Feeling restless this morning, I grabbed my keys and headed for a road trip to my old “stomping grounds” in Cooke County. In my mind, although I adore living in Denton, the town of Gainesville, Texas has been “home” because it was where I spent my young adulthood. Cooke County was where I started my own family. I just had the desire to see it … but I found out that you can’t go “home” again.
The first thing I noticed was that the courthouse was not nearly as lovely as I had remembered … but then I am now accustomed to the very ornate courthouse in Denton (it’s hard to beat the Denton courthouse for beauty). I shrugged away my negativity.
Expecting to eat at a restaurant on the square that I had sampled a few years earlier, I was disappointed to find that it was closed on Sunday. And, on Monday. Bummer. In fact, the whole downtown area was closed for business, and some of the buildings on California Street (which is a main thoroughfare) didn’t look as if they were in very good repair. Look at these beautiful old windows all covered in plywood!
I decided to just walk down the red brick streets, and see where my feet took me. I used to know those streets very well, but they seemed unfamiliar now. Gainesville is such a beautiful town … and it has so much potential. There are some fun shops on the main streets and some good restaurants, too. I can’t for the life of me figure out why more hasn’t been done with that town … or what they could do, for that matter. If they could find the right tourist lure, they good get traffic from Interstate 35 in a heartbeat. But, right now it just seems so forlorn.
Put some of these buildings in Denton and entrepreneurs would be snapping them up to put in some funky shops and bars.
I started getting an eerie feeling and wondered if there had been a Zombie Apocalypse while I wasn’t looking. Several downtown churches had no cars at all at 11:30 on a Sunday morning! They should have been bustling, because this is the Bible Belt. It’s not football season, is it?
Then I saw the house. For years it had been the house of my dreams. I had spent countless hours in my youth daydreaming of buying it and restoring it to its former glory as it was in the days of the Cattle Barons. I never got a chance to do that, because the dadgum lottery wouldn’t pick my numbers … and evidently no one else has gotten the chance to restore it either.
Gainesville has some wonderful older homes on the other side of town from this one. In fact, I believe they still have a tour of those homes … and it would be well worth the trip to see them. I always wondered about the one above, because it is all off on it’s lonesome.
I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the hamburger stand. Long ago (okay, forty years ago) this place served the best chili cheeseburger ON THE PLANET. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I hopped on my bicycle and navigated the bumpy brick streets to grab a bag of burgers for our supper (because they were delicious, and because I was too lazy to cook).
My heart cracked just a little bit at the memory, and my stomach growled. It was time to move on down the road.
I still love Gainesville, but now I realize it is my former home. That little town still tugs at my heart, but I guess Denton has really got a hold on me now.