Monday, June 11, 2007

No Sleep In Texas

I’m partially back from Texas--I got back late Sunday--but most of my mind has not caught up yet and I’m walking around in a fog. Most of that has to do with the 11 and ½ hour drive each way, and the fact that from Thursday through Sunday morning I averaged only 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Surely the rather large daily consumption of beer products over those days has nothing to do with it.

I had a great time, as I always do at Robert E. Howard days. Cross Plains is a very small town, around 1,000 people and Howard Days is one of their bigger tourist attractions. Most of the people are very friendly and welcoming, and appreciative of the money we spend, but there are some folks who would rather not have us there and are occasionally vocal about it. There was an article in the paper the day we arrived that was very critical of the “outsiders” coming in. From their perspective, though, imagine from 100 to 300 Howard fans deluging your city for three days. Some have traveled long, long distances--we had one guy from Australia--and many of them have long hair and perhaps don’t dress quite as conservatively as the average denizen of Cross Plains. They are boisterous, and they drink! Cross Plains is in a dry county but the town basically looks the other way if we drink just at the Howard House pavilion or at the hotel there. We don’t drink elsewhere in town out of respect for the wishes of the locals.

I can understand why some of the locals don’t care for us coming in, although it seems a bit irrational considering the amount of money we spend there and the fact that it’s basically one weekend. I understand less that, in at least some of the locals, the animosity is directed toward Howard himself rather than the fans. Some people in the town seem to have no interest or appreciation for fantastic literature and, in some strange way, actually seem to find it threatening. I’ve been told many times by locals, “I don’t get it,” meaning they don’t understand why people like Howard and why they’d come such long distances to see where he lived and worked. I guess I don’t get what there’s not to get.

I’ll probably have a bit more stuff about the trip over the next couple of days here, and try to get it back to the writing angle. But for now I’m going to go look and see if maybe I left my mind in the car. I hope I didn’t forget it completely in Cross Plains because I’m not making “that” drive again anytime soon.

11 comments:

Danny Tagalog said...

Charles, you long-haired lout, terrorising peaceful communities - you should be ashamed of yourself!:)

Bernita said...

I always have a sense of time warp after trips.
I live in a tourist town, and I hear the same complaints.

Steve Malley said...

Welcome back, ya wild barbarian yeh!

Glad you had a good time!

Erik Donald France said...

Charles,

That sounds really fun. Glad you're back, of course. Small towns are as fascinating as large cities, certainly, especially with "outsiders" involved. Many a classic tale, that.

the walking man said...

Franklin County VA is a dry county and also the moonshine capital of the US. Move your celebration there a gallon of shine will cost you about ten bucks and they won't print articles in the paper, but they will sell you T shirts that say "FRANKLIN COUNTY VIRGINIA IS FOR MOONSHINE LOVERS"

Jack said...

Welcome back Charles. I hope you get your mind back soon. Are you sure the small town folk didn't do something to you?

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'm sure there were plenty of locals who couldn't wait to have your business. Sounds like my kind of get together.

Michelle's Spell said...

Texas does warp the mind, doesn't it? What the hell is the use of a dry county? Having spent the first 26 years of my life in Texas, I feel your pain! But the whole thing sounds like a blast -- never heard of the event until now.

Sidney said...

Elizabeth Massie used to have a small get together every once in a while that Wayne used to attend. I think she called it Pseudocon. A lot of writers from different areas converged on her small town.

Wayne heard one local say one year: "Well the circus is in town."

Avery DeBow said...

Glad you made it out of town without a torch and pitchfork parade.

Susan Miller said...

Welcome back, Charles. I would love to read more about your trip and the disturbance of a town set in it's ways. cool.