“When my eye picked out a town named Nye on the map near Pendleton… it became suddenly imperative to visit it. Only twenty-eight miles off the interstate–I didn’t care how far it was….
I couldn’t stop imagining it. Maybe there would be a Nye Cafe. We could swivel on stools at the gleaming counter, ordering cocoa in thick white cups, or vanilla milkshakes. When people looked at us curiously–you here to visit someone?– we’d say the best thing possible to a lost little place in America: ‘No, we just came here to see the town….'”
The first thing my husband and I ever did together… was stare at a map of Texas and pick out a little village called Sweet Home. We drove there in the first excited flush of our togetherness, simply to see what could be at a place called that. All day we sat in a pool hall with the regulars, at a metal-topped table inscribed with the name of some beer. An older woman with a gravelly voice showed us her gold wedding band. ‘Lemme tell ya, I waited,’ she proclaimed. Waited?
‘Met Randolph back high school days, but wasn’t no way he was going to stick around this little old place after he was through. He took off, off, and I stayed here in Sweet Home, with my mama and daddy, all my relatives was here, did farming, my daddy fixed those kinda old tractors nobody uses anymore. I was just a small-town girl, ya know? But I don’t marry no one else, no matter who comes along, I keep thinkin’ a Randolph and I say to myself, Randolph’s the one fer me. Well he marry somebody else, up some bigger town by Houston, and they stay married all her life but God bless her she died. And one day last year Randolph come through here just to see how we all turned into nothin’….
Had Sweet Home changed much in fifty years? ‘Oh yeah. Went downhill completely. But we still love it.’Advertisements