Sunday, January 15, 2006

The LCP, Chapter 6-'Pepaw, his 68 Buick Wildcat, & 3720 Concord'

Southeast Texas gets constant weekly rains, which come in from the Gulf of Mexico, and as a result is able to maintain semi-tropical vegetation-everything stays green all year round. When the more modern West End of Beaumont was being built, they did away with most of the numerous pine trees in the new suburban developments. All of the rest of Beaumont, including the North End where my grandparents lived remained and remains naturally covered in pine trees.

Sweeping pine straw off of cars, roofs, and from the yard has always been a weekly occupation for the locals.

From my vantage point over-looking the desert, my grandparent's house stood out like an oasis-the fence, the yard, the driveway.

Not the whole neighborhood, just the area that defined the property on the house and the two streets that intersected on the corner-Redwood and Concord.

The spacious yard that surrounded the early 20th century red brick house, was reminiscent of 'The Garden of Eden,' except we didn't get to run around -not sure that we would have ever wanted to much past the age of 3.

The yard was a sanctuary for birds and stray cats in the neighborhood. Memaw and I used to walk around the yard, dropping bread crumbs for the birds that would fly through or nest there.

All this on the far horizon of the desert.

Then,much nearer to me,easily negotiating the dunes was a burgundy car with a black roof. Late 60s something or other…no…it came closer…a 1968 Buick Wildcat…the same that my grandfather had when I was much younger.

It would disappear between the dunes and would reappear again,much nearer to me everytime.

No ordinary car could cut through this deep sand, certainly no Hummer, certainly no real car at all. It was quite unreal to watch it.

About 300 feet away in a clearing, the car stopped, its motor idling powerfully, but quiet.

Someone was at the wheel. No one else was in the car.

The passenger door opened, and then the driver got out of the car. A voice that sounded vaguely familiar called out, “Brian, get in the car!”

I was taken aback, and I turned around and looked for the woman, the short guy, the band of 10,000, but all was gone.

No evidence in the sand of any of their prior presence.

“I don’t have a lot of time, Brian, come on!

Slowly I started walking to the car, cautiously at first.

As I came closer, I started to recognize some features from photographs I had, plus what I remembered about him.

We both got back in the car.

“Nice car, huh?”

Go To Chapter 7