On leaving a great love once again

The old, red brick streets of downtown Nacogdoches, a.k.a., “The Oldest Town in Texas.”

It all seemed so familiar. Big pine trees, Mound Street, my old apartment on Price Street and the red brick pavement of Main in downtown Nacogdoches.

The Spainards established in 1716 the mission Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches at a Caddo Indian settlement that would ultimately become Nacogdoches, Texas. I worked my way through college there as a firefighter from the late 1970s to the middle 1980s. I left after graduating from college. I came back for several years for what turned out to be a relatively “slacker” period of my life. Then I came back a third time as a journalist during the early 1990s.

Of course, a lot happened in between the time the Father Margil, head honcho of the missions, supposedly ended a drought by whacking two holes in the ground with a stick to create twin springs known as “Los Ojos de Padre Margil” (The Eyes of Father Margil)and the time I first came to Nacogdoches. That is just as much took place between the time I left in 1996 and visited during the past two days. What I am getting at is Nacogdoches, Texas, has oodles of history and I have quite a history with Nacogdoches as well.

I lived in this sometimes rustic, often-times entertaining town during most of my 20s, my early 30s and early 40s. My college friends always joked about the subversive nickname for the town that the local tourist bureau wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot Pole: “Nacogdoches — Home of Virgin Pines and Tall Women.”

All three periods of time that I lived in Nac, of course, are pretty much the ages which form your very being for the rest of your life which, I suppose, means that Nacogdoches left me a very warped individual.

My Thanksgiving was spent with another warped individual, my friend Rick, whom I don’t believe I have seen in about 20 years. We caught up on who all was still around, who remained there as burn-outs and various and sundry other commonalities that resulted in our spending time together in the first place.

On my way out of Nacogdoches this morning I drove past Stephen F. Austin State University, where I graduated and which was generally the glue for my connections with most of the acquaintances I made there. That is similarly true whether these people actually went to school or not. College was why I ended up there in the first place. But the people and the charm of the town was what kept pulling me back.

Past SFA I drove down Mound Street and its old Victorian homes, to the short Price Street where I had my first apartment, before literally hitting the bricks downtown and making an exit once more with the local classic rock station playing Z.Z. Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” as the closing theme.

I told a friend there once, several years ago, that I would never move back to Nac. The friend, Melanie, who moved back there after spending her post-college years in Austin, told me one should “never say never.” That is good advice I suppose. The truth is, however, I doubt I will ever return for good there.

In a fit of clear thinking this morning, I finally figured out that Nacogdoches is like that one great love you had and lost, or you lost it. Do what you will to get it out of your head, but that love will always be there and your thoughts will remain wistful about just how wonderful that relation was. That is, of course, with the tendency to forget any of the bad or the painful.

Well, it’s good to know that I suppose. Perhaps the thought will bring some clarity during my next visit. I doubt it though and really don’t care. Clarity is vastly overrated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *