Monday, December 29, 2008

East Texas

When my grandmother, Katie, was about 90 years old I took her on a trip to the part of East Texas where she was born. We started out in Liberty County and I pulled up in front of a cafe because it was lunch time. "Son," she asked me, "Have you eaten here before?" I admitted that I had not. She informed me that she did not like to eat in a strange place. I thought a while and decided to visit the Partlow family. This was a pioneer family, but since they were related to Bill Daniel I had decided not to introduce Katie because she was related to the Hightowers because they were political enemies. In fact, one of the Hightowers was sheriff at that time. But I decided to take a chance and we were welcomed by the Partlows. On this day they had set the table for about 24 people. They invited us and we enjoyed a great oldfashioned lunch with them. After that we stopped off in Livingston where Judge Luby Hightower's picture was hanging on the courthouse wall. "He was a learned man, but he drank too much," she told me. The judge's drinking problem was well known in Polk County, but I do not know how Katie found out. Then we went on to a settlement near the Indian Reservation and I stopped at a large farmhouse. I introduced us to the owners and they invited us to sit and talk. We were in the vicinity where Katie was born but everything had changed. Finally we started back to Friendswood where I was living. "Son," she said, "I appreciate the trip but it has only shown me how lucky I was to leave East Texas," she said. "They haven't made any progress here since I left."

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