Monday, March 18, 2013

Panhandle experience: Blizzards belong at Dairy Queen

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My daughter Jasmine moved all the way to the Panhandle, about 13 hours away from her Gulf Coast home.
She’d been there since August, and the first time I visited was to help her move to Kaufman, this side of Dallas. Much closer.
I’d never been to that part of Texas and on my way, I experienced something else new to me. She phoned us halfway through our journey up to warn us of an impending blizzard. It was the one that just crippled Amarillo.
We drove the final few miles at about 12 miles an hour. The next day we were snowed in. Dalhart is already very small, more than an hour away from a Walmart. Dalhart, the “snowed-in” edition, makes it smaller.
It was days before I got to the XIT Museum. It was fascinating.
The tumbleweed really got to us. Jasmine’s apartment manager said that some sturdy ones could really cause some car damage. The first ones were little tufts, but they made me scream. Then they got more common. The largest ones I saw were trapped in the corner of the apartment’s parking lot. I wondered if I could take some home, spray them gold and make some sort of Panhandle welcome wreath.
In Dalhart, there was a main grocery store. A woman referred me to the “big” Dollar General for wine. A department store featured Larry the Cable Guy skillet dinners. I took a photo of this for Facebook and some readers wanted to know how it turned out. Sorry folks, we didn’t buy it. We had to eat all the nacho cheese leftovers out of Jasmine’s refrigerator so she could clean it out for the move.
We crossed the border to Clayton, New Mexico to see the volcano, covered in snow. Then we had a quick walk around the town square, which was cold. There was a time zone crossing involved in this excursion.
Of course the Panhandle is flat. I’d heard that. Snow on the ground four days after the blizzard made it look even more level, but the oddity of cactus emerging from snow was beautiful.
One of the little towns had a small lodging called the “It’ll Do Motel.” Don’t know if I’ll ever need it. There are other parts of
Texas I need to explore.

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