were always fun to listen to. The Squirrel Revival was a classic. Alleluia!

    1. Isn’t it, though? And honestly, when I tune iin to radio programs like “Coast to Coast,” just to check out life on the fringes, it makes the family from Floydada seem perfectly sane. If they hadn’t tried commandeer that RV, they might have made it to Florida without anyone knowing their story. Or, perhaps not — they would have had to stop for gas at some point.

    1. After your mention of Lewis’s (lack of) spelling skills in your blog, it amused me to read that, in his journals, he referred to Drouillard by the name Drewyer. Lewis’s spelling must have stuck, because a footnote said that Mount Drouillard in Teton County, Montana, used to be known as Mount Drewyer.

      Tracing the travels of the Drouillard family would be quite an adventure in itself. They were important in places as widely separated as Haiti, Detroit, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. There’s a collection of Drouillard family papers at LSU –one of them became sheriff of New Orleans in the early 1800s.

  8. Well, this one is just as entertaining the second time around! You know, I’m pretty sure somebody could have hit these folks with some rule violation or other, but gee, why? Seems they had enough problems as it was. Can you imagine sitting — probably in the summer months — in a car with a bucket-load of naked people and traveling through the countryside?? Boggles the mind, it does!

    1. Of course someone could have found a way to charge them with something. Given the way our society’s going, they might very well have lost the kids to some version of Children’s Protective Services.

      There were plenty of other violations that could have landed the whole bunch in trouble. Instead, they were provided with clothing and a decent meal, given a hearing, and sent on their way. It was a triumph of compassion and common sense. We certainly could do with a little more of that, these days.

    1. That’s one of my favorites, Dana. Have you seen the video? Surely you have. Still, it’s always worth another look

      There’s another church-related song that I know you and Doctor M. both would like. Here’s Lyle Lovett and his Big Band, with the wonderful song “Church.” The chorus is something every church-goer can identify with:

      “To the Lord let praises be
      It’s time for dinner — now let’s go eat!
      We’ve got some beans and some good cornbread
      Now listen to what the preacher said
      He said to the Lord let praises be,
      It’s time for dinner — now let’s go eat!”

      Lyle’s not always easy to understand. The full lyrics are here.

  9. That is the funniest story. I wish Dad was still alive so I could read it to him. Great song, too… especially this line:
    “We hung on and prayed, everybody was saved, ‘Cause we all knew how to turn the other cheek.”
    Thanks for the laugh.

    1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “I wish I could share this with Dad.” It’s very telling, actually. I think of sharing experiences with Dad, but buying things for Mom. Interesting.

      I’ve always believed that a laugh a day’s as important as that apple a day. A laugh a day helps keep the gloomies away!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, eremophila. As you know, life on the road isn’t necessarily the easiest thing in the world! I hope your journeys are exciting, but not this exciting!

    1. Story-telling in song is a great tradition, and this is such a good example of it. Not only is the story a hoot, the song’s a good one: both music and lyrics. It never fails to put me in a good mood. “Yee, Ha!” seems to me a perfect response to the whole thing.

  10. This was an hilarious story Linda. A friend from Lubbock once said that a big Saturday night in Lubbock was watching the dust blow down Main Street. No wonder the Pentacostals created their own form of entertainment in the surrounding country.

    1. Now that we have YouTube, we can watch that dust blowing down the streets, and it’s something to see. Plenty of people have thought, “I’ve gotta get out of this place,” and a couple of my friends have done just that: although not in quite so dramatic a fashion as the Pentecostals.

      On the other hand, there’s this view of things, too. It does as good a job as any song I know of capturing an experience we’ve all had. Sometimes, we try to escape the dust, when all we really need is a bigger dust cloth.

    1. I was ten years old when “Devil or Angel” hit the charts, but I still think of it from time to time, and this story certainly brought it to mind. Interpreting that “still, small voice” can be tricky, as the good pastor learned.

      Dana Carvey’s SNL bits as the Church Lady were wonderful, especially when she suggests to someone that they might have been listening to — well, you know!

    1. I don’t know if laughter’s the best medicine, but it can be a pretty good tonic. I’m glad it gave you a laugh, Mary. It’s rare for a song to so perfectly capture the heart of a story.

    1. I thought so, and I’m glad you did, too. After all, just because we’ve had beans and cornbread once doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it when it shows up again.

    1. You probably read about it here, Terry. I wrote the original piece several years ago, and re-published it the first time in 2014. It’s still one of my favorites, and I thought I’d run it out again for new readers. It’s a timeless story, I think, and just as funny as ever. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Sheryl. Author Lawrence Durrell uses the phrase “the essential comedy of human relations” in one of his novels, and I think this certainly would qualify as a comedic episode. The fact is, funny things happen in life, and the stories don’t have to be told with snark or sarcasm!

  11. What some souls will do for the love of God. Just as hilarious as the story is the name of the Texas town from where this yarn was spun.

    What tickled my funny bone was the short description of Floydada– a place so flat with an identical horizon line from north,east,south, and west that visitors just shook their heads.

    Those of us who have driven through much of Texas can see Floydadas as numerous as Texas jackrabbits.

    Having seen 300 naked men riding their bikes through the streets of London, in tandem with the Queen’s 90th Jubilee, I wouldn’t flinch at the sight of the very wayward Pentecostals.

    I’ve seen the Light! Praised be the Glory of the Human Body (in all its iterations)!

    1. Floydada’s an interesting place, all on its own. Even the name’s genesis isn’t entirely certain. From the Handbook of Texas Online:

      “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.”

