Saturday, March 1, 2014

How Do I Really Feel About Dallas, TX?

This post is to explain my feelings for Dallas, TX - aka Big D, aka Sodom-on-the-Trinity.

I grew up in west-central Texas, born in Hamlin and moving to Olney when I was nine. This area was in the Fort Worth hemisphere of influence. We subscribed to, and I devoured, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which was owned by the city's biggest booster, Amon Carter. Now to say that Amon Carter had an antipathy for all things Dallas would be a severe understatement, and all us folks in west Texas were undoubtedly influenced by him. We loved the TCU Horned Frogs (Texas Tech was not yet a part of the Southwest Conference), Will Rogers Coliseum, the Stock Yards, Bob Wills, and Jacksboro Highway. Fort Worth is, indeed, "Where the West Begins". 

Dallas, on the other hand, considers itself to be an eastern style cosmopolitan city - a financial (banking, insurance, corporate headquarters), commercial, and manufacturing center. There are no oil wells in the county, and only in 2004, with the introduction of fracking, did the first gas wells go into production. 

In a way, I am reminded of the rivalry between L.A. and San Francisco - San Franciscans hate everything about L.A. while Angelinos barely acknowledges San Francisco's existence.

When I was 14, we moved to Gainesville and the next year, 15 miles further east to Whitesboro, where I went through high school. Now, Whitesboro is at the apex of an isosceles triangle sixty miles north of both Dallas and Fort Worth, which are 35 miles apart. So, we started taking the Dallas Morning News, in addition to the Star-Telegram. And our tv coverage was by both Dallas and Fort Worth stations. So, geographically and in media coverage at least, we were in a neutral location vis-a-vis the Dallas - Fort Worth rivalry.

Whitesboro is a small town 10 miles south of Lake Texoma, which is a large lake on the Texas-Oklahoma border, formed by the Denison Dam on the Red River. Completed in 1943 primarily as a flood control project, the Denison Dam was at the time the "largest rolled-earth fill dam in the world". Texoma is a tremendous recreational lake for all kinds of water sports and fishing, and draws lots of people from all over north-central Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and south-central Oklahoma.

My Dad was a pumper for Texaco at the time, and he was responsible for six leases, consisting of about 18 oil/gas wells which made up about half of a big cooperative between Texaco and several other companies, called the Sandusky Oil Sands Saltwater Injection Recovery Project. He was also responsible for the salt water injection system, which consisted of several deep salt water wells, which supplied water which was injected into a number of wells located around the edges of the oil sands, with the idea being to float the oil toward the middle of the sands, where the producing wells were. His basic responsibilities were to make the rounds of all the wells twice a day, gauge the oil storage tanks daily, coordinate with the pipeline gauger, who was responsible for buying the oil from the filled tanks, perform first-level maintenance on the wells, and maintain the grounds at the wells and the tank battery sites. So this typically left quite a bit of time between the morning rounds and the afternoon rounds for squirrel hunting and fishing and water skiing, especially since his job was only five miles from Texoma. Except for the morning founds, including the gauging and coordinating with the gauger, it was the ultimate flex-time job. I spent many days helping him out with the grounds maintenance, particularly, in order to maximize our time at the lake. We had a 14-foot Arkansas Traveler boat with an 18-horse Evinrude, which we kept at Big Mineral Camp. We kept two 50-hook trotlines in the Big Mineral arm and typically ran them twice a day. Of course, that called for harvesting or buying a lot of bait - minnows, perch, crawdads, grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets, mostly. We always had plenty of fish in the freezer. My point being, we spent a lot of time on the lake and were well positioned to assess the activities of others on the lake.

It didn't take long to make a generalization that there were Dallasites - loud, rude, drunken, unmindful of others rights - and then there was everyone else. I'm sure there were exceptions, but we were never made aware of them. Amon Carter was right.

After getting out of the Army in 1973, I ended up working for Texas Instruments in Dallas, and we lived in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch for 12 years, before moving to Southern California. We experienced Dallas to be the most hedonistic place we have ever lived in. Oh ! My ! God ! If the Love of Money has a home base, it's Dallas, TX. And to make matters so much worse, so much of that avarice is cloaked in religion. Where is the best place in the world for a salesman or corporate executive to network? Easy, the First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX. Hypocrisy, what is thy name? Dallas, TX. 

Am I being hyperbolic? Now, really, have any of you ever known me to go off on a rant? At least one that wasn't justified?

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