Settling in a new hometown

Young people often can hardly wait to grow up and leave the small towns where they were raised. I was certainly one of those. My brothers and I yearned to get away from a community where everyone knew everyone else’s business. We raced to the city–for me it was Houston, for my brothers, it was Dallas–so we could kick up our heels in anonymity and then find a spouse–someone we hadn’t known since the first grade.

After living in Houston for 48 years, my sweetie and I moved to Navasota, population 7,049. Getting to know everyone is not as easy when you move into a community as an adult, especially if you don’t have kids in school. But we’re smart people, and we are finding our way.

Our first friend in town was Mitch White, proprietor of the Filling Station Restaurant and Cafe. Ronnie bartered his Fender guitar to Mitch in exchange for food service. We ate “free” for over a year. Mitch’s daughter was on the high school drill team, so we started attending games. Navasota’s Rattler Nation has won the state championship for the last two years.

After his daughter graduated from high school, Mitch closed his establishment and started a rock band. Occasionally we go to the Dizzy Llama to listen, but we’re not regulars… because… let’s be honest, we hardly resemble the hard party people we were in our youth. Smoke-filled bar rooms that smell of stale beer and tobacco have lost their appeal. But we like Mitch, and we enjoy his band, so we show up on occastion, listen to a set, and then scurry home in time for Saturday Night Live and Blue Bell ice cream.

Recently we joined the Two Rivers Historical Society, which is the smartest thing we’ve done so far. A couple of weeks ago Judge Eddie Harrison of Brenham gave a presentation on the Buffalo Soldiers. He is a direct descendent–his father was a Buffalo Solider–so we were privy to anechdotes not availabe in a textbook or on Wikipeida.

“Riders of the Orphan Train” is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, at St. Stanislaus Cathiolic Chruch parish hall in Anderson, TX, at 2 p.m. Not too many peple know much about the mass migrarion of 250,000 orphans and abandoned children who were taken out of New York City and given away at train stations across the west. About two dozen were taken in by farm families in Anderson and Plantersville in the early 1900s; many of their desendents still live around here. The stories of the orphans who came to Texas are compelling.

I hope you’ll drive out to Anderson–it’s smaller than Navasota but it is the county seat. Ronnie and I will be there. If you’ll come, you’ll enjoy a dramatic and powerful story– and we’ll introudce you to our neighbors.