      I ‘ve been told by residents that the last explanation’s the right one, but who knows? What is true is that, in 1890, a newspaper named “The Texas Kicker” was published, and beginning in 1896, Claude V. Hall published the “Floyd County Hesperian.” Clearly, this was a town with aspirations.

      Thinking about the bicyclists, and the Pentecostals, I have to say I’d rather have been in the car than on one of the bikes. At least, I think so.

  12. Oh mine, you’ve brought me so many memories of all the little “pandemoniacal” towns I drove through when I worked in Florida AND studied in N.C. (so many years ago, I’m not saying) This is a very funny post because it reminds me of all the little towns in N.C. I encountered in particular, and my obsession with bluegrass festivals and southern men.

    The Florida Panhandle had me fooled. Now there’s the Texas Panhandle which I’m really glad you brought up, because I was missing a couple of things:

    “The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost twenty-six counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east.”- Wiki. Good to know.

    Anyway, what I meant to tell you is that the “Panhandle”, be it Floridian or Texan, has many job opportunities, although I haven’t had the time to do travel work for quite a while, these are rather isolated areas that are in strong need of medical and educational services alike.

    Great post, and funny!

    1. I still remember how surprised I was the first time I drove to central Florida. At the time, I’d only come to Florida by water, and only knew the Keys. Dairy cows and crops were quite a surprise to me, even though I understood on some level that all those oranges had to come from somewhere.

      And don’t neglect the Oklahoma panhandle. It’s a fabulous place, although a bit empty (which I like). The county farthest west, Cimarron, touches five states: Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico, in addition to Oklahoma. I’ve been to the spot where three states touch. Of course the marker is a windmill.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post — and I’m glad to know you enjoy Bluegrass, too. I love the music, and have spent some time at festivals, myself.

    1. That’s an expression that has echoes in a familiar expression here: “There’s no accountin’ for folks.” No matter how we phrase it, it’s the truth — thank goodness for us. There’s a lot of entertainment around us, if only we’re willing to enjoy it.

    1. You’re right, Friko. If the story were fiction, the most probable author would be Flannery O’Connor.

      I always smile when I remember this observation of hers: “Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”

      And then there’s this: ““Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”

      Just reading those quotations makes me want to make a run at another Texas story. I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

  13. That’s funny. You know a few years ago, on a August long weekend, I was walking home from going to chapel, and on my way I saw this man gardening on his front lawn. I am convinced he had no underwear on just a long shirt, I won’t go into details. It was a good post, it made me smile.

    1. Even in the towns and suburbs, there can be interesting goings-on. Now that we’re into August, there’s little doubt the craziness level will go up a bit, just because of the oppressive heat. It’s not just the full moon that can make urban life — interesting.

      Of course, these folks weren’t entirely crazy. It wasn’t good that they tried to hijack an RV, but it was a sign of sanity. It seems even they thought that car was a little crowded!

  14. I know I’m late here, but what an absolutely amazing post! How long did it take you to research and write this? This brings real inspiration to write a few new songs myself. Thanks So much for this, Linda!

    1. Well, the research wasn’t much of a chore. Between friends in the Panhandle who knew the story, and a little light internet searching for details of the time in Louisiana, it came together pretty quickly. And of course there was that hoot of a song to spur me on!

      If it spurs you to do more song-writing — well, what could be better?

      (By the way: no one’s ever late around here. My most-read post was written in 2008, and people still comment on it from time to time. It’s not that it’s stunningly written. I just happened to choose Leonard Cohen and his song “Suzanne” for my topic. Interest in that never has flagged.)

  15. America made the car, and in turn, the car makes America. That’s Arti’s thought after reading many of your posts and esp. this one. There are so many stories derived from the automobile, road trips, events crucial to the history of America. Come to think of it, Kennedy was killed riding in a car. Have you read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road? I haven’t but know that it defines a generation of American youth at a certain period of time.

    1. You’re exactly right. Especially during the 1950s and 1960s, when I was growing up, the car was the ultimate symbol of freedom. Cars as status symbols have been around forever, I suppose, but we never cared about car-as-object. It was car-as-a-means-to-an-end that appealed to us.

      “Going for a drive” was our favorite Sunday afternoon activity. Sometimes we went to my grandparents’ home, but sometimes we just drove out into the county to check out the corn — then went for an ice cream afterwards.

      I remember when the great interstate 80 was opened. We lived only a couple of miles away — maybe three — and at the time there was nothing but one street and corn between my front steps and the interstate. I’d sit there listening to the trucks, wishing that I could “go.” I vacation on the “blue highways,” but I do love a long stretch of a road meant just for going, too.

      I haven’t read Kerouac’s “On the Road,” but this little poem from Edna St.Vincent Millay feels just right:

      ““It’s little I care what path I take
      And where it leads it’s little I care,
      But out of this house, lest my heart break,
      I must go, and off somewhere.”

  16. Want to point out it’s pronounced “Floy-DAY-dah as in the name “Floyd” combined with the name “Ada.” It’s just down the road a piece from me. Pentecostals in a Pontiac. Yep.

    1. That’s right. That’s the way I first heard it, and I heard it before I saw it written, so I’ve always gotten it right. That’s not always true with Texas town names. There’s a traffic dude on Houston radio who really could use a short course in local pronunciations. I will given him points for creativity, though.

    1. Most people think hot, flat, interminable, and boring when they think of the Panhandle, but there’s a good bit worth seeing there. Palo Duro Canyon is one of those places. Because it’s a canyon, it doesn’t appear until you’re there, but when you arrive? This is the sort of sight you can find. It’s beautiful.

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